Comparing Material Types for Portable Camping Fridges

Trying to choose between portable camping fridges? One of the first things you need to consider is which material you need. Sure, they might look the same on the outside, but there are some important pros and cons you need to weigh up before you buy.

Check out this no-fuss guide:


Pros: Fibreglass makes portable camping fridges easy to clean. Best of all, they won’t absorb any smells, which makes them a top choice for fishing. Fibreglass fridges will reach desired low temperatures quicker than plastic camping fridges and provides excellent cooling in hotter temperatures. Also, fridges with good insulation use less power.

Cons: Fibreglass models tend not to be as sturdy on the outside – they don’t handle heavy knocks as well as their steel or plastic counterparts.

We recommend: Evakool has a great fibreglass portable fridge range. For boating and camping, you can’t go past the Evakool marinised fibreglass range. The Marinised range have anti corrosive treatment applied to the internal components in order to protect your investment in marine environments.


Pros: There’s a lot to like about steel portable camping fridges but mostly it comes down to their exceptional strength. Steel fridges are built to last. That’s why fridges with steel casing are a top choice for farmers and tradies. That said, you don’t need to go for the whole steel exterior – some models, like the Engel Platinum Series and Bushman fridges, feature steel handles, steel slip handles and a steel cabinet for durability where it counts.

Bushman Portable Camping Fridges
The Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge can be used as a 35L, 42L, 45L or 52L! For more information click here!

Cons: Steel is heavier when you compare models on a size-for-size basis. When you’re talking about portable camping fridges (portable being the key word here!) this is could be a deal-breaker.

We recommend: Engel is a hugely popular brand of portable camping fridges for the Aussie bush because they are known to be built tough. And their most famous fridge models are built from – yep, you’ve guessed it – steel. We also love the Bushman Portable Expandable Fridge 35L-52L for its steel casing and interchangeable sizing!

Check out the Engel portable fridge / freezer range here!


Pros: Plastic fridges are a good all-rounder. They will conduct less heat than metal, but not as well as fibreglass, which offers the best insulation. The good thing about plastic models is that they’re built tougher than ever before, so they can handle a few hard knocks too.

Cons: Plastic portable camping fridges are not as tough and strong as steel, and not as good at insulating as fibreglass. Althought today’s latest model polyethelene fridges are exceptionally efficient!

We recommend: Check out Dometic Waeco and Evakool brands. For example, the Dometic Waeco CFX-95DZW Dual Zone Portable Fridge Freezer which is one of the most popular portable fridge models in the country!

Dometic CFX-95 portable camping fridge
The Dometic CFX-95 Dual Zone is the most popular portable camping fridge on the market. Find out why here!

My Generator customer, Brett from Beachmere, QLD reviews the Dometic Waeco CFX-95DZW Dual Zone Portable Fridge Freezer.


It really depends what’s important to you. Fiberglass offers the best cooling performance overall but is not quite as sturdy as some alternative materials for portable camping fridges. That said, it’s a must-have for fishing and boating because it doesn’t absorb smells. For a more durable solution, steel is the strongest, but can be heavier than plastic (polyethylene) and fiberglass models of equivalent size. A good all-rounder is polyethylene – trust us, it’s tougher than you might think! Overall, we would sell the most volume of plastic (polyethylene) cased portable fridges as these fit the widest variety of applications and the latest models from the likes of Dometic and Evakool are the most technologically advanced on the market.

Final tip: Whichever way you go, we strongly recommend you opt for a camping fridge from a reputable brand with a comprehensive warranty and national service agent support network. Don’t go with a cheap ‘no name’ brand from the likes of eBay: you don’t want to run the risk of your fridge breaking down on your holiday and having no support to help you out!

For more advice, check out our article on the best portable fridge freezer brands or check out our full range of portable camping fridge freezers HERE.

S Reynolds

Steve Reynolds, Power Product Expert at is a small engine specialist with particular expertise in Generators, Water Pumps, Pressure Washers and other Outdoor Power Equipment products. Outside of work; an avid caravan enthusiast who enjoys time on the road and has gained years of familiarity with Caravan & Camping products also. A passion for power products used for work, home and leisure!

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