Cool while travel

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by Nasteff, May 18, 2018.

  1. Nasteff

    Nasteff New Member

    May 7, 2018
    How do you guys keep your fridge cool while traveling? I had ours on low propane for the last 5 hours of our traveling and when we got to the campsite it was not cool at all. I know it cools on high, I tested it last weekend in the garage. Does high cool make that big of a difference?
  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    was your pilot light still lit when you got to camp? I've heard on some units the pilot light can blow out when driving. Those people usually put the fridge on 12v until they get to camp and switch it to propane to avoid it not working.
    Fbird likes this.
  3. Nasteff

    Nasteff New Member

    May 7, 2018
    Yup it was still on, I would check it everytime we stopped, never went out. We don’t have a battery... I thought fridge sucked batteries down
  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    Sounds like you need to run it on high.
  5. davido

    davido Active Member

    Jul 17, 2014
    When in transit I run on 12v, supplied by the 7-way because I have a charge line on the TV.

    I've used propane while travelling before, but would sometimes discover it had blown out along the way. 12v is more reliable. ...unless, of course, you forget and leave it on 12v -- then you'll run down the batteries.

    I think that the draw is about 200W, so you could also use an inverter and run it on AC while driving. Less efficient (due to inverter inefficiency), but in the absence of a 12v solution, that could work.
    Grousetales likes this.
  6. Nasteff

    Nasteff New Member

    May 7, 2018
    Been at camp like 4 hours now and still not very cold :/
  7. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    The wind can sometimes blow the flame out but the at the pilot was still lighted it should have re-started the refer. I takes time for the refer to cool back down. If you have the ability to charge the battery as you drive AND the refer has a 12v heater you could try that on the next trip. There is also the chance of aproblem with the refer unit too. Good Luck and Happy Camping
  8. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Most folks start to cool there fridge a day or two before they hit the road because these 3 way fridges take a day to get cold.
  9. Grousetales

    Grousetales New Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    Some people worry about running the propane while driving for safety reasons (such as having an open flame when fueling the TV). I usually run my fridge on high propane -and- battery when towing. I've had the pilot light blow out due to freeway speed winds, so the 12 volt is there as a backup.

    The 3-way fridge needs heat in the convection chimney in order to operate, and when towing at freeway speeds, I think that heat may dissipate.

    My 7-way wiring connector gets accessory power from a 2nd battery I installed in my truck. Subsequently, the PUP is being charged whenever the engine is running. When the engine is off, the PUP is basically running off two batteries. I have a battery isolator in the TV so I never have to worry about running down the main engine battery.

    It's also important to start cooling that fridge a day or two before you leave on your trip.
  10. equest

    equest Member

    Dec 22, 2016
    Tampa FL

    I didn't know it was possible to run the 3 way fridge on multiple power sources (propane and 12 v at the same time).

    Is yours a Dometic?
  11. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    I had a Dometic 3 way. It had a selector switch that only allowed one heat source to be used at a time.
    Orchid likes this.
  12. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Our 3 way fridge only allowed one power source at a time, too. I took it out and don't use propane now.

    But, no reason anyone who uses a propane fridge shouldn't use it during travel. All big rigs have their fridge running while traveling and no reason a pup couldn't. The only time I am aware of that propane on is a no-go is going through tunnels, and there would be signs. Some people say it should be turned off at gas stations, but I have never seen anyone pull over and turn everything off before gassing up, then pull over again to relight everything.

    In our specific case, we have a freezer the size of a dorm fridge. Most food is frozen solid and freezer on for a couple days prior to leaving. We load the frozen food into the freezer and it's good to go for at least a day before being plugged in again, as long as it's not opened. For fresh food, we transport in a cooler and plug in our dorm fridge upon arrival. Being electric, it cools down very quickly and we transfer the food. We still keep some drinks in the cooler with the ice.
  13. chambo

    chambo Active Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Southern California
    Not that it matters, but the flame in your fridge is not a pilot light... it is the element. The small 3 way refrigerators don't have a larger flame that gets lit from the small "pilot". If your fridge has a DSI element, there is a chance that the flame was continuously blowing out while traveling but re-lit as soon as you stopped. If it does not have a DSI element and was still lit when you stopped then your fridge should have been cool still. Sounds like it needs to be run on high. There isn't much difference in flame size between low and high and safety concerns/risk would be the same in either scenario.
    As a back up method, you might consider adding a few ice packs to the fridge while traveling. That should keep the fridge cool if the flame blows out.
    I'm in the camp of traveling with the fridge running on propane. It's allowed. I do turn it off at gas stations and would do so if going through a tunnel or on a ferry boat.
    kitphantom likes this.
  14. Grousetales

    Grousetales New Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    Yes, mine is a Dometic. There are 3 separate switches, one for each source. You could turn them all on at the same time, but the manual says you should only use one source at a time. Each power source is a different type of heating element. They product heat which creates the convection. Normally you would only use one source at a time so you don't create too much heat. When traveling, I find that wind cools it down enough that using both 12 volt and propane isn't a problem. Your mileage may differ.

Share This Page