The Scoop on Fridge/Freezers
The time has come to put a fridge in your vehicle; it’s what the cool people are doing. We encourage you, just this once, to lose your cool(er) and get a fridge. We’re here to break the ice and give you the scoop on fridges.
Fridges Enhance your Daily Life
It’s no surprise that being cramped in your vehicle can get uncomfortable, so upgrading your gear can go a long way towards making your travels more fun. Consequently, there should be no shame attached to doing so.
The first way that fridges enhance your daily life is the easy access they provide in having healthier food and snack options available when longer and off-road trips are on the agenda. Coupled with that, celebratory post-hike beers have never been colder than they are in a fridge/freezer. Depending on the situation or snack you’re desiring, the temperature can be adjusted on fridge/freezers. Therefore, all of the space that was once taken up by ice in a cooler, is now taken up by more important items inside your fridge.
Yet another perk of having a fridge in your vehicle is if you’re a hunter and you happen to make a small kill. Transporting rabbits, ducks, pheasants, and quail has never been easier. Similarly, grocery shopping has never been more convenient. Now, you can throw your cold groceries in your fridge and feel at ease running more errands without being worried about your Snickers bar melting. A vehicle fridge can also serve as a mini fridge at your home. When not in use in your vehicle, simply store it on the patio and stock it with bottles of wine for when you have house guests.
Perhaps the best part about having a fridge in your vehicle is the complete elimination of ice. With a fridge, you eradicate wet food, soggy water bottle wrappers, and that gnarly smell that you get when all of the above coagulates into one giant mess. My motto has always been, "buy once, cry once." A fridge in your vehicle is completely worth it. We think you would be surprised with how much you use a fridge as a result of its multiple applications. In fact, once you’ve tried a fridge in your vehicle, you’re straight ruined; there’s no going back. It is for this reason that with the elimination of ice comes the convenience of keeping food and beverage items colder for longer.
The Melting Point
The only real downfall to a fridge is that they are not practical in every application. While fridges can be transported from vehicle to vehicle, you can’t take them on your raft for your 5-day river float.
How does it all work?
A fridge is simply mounted, wired, plugged in, and once set to the desired temperature, it does its thing! It should be noted that nothing can block the vents of the fridge as they need constant access to airflow.
How much actually fits in a fridge?
Size does in fact matter and directly correlates with how long you plan on being out at any given time. Keep in mind that not everything you’re going to eat needs to be refrigerated. If you can keep a few beers, water bottles, and teas in there, super, but should they not fit, the point is that they won’t spoil if they sit out. Take for example the ARB fridge/freezer. We would say the 37-quart model is more than enough space for one person for one weekend out. The ARB 50-quart model would suffice for 2 people for one weekend of exploring. Anything bigger than that would be recommended for families and persons going on longer trips.
How do I wire the fridge?
The wiring process is rather simple. A 12-volt outlet is normally installed in the rear of the vehicle, where fridges are normally stored. From there, a power wire would be routed to a fuse box, and then wired to the stock battery in the vehicle. A bit more wiring would be required if a dual battery system and solar were introduced.
How useful is a transit bag?
If the power draw is a concern, the transit bag does in fact cut down on that. The bags are made of a thick aluminized insulating material with holes in the right spot for the plugs and vents to maximize efficiency.
How long can I realistically expect to go before I need to recharge the battery(ies)?
Battery life varies on how many you have, how often you start your car, how often you open and close the lid of the fridge/freezer and what the ambient air temperature is. The coolest aspect to the fridges is that they have an automatic low voltage shut off so that no matter what, your vehicle battery will never dip so low that it won’t start and leave you stranded with your spoiled milk. That would be a sour situation.
Where do you install a fridge/how do you mount it?
The most common place to install a fridge is in the bed of the truck or in the rear of any vehicle. In my opinion, the best mounting system for a fridge is to have it mounted on one of the many slide options available. Slides make for a sleek, space-saving system that alleviates the struggle of getting into the fridge. I’ve even seen fridges mounted in lieu of a center console. Be aware of clearance issues with the lid opening in dry mount situations.
Top or side opening door?
Top, top, top! With a top opening door, you eradicate the action of food falling out of the fridge when you open it. Top opening lids are perfect for off-roading. Plus, all the cold air stays in the fridge when you open the lid. On some models, you can even completely remove the lid and squeeze your hand in the fridge if clearance is an issue.
12 Volt or Propane?
Electric all the way. Propane is a bit trickier. With propane, your vehicle has to pretty level or the gas struggles to make it through the lines to do its job. Sometimes finding perfectly level ground is not always obtainable when off-roading or camping. Electric is more consistent.
We understand that fridges can be overwhelming, but we hope some of your questions were answered and that some clarity on fridges has prevailed. Lastly, we will leave you all with a joke: A human opens the refrigerator and the vinaigrette yells, “Close the door, I’m dressing!”
Written by Lauren Sherwood