Choosing a 12V Camping Fridge For Your Campervan

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A good camping fridge is the difference between a soggy mess of food and drinks in your van and having all the comforts of home. There are three main types of 12V refrigerators for campervans, each with their own pros and cons.

Compressor fridges like the EcoFlow GLACIER have fast cooling, expandable electricity storage and even smartphone app control. Consider getting a dual zone model if you’ll need to store both cold and frozen food.

The capacity of a fridge is an important consideration when choosing a model for your vehicle. The larger the fridge, the more food and drinks it can store, but it will also take up more space in your vehicle and require a greater current draw from the battery.

Smaller camping refrigerators are good for solo vanlifers or for keeping half time oranges and snacks cold, while larger models can store enough food for a week away for two people or more. Some models have dual zone cooling, meaning you can remove a divider to switch between fridge and freezer modes.

It’s also important to look at the power consumption of the fridge, as this will help you determine which battery size to go for. BougeRV’s portable power stations are equipped with premium Lifepo4 batteries that offer a high energy efficiency rating to maximize your fridge’s runtime. They’re also lighter and charge faster than lead-acid or nickel cadmium batteries.

A camping fridge has to draw power from somewhere. Some can be powered by your car battery, others have DC plugs that can be used with a portable solar panel array to keep the fridge running.

It depends on the size of your battery and its rated capacity. A typical deep cycle battery, rated at 100Ah, can run a small fridge for about 50 hours before it needs to be charged.

For longer trips, you might want to consider a detachable battery fit for the fridge you choose. These are often sold as a kit with the fridge and can be fitted without tools or much technical expertise. You’ll need a solar charger to ensure the battery is always fully charged for use, but it can be an excellent way to keep your fridge running even when you’re boondocking. You just need to ensure the solar charge input power is higher than the working power of the fridge for the best results.
Temperature Control

The best camping fridges offer great temperature control and are durable. Since these refrigerators are a major part of any van build and used for full-time living, it’s important to choose one with high manufacturing standards and durability that you can rely on for years.

However, if your budget doesn’t allow for a top brand fridge or you only need a small portable cooler, there are some excellent value options available that perform just as well. For example, BougeRV’s CRPRO30 offers a great fridge for the price that can use your batteries and has dual zones.

A Dometic fridge is another excellent option if you can afford it. Their products are made to a very high standard and come with an outstanding warranty. This makes them the preferred fridge for 4wd campervans and off-road RV’s. Their fridges run on DC power, which can be generated by a battery, a portable power station, solar panels, or a generator.

With a camping fridge, you can keep cold food and drinks for an extended period of time without having to replenish ice. This is a major benefit over the typical cooler or esky.

A good portable refrigerator will have a system that automatically decreases power usage as the battery gets low, and some even have manual controls for when you want to increase or decrease power use. EcoFlow’s GLACIER is an example of a great portable fridge freezer that does this, and it also has USB ports for charging other devices.

The quality of the compressor is another important factor to consider. Many of the best camping fridges use Danfoss SECOP variable speed compressors, and some like Dometic, Engel, some ARB units and Whynter/Edgestar use their own. Cheaper options like the BougeRV and Alpicool fridges use Chinese-made Wancool compressors.

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