Portable fridges?

#1
So im interested to hear what everyone has for a fridge and how you like it. I have been considering buying one for me and the family. We all know the main brand that are ARB and Engel. As much as i want to just go out and buy a ARB fridge i think the wife would have a heart attack if she knew how much they cost.

So in my need for a quick fridge for an upcoming trip i started looking on Craigslist for something cheap. i found 2
http://bakersfield.craigslist.org/for/4605972136.html
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/for/4616593250.html

the 3 way fridge sort of intrigued me. The fact that you can run it off of propane once your at your at the camp site is pretty neat. Anyone know how well these work?

I have ran our Ironman fridge and it does great as well. very similar to the ARB but also about the same in cost.

-Raul
 

Dave

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#2
Engel MT-45, had it since 2006. Rock solid.

There are more "blingy" fridges available today like ARB or National Luna, but my Engel has been flawless.

3 way? They're crap IMO. We have one in our Jayco Baja... by the time it gets properly cold (even on shore power) the weekend is half over... YMMV.

Of all the mods or gear that a guy could buy, a good bathroom setup and a quality 12v fridge usually end up being a favorite with the wife and least likely to result in...

:rollingpin
 
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TangoBlue

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#3
Yeah, I have one of those "blingy" (WTF Dave?) ARB fridges.

Mine has got this blinged out control panel with an ON/OFF switch and another switch to change the temperature with a digital LED read-out, it's AC/DC, has circuitry that senses when the battery is too low and shuts off the unit, has an LED light inside, and it's like, cold... 'cuz that's how I roll!

The Whytner you see is also marketed as an Edgestar. Both are at the lower end of the price-point for portable fridge/freezers and most reports I've seen have been very positive. Like Dave suggests, I recommend staying away from the other offering, the 3-way Dometic for the same reasons - not as efficient.

A fridge has been transformational for the camping experience; I've had mine for over 4 years in the back of the truck without any problems. Skeptics who were critical changed their tune after using it a few times.
 

Dave

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#4
The Engel MT-45 has a rheostat for on/off and temp control. Anything more than that, especially extraneous things like temperature readout, is just new fangled bling :D
 
#5
Engel MT-45 here since 2010. Love it but $$$. Recently picked up a used Norcold for my trailer project. Similar model to the Engel MT-60. couple years old bought it from some older gentleman for $200 :cool:. Probably too much fridge for a single dude like me It just pulls mini fridge duty in my bedroom until I get off my ass and figure out how to secure it in the trailer. ARB/Engel/Norcold are terms I search for on craiglist pretty regularly even though I have no need for ANOTHER fridge :p deals to be had if you are fast enough.

IMG_0621.JPG
 

Al Swope

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#6
Back in 1649 when Lewis and Clark first crossed the Alps, they didn't need no stinking refrigerator! I'd like to find one that can stand upright, do any?
 

BMThiker

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#7
I have a dead WAECO (Dometic). You can read about it here. There's basically no customer service in the US for that brand. It ran for 4 years nearly flawlessly.

I'm probably going to get something in a 45-50L size to replace it before the end of year. Haven't decided on a model yet.
 

woody

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#8
I've only had the ARB but don't think you can go wrong with any of the 3 mentioned by Dave. It comes down to small differences and price point. ARB customer service is really great. Try to hold out to MRV and view all of them live in concert?
 
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Herbie

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#9
I've been using the Edgestar FP430 (43L little brother of the "Whynter" fridge you found on Craigslist, made by same folks). I bought mine directly from compactappliance.com, but there's a whole thread over on ExPo on people who've waited for scratch-n-dent deals and they've done REALLY well. The used 86qt you found is BIG, but that's a good price if it's working.

I like mine just fine, it's been working for me. I did some current consumption measurements a while back and found it was not much less efficient than the more expensive fridges, and the fact that it was a bit cheaper meant I could afford the 3year extension to the warranty (which, it turns out I haven't needed, as I've had 4 trouble-free years now).

In particular, I like that it opens along the long edge vs. at the short edge, so the overall height to open the top is reduced (a plus in my installation). It's a bit taller than some of the other brands, though, so possibly close to a wash...
 

73IHC

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#11
I am working on a trailer project and have been debating about a fridge. I already have a bunch of igloo chests and we havent really had any issues in the past.

I was thinking about getting a smaller fridge/freezer, keeping it in the tow vehicle and putting in a portable ice maker in the trailer for everything else. Some of them make up to 32#s of ice in 24 hours which is way less than the 5-10# bags we use every 2 or 3 days.

We havent had to freeze anything while camping and what we do need to freeze, we freeze for the trip but since I plan to start going hunting with the trailer, then I would definitely need a freezer.
 

BMThiker

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#12
Nothing more convenient than loading up a week's worth of frozen veggies and prepared food (Trader Joe's), driving for 2-3 days and camping for a week without the need to re-ice a cooler, or deal with draining the cooler of water. One of the main reason's I miss mine is being able to go grocery shopping on my lunch break without a second thought. Also great for storing my lunchables or carting leftovers from a restaurant home.
 
#13
Buddy of mine with an FJ Cruiser put in an ARB fridge years ago. He's a defense attorney. Walking out to the parking lot one day with a deputy DA and paused at his truck and asked the guy if he wanted a cold one. Got a shocked look. Opened his truck and the fridge and pulled out two ice cold bottles of water! :lol
 

bob91yj

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#17
Been using my Edgestar electric cooler on a daily basis since '08. It sits on the patio keeping beer/water cold when it's not in a vehicle on a trip.
 
#18
Called up my distributer and got hooked up on a 50l arb unit. I should have it this week. Figured I would take the plunge. Now I need to break it to the wife lol
I think you will be happy with it. I had been reluctant to go with a fridge, but I am glad we took the plunge. We went with the 60L ARB (one of only a handful running around in the US) and a slide from TemboTusk to make it easier to get in and out.


Cooking it up at Overland Expo by Beau_Johnston, on Flickr
 
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