Camping Fridges Buyers Guide

Looking at portable Camping Fridges for sale? Our team answers all your questions - even the ones you didn't know you wanted to ask!


What Is A Portable Camping Fridge?

Let's start with the basics - portable camping fridges are (as the name suggests), fridges that are fully mobile. This means the fridge isn't permanently installed into your caravan, car or boat, but can be moved in and out to keep your food and drinks cold wherever you are. This means portable fridges are the ideal piece of travel gear for camping, boating, fishing, 4WD trips, road trips, caravanning and more. In fact, anywhere that space is at a premium and you want to keep things cool.

Today's portable camping fridges are the ideal piece of travel gear for camping, boating, fishing, 4WD trips, road trips, caravanning and more.


What Types Of Camping Fridges Are There?

There's more choice of camping fridges than ever before. Most have a chest fridge design, so they open from the top, making it easy to find what you need. Some less common ones are like traditional upright fridges and open with a door on the front. Portable fridges are compressor fridges, so they operate by using a compressor to cool the interior just like your fridge at home.


How Do I Power A Portable Fridge?

Portable camping fridges need a power source to work. They work on 12 and 240v generally, with limited models on 24v. This means you can use your portable power system like on board batteries in your caravan or utilizing your deep cycle dual battery system in your 4wd on 12v. The portable power packs are becoming more popular now so anyone can go camping without a dual battery system or caravan! When you arrive at your destination where 240v house power is available you can connect to that power source to save your battery bank when stationary.

Overall, the most common way to power camping fridges is via a 12/24 volt source from your camping / auxiliary batteries. This is especially the case when free camping and mains power is not available. Campers can charge their batteries when their vehicle is running, from solar panels, or charge them via a generator and battery charger. It’s a nice feeling to be camping in a quiet space, completely self-sufficient with power so you can keep your camping fridge running easily!

Dometic CFX355IM Portable Fridge Freezer, 55 Litre with Icemaker

Which Size Camping Fridge Should I Choose?

Like normal fridges, camping fridge sizes are measured in litres. They start at around 10 litres and go up to models of 110 litres in size! Upright fridges in your Caravan/Motorhome can go even larger than this.

The trick is not to choose a fridge that is far bigger than you need, as you will only end up wasting power on empty fridge space. The best way to choose is to look at what you're going to use it for on a regular basis. Will you just want to chill a few beers, or do you need to keep food fresh for the whole family?


What About A Freezer?

Most camping fridges can also be used as freezers - be sure to check the model specification on the camping fridge for sale. The models with freezer capability have a temperature range down to minus 18 degrees Celsius (or more). The popular Dometic CFX3 Fridge Range can reach minus 22 degrees Celsius.

The Dometic CFX3 55IM can be run as a fridge or freezer and even comes with an ice maker!

Some camping fridges let you use it as either a fridge or a freezer, while others can run as both a fridge and freezer at the same time. These are known as Dual Zone or Combi camping fridges because they contain separate compartments.


What Do I Need To Spend?

It totally depends on what you need. Camping fridges vary in price from as little as around $175 for a basic cooler up to almost $2,000 for a mammoth portable fridge with all the extras. For example, for just under $1,700, you can get the Dometic CFX3 75DZ - a 75 litre dual zone portable fridge/freezer with a 5-year warranty, USB charging outlet for mobile phones and tablets, a dedicated smartphone app and WiFi connectivity, an alarm and more. This is the bees knees of camping fridges!

The Dometic CFX-375 has two compartments that can each operate independently in any combination as fridges or freezers


How Long Do Camping Fridges Last?

Again, it depends on what you buy and how well you look after it. Most fridge manufacturers offer a two or three year warranty, whereas the Dometic CFX3 camping fridges come backed with a 3 years full warranty + additional 2 years (5 total) on the compressor parts.. If longevity is a consideration, we recommend you opt for a premium brand such as Dometic, Evakool, Bushman or myCOOLMAN - all these guys back their fridges with solid warranties and importantly have national service agent support and spare parts networks.


What Accessories Should I Pair With My Portable Camping Fridge?

A must have portable fridge accessory is a fridge cover. A fridge cover protects your fridge against bumps and scratches on your 4x4 or camping adventure. A fridge cover will also help your fridge maintain it's temperature.

Optional accessories include:

  1. Fridge Slides - these accessories are perfect for mounting your fridge in the car and come in a range of sizes to suit 29 litre fridges right up to 95 litre fridges! We recommend a RV Storage Solutions Tilt Slide for easy access to all your food and drink.

  2. Tie Down Straps - Evakool, Dometic and Bushman and offer tie down straps to secure your fridge while on your 4x4 adventure.

  3. Security Cable - you'll need one of these cables to protect your portable fridge freezer from being pinched!

  4. Portable Fridge Stand - a fridge stand helps you to raise your fridge off the ground, so you don't have to bend over to get a cold beer!

  5. Portable Power Pack - this accessory will keep your fridge charged so your food and drinks alway stay cold! We recommended either a Dometic PLB40 or a myCOOLMAN CPP15 for a portable and lightweight charging option.

What Are The Best Camping Fridge Freezer Brands?

Good question - we cover that in this neat little article HERE, including a popular camping debate around Dometic Waeco versus Engel.

Browse our full range portable camping fridges for more ideas.


DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

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