How to Use a Camping Refrigerator Properly: 9 Tips

One of the most useful tools to bring with you when packing your suitcase for a camping trip is the refrigerator. There are many types to choose from; Its primary function is to keep your food and beverages cold. You can get the most out of your camping fridge by optimizing their performance.

To properly use a camping refrigerator you need to know the different types, the optimum temperature, the basics of packing and the best place to install it. Additionally, how to keep it cooler, the importance of keeping it flat, and the importance of choosing the right interior volume.

Absorption, Thermoelectric or Compressor Refrigerator – What's the Difference?

Choosing the right refrigerator for your caravan will differ from person to person. Three different types are available: absorption, thermoelectric and compressor refrigerators. They are all excellent options for caravans and cars. However, due to various differences, you will probably prefer one over the other.

Absorption Refrigerators

Pros of Absorption Refrigerators

Perhaps the best benefit of these types of refrigerators is that they are almost completely silent. The energy exchange process removes heat, which is a noiseless transition. If you're traveling in a motorhome for long periods of time, the sound of traditional coolers and refrigerators can eventually become annoying.

Absorption refrigerators usually use propane, but they can also use AC and DC electricity. If you're trying to conserve electricity from the battery in your caravan, using propane is an excellent alternative. Coffee machines, charging your devices etc. Allows you to conserve battery power for other uses, such as

Cons of Absorption Refrigerators

You should always make sure that there is proper ventilation when the refrigerator is operating. The cost of using propane alone increases after a while, but you don't have to worry if you're also using solar panels or any other type of electricity. Without proper ventilation, propane can cause diseases as listed by CCOHS.

Compressor Refrigerator
Compressor Refrigerator Pros

Compressor refrigerators can keep your food cold even on the hottest days. They are inexpensive to operate thanks to their energy efficiency.

Most models also allow you to freeze food, which is a very useful feature.

Compressor Refrigerator Cons

Compressor refrigerators have a fan that can be a bit noisy at times. If you buy a high-end refrigerator, it will not be so noisy. However, the average compressor refrigerator fan produces white noise for about 10 to 15 minutes per hour.

Thermoelectric Refrigerators

Pros of Thermoelectric Refrigerators

Thermoelectric refrigerators are some of the toughest in the industry. With fewer moving parts, you don't have to worry about it slipping while driving. If durability is a priority, this durable cooler will be the perfect solution for your motorhome. The thermoelectric cooling process results in a heat transfer that is not easily interrupted.

Many thermoelectric refrigerators may have the option of cooling or heating the food and drink inside. This option is a premium choice for winter camping as it is not available in every other refrigerator on the list.

Cons of Thermoelectric Refrigerators

Thermoelectric refrigerators rely on ambient temperature for their cooling capabilities; for this reason, it can only cool down to a certain level below the temperature of the place where it is located.

Set the Temperature Correctly

Keeping your refrigerator at the right temperature will prevent food from spoiling. Dairy, meat and other perishable products can spoil quickly within a few hours if not stored properly. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that your refrigerator must be at or below 4.4°C.

However, the temperature of your camper refrigerator should be between 1.7 and 3.3°C. However, the highest temperature your food can reach before it starts to spoil is 4.4°C. Low temperature is recommended, as small refrigerators are subject to temperatures that fluctuate depending on the ambient temperature of your camp.

By adding a temperature buffer, you can help him or her to ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator does not exceed safety standards.

It is important to remember that thermoelectric coolers can only reach a certain temperature below ambient temperature. This factor makes them not ideal for a caravan trip, which will sometimes be used in hot weather.

Properly stocking your camping refrigerator will prevent it from heating up too quickly. Unfortunately, too many campers put everything in it with no strategy. And most likely they're encountering wet food, too much condensation, and food that spoils more quickly than they should.


If you're looking for packing tips, follow these suggestions:

Put all frozen products near the middle-bottom of the refrigerator. Most refrigerators in campers start at the bottom, which will keep frozen food cold longer. Also, frozen air It cools your leftover food and drinks by allowing it to move upwards.

Separate drinks from food. If you can put a barrier between them, you will prevent your food from getting wet. When beverages (like bottled water or soda) start to thicken, moisture can build up on the food. Separating them is the key to avoiding such problems.

Keep meat near the bottom of the refrigerator. Meat is often the least used food in the refrigerator, as it is not included in all snacks and meals.


Place the Refrigerator in a Shaded Area

When placing your refrigerator in the caravan, it is important to secure it. Some campers already have a place reserved for refrigerators, but you may need to get a little creative.

One option is to support it with some wooden boards. Use maple or oak as they are both durable and reliable. If possible, keep the refrigerator out of direct sunlight from windows. Extra heat can cause your refrigerator to work more than it should.


Frozen Water Bottles Keep Cold Weather

Making the camping fridge cooler is easy these days. Almost all of them come with settings that allow you to adjust the temperature. Remember to follow the 1.7 to 3.3 degree recommendation. If you are freezing the contents, set it to around -17°C.

Another suggestion would be to throw in a few cooler items than what's already there. For example, if you're putting in room-temperature beverages, put some frozen water or ice-cold milk in it. Adding too many hot or medium-temperature ingredients to the refrigerator can slightly raise the internal temperature.

If you have a split refrigerator, that is, under the same lid or door, you can have both a freezer and a refrigerator, then you are in luck. These combinations usually stay comparatively cooler.

As mentioned earlier, the best way to cool your camping fridge is to lower the thermostat settings. Even if your refrigerator has a thermometer, it may be a good idea to get a separate refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature from a second source.

Keep Cool with Ventilation Fans, Airflow and Low Temperature Settings

Lowering your refrigerator's internal temperature is one thing, but keeping it cooler for longer can be a whole different battle. Fortunately, compressor refrigerators stay cool as long as they are connected to a source. Using solar panels is an excellent way to keep the refrigerator cool as long as the panels can generate power from the sun.

If you want to keep a thermoelectric refrigerator cold longer, you need to keep its surroundings cold. Keep blowing the air conditioner and maybe turn on a fan or two. If you can use a roof vent like the Fantastic Ventilation Fan to draw warm air out of your camper, that will help maintain the perfect temperature.

Another suggestion is to have an alternative fuel source. Some refrigerators may use electricity or propane. Having both available allows you to switch to the more cost-effective and efficient source of cooling at the time. For example, if it's cloudy and your panels are having trouble absorbing the sun's rays, switch to propane.


Always Keep Your Camping Refrigerator Flat

Balancing a cooler or refrigerator in your caravan is often very necessary. Uneven surfaces can cause a variety of problems, but not all models need to be perfectly placed to work as they should. Thermoelectric coolers are tough enough to withstand any challenge, including uneven surfaces.

If your thermoelectric cooler sits at an angle, you will be able to use it just fine. The only possible concern is to ensure that the mounts do not loosen or move while driving the vehicle.

On the other hand, absorption refrigerators need to be flat to work properly. Refrigerators with uneven absorption can cause improper cooling, resulting in food spoilage. It can also cause the refrigerator to loosen its connections and become completely inoperable. For these reasons (and many more), absorption refrigerators should always be kept flat.

Finally, compressor refrigerators should also be kept level. It's optimal when the energy transfer is only flat, but you'll still be able to use the refrigerator either way.

Differences Between Electric, Propane, and Combo Refrigerators

Electric, propane and combination camping refrigerators are currently the only reliable options on the market. All great options, but impractical in some situations versus others. Review the sections below to see highlights and recommendations for each type.

Electric Refrigerator Tips

Always check the connections of your electric refrigerator. Whether connected to a 12V battery, solar panels, or another source, it's usually the electrical connections where most problems begin. If you can keep them clean and attached, you can use them for a long time.

Look for energy efficient refrigerators. Compressor refrigerators are the best on the market. energy efficient electric refrigerators. You'll be able to stay eco-friendly while saving more money and requiring less energy from your refrigerator.

Propane Refrigerator Tips

Try to find the best prices for propane in your area. This may seem a bit costly, but not all propane filling stations are the same price. If you find a good deal, get several tanks instead of one. As long as you can safely secure the tanks, you'll potentially save money down the road.

Always allow adequate ventilation in your caravan when using a propane refrigerator. On a similar note, some RVs are prohibited from entering certain tunnels, crossing certain bridges, or even crossing parts of roads if equipped with propane tanks. An example of this is the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry Tunnels. If you are traveling to unfamiliar areas with propane, you may want to check your route ahead of time.

Combined Power Fridge Tips

Combined refrigerators should be used wisely. Remember that solar energy is always the best option, because it is always ready. If you can find a cheap source of propane, that might be fine too because your solar energy can only be used to charge other appliances and devices.

Only buy a combination refrigerator if you know you'll be using both power options. When you buy a combo fridge and only use one or the other, you're wasting your money. The ability to use several power options adds to the initial price tag, making it a pointless expense if you don't plan to use one of them.

Choose the Appropriate Size

The capacity of a camping refrigerator is as important as its fuel source. If you get the perfect fridge but can't fit everything in it, it won't work. Every camping fridge will have different features, so do some research and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Camping refrigerators are a convenient addition to your camper kitchen setup, and they don't cost that much. Modern camping coolers and refrigerators are designed for efficiency.