Camping Fridge

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 20:41
ThreadID: 66990 Views:6341 Replies:12 FollowUps:12
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I am looking to purchase a new fridge and would like to hear some advice. We camp 5 or 6 times a year for 3 or 4 days at a time. We always stay in the same place ie. we dont travel around. We have decided on a 50 litre fridge but cannot decide between a gas 3 way fridge or a 12v system. Gas seems convienient as the fridge will always be in our kitchen! I think Dometic do a 50 litre 3 way or the other choice is an engel / waeco / arb. Then I would also have to purchase a deep cycle battery and charger.

Any ideas / experiences would be appreciated.
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Reply By: robertbruce - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 20:57

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 20:57
if you go 12 volt be prepeared to spend thousands more keeping power and other requirememnts to it ... if you go gas you'll only need a $40 gas bottle to power it ...

the Dometic CHEST fridge/Freezer performs excellant... i think it is the RC1180 but I know it is blue and has the two zones in it....

But for 3-4 days youll save a lot of money with a good esky and ice....

"pose factor" for a fridge is "zilch", it is kept inside and unless your going to run guided tours on you kip nowone will ever know you saved thousands
AnswerID: 354993

Reply By: Best Off Road - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 20:59

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 20:59
Go gas but get a good one, not a $300 cheapie.

Chescold 1180 is a fridge/freezer (2 separate compartments, or all fridge), rated for hot conditions. About $1300.

A 50L 12 volt fridge will cost you about the same, BUT then dual battery system at least $800, Solar (which only works when the sun is out) $1000, or a gennie ($1000 for a decent one) and some fellow campers will object to you running it.

I've got an 80L fridge, dual battery, solar and gennie. All up about 4 grand to keep stuff cold. That is absurd and I should have known better.

Cheers,

Jim.

AnswerID: 354994

Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:46

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:46
heya Jim, i think the companies have been overdoing the advertising more than us making the wrong decisions ... consider one well known brand stacking fridges floor to ceiling like everyone on the block could afford the requirememnts
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Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:54

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:54
the Chescold 1180 is the best chest fridge/freezer... there is still two models in the marketplace, distinctive by the badge placement
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FollowupID: 623112

Reply By: Member - Cram (Newcastle NSW) - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:03

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:03
Oh, you have just opened a can of worms....lol

I have had a 60litre Waeco and now have a 60 litre Engel both are 12volt/240volt

It really depends what you want and where you will be going.

If you go for 12 volt you need to make sure you are able to power them, solar, batteries, generators however you choose to do it.

If you don't want he extra expense go for the 3 way.
AnswerID: 354996

Reply By: oldpop - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:21

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:21
Hello Stuart
Just returned from a trip to Speedweek at lake gairdner took
20 year old chescold and cdf35 waeco used waeco for freezer
chescold for fridge on gas that works the best 240v second 12v ok for travel have modified 12v side fitted small computer in unit and now keeps frost on the element when travelling waeco lasted about 36 hrs on n70ex battery chescold used about 1KG gas in a week

regards
Oldpop
AnswerID: 355001

Follow Up By: oldpop - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:23

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:23
Sorry
Should read computer fan
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Reply By: Member - Netnut (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:55

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 21:55
Hello Stuart,
In my opinion, you need to consider the time of year you will do most of your camping. I have a 3-way fridge which does not perform near as well as my compressor fridge in hot weather. In the milder weather it's great !

Do some research on the limitations of the two types of fridge before you make a purchase. Maybe borrow/hire a fridge for your first trip !

If you splash out on a compressor fridge, rechargeable battery pack and charging options, consider picking up a good secondhand 3-way fridge for use when you camp in the one place for an extended period and during mild weather.

Try doing a thread seach of the Forum Archive. I'm sure you will find lots of helpful posts. Have you read the article on this web site: Articles/Accessories/Portable Fridges?

Cheers,
Netnut



AnswerID: 355018

Follow Up By: ozwasp - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:28

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:28
While I agree that compressor fridges are better in hot conditions, my Chescold F400 will freeze just as quickly as my Engel in 35 degree weather(tested it). It's really only when it gets above 40 or so, a compressor fridge would be better.
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Reply By: Totaltip - Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 23:46

Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 23:46
We have travelled extensivley using 12V fridges - all good. So far always move on after one night, maybe two at the most, except when in caravan parks when we can plug it in.

We have also travelled in groups with people who have gas Chescold type fridges. They manage fine, run it at night to keep stuff cold &/or frozen, and take out tomorrows food and put it in an esky to thaw. They only have gas issues to solve.

We have power issues and while it works fine for the type of travelling we have done, the 12V way is expensive to set up. Dual battery setup with solenoid, battery, tray, fitting, wiring up car with plugs, fuses etc, $500-$700+. 12V fridge $1000 - $1500. If you want to stay more than 2 days you need to recharge the batteries. Options - run the car engine (a real pain if done regularly), buy a generator - $500 - $2000 plus cans of fuel, funnel, smell etc to carry around, or solar panels, more $$$$s but good.

Makes a gas Chescold unit look pretty good to me for the use you have for it

Cheers
David
AnswerID: 355052

Reply By: davidcraker - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:05

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:05
Just purchased a 3 way fridge 35 litre from ALDI for $299 and it works great...
12 months warranty replacement and comes with all leads and connections... If you have a general need for just the essentials, chase up one of these units and save the dough for something else
AnswerID: 355053

Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:39

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 00:39
... hi david, if it is easy to get does that fridge have a gas-consumption figure in it specs? and could you please mention it... aldi couldnt open the carton for me to look
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Follow Up By: ozwasp - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:33
Seriously, get a 2nd hand Chescold if you don't want to spend much. Apart from the Chescold RC1180 and F400, all other 3 way fridges are disappointing. The old Chescold F40 (fridge/freezer) can be bought cheaper too.
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Follow Up By: davidcraker - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:04

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:04
Robertbruce

The spec plate on the rear of the ALDI 3 way fridge states that it consumes 9.9 Grams Per Hour of LPG when running full go.

That should be around a 9 Kg bottle of LPG in around 30 days.

David Craker
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Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 18:16

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 18:16
David, many thanks for that, the dometic/chescold/electrolux units use about 15g/h... which is well worth it in 32+ heat....

Ozwasp, jus a minor correction and no offence or adverse meant... the Finch F400 isnt classed as a freezer although it will in the right ambient
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 08:13

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 08:13
For your type of camping Stuart , it doesn't need to cost anything to set up for 12v and the 12v compressor fridges really are the best type for that senario.

I and many, just run off single main car battery and run engine as required 20-30 min morning and night on those days when we don't drive the car. Costs maybe $20-$30 in extra fuel a year - and also keeps the car ready to run.

The Waeco fridge I have has a high speed cooling mode which one uses during this time.

Helps if you can keep fridge in car all the time , also to use a smaller fridge like 35 lt or so and supplement any extra cooling needs by using a rated esky for drinks.

If you feel you need extra running capacity you can usually fit a better main car battery as lower cost option.

















Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 355070

Follow Up By: davidcraker - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:08

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 11:08
I agree about the drinks for kids etc in an esky instead of the fridge.

Damn if they do not keep lifting the lid up and down all day for a bloody top up of a drink they probably leave and forget and damn well spill anyway.

It keeps the essentials like meat and vegies icy cold and the kids can suck it up for their cold drinks.

Kids get the esky and the meat and vegies get the fridge for sure...
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Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 18:25

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 18:25
be aware that in qld national parks one is not allowed to idle thier car to charge batteries...

a dual battery system also wont keep food at the proper frozen tempreture of below -8 degress for longer than the first day... this is not so much of problem for short stays but becomes critical 4-5 days in
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 20:34

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 20:34
Hi Robert
Sounds like another reason for having a quiet petrol car
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: robertbruce - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:51

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:51
yes, this is sooo true... mind you, i wouldnt get away with idleing... as a single hetro male, single traveller, people have all sorts of fears when they see my 35yr old cab-over aproaching... and i always get really harshly picked on by the rangers, greys, thier dogs, the bikies, the truckies, the poofs, neibourhood watchs, whole councils and whole surburbs... especially when i inadvertently camp near thier drug plantations...like the ones somewhere in yandina.qld and gawler.sa... im no rebel and thier aint no secrets in them places...

and lets not forget about the ants. Apparently, an idling diesel motor attracts bull ants
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:38

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 10:38
You have described the classic need for a quality 3 way fridge - should be a total winner, sitting level, in the shade - a 4kg gas bottle would run it really well for well over the 3 - 4 days that you need.
AnswerID: 355102

Reply By: bks - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 15:39

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 15:39
I have a waeco 80 ltr frige freezer which is great but it really uses the power. I agree with hind site I would have got a 3 way as when you are camped in the one spot for a few days the batteries will just not cover it and the only other option is solar which is bulky and very expensive (useless if its not sunny). Pleased to hear the ALDI's 3 way is OK as the local store still has some in stock.
AnswerID: 355149

Reply By: LeanneW - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 16:17

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 16:17
The current issue of Campertrailer Australia has an article on portable fridges.
We have a 60L Waeco, and can't fault it, apart from having to have the appropriate battery system to run it, as said above.
AnswerID: 355151

Reply By: chisel - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 16:31

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 16:31
It's worth remembering that while dual-battery systems are expensive, they also help with other power requirements around the camp such as lighting, and give some extra backup if jump-starting is ever required.

With the 3-way fridge I believe you'll almost certainly need to upgrade your wiring in the vehicle to run the fridge while travelling to/from your destination. With a compressor fridge you can possibly get away without doing this (depending on your existing wiring and what you're doing for a dual-battery).

AnswerID: 355153

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