Looking for a long roadtrip cooler/fridge solution

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by Kettlebelle, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Hey all! We started camping in a SylvanSport Go this year and love it, but I miss having a three-way fridge like our previous PUPs did. We dry camp exclusively; no electric sites ever. We used our PUP fridge with on propane while camping, 12V in transit, and electric to pre-chill the fridge while at home.

    We just returned from a three-week trip with our old, cheap coolers and it became clear that they need to be replaced. It was not even hot out - only in the 60s during the day in Acadia - but we still had to replenish ice frequently and I was constantly worried about food going bad.

    My wish would be a portable fridge that we could put in our car on 12V, and use a propane canister and battery (for the fan) when outside the car... but from what I can tell, nothing like this exists. Does it??

    So, I'm thinking we should just get two new coolers, I'm thinking maybe Coleman Xtremes because the breakeven analysis on Yeti/RTIC/Grizzly is not favorable, in my opinion. One cooler will be opened only rarely, maybe once per day, for longer-term storage, and one would be for short-term food and drink storage and would be opened multiple times per day.

    We are planning another three-week dry camping trip for next summer, so the typical tips to "bring frozen meals" and "refreeze jugs of water" aren't possible.

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. SteveP

    SteveP Active Member

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    May 21, 2015
    It depends on how much you're willing to spend. There was a recent thread on the same subject that came up with a couple of portable three way fridges, IIRC in the $600 dollar range. I'm currently migrating to combining a 12 volt compressor fridge with my best current cooler for longer trips, but it's possible that the wiring in your Oddity won't be able to handle that load.
     
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  3. Sneezer

    Sneezer Active Member

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    ARB, norcold, dometic, engel, waeco and others all make 12v compressor fridges. With a strong solar setup they should run for quite some time. They have been on my wish list for years but the price is beyond my budget. Hoping to find a good deal on a used one sometime.
     
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  4. Adirondack PUP

    Adirondack PUP Member

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    Longer term cold storage options for dry camping would point to dry ice and a well built cooler. Not all coolers are rated for dry ice. I know high end coolers like Yeti, RTIC, Pelican, etc. can hurt the wallet initially but to really figure the breakeven analysis you'd have to figure in replacement costs of lesser quality built coolers over the years to come, the value of not worrying about your food while on vacation (from spoiling or animals) and the hassle and cost of buying campground ice.

    Just my thoughts.
     
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  5. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Yikes, those kind of prices make me want to deal with the anxiety and annoyance of replenishing ice. :)
     
  6. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Thank you, I had not even considered dry ice. I will look into where to get that. That would definitely make the higher end coolers more attractive to me...
     
  7. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    I don't do solar at all yet... thank you though!
     
  8. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I'm on a tight budget and couldn't afford those higher end coolers. I bought a Coleman 5 day cooler and used reflectix wrap and put reflectix directly over the food to keep the air away from the food. I can get quite a few days without needing to replenish ice now. I haven't tried dry ice but I can now get a good four/five nights depending on how hot it is and how often I break into the cooler. Then again the cooler is kept in my hot car and not outside where it's cooler.
     
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  9. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Great idea! I was considering a Popup Gizmos cooler cover, too...
     
  10. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    I do have one myself. Can't really say if it works better or the same as reflectix as the biggest difference for me was the reflectix directly over the food to keep the air from melting the ice faster. I do start out with ice blocks, but obviously if I need to replenish I am stuck getting what is available.
     
  11. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
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  12. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We've had everything from Coleman classic (metal) coolers, some of the supposedly 5-day plastic-shelled Coleman ones, and finally higher efficiency Canyon and Pelican ones. Some of them were smaller ones used mostly around town in hot seasons.
    We increased ice life a lot by using Reflectix as a cover, and also a closed cell sleeping pad cut in thirds, taped together, and set on top of the cooler, under the Reflectix. In places we camp, the metal top of those Coleman coolers can get too hot to touch, even under the cargo area cover in the vehicle.
    At one point, my goal was to get one of the efficient 12v coolers (I saw bearman512's at a Rally). However, we moved to a TT before we found a good deal on the 12v cooler.
    Even with the Canyon, we made a cap of Reflectix (that's all that would fit int he space we had in the previous TV) with the foam underneath, Although it was a much better cooler than we'd had previously, we figured there was no sense in stressing the ice any more than necessary. Since we moved to the TT, which has a very good refrigerator and freezer, we depend less on the cooler for food, so we bought a Pelican one. It has similar outside dimensions to the Canyon Cooler, but less capacity, and holds the ice even longer. We mostly use it for iced tea and Gatorade, lunch for days when we're out exploring, or groceries when we restock while camped away from town.
    We camp where block ice and dry ice aren't as easily obtainable, though there are a few places I bet they can be found during hunting season. So our goal was making cubed ice last as long as possible.
     
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  13. bearman512

    bearman512 Active Member

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    Albuquerque NM
    I guess I will jump in.
    A 45qt 12v compressor fridge/freezer $459 from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012EGZ9S/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I1PMV57YG8405I&colid=3UD93IK36CK9E
    Capacity is a true 45qts any 60qt cooler with enough ice for 3 days holds less than 45qts of anything.
    A 45qt Yeti will be over 300 bucks and less than 30qts usable.
    You can use a combination of block ice and dry ice to get maybe a week before you replenish.
    As Kitphantom mentioned "block ice and dry ice aren't as easily obtainable" in the southwest IE NM,AZ,UT/and even CO.
    To get through a week with Coleman Extremes you will most likely need a 60qt with just extra block and dry ice.
    I have used high end ARB, Engle and low end Wynter, Dometic 12v compressor fridge/freezers for years and all you need is a good battery "group 27 or 2 6v G2's". You would need to recharge them about every 2-3 days or just buy a 120w portable panel from Solar Blvd for $180. A group 27 and the solar panel will keep you charged indefinitely unless you have 2 days of darkness then you just turn the TV around and connect some jumper cables and let your TV idle for an hour.
     
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  14. OkieCamper

    OkieCamper Member

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    Love our Dometic 50qt 12v portable fridge/freezer. Just returned from a 10 week trip to Alaska. Never having to worry about buying ice was great! Fridge was plugged into 12v outlet installed in bed of truck (have a truck cap). Since we drove almost everyday no problem with keeping truck battery charged. Have portable solar panel but never had to use it. When set just right stuff on bottom stays frozen and stuff closer to top refridgerated. Use a wireless thermometer to keep track of temps. My12vstore.com usually has pretty good price. Not cheap but hoping to get quite a few years use out of it. Sitting plugged in in mud room now with frozen fish still in it.
     
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  15. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Andrea, I always appreciate your posts, especially when you reply to mine. We seem to be on the same wavelength. Thanks for your comments on those coolers!
     
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  16. mpking

    mpking Active Member

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    Raynham, MA
    You linked to Edgestar, is that one your rocking now? I'm trying to decide my longterm plan on my 3way fridge, and I'm considering just junking and going this method. IE, instead of spending $700 on a new fridge that has issues holding 40F, spending $400 on a compressor cooler, and $200+(ish) on a solar solution.

    I guess my question is, you've seemed to have used all the electric cooler brands. I can guess that they wear out. Which seems to have held up the best for you?
     
  17. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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  18. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Member

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    Aug 1, 2014
    I put a sheet of reflectix on the bottom of the cooler, one over the food, and wrap the whole thing in a reflectix "cozy". 6 days in 80's-50's, stuffed in a metal bear box and there was still ice on the 7th day.
    I've done the dry ice thing- it will freeze your food solid. It froze a bottle of white wine in there too.
    If you'r going the dry ice route, you should have a huge cooler just for ice. Reflectix on the bottom, then dry ice, then regular ice on top, another sheet of reflectix, and open it only to transfer ice from your ice cooler to your food cooler. This method works well for long term ice storage, but you have to have the space for an additional cooler.
     
  19. bearman512

    bearman512 Active Member

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    Albuquerque NM
    Great question. I currently have a Norcold 60qt that has been in operation for over 6 years. You can expect these fridge/freezers to last at least 10 years or more. Yes I do have the Edgstar but bought it almost 5 years ago and it keeps on going as it is in my Jeep that gets tossed around a bunch. The Edgestar has a separate cord for 110 my Norcold requires a 12v adapter for home use. I have a few friends in the food truck business and they swear by the Edgstars. All you need is a couple 12 or 6 volt batteries and a 100w solar panel or a small 1000w genny to recharge every couple days. Running the solar is much easier and cheaper in the long run plus it is plug and play.
    Ebay has good pricing for a foldable solar panel $215. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Renogy-100W...218357&hash=item3f7ec8efbd:g:-RMAAOSwB09YRwPB
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017 at 2:48 PM
  20. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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