Fridge Sizes

Hi all,

This will be just one of many newbie questions I ask! I've always gone camping with a couple of eskies and made a run into town to grab more ice when the beers go warm. Now I have got my new wheels and obviously plan to get further from civilisation I was wondering what the best size fridge to get would be for 2 people? Is the 60 litre over kill for just me and the Mrs? I suppose the bigger the better for a trip like the canning stock route. Advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Craig
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:09

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:09
Hi Craig

The first thing that you will say is when you get the fridge, is how did we manage for so long without one, we get very spoilt these days with all our mod cons out in the bush.

How much space you have available will determine what size fridge you will require. You learn to use what ever you have and will learn what to pack where and how to use your fridge to its full potential.

As I have only ever had medium size four wheel drives - Pajero's and now a Prado, we have a 40 litre Engel and it has served us well on our desert trip. The longest that we have had to pack for is 3 weeks and we had all that we required and at no stage have we wanted for a larger fridge.

Like I said it all comes down to what you take away.


Cheers



Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:12

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:12
Hi Cruiser74,
We debated for a while over a 60 ltr or 80 ltr fridge, it was more or less whether we were wasting the extra couple of hundred bucks. We settled for the 80 ltr and it has been full a few times for trips like the Simpson and Anne Bedeale highway. After a little while you will forget about the extra cash outlayed and you will be glad you bought the bigger one.

Cheers
Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:26

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:26
Sorry didn't mention there is only two of us, have often travelled in convoy and the food has been in our fridge and the drinks in some one else's. I'm sure as Stephen said you can learn to manage.
Cheers
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:38

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:38
Like everything else Craig, it varies greatly with the individual and their perceived needs.

Some people could not manage with less than an 80 litre fridge or even two 60 litre, one run as a freezer. Space to accommodate those can be an issue and with that load you need to consider battery capacity and charging provision, unless of course you camp only at powered sites.

Others, including ourselves, manage with a 45 litre although it does take careful food management and a bit larger would be nice, but for us the fridge needs to fit under the bed in the back of the Troopy so we are limited.

Not everything you carry has to go into the fridge. Take Mick Hutton and Connie Beadell for example, they go bush for six months of every year and have NO refrigeration. But they are made of sterner stuff than most of us, it's the Beadell heritage! lol (Hi Mick)

Vacuum packing can be useful too. Meat packed tis way will keep for weeks without freezing so long as it is kept below 4 degrees. And thoughtful packing into the fridge is achieved with experience. Beverages can be loaded each night just sufficient for the next day.

However, if I had my preferences, I would go with a 60 litre fridge.

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Allan

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:41

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:41
Correction, we manage with a 35 litre fridge.

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Allan

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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:51

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 18:51
Hi Craig

You may want to think about two fridges. We have a 40lt one that is used as just a fridge for all trips. For any trip longer than a week we add a 21 ltr fridge that is just used as a freezer. Naturally you have to be aware of loads on the batteries and a dual system is necessary for this setup. Currently we have a dual parallel set of batteries as standard for the 100 and may add a third battery as time goes bye.

Food (sic) for thought.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:20

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:20
We have the same as Phil. But thats only the last couple of years. Before that we lived with just the 40 2 adults 3 kids. We also have a 32. John being a truck driver the 40 didnt always fit in his truck. At least with the choice we can swap the needs for a particular trip. The 32 lives in the car. Still plenty of room beside it.
Sharon
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:28

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:28
There is an added bonus. With two fridges if one breaks you have an alternative option.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Old Girl - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 22:27

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 22:27
Our old 39 i think it was died going over the French line 13 years ago. Learnt that lesson. Ended up using it like an esky from Birdsville to home.
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 19:20

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 19:20
You haven't mentioned how you intend to power it?
>50L and amp-hour consumption increases dramatically.

Please don't think you will run a large fridge overnight (at least in summer) from your vehicle battery without it going flat. You can possibly/probably do that with a 40-50L unit.
Have you factored in the wiring for the fridge, - in most cases don't rely on the standard cigaratte lighter wiring, you will need to upgrade it for when the vehicle engine is turned off.
I would have thought 40-50L for 2 people would be adequate, even for 2-3 weeks, but gee if you have a good power supply, plenty of muscle a larger fridge would enable you to never run out of cold ones!
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Reply By: george50 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:32

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 20:32
Hi Craig,
The initial cost is not your biggest problem , unless you're willing to run a genset regularly. If you're going into hot climes it will use more than a reserve battery in 48 hrs. of camping. Also how much airflow you leave around it and how you pack and replenish it. The larger ones naturally will use a little more power but more importantly if you put in 6 or 8 hot beers every day you'd better run the car and don't even think about using it as a freezer. I use a 35lt waeco in place of a back seat , travel alone and still have to be frugal [up north anyway].
AnswerID: 480738

Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 22:16

Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 at 22:16
Hi all,

Firstly thanks to everyone taking the time to give me advice. It really is appreciated! I should have mentioned that I am in the process of getting a dual battery system installed with a redarc smart start battery charger. Auxilliary battery is a full deep cycle 100 amp/hr battery so I think I'm covered there on the juice front? If not please tell me now!!!

Based on this advice I think I'm leaning towards the 60litre. The extra room will keep the lady happy on the longer trips especially if she gets to keep her favourite vodka chilled! Some great tips in here so thankyou very much once again.

Craig
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 05:30

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 05:30
You are spot on with your second battery set up.

Go the 60L, the Waeco is a good size and shape or the Primus ones look ok and well priced. Do not under any circumstances go for the 80L Waeco however, it averages 3.5A.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 12:46

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 12:46
Craig
Weight
60Litres think 60kg when full!
Well maybe not quite 60kg, but it will be darn heavy, certainly 40+kg.
Just remember that before you buy one 60L Vs 2 x 30/35l or one 50L one.
No way my wife can lift our 50L fridge on her own when full.

No point in having a great power supply (as you have indicated) if the Volts can't reach the fridge when the engine is off.
You will need to upgrade the wiring to the rear of your vehicle, just factor that in and yo will be set.
Enjoy yourself when you get there.

Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:28

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:28
Good point Mark, didn't think of it like that. The dual battery system is due to be installed next week so I will make sure they set the wiring up to be compatible with a running fridge when the engine is off. I think 60KG in the back is reasonable considering there is only 2 of us and most of the gear will be on the roof but as you say no way it can be lifted full without a struggle so will probably need to incorporate a drop down fridge slide for easy access. Can't really see a need to lift it when full otherwise.

Thanks Mark!
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:32

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:32
Craig

I thought I would get away with not upgrading the wiring, despite what the Waeco manual for my 50L said, with a 60L it will be even more imperative.
Well it was a pretty unhappy couple of hot nights I had night in a remote location having to start the vehicle engine every few hours overnight to keep the meat cold that brought me to my senses.
I bought a Waeco product (called WAPS12 or something like that) which was several metres of the heavy duty wiring (6mm2 I think) and a handy power outlet which has a switch which allows you to choose power permanently ON or ON only with ACC. It has a standard Cigarette female plug as well as a Merrit/ Hella plug. You can put it where you want, as I found the location vehicle manufacturers stuck their outlets tended to be perfect for breaking the male plug as they stick out into the cargo bay.

There are other products similar, I think Bainbridge make a more up market version which is meant to enable you to monitor your 2nd battery status.

Just make sure you have help to lift & carry a 60L fridge when it is full. Its not the weight in the vehicle i was referring to, it is how well you can man handle it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 17:43

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 17:43
Cheers Mark,

OK that sounds like a good alternative and certainly will learn from your mistake! Thanks!

With regards to the full fridge, I can't really see a need to actually physically lift it when it's full. Isn't that the point of having it on a slide in the back or am I missing something?

Thanks again!
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Reply By: Wayne's 60 - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 02:09

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 02:09
Hi Craig,

Appologies for the delayed reply, we have been busy getting ready for our next trip ............. seventeen big sleeps .......... OH YEAH!

A number of words that I use on courses or when giving general advice ..............

"Budget"

&

"Frequency of Use"

If you have the coin to buy two 40 litre Engel fridges ............. Go For It!

If you will be using those fridges on weekend trips, every month ......... GFI x 2

If you have the battery power to run them .................... GFI x 3

If you have one hesitant answer ............. then don't. Simple.

A number of years ago we purchased, at a very good price, a 110 ltr Waeco for our long trips in big vehicle and trailer.

We also have a 15 litre Engel for short trips in our small vehicle, with it's trailer.

Some people have hired a fridge to see if it works for them, without forking out lots of money on an item that does not come close to performing the required task. Food for thought.

On long trips we carry two fridges, in case one passes on .... during the trip.

We also carry enough food for an extreme emergency if both turn their toes up, or there is a major mechanical failure.

Make your choice,
work within the boundaries of your equipment,
enjoy your time exploring Australia.

Regards,
Wayne & Sally.








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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:40

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:40
Hi Wayne,

Can imagine you must be excited about getting away! I have only just purchased my Cruiser and will be a while before I get to take it away for a decent run but planning a short 3 day trip to the South West of WA this weekend to give it a taste.

As you have suggested a second fridge seems to be a popular option for good reason. The only thing that concerns me is the real estate it takes up in the back on longer trips. I have a lot of photography equipment that needs to be secured in the back so it's imperative I have enough space back there. I don't want it bouncing around on the back seat for obvious reasons even though it will be secured in hard cases. Don't want to take any chances as it's worth more than the bloody car! Do you have one on top of the other? 2 drawers? Do you still have enough room in the back for other items?

Thanks!

Craig
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Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 04:02

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 04:02
Hi Craig,

Not being a member ..... I used to be a lurker/member/lurker ..... etc means I cannot post a photo of our set up, here.

Though being in contact with you through other means, it is possible ............ so stay tuned.

If the cost is a problem and along with your available space, hire two fridges for a weekend and see if that works for you.

On one course I ran, one of the students was driving a new Pajero, are you happy with your purchase, I asked??
The reply shook me a little, though now I understand.
The reply .... "Not yet, I've hired this vehicle to see if it is suited to my needs"

The simple hire cost was far out weighed by the cost of a wrong decission.

Cheers,
Wayne & Sally.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:43

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:43
Hi Wayne,

Totally agree. I hired a 70 series Cruiser last year for 3 weeks with V8 Turbo Diesel and travelled from Perth down to Margaret River and across to Eucla/Cape Arid NP staying off the bitumen as much as possible. Safe to say that I was VERY sad to have to give it back. I nearly bought one on impulse a month after I returned but it is so far out of my budget I realised I was being irresponsible and canned it. I eventually settled on the 100 series a year later after a lot of deliberation, driving friends cars, research etc etc and saved myself about 40k in the process!

The 70 series had an 80l Engel in it and was perfect for a 3 week trip but they will only be a yearly occurence for us. I think the 2 x 40l is starting to make more sense the more I think about it. If you don't mind sending a pic of your set up that would be great. cspittles74@gmail.com

Cheers!
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:38

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:38
I run 2 as well for longer weekend trips, one is generally just a drinks fridge and the other is a fridge/freezer. Running 2 does place a huge load on your second battery as said above so make sure you have some sort of way to monitor your battery.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:34

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 13:34
Hey Troll, thanks for that. How does the second fridge affect your real estate in the back? I have a lot of photography equipment that will need to be secured in the back section of the car so need to keep some space free for that. Basically, whatever can fit on the roof will be going on the roof. I like the idea of having a second fridge especially on long trips if one gives up the ghost. I really want to get this right the first time!! Thanks for your help.

Craig
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Follow Up By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 22:38

Monday, Mar 19, 2012 at 22:38
Craig,

If you have a cargo barrier then you can stack nice and high. Sometimes it's a bit like a game of Tetris in my setup.

When I looked at the second fridge it was like one of those moments where I said damm I should have done this a long time ago. Some people get by with 1 fridge but very much a personal thing. i like to have my beers very cold almost freezing and I don't want to be pulling one cold one out and sticking a hot one back in, this by itself will make the fridge run more especially if I do that every 30 min or so. I just stock the fridge full of drinks and before bed I will replenish what we have used.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:51

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 at 09:51
Amen to that with the coldies! Thanks again for your advice :)

Regards, Craig
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