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Open Roads Forum  >  Family Camping

 > Best Fridge setups for stationary camping

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Joined: 06/02/2019

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Posted: 06/02/19 11:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looking to see what others have & what they do.
My own:
Early on I considered an 89L dualzone then looked at large upright units like a dometic 3way 120L with built in freezer or 85L compressor.
I original hoped the upright especially 3way would be the final solution for me & was attracted to their simplicity & organisation. However now I sure that single large fridges whether chest or upright are not for me.
For years some people I know have been using 4-5 eskies with ice just sitting outside, despite ice having it's drawbacks, this gave quick access without much procesing required.
I have now concluded that 3x 40-50L friges are most likly best for me for the following:
One large fridge is hard to carry & is too big for smaller trips, arguable a large single compressor unit consumes too much 12V & a large 3way uses too much gas.
No matter the fridge you can't get a temperature to suit all contents, if the temp is cold enough to chill drinks, it is far too cold for fruit, veggies, snacks etc.
If your like me & drink alot of chilled water you can't rely on gas alone & will need a whole compressor fridge designated for drinks. Due to the time it takes to cool down large quantities you need a large buffer.
relaistically fridges lack far more space than the rated size suggests, my 40L unit only has enough space for around 18- 20L of bottled drinks.
Chest style are probably better at keeping in the cold when opening vs an upright.
In fact its clear chest is easier to access on the ground while uprights are easier in cargo bays or on a tray. never liked the idea of a chest permanently in the rear of my 4wd
multiply small chest fridges having there own separate contents is more organised & quicker to access than uprights.
Fridge 1: 40L compressor for drinks only
Fridge 2: 50L gas for food
Fridge 3: 40L compressor or another 50L gas for frozen stuff. (the freezer can also double for rapid cooling of drinks)
I have chosen this setup because its a good balance, one 40L compressor fridge is already a handful solar wise in small sunlight hours, since gas is used for cooking and boiling water, it makes sense to use gas as a fuel.
my 40L unit consumed 38amps @25C in 24hrs at chilled setting in a test with a few bottles of water inside. using gas by itself is problematic in winter & when the temps sore.
Most times I don't bother with frozen stuff on shorter trips, so that just means two fridges which has a chance of fitting both in rear cargo bay.
Having two mid sized gas & battery fridges allows for a total of 4 configurations that is far better at suiting the conditions which change all the time.
Touring in 4WD alone?
If I was seriously going to tour in my 4wd by it self alone I would go an upright over a chest, can't see why not. All wagons have a poor payload limit anyway so space for me is not an issue, long before I run out of space the payload is exceeded.
Looks like they suffer the same. Big gas units chew through the gas & big comp units rely on alot of solar which can be impractical. All depends where your going. I would no doubt settle on gas & take with me a small comp unit to make sure drinks are cold.

* This post was edited 06/14/19 03:56am by Zaisinir *


Verde Valley

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Posted: 06/03/19 12:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like you have weighed the pros/cons so now you just have to do what works best for you

Is it time for your medication or mine?

2007 DODGE 3500 QC SRW 5.9L CTD In-Bed 'quiet gen'
2007 HitchHiker II 32.5 UKTG 2000W Xantex Inverter
On the Road Debt Free April '07
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Posted: 06/03/19 05:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think it also depends on your definition of "stationary" camping. If you are going to be somewhere for weeks or months, why not a large frig? Most "seasonal" campers have full size frigs.

I could see if you are doing multiple shorter trips smaller frigs would be easier to transport.

I've never thought about having more than one frig.

2008 F-250 CrewCab 5.4L,
2004 21' Forest River Surveyor


Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 06/03/19 07:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My next fridge will be a residential. I'd rather spend money on upgrading the solar than on an expensive and inefficient 3 way fridge that has to be level, is slow to cool, and has poor interior capacity.

Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.


Near Annett’s Mono Village, Bridgeport, CA

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Posted: 06/03/19 08:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Shouldn’t need too much more solar for a residential fridge, pianotuna.

Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


Southeast Michigan

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Posted: 06/06/19 09:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As someone that has been running a "residential" for lots of years now, I think your first question you need to answer is," How many times and for how long will we be away from shore power?"

If that answer is:
Only when actually traveling - then put anything in there.
Many contiguous days - then think about gas.

We can run ours on a large inverter, but also other do not. It will keep for 4~6 hours if we pay attention.


Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dogs going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.

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