Camping, overlanding and the outdoors are very fun, especially when you're out on the road for days, weeks or even months. As humans, we need to eat food, especially when we are out camping, but the problem is keeping it fresh for longer periods of time.
Whether it be just for keeping your drinks cold or saving your meat from rotting, a portable car refrigerator is essential for those who take their camping and overlanding seriously and want their food fresh.
You may be thinking why not a cooler, why waste my money on an overlanding fridge. A cooler is comparatively cheaper but it comes with a lot of headaches. The ice needs to be constantly changed, it doesn't last for long in the sun and in hot places, you can't put your protein in it for extended periods of time and then the smell gets all in your car, all the way up to the cabin.
Another reason is that when you go camping for a long period in a remote area, there is no nearby place where you can replenish your ice for the cooler.
Here is a list of portable electric car fridge freezers that we have compiled. These are in no particular order. We just decided to list a few of our favorite outdoor camping refrigerators and freezers.
National Luna Legacy Fridges and Freezers:
National Luna is a South African company that has been in business for the past 30 years. They specialize in the manufacturing of refrigerators, lighting and battery management products. They are one of the largest 12v manufacturers in South Africa.
Their products are mainly used for camping, caravanning, trucking, 4x4 and boating markets.
It has one of the the largest range of 12V fridge/freezers in the world and the first off-road manufacturer in the world to design a dual-compartment unit (fridge and freezer) that could run on a single compressor.
The Legacy Refrigerator and Freezer is one of the most widely used fridge and freezer used in the overlanding and camping niches.
Their products go through a tough quality control check, and the Legacy Refrigerators and Freezers are no exception.
It comes with a 3 year warranty.
Their range of fridges/freezers include single compartment and double compartment fridges and freezers that come in various sizes.
The single compartment fridge/freezer can be used as a fridge or a freezer, the double compartment can be used as a dedicated fridge, a dedicated freezer or as a fridge and freezer. The double compartment comes with better insulation.
One of the most versatile features that the Legacy Fridge and Freezer has, is the ability to be configured and opened sideways if one is prevented or limited from front-opening.
The Legacy Refrigerator and Freezer is made with stainless steel. Making it corrosion free and durable.
You can also buy additional accessories with the Legacy Fridge and Freezer:
- The Base Mounting Plate Weekender for safely mounting the fridge onto your vehicle without damaging it
- The Fridge Protection Jacket - Weekender Ranger, which can be used to safely cover and zip the fridge so it is well protected from wear and tear, and shielded from the rays of the sun to ensure a good insulation.
- AC Power Leads
- DC Power Leads
- Removable Red Hinges
- They weigh from 20 to 40 kg
- 3 to 8 Baskets depending on the size
- 3 Year Warranty
- 8 Year Limited Compressor Warranty
- Dual-direction lid
- NL 40
- NL 52
- NL 55
- NL 65
- NL 80
- NL 125
NL stands for National Luna and the size number is the amount of Litres it can hold.
- Dual Compartment Fridge/Freezer with separate freezer lid
- Dual Digital Temperature Controller
- 3 to 8 Baskets depending on the size
- 3 Year Warranty
- 8 Year Limited Compressor Warranty
- Dual-direction lid
- NL 50
- NL 60
- NL 72 Double Door
- NL 90
- NL 110 Double Door
Most of the different variants have a single door that can be used to access the fridge/freezer but some like the 72 and 110 have two doors.
Tuff Stuff Portable Refrigerator/Freezer 52L:
The Tuff Stuff 55 qt Fridge/Freezer is a jack of all trades portable Refrigerator/Freezer.
It has a storage capacity of 52 Litres, weighs 37 lbs, made with a durable ABS outer shell, has a quick cool down, has an eco mode for power savings, an interior LED light and has a metal lined inner wall.
It comes with some free features that are sold separately by other portable fridge/freezer companies. The free features include a thermal cover, a removable basket with divider and the tie-down straps.
It is an advanced fridge/freezer which has a built-in safety feature that shuts off your fridge automatically when your car battery runs down low. It has 3 settings that will shut off at 10.2. 10.7 or 11.7V and will come back on at 11.2, 11.7, and 12.7V.
It uses the renowned German made Danfoss compressor. The Danfoss compressors are used by some of the largest refrigeration companies.
Some of the Danfoss compressors built-in safety features:
- An efficient electronic control unit with built-in speed control
- A thermostat signal
- Thermal protection
- Battery discharge safety monitor
- An electronic thermostat to maintain consistent internal temperatures
- 55Qt/52L capacity
- High-quality German-made Danfoss compressor (Tuff Stuff Upgrade)
- Heavy-duty 14 gauge 100% copper wiring to deliver max amperage (Tuff Stuff Upgrade)
- 37 LBS
- Dimensions Including Handles L/W/H: 26.75 x 14 x 20
- Dimensions NOT Including Handles L/W/H: 23 x 14 x 20
- Refrigeration: R134A Danfoss Compressor
- Noise level: Sub 45db
- Cooling range: minus 4F - 50F
- Startup power draw: 50W / 4.16A
- Running power draw: 0.7A
- Includes AC/DC power cord
- 3 Auto shut off levels (10.2V, 10.7V, 11.7V)
A great accessory that can be bought with the Tuff Stuff Portable Fridge/Freezer is the Tuff Stuff Refrigerator/Cargo Organization Slider.
It can be installed onto any flat surface and can function as a sliding deck that can take a load of 220 lbs.
It can be installed onto any truck bed, SUV cargo area, RV, trailer or even a boat. The slider provides 15.75 x 29.25 inches of space. It can also be used for camping bins, firewood, cooking gear, inside of your RV's under-storage, truck bed, SUV cargo space, etc.
ARB Elements Fridge and Freezer:
ARB is one of the largest overlanding gear production companies in the world. It was founded in Australia where they make most of their products. A company known for producing one of the most effective, durable and heavy duty offroading products available in the market.
The Elements Fridge/Freezer has a capacity of 60 Litres. Cooling capacity of +10°C to -18°C. It weighs almost 32 kgs.
The ARB Elements is an advanced and a very sleek looking fridge, suitable for pretty much any vehicle and purpose. Whether that is a short weekend trip to the Rockies, or a longer off road adventure.
The ARB Elements has a stainless steel exterior and hinges. It has a UV resistant trim keeping it cool and safe from the sun.
Thanks to the new strut the lid of the fridge holds open at any angle. Now you can comfortably reach out for your drinks and food without holding the lid up with your other hand.
The touchpad controls on the ARB Elements provides simple accessibility to all the controllable variables including the temperature control and low voltage cut-out. It comes with an all new security system that prevents unwanted adjustments or access with its unique user selected locking code. The touchpad controls are weatherproof. It also functions with the lid open.
Security is one of the most important things when it comes to camping. Whether it’d be yours, the vehicles, the fridge’s or the contents of the fridge.
The ARB Elements Fridge and Freezer comes with many security features. Firstly the control panel is weather proof so you are safe from sunny days and rainfalls.
Secondly to keep the contents of your fridge safe, it comes with a unique magnetic lock which is activated by the touchpad control panel which prevents unauthorized access to fridge or any sort of tampering with the temperature settings.
Thirdly for additional security, a padlock recess is built into the exterior and an optional bolt down mounting kit that makes the fridge a permanent fixture in the back of your vehicle.
ARB Classic II Range:
Keeping your food fresh and your drinks cold no matter where you are, the Classic Series II range of fridge freezers includes an advanced electronic control system now with complete mobile control via the ARB Fridge Freezer app. Additional new features include a dimmable backlit touchpad for easy night time operation and a 12V power input readout for simple voltage monitoring on the display.
ARB Classic II Range is the newer version of the Classic Series Fridges/Freezers from ARB which were produced for around 10 years and are one of the most popular overlanding fridges in Australia.
It has a similar cooling capacity as the ARB Elements of +10°C to -18°C. The different models weigh from 20 kg all the way up to 27 kg.
It has an updated modern color scheme that gives a superior look compared to the original ARB Classic.
The fridge comes with backlit buttons which improves the visibility of the interface when outside in the sun or at night time. This can be adjusted so the light does not reflect and distract while driving.
The Classic Series II features a tough steel outer casing. It also has a reversible basket with a divider to better organize your food and drinks. Cleaning is very easy due to a conveniently placed drain plug.
All the controls and other settings on the panel can now be accessed via bluetooth or the standalone mobile app. Temperature presets can also be made via the mobile app.
It includes an ARB Transit Bag, that protects your fridge from wear and tear, and acts as an insulator to keep things cool on the inside.
It comes with zipped pockets that can be used to store the fridge divider. Oh and it also comes with a bottle opener.
It comes in the following sizes:
- 35L Portable Fridge Freezer $899
- 47L Portable Fridge Freezer $999
- 60L Portable Fridge Freezer $1099
- 78L Portable Fridge Freezer $1199
Dometic CFX 50W
Dometic, a brand that is world famous for making some of the most durable, efficient and sleek looking refrigerators and freezers in the world. They have sold millions of units and have maintained great standards.
One of the best choices for any camping trip is a Dometic Fridge/Freezer.
The Dometic CFX 50W is a next generation portable fridge/freezer with a powerful compressor that keeps drinks and food cold for extended periods of time.
It has the ability to set temperatures from 10ºC to -18ºC and has the ability to run at -22°C upto 50ºC with minimal energy consumption. It can also operate on solar power, a feature that greatly helps the more professional campers who go camping further away for many days. It is supremely quiet and can operate in the harshest of conditions without any problems.
It has a removable wire basket with a divider to better organize your food and drinks.
One of the strongest portable Fridges/Freezers out there. It is fitted with heavy duty details like reinforced corners, stainless steel hinges and a robust lid lining and closing mechanism.
It has a feature called the CFX Special Electronics which includes an intelligent automatic turbo cooler and memory functions.
It is easy to carry due to the convenient space saving folding and detachable carrying handles.
The CFX 35W to CFX 100W models give you the option of controlling and monitoring the cooling temperature via a WiFi app. It is very easy to use.
It also includes an energy efficient LED interior light and a USB port for charging small electronic devices.
It has been tested in Australia’s harsh hot weather and is Dometic’s most awarded product. Not for nothing is it one of the preferred units across the globe, as well as of more established or experienced off-roaders.
We hope that this short article gave you enough information for you to make an informed purchase. We understand the models shown above are not all those available in the market, and certainly there are great brands such as Engel, Indel B, Snomaster, that would tick many of the boxes for what you need.
However, we still compiled 5 excellent models of portable vehicle fridges, and you can be certain they will not disappoint you.
If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us by calling us at: 844-200-3979.