Enter the super efficient 12V portable fridge, which never needs ice. No more soggy food, no more tepid four-day-old Coke—everything stays clean and dry and maintained at the precise temperature you select. You can even keep ice cream frozen. While fridges are significantly heavier than ice chests, the difference is minor once you factor in the weight of ice. And although the interior of a fridge seems small at first glance, not only do you save the room the ice would consume, but you can reload the fridge with each day’s soft drinks and beer to chill, rather than having to keep your entire stock in there. The fridges offered here will hold anywhere from a half week to two weeks worth of fresh food for a couple.
very attractive conveniences do come with a price though: You can buy a
lot of ice for the cost of these fridges. And if you frequently camp for a
couple days in one spot, you’ll need to consider a dual-battery system
or solar to ensure adequate power to both the fridge and the vehicle’s
starting circuit. Still, once you take the plunge there’s little chance
you’ll ever look back. I was like a giddy little kid on the first trip I
took with my own fridge, pulling out frosty drinks and fresh meals for
days on end, never thinking twice about ice.
There is a deep sense of personal satisfaction when you are camped on a remote Mexican beach with your friends, and despite the fact that you haven’t seen a town in days, much less a store with ice, you still have cold cervezas to share. It’s almost as good as cheating death. I now consider myself a “12V-fridge enthusiast,” however geeky that may sound. As far as I am concerned, a fridge ranks right up there with a competent suspension, protective hardware, and good tires as a priority vehicle modification. Fridge or a winch? I’d take the fridge any day.