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5 Top-Rated Portable Refrigerators for Camping

5 Top-Rated Portable Refrigerators for Camping

Gone are the days of beans and rice when you can now bring a portable refrigerator on your camping trip. Whether you’re tent camping or need extra refrigeration space in a motorhome, a mobile fridge is great for the outdoors. Let’s look at the top-rated refrigerators on the market. 

What Is a Portable Refrigerator for Camping? 

A portable refrigerator is compact and lightweight. It fits small items, and some also have a freezer. You can get a model that plugs into any outlet, including a 12-volt. A 12-volt DC outlet is one that you might find in your car or used to run the DC electronics in your RV. In this case, it runs off your vehicle or RV’s batteries rather than needing a 120V AC power source.

Learn more about your RV’s power systems here: How Are RVs Wired? Helpful RV Electrical Basics for Beginners

What Makes the Best Fridge for Camping? 

Ideally, people want equipment that is lightweight and easy to move when camping. A refrigerator is no exception, especially when you don’t have a permanent one installed inside your RV. Additionally, they can give you flexibility while traveling. 

If you’re tent camping or have a camper van without a fridge, a portable refrigerator is an obvious choice for camping with perishable food items. They also eliminate the need for constantly replenishing ice in a cooler.

But if your RV already has one, a mobile version still can serve a purpose. You can take it on day trips, for example. If you have a portable 12V refrigerator, you can plug it into your vehicle no matter where you are. Keeping your eating-out budget down is easy with this option. 

Portable refrigerators often also double as freezers. So you can choose to extend your RV fridge capacity or use it as an extra freezer.

5 Top-Rated Portable Refrigerators for Camping

These refrigerators can meet all types of needs for campers. Check out these five top-rated models.

1. Dometic CFX3 Portable Refrigerator and Freezer

DOMETIC I CFX3 35 Portable Cooler and Freezer

The Dometic CFX3 Refrigerator and Freezer has a storage capacity of 36 liters and fits approximately 50 soda cans. It weighs 48 pounds, thanks to its heavy-duty construction. Compressor cooling technology cools and freezes to -7 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the temperature with Bluetooth or WiFi. There’s even a color display monitor with soft-touch buttons.

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Cost: About $895

2. Engel MR040F-U1 40 Qt AC/DC Portable Tri-Voltage Fridge/Freezer

The Engel MR040F-U1 40 Portable Fridge/Freezer runs off 12V or 24V DC and 110V or 120V AC power. It draws about one to two amps per hour. The product includes DC and AC power cords as well as a basket for the inside. It has variable temperature control and removable handles, which will help when lifting the 48-pound fridge. 

ENGEL MR040F-U1 40 Qt AC/DC Portable Tri-Voltage...
  • Portable top-opening AC/DC fridge-freezer. Cools from...
  • Super quiet, highly efficient Engel compressor - Low Amp Draws...
  • Automatic voltage velection Between AC and DC power - with AC...

Cost: About $900

3. BougeRV 12V Portable Car Refrigerator 

The BougeRV 12V Portable Car Refrigerator holds 53 quarts. It’s capable of running off 12V or 24V DC and 110V or 120V AC power. And it’s equipped with a three-level battery monitor. You can use it as a fridge or freezer. It ranges from -4 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The BougeRV comes with a two-year warranty for the compressor and accessories.

BougeRV 12 Volt Refrigerator Portable Car Freezer...
  • 【Warranty&Certification】With CE and FCC certification, the...
  • 【53 Qt Large Capacity】This 12v Portable Refrigerator can...
  • 【Fast Cooling Down to -4℉】With Compressor refrigeration...

Cost: About $360

4. BODEGA 12V Portable Fridge/Freezer 

The BODEGA 12V Refrigerator/Freezer is 53 quarts. It runs on 12V or 24V DC and 100V to 240V AC power. Operate it manually or with an app via Bluetooth. There’s a battery protection system that helps conserve energy. It comes with a cigarette lighter connector, wall plug, wall plug adapter, and dual-zone basket. In addition, it has a one-month free trial and a one-year warranty. 

【Upgraded】BODEGACOOLER 12 Volt Refrigerator,...
  • 👍ANTI-SHAKING: BODEGACOOLER 12v fridge provides a silent and...

Cost: About $380

5. AstroAl Portable 12V Car Fridge/Freezer 

The AstroAl Portable 12V Car Refrigerator/Freezer holds 16 quarts. It can be a fridge or freezer with a low temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit. And it has an ECO mode for saving energy. It comes with a 12V or 24V DC and 100V to 240V AC adapter, making it versatile. 

AstroAI 12 Volt Car Refrigerator, 12V Portable...
  • HIGH CAPACITY: Our heavy-duty 12 volt refrigerator boasts an...
  • FAST COOLING: With its powerful compressor, the car refrigerator...
  • BATTERY SAVING MODES: Our portable freezer includes three...

Cost: About $200

How Long Do Portable Refrigerators Last?

Portable refrigerators are known to last between six and fourteen years. But it’s recommended to replace them around the ten-year mark. Overall, they hold up well.

Are Portable Refrigerators Any Good? 

The five refrigerators listed in this article feature quality construction and are highly rated. We understand that things get bumped around when camping. These fridges and freezers are built to be pretty sturdy. That said, as with anything, you often get what you pay for.

We have personally been using the Dometic CFX portable refrigerator since our Go North Alaska trip. We brought Alaska salmon we caught in Valdez all the way back to the Lower 48. The same CFX cooler works as our deep freezer in our fifth wheel now, 2+ years later, and couldn’t be more pleased with its performance.

These items are worth the investment for camping. Whether you’re stationary at the campsite or taking day trips, it can help you relax knowing your food isn’t spoiling. Plus, you can come back from your adventures to an ice-cold drink!

If you’re looking for something a little more simple and cost-effective to keep your food cold, check out our camping cooler recommendations: Best Coolers for Camping and Saving Ice

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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