4WD Canopy Fridge: Upright vs Portable

What's the best 4WD fridge for a canopy? Take a look at our comparison of upright vs portable vs drawer 4WD fridges.


Buying the right fridge can make or break your 4WD experience. The problem? There are so many camping fridges out there making it confusing to know what you need and what you don't for your 4WD.


That's why we've created this guide to help you answer the first question: should you buy an upright, drawer or portable 4WD fridge?

Trip In A Van have a Dometic CRX110 Upright Fridge in their 4x4 canopy.


4WD Canopy Fridge Comparison: Upright vs Drawer vs Portable:


Upright Fridge:


When we talk about an upright fridge, we're talking about a fridge that looks like what you've got at home - but smaller. The benefits are simple: it's easier to access your food and drinks, and to keep tabs on what you've got.


Plus, you have a bigger volume for the canopy space. Upright models tend to be much lighter than their portable equivalents so there's no need to install a fridge slide. Finally, they won't bust your budget as they are less expensive overall.


But there are some drawbacks - upright 4WD fridges need more ventilation. When you park in the hot sun, the canopy will act like an oven which means your fridge will be working hard to stay cool. Free air flow is a must if you want your fridge to run efficiency.


Upright fridges need to be carefully filled and defrosted at least once a month. They also require mounting with enough space to open the door.



  • Easier to see and access food and drinks

  • Bigger volume for the space

  • Usually weigh less than portables of the same capacity

  • No fridge slide needed

  • Lower cost overall


  • Mounting is a must

  • Need space around the fridge to open the door

  • Less temperature control

  • Need more ventilation

  • Require defrosting more often

  • Care must be taken when packing

  • Usually only come with a 2-3-year warranty


Our Recommended Upright Fridge Models:


Dometic Waeco Coolmatic CRX110 Fridge Freezer:


This built-in 108-litre fridge freezer can be powered by 12 / 24 volts DC and 100-240 volts AC operation, making it a great choice for 4WDs and caravans. In fact, it is the most popular upright fridge on the market!

Best 12V Caravan Fridge?

Vitrifrigo C130L Fridge & Freezer 130 Litre:

If you're looking for an upright fridge freezer with an externally mounted compressor, we highly recommend this 130L Fridge & Freezer. The compressor can be mounted up to 1.6m away and features air locking technology, a reversible door and can be run on 12V, 24V or 240V with the included adapter.

Drawer Fridge:

These fridges are a drawer, rather than a portable fridge on a fridge slide. They are a great choice if you're tight on space, ensuring you can turn unused nooks and crannies into a practical cold store. You can use it either as a fridge or a freezer, depending on what you need at the time.


The biggest drawback of a drawer fridge is that they are smaller than upright fridges - the maximum capacity on the market is about 40 litres. But this makes drawer fridges a cheaper, more compact option.


You might even decide to use your drawer fridge as an auxiliary fridge - like having a chest freezer in the shed at home. This means for longer trips, you can take things from the drawer fridge and refill the upright fridge, so you don't have to keep going to the shops.



  • Great for tight spaces

  • Generally cheaper than both uprights and portables ($700 - $800 will get you an amazing drawer fridge with a 3-year warranty)

  • Use as a fridge or freezer

  • Easy to clean - internal trays are usually removable


  • Smaller capacity - only go up to 40 litres

  • Minimal height - bottles may have to be laid down

  • Can only be used individually as a fridge or freezer

  • Need space around the unit to open the drawer


Our Recommended Drawer Fridge Models:


Evakool 40 Litre Drawer Fridge:

This popular 40-litre model is as big as it gets for 4WD drawer fridges. Designed for recreational vehicles, it can be run as a fridge or freezer, and features an LED display and removable drawer tub. It's backed by a 2-year warranty.

Aussie Van Adventures Reviews The 40L Evakool Drawer Fridge


Vitrifrigo D30A 30 Litre 12/24V Drawer Fridge/Freezer:

The newly released in 2022 D30A is a compact drawer fridge/freezer that is ideal for those with limited space. Available in both black and white you can pick the model to suit your interior.


Dometic Waeco Coolmatic 30-litre:

A smart looking 30-litre drawer fridge which runs smoothly on roller bearing slides, unlocks easily and is suitable for solar operation. Runs off a reliable Secop BD35 compressor and comes with a 3-year warranty.

Portable Fridge:

Finally, you've got portable 4WD fridges. These units are not fixed to your vehicle and can be moved around - like an esky. In fact, that's the number one advantage of a portable fridge; you can swap it between vehicles and even use it at home when you're not on the road. Some portable fridges can be mounted on a slide, meaning it acts like a drawer fridge.


Portable fridges can be as big or small as you need, ranging from 14 litres up to a massive 105 litres. Portable 4WD fridges come with lots of features. For example, if you want the freedom to choose between a fridge or freezer, you can buy a dual zone or combi model. Most are now wi-fi enabled meaning you can control and monitor the temperature remotely.


On the downside, these features don't come cheap. The most advanced portable fridges can be expensive - but you get what you pay for in terms of efficiency and performance!



  • Easy to move around and swap between vehicles

  • Great for around your home when you aren't travelling

  • Optional slide mount for easier access

  • Various sizes from 14 litres to 105 litres

  • Dual zone / combi models can be turned into either a fridge or a freezer

  • Temperature and settings can be controlled/monitored via a phone app with the WIFI-enabled models

  • Most portable fridges from reputable brands come with a 3-5 year warranty

  • Use a fridge cover to reduce power consumption, and prevent scratches and damage


  • Can be difficult to access food and drinks at the bottom of the fridge

To combat this con and help with access, a normal fridge slide can be used, however for some people this still presents a height issue.

Another option is to install a 'drop down fridge slide' which conveniently brings your fridge down to the desired level for easy access to the fridge contents. It should be noted that these fridge slides can add a bit of weight to your canopy set up.

RV Storage Solutions also offer a range of tilt slides that come in varying sizes suited for a 35 litre fridge up to a 80 litre fridge. These slides gently and safely tilt your fridge at an angle and then locks into place to make accessing your food and drinks easy!

Our Recommended Portable Fridge Models:

We highly recommend any of the Dometic, Evakool or myCOOLMAN portable fridges. However if we had to choose, here are our top picks:


Dometic CFX3 95DZ Portable Dual Zone Fridge & Freezer 94 Litre:

This is pretty much as good as it gets. The 95-litre fridge & freezer features a highly robust design for tough outdoor use, with dual zone compartments meaning you can have simultaneous cooling and freezing. You can control it all using a mobile app while being backed by a generous 5-year warranty.



Evakool Down Under 75 Litre Dual Zone Fridge / Freezer:

This is the newest Evakool fridge on the market and we are excited! This 75 litre dual zone fridge freezer features the famous SECOP compressor, has eco and max compressor speed modes and 3 level battery protection. Plus it is manufactured here in Australia on the Sunshine Coast!

New EvaKool Down Under Series


Dometic CFX3 55IM Portable Fridge/Freezer 53 Litre with Icemaker:

This 53-litre fridge freezer offers something the others don't - an ice maker! The unit has an independently controlled Rapid Freeze Plate with two custom silicon ice trays. So, when turned on, the compressor super cools the plate to make ice while still keeping the refrigeration temperature in the rest of the cooler. Genius!



myCOOLMAN 44 Litre Portable Fridge Freezer:

The myCOOLMAN 44 litre fridge is compact and powerful making it the perfect addition on your next adventure. It features wireless connectivity with the myCOOLMAN Bluetooth app. There is also handy bottle openers built in to each end of the fridge.

Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge 35L-52L

The Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge offers a 35L, 42L, 45L and 52L fridge in one. This is a good model for prolonged camping stints, 4x4 adventures, camper trailer expeditions, long road trips and more!

Need further assistance choosing a 4WD fridge for your vehicle? Our product experts are here to help! Check out our website or give us a call on 1300 400 122!



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

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up