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Fridge size-how much is really needed?

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  • Fridge size-how much is really needed?

    So I'm looking at eventually getting a fridge/freezer, age with plans I have for platform in the boot I'm looking at sizes. I'm really wondering how big I will actually need.

    Currently I just use a 55l ice box, and the vast majority of space inside is taken up by actual ice rather than food.

    Majority of trips I'll do will be 2-3 nights, with occasional longer trips of 5 or so nights. I don't drink, so won't be filling it up with beer. I don't even drink soft drink as a general rule. Occasionally I might splurge and get a bottle of juice to take away, but it's normally just water.

    So majority of the time I will be putting in milk, meat, eggs, butter, frozen veggies, that type of thing.

    How big do you all think I'll actually get away with for majority of trips?

    Cheers, Stu

  • #2
    Hi Stu,

    For 20+ years our family of 4 used a 29 litre Engel when camping for up to a week at a time between resupply. The kids are all grown up and now there is just the 2 of us, but we still manage to fill the Challenger up when we go away on trips and we can go easily 2 to 3 weeks between resupply.
    I put a new fridge in the Challenger when I brought it 10 years ago, upsized to a 32 litre Engel!
    We are however vegetarians so we do not have to worry about meat and I am only a modest consumer of cold beverages.

    I also use empty 10 litre water cask bladders, I inflate these to fill the void in the fridge and food containers that occur as you consume the contents, this stops things bouncing around when off-road, reduces noise and eliminates breakages.

    2011 PB Base White Auto, Smartbar, Cooper STMaxx LT235/85R-16,TPMS, HR TB, 3 x Bushskinz, front +40mm Dobinson , rear +50mm EHDVR Lovells, Dobinson MT struts and shockers, Peddars 5899 cone springs, Windcheater rack, GME UHF, Custom alloy drawer system inc. 30lt Engel & 2 x 30 AH LiFePo batteries + elec controls, Tailgate hi-lift/long struts, Phillips +100 LB & HB, Lightforce 20" single row driving beam LED lightbar, Scanguage II.
    MM4x4 Auto Mate, Serial No 1 .


    • #3
      For me i have 60 litre Evakool, the old fashion ttype Evakool with motor hanging of the end.

      It's not huge but does the job, without the need of a power plant to run it.

      I freeze Aldi water bottles, put layer in bottom of fridge, Cryovac meats, pre cooked meals & turn fridge on flat out couple days before i leave.

      Cryovac meats in freezer & when i'm travelling (alternator running) as fridge is in camper trailer, i turn it up flat out. I have a Kings fridge thermometer in cab so I know temp of fridge.

      In the morning i'll get tonights frozen meat/ meal out of Freezer compartment & put in fridge, works like ice brick in an esky i suppose.

      If not much meat left i remove the divider, turn it into a fridge & as i cryovac i have plenty of scope for options depending on whats happening for how long & no mess in fridge

      Two adults , two kids

      Room for the odd beer, cold frozen bottles in bottom last for days.

      If you wanted to sit & drink 15 cold beers, probably not flash to be using your food fridge for cooling them, seperate fridge or esky with ice probably best.

      using frozen bottles in my fridge & cryovac frozen meat & meals also great, for me personally 60 litre works
      Mitsubishi Pajero NX MY16


      • #4
        As small as you can, I'd have thought.

        Assuming you can tolerate UHT milk, most of what you want is achievable with truly tiny. The big question in my mind is whether you are driving a lot during your 5 days or staying put. Thats because you either go for everything in, using thermal mass (the "not moving" option: what you currently do but without ice.) Or you take things like the milk warm (uht) and chill down overnight as required. In reality you still want thermal mass (fill the fridge at the start) but you don't need as much space in it. Chilling down will chew more battery so you need to be driving (or solar charging) to recharge.

        Your eggs don't need a fridge. Fresh eggs will last well past 5 days in a coolish environment. I wouldn't hesitate to carry them in a backpack for 5 days. Before cold rooms, farmers kept them in water in the shade, a bit of evaporation keeping things plenty cool enough.

        Similarly you don't need frozen veg. Chuck some fresh veg in the fridge, if it saves the lower temp. That will be the main difference. Previously 0, now you will run +3. A fridge/freezer lets you take frozen veg but will also pull more power.
        =-( Sadly bought back: 99 NL Shortie. In a-peeling blue
        =-) Happily replaced by: 98 NL LWB Diesel


        • #5
          I don't refrigerate eggs i use this actual product $5, if you want to get anal, turn your eggs every day, pretend your a chicken
          Eggs will last a whole lot longer than 5 days no fridge required for eggs, turn them like a chicken as my grandpa taught me & he had many chickens
          His son my father he's got even more chickens , Grandpa he was born in 1910, turn your eggs lads, like the hen bird does, your eggs will be fine, sit on them they'll even hatch .
          If in doubt rotten ones float & watch the suckas that stand up

          I don't carry frozen vege, UHT, powder fresh couldn't care less what sort of moo juice short term, but its not just me aye, wife & kids also have needs & wants
          Last edited by Jasonmc73; 05-02-21, 06:57 AM.
          Mitsubishi Pajero NX MY16


          • #6
            our family of four (two adults, two boys) have a waeco cfx50 and it is perfect for a week of camping...

            also, one other reason i like it is that i can lift it, fully loaded, by myself...
            Paceman's NT Pajero


            • #7
              I have a 39 litre fridge that is old enough to drive. I recently spent 10 days in the high country, and it did what I needed.

              With wine, beer & 6 eggs in the fridge, I also took a cooler bag to look after some fresh veggies & mushrooms for the first few days.
              NT Platinum. DiD Auto with 265/70R17 ST Maxx, Lift, Lockers, Lockup Mate, Low range reduction, LRA Aux tank, bull bar, winch, lots of touring stuff. Flappy paddles. MMCS is gone!

              Project: NJ SWB. 285/75R16 ST Maxx, 2" OME suspension, 2" body lift, ARB 110, 120l tank, bullbar, scratches, no major dents. Fully engineered in SA. NW DiD & auto in place - a long way to go....

              Scorpro Explorer Box


              • #8
                Each to their own. How we all camp and traveI can vary greatly between us. have a 40 litre engel in the vehicle I use for freezing. Mostly fishing bait and also water bottles. 80 litre fridge in the camper for foodstuff and drinks. Wouldn't go any smaller. Depends on how hot the country is you camp in. In FNQ it can get bloody hot and humid. Also remote camping means less shop runs and going away with 4 blokes fishing/camping often sees us with 2 x 80 litre fridges and 3-4 x 40 litre fridges. Ice boxes wouldn,t last a day unless 100+ litres and top quality to use as an ice box only. I reckon 60 litres would be a good size for a family. Definitely a dual zone. The advantage of a separate fridge and freezer is very handy. The idea of camping is to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Having a good size fridge just makes it more enjoyable and the difference between a 32 litre and 60 litre fridge power consumption is minimal.
                Dicko. FNQ

                2014 NW with all the usual stuff plus more.
                If you take life too seriously you will never get out alive....

                Telegraph X camper


                • #9
                  Thanks all.

                  Have to laugh-this has turned into a discussion about eggs! At one time our chooks decided to lay their eggs in the bush up the back rather that in the layer boxes, was probably for 3 weeks until I cottoned onto it and found where they were laying them. Every single one of those eggs was fine, some a little runny compared to normal home layed eggs, but none were bad.

                  Anyway, the eggs were just an example. I normally do keep them out of the ice box unless I'm trying to get them out of the road.

                  The frozen veggies don't have to be frozen, they're normally thawed in the ice box after a day or so. They just make life so easy, pour some into a pan and cook rather than having to dirty other dishes trying to cut them all up etc. My main meal of choice lately while away is just some diced frozen veggies in a pan, cook, add some mince, cook, sprinkle some stock powder over the top. Stir and eat. Fits my clean type diet and is easy to cook.

                  Pretty much most of my food has to be kept cold, unless I ditch the frozen veggies, but I'm not a massive eater. I know some guys take frozen pizzas, pies etc away with them. I just stick to some veggies and meat, no pasta, bread etc as wheat doesn't agree with me and I'm fairly strict on what I eat these days.

                  I was thinking of trying to run it at around -1, so the stuff at the bottom will just be frozen and the stuff higher just extra cold fridge type temps. This would leave some room for leaving it off for a while when not driving around. Might look into a small extra battery to go along with the fridge so it can run it for a bit longer when car is off, but I'll see how I go first.

                  Normal use on a hunting trip is a base camp, and driving out to spots in mornings and evenings. Fishing trips are often in the one spot not moving, but can always run the car for a while each day to keep charge up and fridge cold. Easier than driving into town for more ice

                  So from what everyone is saying, it sounds like I would get away with 15-20l size, and these would also fit behind front seats or possible even under the platform I'm planning. That sounds very positive for keeping things nice and neat in there.

                  Appreciate the responses everyone


                  • #10
                    I've got a 40L Waeco CF-40, sometimes I wish I had just a little xtra space of the CF-50 for my partner & I. Summer weekend trips up the river require a bit more space for keeping more drinks cold. Longer touring trips 1-3wks, we precook & vacseal our dinners and then carry fresh ham/cheese/veg to make lunch wraps. This means a few less cold drinks in the fridge at the end of the day. Depending on the climate, the old "take 1 out, put a new one in" doesn't always get cold enough before I'm ready for it.
                    2013 NW GLX. 268,000km | ARB Deluxe Bar | Boo's bashplates | 4x4 Tough (Aldi) Winch | Underbonnet dual battery & db140i isolator | D697 265/70r17 | Rhino tracks & vortex bars | DIY rear drawers | Waeco CF40 | 60L water bladder | 2.5m awning | Vlad TC mod | UH8060.
                    --SOLD--1995 NJ GLS 3.5L Manual. 348,000km 2" Toughdog/EFS suspension, 265/75r16 Toyo Open Country A/T II


                    • #11
                      We have 2x 57L Engels, one for car and camper. I enjoy good food when camping, one of the reasons I love camping. Going to the fridge and pulling out some mudcake to have with an afternoon coffee is very enjoyable, also the wife would kill me if there wasn't at least a few different cheeses in the fridge. My wife generally likes to have at least a few extra meals up her sleeve anyway so usually when it's time to resupply the fridge is still 1/4 - 1/3 full!

                      In saying that if we need to be mindful of fridge space, we vacuum seal things and have canned veges etc. We did the Nullabor Perth-Adelaide over 6 days, 5 of us with just the car and swags and had no issues with space in the 57L fridge. We used to use my old 32L Engel for the 4 of us for week long trips, but like you we don't drink beer, barely have soft drink so stick to water and long life juice.

                      You will get away with a 40L but I reckon the 50-60L range will give you the space you need plus some spare room for mudcake....
                      SOLD 2004 NP 3.2 auto
                      NOW 2014 Ranger XLT auto


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jasonmc73 View Post
                        For me i have 60 litre Evakool, the old fashion ttype Evakool with motor hanging of the end.
                        I don't call that old fashioned, in fact it allows for far superior air flow around the motor and that helps keep the time needed to run down. When I buy another EvaKool, it will be the same type.

                        It might not look as pretty but it's far more efficient.
                        Last edited by Ian H; 05-02-21, 08:36 PM.
                        2015 NX GLS, Factory alloy bar, Kings HD Springs & Koni Shocks with 50mm lift, MM Auto Mate, Paddle shift kit, dual batteries with Redarc DC/DC, LRA 58L tank, Safari snorkel, Boo's bash plates (full set), 17" steels with BFG KO2's, Drifta drawers with slide, TPMS, Uniden UH8080S, Alpine iLX-702D head unit. Goldstream caravan and a TVan Firetail.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nab View Post

                          You will get away with a 40L but I reckon the 50-60L range will give you the space you need plus some spare room for mudcake....
                          don't think I've ever considered taking mudcake out with me camping!!

                          Forgot to mention, I'm generally on my own so catering only for me most of the time.

                          Looking at the prices, I could get a small 15-20l one for half the price of one that is double the size. It could end up being efficient for me to get 2 of the smaller sizes, or just start with one small one and up to a second larger one for longer trips.

                          Only problem with that is if/when I get a deer I'll be struggling for room for it. But as most trips are winter in cold areas it won't be much of a stress until driving home


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ian H View Post

                            I don't call that old fashioned, in fact it allows for far superior air flow around the motor and that helps keep the time needed to run down. When I buy another EvaKool, it will be the same type.

                            It might look as pretty but it's far more efficient.
                            I'm with you Ian,

                            Maybe a better description would be "original design" .
                            It is a great fridge, actually mine is old, I brought is second hand about 3 years ago, it is the original no display,
                            Cost me $375, works well

                            The below would be my 1st choice, but unfortunately does not suit my application.

                            I kick myself as i can see a day when they no longer exist.
                            Evakool was my 2nd choice as it fits.
                            I wouldn't buy Evakool's other options, just not for me.

                            Mitsubishi Pajero NX MY16


                            • #15
                              have a ARB 47lt. 11 years old and still going good. Handle broke last year and cost $30 to fix. The temp control also went and was $110 to fix from memory. Its had a well used life though. I like it over an ingle as the 47 is that, where the ingle has the cooler element run around the inside, or did. So you loose internal size from the get go.

                              We did a 14 day desert tip without restocking, family of 4, it worked for us. I tend to put 3 beers in and replace one as I pull one. Seems to keep up at 2deg.

                              I find / observed, anything bigger then a 50lt you need two people to load it, even empty. The bigger the fridge also sucks more power. So bigger batteries, bigger solar, more weight and size, or start the car more often to recharge the battery. But as others have said smaller the better if you can get by.


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