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Get The Most From Your Camping Fridge-Freezer

August 13, 2020   |   By Liam Arthur Get The Most From Your Camping Fridge-Freezer - image frgeo on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

Most of us understand the benefits of having a portable camping fridge when you’re out exploring the country. But there are at lot of things worth considering before you trade in the trusty icebox for the convenience of a 12V fridge.

Apart from the initial purchase price of the camping fridge, what hidden costs are associated with setting your 4WD up to cater for a 12v fridge-freezer? How do you ensure your camping fridge lasts the distance, and how can you improve its overall efficiency? Here’s the essential information you need to choose the right fridge and ensure it lasts a lifetime.




Once the decision has been made to purchase a 12V fridge, the next step is to determine the best mounting location. The ideal position should have plenty of ventilation plus heaps of shade and protection from the elements and cargo. Make sure your new portable camping fridge-freezer is easily accessible for the whole family, as it’s no good if you’re the only one able to reach it. If you own a ute, you’ll need a way to keep the fridge safe and secure when your 4WD is left unattended at camp and especially if you’re spending the night in town.





Choosing the right camping fridge for the job will also need some prior thought and research. The 12v portable fridge’s current draw will basically dictate what your battery and charging requirements will be. Have a good think about the overall internal storage capacity. Will it be used as a full time fridge, freezer or both? Will it fit enough supplies to last the desired length of time before re-stocking is required?

Does it fit the intended mounting location? Most 12V camping fridge owners will agree, investing enough time to really think about your ideal fridge system actually saves you time and money in the long run. It’s definitely better to get it right the first time with no hidden surprises. Remember to check which way your camping fridge lid opens and how accessible it is when mounted in your 4WD, or whether your portable fridge’s lid can be reverse.






The preferred method to power up your 12v camping fridge is to install an auxiliary battery and battery isolator system. This allows you to use a deep cycle battery which is designed to handle being continuously discharged and recharged unlike your average cranking battery. Your average 100Ah deep cycle battery should be able to power your modern day fridges for around two days without recharging, but this depends on the size of your camping fridge, the temperature and how often you open and close the fridge. With an auxiliary battery, you’ll still be able to start your 4WD if the battery is run flat.


A dual battery isolator or a DC-DC charger with an inbuilt battery isolator will allow you to control how and when each battery receives charge from your vehicles alternator.  Manual isolator switches can be used but technically advanced electronic isolators are now the most common method. Their operation is completely automatic and with many different designs now available, some even allow you to use solar charging methods simultaneously.



Transit bags provide protection and insulation for your portable camping fridge, guarding against bumps and scratches and providing a protective layer of insulation to minimise the effects of the sun’s heat, keeping your fridge running as efficiently as possible. As far as camping fridge accessories go, a transit cover is easily the best investment you can make in ensuring the longevity of your fridge!

External temperature gauges allow you to keep an eye on the 12v portable fridge’s temperature without having to access the fridge. A temperature gauge can alert you to a problem or simply allow greater control over internal temperatures and the associated current draw. Many modern portable camping fridge temperature gauges are wireless to let you check your camping fridge’s temperature from the comfort of your camp chair!


Camping Fridge slides allow you to easily access your fridge when the mounting location is too difficult for most users to access. This is often the case with 4WD wagons with drawer systems, lifted vehicles, or utes. Many rear drawer systems already have a fridge slide built into them or you can add a separate one to your setup.


Portable solar panels for camping can help keep your battery topped up using nothing but sunlight. This means you won’t need to run the vehicle while at camp, and you can potentially run your camping fridge indefinitely, weather permitting.