There’s no doubt a portable fridge freezer is a necessity when going on a trip. With plenty to consider when purchasing a fridge for your 4WD, we break down the key things to keep in mind before you make this vital investment
Home vs Holiday
There’s no doubt a portable ARB fridge freezer is a necessity when going on a trip.
With plenty to consider when purchasing a fridge for your 4WD, we break down the key things to keep in mind before you make this vital investment.
The size of your fridge is really dependent on how you plan to use it. If you’re heading off on an overnight getaway with your partner or mate, a smaller fridge will do you just fine.
Portable fridges generally come in capacities ranging from 35 litres to 96 litres with plenty to choose from in between. But remember, the bigger the internal capacity, the bigger its external dimensions and its weight.
And whilst you might be able to physically fit a huge fridge in the back of your 4WD, unless all you plan to take is food and beer, there’s not much room left for any of your other gear.
Choosing a fridge with an efficient compressor and good insulation is vital as you don’t always have an unlimited, reliable power supply when you go off road. While the efficiency of a fridge’s compressor is important in getting the cabinet down to temperature quickly, it’s the effectiveness of the insulation that will aid in cooling efficiency over the long term. Whilst driving, this is less of a concern as your vehicle’s charging system will keep your batteries topped up. However, once you stop and set up camp, you want a fridge that doesn’t drain your batteries.
Cooling capacity is also extremely important. The back of your vehicle can get mighty hot and in ambient temperatures above 50°C, you’ll need a fridge that can reliably keep its contents below 4°C (or even lower if you are using it as a freezer). Any higher than that and your food will begin to spoil. An efficient, variable speed compressor a fridge, look for a lighter compressor that results in less inertia, making it nice and quiet, something you don’t often think of until your fridge is humming and rattling away in the back of your vehicle and it’s already too late.
A good portable fridge should be made from a tough and durable material; you don’t want to worry about every little bump or knock whilst packing your wagon or using your 4WD tray. Avoid protruding latches or hinges that are likely to catch other items and make sure the power leads fit securely and snugly to the fridge and are not likely to pull free when the fridge is moved.
Recessed fridge controls are also important to ensure you don’t inadvertently bump them and accidentally change the temperature or turn the fridge off. A decent portable fridge is just that, portable, so make sure it has good, strong handles to allow you to transport it around. Handles often double up as tie-down points so make sure they’re tough enough to do the job.
Where you plan to mount your fridge also makes a big difference. If your fridge is to be permanently mounted on your 4WD bin, it will need to be tough enough to withstand the harshest conditions so look for a durable steel outer casing and UV-resistant elements. Weatherproof and protected electrical connections are also a must.
Making Life Easier
There are a number of considerations when choosing a portable fridge that will make things a little more convenient. A clever interior design will prove to be more versatile than just an empty space.
Features such as a separate area for fruit or dairy items, an easy to-remove basket in the main section and a repositionable divider to keep heavy items from squashing your food are all important to keep in mind.
Other handy features include a cabinet light, a removable lid for easy basket removal, a drain plug for cleaning and spills, and rubber feet for grip and stability.
Best of Both Worlds
Years ago, if you wanted both a fridge and freezer on your journey, you either had to choose between them or run two separate fridges. With the modern invention of efficient and compact dual-zone fridges, this problem has now been solved.
Perfect for longer distance trips, dual-zone fridges offer independently controlled cooling zones meaning you can have the best of both worlds in the one fridge.
Having complete control over each section also means that you can run a dual-zone fridge however you like: as a full fridge, full freezer or combination of both.
Holidays are for relaxing and the last thing you want to be doing is getting up every hour or so to check your fridge is still running okay and not flattening your battery. Purchasing a fridge that can be controlled and monitored via your smartphone is something worth serious consideration.
Look out for a fridge that offers monitoring and control of boost, unit and individual zone measurement, battery protection and quick-set modes. Some fridges even offer USB sockets that allow you to charge your mobile phone or other electronic devices, which can be a game changer when the kids have commandeered every other available charging port.
ARB’s Range of Fridge Freezers
Engineered in Australia to handle our extreme conditions, ARB fridge freezers offer uncompromising performance with a temperature range from -22°C to +10°C, giving you the convenience of refrigerated or frozen food and drinks, no matter where your journey takes you. With three ranges and a plethora of sizes available, ARB is your one-stop portable fridge shop.
Source: ARB Portable Fridge Freezers