Refigerator/freezer question(s) poll (sort of)

Wilbah

Adventurer
So I am still a cooler guy. But the appeal of a fridge is understood. I am trying to figure out the best size (easy right? Ha!) for me.

I know I struggle with the comparisons of X liters in a fridge/freezer to Y litres in a cooler with ice. I think it might help many of us in this position if folks could post the following:

1. what size fridge you have?
2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)?
3. how many people are you typically using it for? (Obviously a family of 4 is different than someone who travels alone or just as a couple)
4. how many days food you typically use it for? (Maybe you use more canned or dehydrated food versus someone who uses it for more fresh food).
5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version?
6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff (I'm not sure I want to buy a huge fridge so I can include beer or drinks- I'm thinking I can use a cooler and if I run out of ice I can add a few drinks at a time to the fridge, but I dont know if that makes sense?)

I realize there is no one size fits all and the person who has a family of four but does a lot with freeze dried may get by with the same size as the couple who does most fresh, but if we could see what folks use and how it meets their needs or doesnt that would be great. Thanks in advance!
 

TantoTrailers

Active member
I am in your similar situation, I have 2 20qt Orca coolers which I use for food and drinks separately. I want to replace my food cooler with a fridge but I am trying to determine if my battery system and supplementary solar will allow me to run the fridge and everything else without damaging my battery on extended trips off the grid. I think your idea of keeping a cooler for drinks and using the fridge for food is reasonable as that is exactly what I intend on doing.

My choices are 20L-30L. 20L would easily match what I have now space wise + give me all the room that my ice currently takes up so I dont really see a reason to go to 30L which might be tougher for me to fill up with my current solo needs and keep cool.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
I use an Indel B TB18 inside my SUV, mounted on a slide in the rear cargo area.

1. what size fridge you have?
18L (19 quart)

2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)?
Fridge only so far, I have not yet required a freezer but the unit can be a freezer, but one or the other, not both.

3. how many people are you typically using it for?
1, just me. Sometimes I do bring stuff to share and will have more than normal.

4. how many days food you typically use it for? (Maybe you use more canned or dehydrated food versus someone who uses it for more fresh food).
3-5. I typically attempt to minimize taking a lot of meats or other perishables, and also like to grab items at stops along the way so I rarely pack all the food I'll need when I leave. However it is not unusual for me to carry a few steaks and a package of hamburgers/ brats. Most handy is the convenience of using small bottles of condiments like ketchup/mustard and pickles that otherwise would need to be found in sealed packets. I also like a quart of milk for a quick bowl of cereal in the morning, I'm not big on fixing a hot breakfast.

5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version?
Perfectly happy, it holds as much or more than a cooler that took up more room and is no hassle to open and close or add items to. However a larger fridge would not fit my setup.

6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff
No, space is precious. I put several drinks inside and add warm ones to chill as I drink the cold ones. This does impact battery usage though.
 

Wilbah

Adventurer
Thanks all that responded. This is just the kind of "real world" info I was looking for. Hopefully more will chime in. I'm sure this will be helpful info to anyone trying to discern what size they need for their trips. Thanks!!
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
I have an ARB 47 and and Dometic CFX 28. max 4 people. Some are kids. 3-5 day trips. Cooking habits same as at home with about 50% dry goods and remainder fresh or fridge goods. I weight more toward dry goods for longer trips and cool less drinks. The ARB is hands down better. Better size, better access, better design. Not a whole lot bigger physically but much more useable. I haven’t measured, but it feels like less power used too.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
1. what size fridge you have? I have had a 80 QT. and now a 43 QT. I had the 80 as I used it for my guide business. It was great for the large group. When I retired I went to the 43 QT. to save space. Both were Edgestar and I never had a problem with either.

2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)? I generally use it as a freezer. I also use a ice chest as a fridge. I rotate in some blue ice and yse the frozen goods as a additional cooler.

3. how many people are you typically using it for? (Obviously a family of 4 is different than someone who travels alone or just as a couple) For the guide business it was to allow the clients to have access to the freeze for some of their goods. The 43 QT. is generally 1 or 2 people with space for others if they need it.

4. how many days food you typically use it for? (Maybe you use more canned or dehydrated food versus someone who uses it for more fresh food). On occasion I will carry 2 weeks of frozen food. Most of the time I have a weeks worth of frozen.

5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version? I was happy with the 80 QT. when working. The 43 works for me now as I have room for others to use it if needed . It has worked out great!

6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff (I'm not sure I want to buy a huge fridge so I can include beer or drinks- I'm thinking I can use a cooler and if I run out of ice I can add a few drinks at a time to the fridge, but I don't know if that makes sense?) That is what I do and I do a lot of overlanding. Getting most supplies every 5 to 8 days.

You did not ask this but know you will need a way to maintain your battery to run the fridge/freezer. Dual battery, solar panel, or driving every day. This adds additional weight and can take up extra needed space as well. You will have additional cost to the decission of a power fridge / freezer. The ice chest requires room for ice reducing the volume of storage and a location to replace the ice. If not using frozen jugs of water or blue ice you can get water damage to some items. The ice chest and proper respect (keeping the lid shut, pre-cooling items going in and out of the sun) may work best for you. The deciding factor is the availability to get replacement ice.

My thoughts about freeze dried food. Depending on where you are going. It is good if you have a water purifier the freeze dried is light and you do not need to carry water to add to it.If your in the desert you may need to bring your water. If not you are not saving any weight over canned food. You would save on needing a larger size fridge or freezer.

I know this is not a up or down answer, but you have much to think about what will fir your needs the best.


Da Frenchman
 

67cj5

Observer
So I am still a cooler guy. But the appeal of a fridge is understood. I am trying to figure out the best size (easy right? Ha!) for me.

I know I struggle with the comparisons of X liters in a fridge/freezer to Y litres in a cooler with ice. I think it might help many of us in this position if folks could post the following:

1. what size fridge you have?
2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)?
3. how many people are you typically using it for? (Obviously a family of 4 is different than someone who travels alone or just as a couple)
4. how many days food you typically use it for? (Maybe you use more canned or dehydrated food versus someone who uses it for more fresh food).
5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version?
6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff (I'm not sure I want to buy a huge fridge so I can include beer or drinks- I'm thinking I can use a cooler and if I run out of ice I can add a few drinks at a time to the fridge, but I dont know if that makes sense?)

I realize there is no one size fits all and the person who has a family of four but does a lot with freeze dried may get by with the same size as the couple who does most fresh, but if we could see what folks use and how it meets their needs or doesnt that would be great. Thanks in advance!
1) Well I have 3, I first bought the ARB 47L / 50Qt model and I can pack enough frozen dinners in there for 43 Days, then I had the Brain wave that if I bought another I could use on as a freezer and the other As a Fridge So Instead of buying another 47L I because of how well the ARB 47L performs with it's Crazy Low battery usage I bought the ARB 78L / 82Qt Model and it is Awesome,

2) I use them as either But If I am only using one of them then I use it as both even though they are a Single Zone fridge, I set the Temp to -10 / -12*c and The food in the main compartment stays frozen and the Food / Drinks in the Dairy Area stays just around 0*c to 1 or 2*c above freezing SO You Can Do Both Jobs with one Fridge/Freezer.

3) I Got these for my Use Only for Off Road use and off grid when needed, SO I have a 47L and the 78L and I just bought another small one, But More about that later.

4) As I said above my 47L can hold enough for up to 43+ Days and the 78L is good for about 75 to 80 days on my Own but if I loaded them with prepared meals I could Haul enough for 2 or 3 months.

5) I Think I have the best of both worlds with the sizes I bought, So much so I unplugged the House fridge and just use the 47L because the Small house Fridge Freezer uses about 3 and a half times the power on AC compared to what the ARB 47L uses.

6) I Never use a Cooler unless I am taking a Tiny one as a Lunchbox at then I use a 6Qt Stanley Cooler that comes with a 1L Flask.

The other fridge I bought is another Brand and that was only to see if all the Hype was true, Alas It was a Crock, even though it is only a 35L it eats Much more Power than the Big ARB 78L / 82Qt Fridge does, The 35L is a fairly new brand but due to their power consumption They have to be the worst fridge on the market, I also bought their 95L Top of the Line Model and sent it back, Because it could Chew up more power than my House fridge Freezer per day by a huge margin,,

If you are going to buy a Fridge Then stick to ARB, Engel or Waeco, Because I am in the middle of doing another 10 way Fridge Power test and these three brands stand out from the crowd, But ARB would always be my first Choice because of their Quality and Backup and their performance and Low power Draw, I always wanted an Engel but I ended up with the ARB 47L at first and I am glad I did because it's modern design and It just ticks all the boxes, But that 35L I will keep as a Loaner or sell it,

Hope that helps.
 
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TantoTrailers

Active member
I wish ARB made more size options, none of theirs will fit my rig setup. I need to check out Engel or Waeco but I need a fridge the size of a 20Qt Orca cooler! Cool info here guys, good thread OP!
 

john61ct

Adventurer
You can get a kit to add to any box, not hard to foam up one custom to your rig.


Not cheaper, but if you get one with a standard Danfoss compressor

BD35F-HD is a good one

You can learn how to optimize / maintain / fix it yourself and make it last 20-30 years.

If you want installation handholding and ongoing support, highly recommend either of these two


SeaFrost https://www.seafrost.com, Cleave Horton.

Rich Boren, Cruise RO with Charlie Hammel 2448 Carroll Lane, Escondido, CA 92027
Rich@cruiserowater.com, cell 619-609-3432
genuinely stellar tech support
Skype Username: CruiseROWater
 

Scoutn79

Adventurer
1. what size fridge you have? Engel MT45 14 yrs so far
2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)? Fridge
3. how many people are you typically using it for? (Obviously a family of 4 is different than someone who travels alone or just as a couple) 1
4. how many days food you typically use it for? (Maybe you use more canned or dehydrated food versus someone who uses it for more fresh food).
10, I am not a big dehydrated/canned food eater but I do have meat every night and salad as well as fruits and condiments, milk, lunch meat, cheeses etc. but usually have a couple days left over when I get home.
5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version?
Suits me fine
6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff (I'm not sure I want to buy a huge fridge so I can include beer or drinks- I'm thinking I can use a cooler and if I run out of ice I can add a few drinks at a time to the fridge, but I dont know if that makes sense?)
Engel only

I do bring drinks but only put a few in the fridge, whatever I have room for and as I drink them I add more, if it's hot out I will keep a qt of water in there and swap it out for the other qt bottle when I refill it so I always have some cold water available.

Darrell
 

Westy

Adventurer
1. what size fridge you have? Engel MT45; 8 + years
2. Do you use it as a fridge or freezer or both (a combo model)? Fridge
3. how many people are you typically using it for? 2
4. how many days food you typically use it for? depends on trip length, have done up to 2 weeks with it no problem. Fits more than enough food for 2 people for a week or more. Plan accordingly, use sufficient dry goods combined with fresh food and you'll be surprised how much room and food it can store.
5. Are you happy with the size you got or do you now wish you got that larger or smaller version? Yes. Definitely would not go larger.
6. Do you still bring a cooler for other stuff (I'm not sure I want to buy a huge fridge so I can include beer or drinks- I'm thinking I can use a cooler and if I run out of ice I can add a few drinks at a time to the fridge, but I dont know if that makes sense?) Engel only. Add in beers/cold drinks as necessary each day. Use space wisely, some vegetables, fruits etc dont NEED to be in a fridge depending on climate at place of travel too.
 

pluton

Adventurer
Engel MT 45. In '97 Toyota 4Runner, strapped down in the back, access through the open tail hatch. Works for 7-8 days for 1, 4-5 days for 2. Could be made to work for longer trips by only using it for genuinely perishable food like meat and certain vegetables. The MT-45 (which I think has a 40L capacity) is bigger than needed for one person on a 3 day trip, I'm glad I didn't buy a smaller one,and wouldn't want a larger unit.
 
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