The 9 Best Camping Fridges: Ditch the Ice and Chill

The Best Camping Fridges

A big part of any adventure is bringing along the food to keep you going. Coolers are useful, but the never-ending need for ice and soggy food leaves a lot to be desired. And that’s where the best camping fridges come to the rescue.

This carefully-curated list is packed with options from the best brands, providing something for every budget, size, and desire. Whether you’re looking for the best camping refrigerator or the smallest portable freezer, this article provides everything you need to know.

Are you ready to leave melting ice behind? Let’s check out the best camping fridges.

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The Best Camping Fridges: Quick Summary

Best OverallDometic CFX3The best camping fridge with all the bells and whistles
Best BudgetBougeRV CRPRO30Amazing product that offers the best value on the market
Best With BatteryEcoFlow GLACIERBattery-powered unit with faster cooling and integrated ice maker
Most RuggedARB ElementsWeatherproof construction with additional security features
The Dometic CFX3 75 12 volt dual zone fridge for camping

Best Overall: Dometic CFX3

Without question, the best camping fridge is the Dometic CFX3 Series, available in multiple sizes with one to two compartments. 

They use the most advanced compressors from a brand that has been a powerhouse in refrigeration for longer than almost any other brand on the planet. The power draw is as low as it gets, the product is made to the highest standards, and the list of features is impressive.

What We Like

  • Most reputable brand with the best compressors
  • Extremely energy efficient and can use DC or AC power
  • Long-lasting product that won’t let you down

Room for Improvement

  • Higher-powered options would be nice for those with unlimited power

Where To Buy the Dometic CFX3

Check out the Dometic CFX3 to see the prices and available sizes. Or click here to jump down to our detailed analysis of the Dometic portable fridge freezer selection.

The BougeRV CRPRO30 camping fridge and freezer

Best Budget: BougeRV CRPRO30

When you want one without breaking the bank, the BougeRV options are worth checking out. This brand has an established track record in portable camping electronics. It makes some of the best options for the value.

What We Like

  • Excellent price point
  • Reputable company that makes feature-packed products

Room for Improvement

  • Insulation isn’t quite as good as the higher-priced models

Where To Buy the BougeRV CRPRO30

Check out the BougeRV Camping Fridge Freezer prices and sizes right now available directly from the manufacturer or on Amazon. Or click here to jump down to our full analysis of BougeRV options.

The EcoFlow GLACIER portable camping fridge with a battery

Best With Battery: EcoFlow GLACIER

EcoFlow is another rock-solid brand that started with incredible portable power stations and has now turned to the world of camping fridges. And they’re coming in hot with the EcoFlow GLACIER with a more powerful compressor, an available integrated battery, and ice-making capabilities.

What We Like

  • Battery-powered with an integrated ice maker
  • Company that knows what camping electronics need

Room for Improvement

  • Must buy the battery to use any DC power

Where To Buy the EcoFlow GLACIER

Check out the price of the EcoFlow GLACIER, only available in one size, on the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon. Or click here to jump down to the section with a more thorough analysis.

ARB Elements is one of the most rugged camping fridges around

Most Rugged: ARB Elements

ARB is an adventure-focused brand that supplies some of the most rugged gear around, and the ARB Elements hits that mark with absolute precision. It’s weatherproof with an IP67 rating, includes an advanced compressor, and can be secured to the exterior with tamper-proof features.

What We Like

  • The most rugged on the market
  • Exterior mounting capabilities with added security features

Room for Improvement

  • Significantly more expensive than other models, but understandably so

Where To Buy the ARB Elements Weatherproof Fridge Freezer

Check out the price of the ARB Elements Camping Fridge. Or click here to jump down to read our more thorough analysis of the brand and its options.

Want to see other budget-focused options? Click here to see the most popular budget alternatives with great customer satisfaction.

The Dometic CFX3 75 camping fridge freezer

Best Overall: Dometic CFX3 Portable Refrigerator and Freezer

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of Dometic camping fridges. They are one of the most dominant brands in the market. And there are three excellent reasons why:

  • Extremely power-efficient compressors that can use 12-volt DC or 110-volt AC input
  • High-quality, rugged construction from a company with an unbeatable reputation
  • Impressive selection of sizes, features, and capabilities to meet any need

The Dometic CFX3 75DZ is our top recommendation as it brings the best features from the most reputable brand. But we’ll cover all the details to see which Dometic option fits your needs the best.

Compressor and Power of Dometic Options

One of the main challenges when camping with a fridge is powering it. A refrigerator compressor can suck up a lot of electricity. But as a major supplier of RV and camping electronics, Dometic understands the need to limit energy consumption and leverages its expertise to shine above the crowd.

The Dometic portable refrigerators for camping use extremely efficient compressors with robust insulation. They design the compressors in-house, and use advanced features like an Active Gasket to keep cold air in like no other.

The typical power draw of Dometic fridges is about 1 Ah per hour on a 12-volt system (12 Wh). That is an impressively low number which means that even a modest power bank or battery can power these for multiple days without recharging.

Another incredible benefit of the Dometic portable fridges and freezers is that they can run off DC and AC power supplies. So you can use nearly any power source from solar panels to generators, even common household plugs. 

When you’re not using it camping, use it in your game room, garage, or office to keep an extra stash of cold drinks or food nearby. Many Dometic choices can be run as freezers too, making them a great way to easily add one of the smallest portable freezers to any space.

The Dometic CFX3 45 portable fridge

Dometic Company History and Dedication to High-Quality Craftsmanship

Dometic is part of a company that can trace its refrigeration roots back to 1923, serving as an industry leader and innovator the entire time. Today, the Swedish-based company sells Dometic products in more than 100 countries with nearly 40,000 distribution and repair shops around the world

This camping refrigeration brand truly is the king of the castle. It’s a brand that strives for perfection, never letting complacency get in the way of constantly pushing the industry forward.

Not only does this mean that Dometic products use a well-oil machine for its entire production process, but the after-sale customer support is off the charts.

The warranty for one of the best Dometic camping fridges, the CFX3, is a whopping five years long. Dometic can offer that protection because it knows what it builds, inside and out.

On top of being made to a higher standard and coming with an unbeatable warranty, Dometic portable fridge freezers have a top-notch design that looks great and can handle a beating. The robust structure and high-quality components mean that you can trust them as the best 4wd fridges or off-road fridge freezers.

Check out the price of our top pick, the Dometic CFX3 75DZ.

Selecting the Right Style, Size, and Features

Unlike other brands with limited options, Dometic offers an extensive array of camping fridges and freezers. The main characteristics you’ll need to decide on are:

  • Style: Electric cooler or portable fridge
  • Size: Compact weekender or enough for a Costco-sized haul
  • Features: What is worth buying for your needs

Style: Dometic Cooler or Portable Fridge

Most campers stick with Dometic portable electric coolers, which as the name implies, are designed like a cooler and exclusively run off electricity. They’re ultra-portable and offer access through a door (or doors) on top of the device.

But Dometic also offers some of the best 12-volt fridge freezers that can be powered with electrical power or propane/butane gas, like a 5 pound propane tank for camping. These are essentially miniature versions of full-size fridges, using a side-hinged door or a drawer-like opening. These are usually better for campervan or RV installations, but many campervans use the coolers too.

The Dometic portable coolers excel in portability, compact design, and tend to be smaller and slightly less expensive. The 12-Volt Dometic Fridge Freezers are better to use installed with cabinets, are a little easier to use and organize, and can reach much larger sizes (and are great if you want to use propane or butane gas instead of electricity).

Since this article is specifically about camping, we’ll focus on Dometic’s electric coolers. But if you’re looking for one in your campervan or RV, we recommend keeping the alternative in mind.

The Dometic camping fridge used at a campsite

Size: Looking for the Goldilocks Balance

Dometic portable coolers are available anywhere from a massive 99 liters (enough from more than 150 cans) down to a compact 25 L (40 cans). 

It might be tempting to buy the largest portable refrigerator that meets your budget. But instead, it’s much better to get one that truly fits your needs. It will help keep your food colder, your fridge last longer, and your energy use down.

That’s because these portable devices work best full of cold foods rather than empty space. Each time you open the cooler, any cold foods or drinks act like little ice packs, preserving the low temperatures. 

If there’s just empty space, the cold air will rush out and the compressor has to start from scratch to cool all that warm air. It’s also challenging to cool down the air even with the lids closed.

Unlike your home fridge which might be able to handle this, any portable one has a different design that prioritizes efficiency over all-out cooling power. These little compressors are amazing, and when you buy one that fits your needs, you’re much more likely to be satisfied with the results.

Dometic Portable 12-Volt Fridge Freezer Features

The most popular Dometic camping fridge classes are the CFX3 and CFF. Here’s a quick breakdown of the major differences between the two:

FeatureCFF SeriesCFX3 Series
Compressor-based coolingYes, with efficient compressorsYes, with the most advanced VMSO3 compressors
Refrigeration and freezing capabilitiesYes, but you must use one temperature for the entire compartmentYes, and many models offer separate fridge and freezer compartments
Number of compartmentsOneOne or two
Rugged insulationYesYes, with ExoFrame construction for maximum protection
Dual DC or AC powerYesYes
Battery protectionNoYes, 3-stage dynamic battery protection system to prevent dead car or house batteries
ControlsButtons with dimmable LED screenLCD interface with Bluetooth/WiFi connected app controls and performance history
Gasket sealPassive gasketActive Gasket Technology with a superior seal to retain cool air

Generally, the CFF Series Dometic camping fridges are the more affordable versions with a single compartment. Compared to most brands, they’re highly competitive in many ways and will be a solid option for most campers.

But Dometic’s CFX3 Series is the advanced version, offering a more efficient camping fridge with a lot more features. Most important is the option to have two compartments, giving you a portable fridge freezer with sections appropriate for either food. And you can make or bring ice!

The CFX3’s battery protection system and superior Active Gasket Seal technology are two other features that stick out. And even though the app might seem frivolous, it proves useful by monitoring performance and power consumption, letting you discover the perfect settings.

Our top recommendation is the Dometic CFX3 75DZ, a 75L fridge freezer with two compartments. It’s the smallest version of the best-of-the-best Dometic option with true dual zones. You can’t go wrong with it.

The Dometic CFX3 75 12 volt dual zone fridge for camping

Dometic Camping Fridges: Technical Specifications

Here are the technical specifications for the Dometic CFX3 75DZ:

Camping fridge:Dometic CFX3 75DZ
Size:75 L (2.65 cu ft)
Compartments:Two, 45 L & 30L (fridge/freezer, fridge/fridge, or freezer/freezer settings)
Temperature range:-7°F to +50°F (-22°C to 10°C)
Refrigerant:R134a
Power:12/24 V DC or 120/240 V AC
Average energy consumption:1.43 Ah/h on 12V DC
Noise level:50 dB(A)
Features:3-stage dynamic battery protection, app with temperature control and performance history, high-res display, easy carry handles, superior overall construction and cooling capabilities

To step into a new world of chilled food and drinks, check out the Dometic CFX3 75DZ or the other amazing Dometic portable electric coolers. For campervan or RV portable fridge needs, see the impressive Dometic lineup.

The BougeRV CRPRO30 camping fridge and freezer

Best Budget: BougeRV CRPRO30

BougeRV may be a newer addition to the camping electronics industry, but it’s already proven an incredible ability to merge an unbeatable price with products that result in unbelievable customer satisfaction. We love the BougeRV camping air conditioner, and now it’s time to add the BougeRV CRPRO30 to our recommendations too.

Like Dometic, BougeRV understands the priorities of campers. These are durable, power-efficient, and feature-packed. BougeRV also has a growing lineup of some of the best portable electronics so you can select exactly what hits the mark for you.

Our top recommendation is the BougeRV CRPRO30 Portable Car Fridge Freezer, available directly from the manufacturer and on Amazon. It hits an excellent price point, offers high-quality construction, and has superb cooling capabilities.

Let’s dive into the details of BougeRV’s extensive lineup.

Low Price Yet Unrivaled Reviews

Even BougeRV’s most-affordable option is an amount that you don’t want to waste. And we have no problems calling out brands that try to sneak below price by cutting corners, causing the customer to suffer.

BougeRV manages to hit a different price point while keeping nearly every customer extremely satisfied. Across its entire range of camping air conditioners, portable power stations, and camping fridges, nearly every review is extremely high with very few reports of dissatisfaction.

On top of that, this camping brand offers free returns within 30 days so you can ensure you’re satisfied. Plus, there’s a two-year warranty covering BougeRV’s camping fridges, so they’ll stand behind the products if something does fail.

Power Options and Portable Batteries

The best choices must be able to run off of 12-volt and 24-volt DC power because that’s what most campers have when they’re away from the grid. BougeRV includes these baseline power sources, and like Dometic, these 12-volt fridges can also run on 110/240 volt AC outlets.

This means you can use it as a small portable freezer for around the house as well.

BougeRV also uses extremely-efficient and compact compressors. The exact energy consumption depends on the model you get and the conditions you use it in, but the maximum draw is around 45 to 60 W for most of the BougeRV camping fridges. 

At 12 volts, a constant 45 W draw is equal to 3.75 Ah. But these don’t consistently pull that amount, so your actual consumption should be a fraction of that, likely in the same 1-1.5 Ah/h range of Dometic.

Plus, each BougeRV 12-volt cooler for camping has advanced battery protection that carefully monitors the voltage and adjusts its consumption accordingly. The lower your voltage gets, the less energy it uses. You can also choose to have it run in Eco or Max mode depending on your needs.

While BougeRV offers a nice array of portable power stations that you can use with or without solar panels, these go a step beyond the rest by also offering a battery pack that fits seamlessly into it.

These are sold separately, but they’re a great way to create an amazingly portable fridge, unlike most others on the market. Keep it powered in and charging as you’re driving to your campsite or event, then detach it and you can still have hours of cooling capabilities. No strings attached!

Head over to the BougeRV CRPRO30 manufacturer’s page to check the price or see it on Amazon.

The BougeRV camping fridge with dual zones

Wide Selection of Choices and Features

Every BougeRV fridge offers the DC/AC power source capability, an efficient compressor, and the advanced power management system. And every option is an excellent choice for camping with a rugged design ready for adventure.

But BougeRV has four different series of efficient camping fridges.

Our top recommendation is the BougeRV CRPRO30. This option is toward the upper end of the BougeRV spectrum, but is still a compact and affordable unit. It can work with a battery pack and has a side-opening lid with a user-friendly smart panel for temperature control and monitoring.

For those who want the best that BougeRV has to offer, step up to the CR55 Portable Fridge Freezer. This is a larger portable option that can also use a battery pack and comes with wheels and an easy-lift handle. It’s a dual-zone option with two temperature settings.

The other two options are the CR Series and the E Series. Both of these will not work with the BougeRV battery pack, which might be perfectly acceptable. They’re still rugged camping fridges with top-tier battery monitoring systems, efficient compressors, and high-quality construction.

The CR Series is the most affordable and offers the smallest battery-free solutions, while the E Series has larger options up to 50 L with easy-carry handles and a lid that opens from the side. The compressor is in a different location with the E Series too, allowing for a wider lid that might make storage more convenient.

It comes down to how much size you need and if you want the ability to use a battery or have dual zones. There’s only one option for dual zone, but both the CRPRO and Dual Zone options can use the batteries. The CR and E Series cannot use the battery, and the CR is better for smaller needs with the E Series being bigger.

The BougeRV camping fridge used as night with its included LED light

Technical Specifications: BougeRV CRPRO30

Camping fridge:BougeRV CRPRO30
Size:30 quart (28.4 L)
Compartments:One
Temperature range:-8°F to +50°F (-22°C to 10°C)
Refrigerant:R134a
Power:12/24 V DC or 120/240 V AC
Maximum draw:45 W Max mode; 36 W Eco mode
Noise level:45 dB(A)
Features:3-level battery protection, interior LED light, smart panel display and controls, superb price

Head over to the BougeRV CRPRO30 manufacturer’s page to check the price or see it on Amazon. Or see the entire selection of BougeRV 12-volt camping fridges.

If BougeRV isn’t your style but you want to stick to a low price point, click here to jump down to our other budget-friendly camping fridge alternatives.

The EcoFlow GLACIER portable camping fridge with a battery

Best With Battery: EcoFlow GLACIER Portable Refrigerator

EcoFlow has been building some of the best portable power stations in the world. And in 2023, they’ve now expanded into camping fridges and portable air conditioners, two products we’re thrilled to see more competition in.

Many times we wait to recommend a product because we strongly prefer to see a solid track record of customer satisfaction. But EcoFlow has a proven ability to create high-quality camping electronics, and this portable fridge freezer has some very impressive options that are just too good to pass up.

There’s only one choice from EcoFlow right now, the GLACIER Camping Refrigerator. Let’s see what makes it so amazing.

Features, Features, and More Features

An integrated ice maker is the ultimate mind-blowing feature of this portable freezer. You read that correctly. This camping fridge can make ice on the go with a small compartment that cranks out bullet-shaped ice cubes in no time.

The EcoFlow GLACIER also has dual-zone temperature control with a removable divider. It doesn’t quite as far as the Dometic option with two separate lids, but you can still separate your refrigerated from frozen sections very well. You can control the temperatures through the vivid built-in display or the EcoFlow smartphone app.

We also like that you can buy add-on wheels and a handle. This can be great for using it in parks or bringing it to a neighbor’s campsite packed with food and drinks.

Also, EcoFlow claims the industry’s fastest cooling power. And we believe it. The EcoFlow Portable Air Conditioner is the most powerful unit in the segment, and they’ve repeated that super-powerful characteristic in the industry.

That does come with a downside. EcoFlow has prioritized powerful cooling over energy savings, so this camping cooler has a bigger thirst for power. EcoFlow mitigates this with an available integrated battery. We’ll go over that in detail next.

The ice maker inside the EcoFlow glacier 12 volt fridge with a battery

Powering Your Camping Fridge: Battery and Charging Needs

Unless you only plan on using this when close to a 110/240V AC outlet, the plug-in battery is a must-buy addition. The DC input does not power the compressor. It only charges the battery.

Any DC power is useless without the battery!

If you are using a robust DC system (like a solar charging campervan electrical system) and don’t need the battery, you might be better off going back to Dometic or BougeRV options.

But with the battery, it’s a solid choice. It turns the EcoFlow GLACIER into an amazingly portable option that works with DC and AC power, just like Dometic and BougeRV portable refrigerators. You can even use it to charge USB-C devices up to 100 W, enough for most laptops, phones, and cameras.

The battery pack is 298Wh and EcoFlow suggests that under optimal conditions (cool ambient temps, cooler set on a high temperature) it can run for up to 40 hours. But we find that to be pretty overzealous. 

That would be about 7.45 Wh per hour, or 0.62 Ah per hour at 12 volts. This is about half of what Dometic suggests, even though Dometic compressors have about half the maximum draw of EcoFlow’s. EcoFlow is trying to suggest it has the industry’s most powerful compressor that somehow also uses the least amount of energy. Unfortunately, physics disagrees. 

The EcoFlow GLACIER portable fridge for camping with a handle and wheels

If I lost you with those specifics, let’s just say that I’d put the real-world battery life of the EcoFlow GLACIER’s battery is likely closer to about 20-25 hours than the specified 40.

The battery is a necessary feature for DC charging and it helps you easily get through the night or longer if the temperatures aren’t too hot outside. But it doesn’t entirely replace power needs. You’ll probably still need an external power source, like a portable power station and solar panel array for continuous use.

Technical Specifications: EcoFlow GLACIER

Camping fridge:EcoFlow GLACIER
Size:38 L
Compartments:One lid with separate internal dual-zone control
Temperature range:-13°F to +50°F (-25°C to 10°C)
Refrigerant:600a
Power:120/240 V AC with 12/24 V DC battery charging (with available battery pack)
Maximum draw:120 W (industry’s most powerful)
Noise level:52 dB(A)
Features:Integrated ice maker, dual-zone control, available battery, reputable camping electrics brand, most powerful

Head over to the listing for the EcoFlow GLACIER Portable Refrigerator and Freezer on the manufacturer’s website or on Amazon.

ARB Elements is one of the most rugged camping fridges around

Most Rugged: ARB Elements Weatherproof Fridge Freezer

ARB is no stranger to adventure as Australia’s largest supplier of 4×4 accessories. And if you’re looking for a rugged camping fridge to match your overland-ready rig, then this ARB Elements could be just the product for you.

The ARB Zero Portable Refrigerator for camping is another excellent option, allowing for a lower price with most of the same features. It’s just not as weatherproof, although it’s still well above the crowd in durability and rock-solid design.

For many people, the ARB price premium for the rugged design probably isn’t worth it. But for those that do, it can be worth the investment.

Check the price for the ARB Elements Weatherproof Fridge Freezer or the slightly more affordable ARB Zero.

Weatherproof Stainless Steel Construction

Rated IP67, the ARB Elements 12-volt fridge is as good of water and dust protection as you can get. Every aspect is designed to deal with brutal conditions and come out thriving. 

The body and lid of the ARB Elements are constructed from 304-grade stainless steel. Plus, the control panel is sealed, and it’s made to tolerate weather exposure.

If you want, you can even mount this externally. It features tamper-proof bolts and a pass-code-protected electronic security locking system. There’s even an area for you to add a padlock to secure the lid.

You can bolt this down to your flatbed, the back of your Jeep, or in any other area that’s exposed, and still not worry. We like this versatility that makes it useful for camping, worksites, and everything in between.

Up your outdoor adventure with this articles about truck bed mattresses and camping.

ARB Elements' control panel

Space, Power, and Ease-of-Use

At about 60 L, the ARB Elements offers a good amount of space that likely falls in a good range for extended trips for one to two people.

It’s well insulated and comes in an efficient compressor that can use 12/24 V DC or 110/240 V AC power, with an integrated battery protection system as you’d expect for a device with this price tag.

ARB estimates that on average it will use 0.9 Ah on 12 volts, which is in line with the best Dometic options. It does a great job of balancing compressor power with energy savings. 

The control panel is intuitive, but we like the gas strut used to keep the lid open. When your hands are full, like they always seem to be while camping, this little feature can be a big help.

Technical Specifications: ARB Elements

Camping fridge:ARB Elements
Size:60 L
Compartments:One lid with somewhat separated internal compartments
Temperature range:0°F to +50°F (-18°C to 10°C)
Power:12/24 V DC or 120/240 V AC
Average energy consumption:0.9 Ah at 12 V
Features:Extremely rugged IP67 weatherproof design, countless external security measures, trusted outdoor brand

Head over to the listing for the ARB Elements Weatherproof Fridge Freezer. Or check out the slightly more affordable ARB Zero.

The Dometic camping fridge freezer that you can carry

Budget Alternatives: Saving Money While Chilling Food

Although the BougeRV is our top choice of budget-friendly models, the competition is stiff and there are other models that we found deserving of your consideration. Here is our shortlist of the best cheap camping fridge freezers:

  • Alpicool CF45
  • F40C4TMP
  • ICECO VL65
  • EUHOMY
  • BODEGA
The Alpicool cheap portable fridge

Budget Alternative: Alpicool CF45

The top choice for the best budget 12-volt was decidedly difficult, and in a close second place sits the Alpicool CF45. Simply put, it hits all the right characteristics at a great price, and it’s backed with simply superb customer ratings across the board.

Like the others, it uses very little power and can run on both DC and AC electricity. It’s rated at 45 W maximum draw, unless you jump up to the monster size 60 L (63 quart) version. The compressor is strong and cools quickly, yet remains efficient and quiet.

It even has an advanced battery protection system that senses voltage and adjusts power consumption automatically, plus two modes for manual power consumption choices between Eco and Max. And it comes with an app to control and monitor the portable fridge temperatures. 

We’re willing to recommend this based on the amazing customer feedback, but still have some slight reservations and build quality. 

Alpicool is part of a major supplier, but has limited US presence outside major online retailers like Amazon and eBay. They also have some wild ideas for creating futuristic camping pods. It seems like they’ve put together a fairly solid product, but the company isn’t exactly the cream of the crop.

Head over to the Alpicool listing for more details about the available sizes and prices. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

The F40C4TMP 12 volt portable fridge freezer

Budget Alternative II: F40C4TMP Portable Refrigerator for Camping

The brand name is a mouthful, but F40C4TMP’s ability to create some of the best car fridge freezers is without question. And they do so at rock-bottom prices. They’re a no-frills company that’s dedicated to its singular objective of the best camping fridges, which makes it a pretty solid choice.

This company started after a cooler-based adventure went south, realizing that there was a need for a budget-conscious way to keep food cold with electricity, not ice. 

The “F40C4” stands for 40°F / 4°C, the temperature approved by the FDA for proper food storage.

Today, there are three main offerings from F40C4TMP, ranging from the ultra-tiny and affordable, up to true dual-zone options that still have very competitive pricing.

The customer satisfaction for all of their products is extremely high, giving us a lot of confidence in their ability to provide a solid value.

Each unit can run off 12/24 V DC or 110 V AC power, and the power draw is aligned with the most competitive products (around 45 W for medium-sized options, up to 60 W for larger ones).

Here is a quick rundown of the options:

The ICECO VL65 cheap portable fridge freezer with dual zones

Budge Alternative III: ICECO VL65 68 Quart Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator 

ICECO has been making camping fridge freezers for nearly two decades, showcasing a solid track record of expertise. It sells products in more than 66 countries, holds 104 patents worldwide, and has sold over 2,000,000 units.

It’s not the absolute cheapest brand around, but it’s still much less than any Dometic. 

What sets this more-affordable brand apart from the rest is that it uses SECOP compressors. This is a reliable German brand that specializes in light refrigeration compressors for portable and commercial use. Since this is the most critical element of any fridge, it amps up the attitude behind the ICECO products.

The customer satisfaction is high, and by using a fairly simplistic design, everything points to a durable build quality that will last many years. The handles are a little slim, sort of like old-school Coleman coolers. But that’s just about the only old-school thing about this.

It uses 12/24 V DC as well as 120/240 V AC, with three-stage battery protection. The massive 65 L size is rated at 0.545 kWh over 24 hours, equal to about 45 amp hours on a 12-volt system. That’s a pretty decent power draw, but it makes sense with this larger choice. The smaller ICECO 45L hits just 0.35 kWh per 24 hours, or about 29 aH, a more manageable energy consumption.

If you have the power, we like the ICECO VL65 68 Quart Dual Zone Portable Refrigerator the most because it allows you to have a small portable freezer on your camping trip. But if you don’t need that, this same model has smaller sizes to save money and electrical power. You can see the extensive lineup of ICECO products here.

The EUHOMY 48 affordable camping fridge

Budget Alternative IV: EUHOMY 12-Volt Car Refrigerator 48 QT

As yet another strong entry, EUHOMY 12-volt car refrigerator freezers could be worth checking out. The price is hard to beat, and surprisingly, they’re in the same ballpark regardless of which size you get from 37 quarts to 59 quarts.

The interior has two compartments under a shared lid, with a smaller compartment located right over the compressor that can be set to freezing or refrigerated temperatures. It seems to have sufficiently thick and insulated walls, with easy-carry handles. 

This portable fridge also includes a removable internal basket for the large compartment, a pretty neat feature that can make restocking a breeze.

Like many of these cheaper alternatives, the specific details about the compressor, power draw, and performance are hard to find. It can run on 12/24 V DC or 120/240 V AC power and comes with both adapters (a cigarette lighter attachment on the DC adapter), and it specifies a 45 W draw, matching the usual power of the bunch.

There is a simple temperature control panel on the outside, as well as an app so you can control it remotely. It states it runs at a quiet 40 dB and weighs just 35.7 pounds. 

Many people are quite impressed by the capabilities of this product. While it’s pretty clear that this is a cheaper alternative that doesn’t quite live up to the best standards, it might be a good option for you.

Head over to the listing for the EUHOMY 12 Volt Car Refrigerator 48 QT to see how much money you can save.

The BODEGA 80 massive portable fridge freezer with dual zones

Budget Oversized: BODEGA 80 Quart 12 Volt Car Refrigerator and Portable Freezer

This BODEGA Car Refrigerator and Freezer is an incredible buy. It is a massive option, with 80 quarts (76 L) and even 100 quarts (95 L) options available. 

And it has an app to control temperature, along with the typical three-stage battery protection. It also runs on 12-volt DC and 110V AC power.

Plus, this is one of the best dual-zone fridges with two completely separate compartments and lids, something that can cut down on energy consumption while still giving you the temperature control needed for a great camping trip. The lid is reversible so you can choose which way it opens up, just like some of the much more expensive options.

It also has built-in wheels and an extension handle so you can move this monster a little easier.

And it’s backed by a one-year full-coverage warranty with a five-year warranty for the compressor. Overall, the selling points for this dual-zone camping fridge freezer are pretty sharp.

But we did notice more negative feedback about both built quality and customer support than we usually like to see. So if you’re looking for one that will last many years and is built with strict quality-control measures in place, you might want to look elsewhere.

Head over to the BODEGA 80 Quart 12-Volt Car Refrigerator and Portable Freezer listing for more information. You can also view the entire lineup of BODEGA Car Fridges and Freezers.

What To Know Before You Get Your Fridge

Before you spend your hard-earned cash, there are some things you will want to carefully consider. There are a lot of different options on the market, from cheap camping fridges, to expensive 12-volt fridge freezers.

The main attributes you should consider:

  • Electrical Draw
  • Size
  • Features
  • Warranty

Electrical Draw

If you camp near an AC outlet that can often be found at many campgrounds, then electrical concerns might not be that big of a deal. As long as your camping fridge comes with a 120/240 V AC adapter, you’ll be ready to roll.

This AC adapter can also be useful for campers with DC power because it lets you easily use the portable fridge as an extra drink chiller or freezer at home.

But many campers have more limited electrical power, typically running off things like a car battery, a portable power station, solar panels, or a generator. These are almost always DC electrical systems, which usually range anywhere from 12 volts to 48 volts.

To ensure you have the right one for your needs, you should look at the electrical draw. 

Most of the best portable fridges have a maximum electrical draw of 45 W for smaller and mid-size options (up to about 50 L) and 60 W for larger options (60 to 80 L). But the compressors don’t run full at power all the time. Just like a regular refrigerator, the compressor cycles on and off as needed to keep the temperature at the desired setting.

The amount of power it uses also depends on the ambient air temperature and how often you open the lid to let the cold air out. Even the amount of food or drinks inside can impact the electrical needs.

But many of the best brands offer their average power draw based on certain assumptions. They usually provide for use in about 77 to 80 degrees F ambient temperature and keep the settings fairly high, around 40 degrees F, which is the maximum temperature for safe food storage.

Under those conditions, the mid-size electric coolers typically use about 1 Ah per hour on a 12-volt system, equal to about 12 Wh, or 0.5 Ah on a 24-volt system. Larger portable options of 60 L and up typically use closer to 1.5 Ah per hour on 12 volts, or 18 Wh.

Although it’s not identical, you can see our post on how to power portable air conditioners for a lot of useful information about powering high-draw gadgets while camping.

And if you invest in a nice portable power station, you can also consider getting a battery powered camping heater to stay comfortable in chilly nights.

A tent and hammock in the woods while camping

Size

Perhaps the biggest decision you’ll have to make besides selecting the right brand and knowing how to power it is figuring out what size you want to buy. And it’s likely a more important decision than you realize.

Of course, the size directly impacts how much food and drinks you can stuff inside. That’s a no-brainier and you will always want to get the size that’s right for your needs. 

One to two people going for extended weekend camping trips of about 4 to 5 days will probably fit in a 35 to 50 L choice. Larger groups of about four people or smaller groups going for a longer camping trip will likely want a bigger option, such as a dual-zone camping fridge with about 60 to 75 L storage.

But here’s the real secret: Don’t go overboard. 

Any fridge works best if it’s full of food and drinks. That might seem counterintuitive but think of the food and drinks as packs that retain the cold temperatures. The more cold food and drinks inside, the less the compressor has to work. 

If it’s completely empty, the compressor has to work hard to keep the air chilled. And any time you open it, the poor compressor has to start from scratch.

These camping fridges have come a long way, but they still prioritize energy savings of powerful compressors. The EcoFlow GLACIER might be the biggest exception, using about twice as much energy as others.

To get the most out of them, stick to the size you need and try to keep it full of cold food and drinks. It’s ideal to chill the food or drinks before putting them inside the cooler, but not a necessity.

Looking for more camping location ideas? Head to the relatively-unknown Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado. Or really step up the adventure by going to Baja California Mexico for camping.

Features

There are many available features, trying to list them all is nearly impossible. And once again, what’s important for some people might not be the same for you.

One important feature is an intelligent power consumption system that monitors battery voltage and decreases the power use as the battery gets lower. This helps protect your car or house battery as neither do well when fully discharged. You can also usually find 12-volt portable fridges with manual power settings, usually Eco and Max modes, so you can decide for yourself how much power you want it to use.

The control panel is another feature that differs between models and brands. But they all usually show the internal temperature, the set temperature, and have controls nearby. 

Many brands have also started to roll out Bluetooth and WiFi connection to a smartphone app. While many of them are a little gimmicky that only offer temperature setting adjustments, ones like the Dometic app help monitor power use, historical temperature, and other metrics that can help you understand how it’s running and if you need to change things up.

You can also see out list of the best camping apps.

Another critical feature is whether it’s a single-compartment or dual-zone, which can use one or two lids. The dual-zone fridge freezers often allow you to set each side’s temperature separately, meaning you can have two fridge zones, two freezer zones, or one fridge and one freezer.

You can also look for models that have wheels and handles for easy carrying. These can be especially important if you want to use it far away from the car or if you’re buying a heavy unit like a 60 L or larger, which can weigh about 50 pounds without any food or drinks inside.

Very few brands offer it, but ARB has completely weatherproof models made to IP67 standards that can also be secured to the outside of your vehicle, made to be tamper-resistant. This can be great for Jeeps and other pickup trucks without the ability to secure the fridge inside.

Warranty

The camping fridge freezers are not cheap, and knowing that they’re made by a reputable company that stands behind their product is key. The top models on this list all meet this standard, but the budget-focused models can be a bit risky. 

Most companies offer two different warranty periods for these products. One applies to nearly every part, including things like the lid, handles, and other easily-broken pieces. The other is for the compressor, the most important piece and the one you want to last the longest.

The top brands usually offer a five-year warranty for the compressor. That’s incredible. But to actually use it, you’ll need to have proof of purchase, so keep a receipt handy. I like to email myself a scanned copy and put the product name in the subject line. You should also register your purchase with the company so they can easily confirm it.

Overall, we strongly encourage buying from reputable brands like Dometic, BougeRV, EcoFlow, or ARB. If you go with a budget option, you might get a reliable product, but there’s a higher chance that it’s made without strict oversight or quality-control measures.

A beautiful mountain view in Colorado

Wrap-Up

When you’re ready to ditch ice-filled coolers and leave water-logged food behind, a portable fridge is ready to join your adventures. 

Go with the Dometic CFX3 to get the best of the best made by the most reputable company. Or check out the BougeRV Fridge to save some cash but still buy from a reputable brand.

2 thoughts on “The 9 Best Camping Fridges: Ditch the Ice and Chill”

    1. Hi Krik, National Luna has been around for many years and makes overlanding-focused fridges and freezers with a lot of attractive features. In many ways, they’re quite similar to the ARB option. They seem well-insulated, have multiple tie-down points, and use a compressor designed for off-road use. They offer dual-zone options as well as a nice array of add-on products like covers, mounting plates, and ice makers. Many outfitting groups in the US and elsewhere sell them. Some people are quite satisfied with National Luna products.

      Unfortunately, there are some downsides and negative feedback which we find concerning. The company is based in South Africa, and although there is a somewhat substantial network of US distributors, the customer service reports are less than stellar. There are also some troubling reviews about the fridges not lasting that long. Since these tip the upper end of the price range, those two factors are a bit troubling. We really hate to see someone spend close to $2k and have trouble simply getting a response from the company.

      It’s hard for us to say if these are just a few of the negative reports that get a lot of attention while the rest of the satisfied customers don’t take to public forums. But at the same time, it’s also hard to find enough support that these are fridges worth the money and made by a company that stands behind their products. So they don’t quite make our short list. It might make a lot more sense if you will spend significant time closer to the domestic distribution network in South Africa. They also have a major presence in Australia. The US network is much more limited, with one outlet in all of California, three places on the entire eastern coast, and generally smaller outlets like custom outfitters scattered in areas like Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (each of those states has 3-4 distributors).

      Hope this helps you make the decision that’s right for your needs!

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