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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 MR040 40 Quart Portable Top Opening 12/24V...
  • [PORTABLE] Portable top-opening AC/DC car fridge-freezer. Cools...
  • [EFFICIENT] Super quiet, highly efficient Engel compressor - Low...
  • [12/24/110 VOLT] Automatic voltage velection Between AC and DC...

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.

Sale
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,...
  • 👍DUAL ZONE WIFI APP CONTROL CAR FRIDGE:BODEGACOOLER 12Volt...
  • 👍ENERGY SAVING&POWERFUL:BODEGACOOLER car fridge 12v has...
  • 👍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. 

Sale
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 Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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