Keeping the food you’ve brought on your caravanning or camping trip as fresh and full of nutrients as possible can easily be done with a portable freezer. By far, fridge freezers are among the most welcomed additions to any camping arsenal. They absolutely change the way you eat when exploring the great Australian outback and can raise your culinary game to the next level. Although you can definitely go adventuring without one, once you take the plunge you’ll be sorry why you didn’t break the ice leash sooner. There are several advantages and very few disadvantages to using a fridge/freezer. The two most popular types? Dual-zone and 3-way portable freezers, undoubtedly. Let’s take a look at their specifics and help you choose the best model for your needs.
Dual Zone (2-way)
• This type of freezer works by providing power through a 12V battery and through the main 240V source. But what’s even more interesting with this type is that you can use it both as a freezer and a fridge, which is why it is the dual zone fridge freezers camping enthusiasts love to have in their arsenal of equipment. These appliances can be easily stored in any vehicle, making your camping trips that much more convenient.
• One of the major benefits with these type of portable freezers is that they are very powerful which means that they can provide more consistent performance and are able to maintain the low temperatures. They can also run very efficiently even when using the 12V battery and there are no problems in their performance regardless of whether they’re being put on an incline or not.
• Although quite powerful, with dual zone fridge freezers camping models you can actually keep your food well preserved without using a lot of energy, thanks to their built-in energy-saving features. If you want to make your appliance even more energy-efficient, put some food-grade ice packs to help it keep very low temperatures and use less energy than usual.
• Another very interesting feature of dual zone fridge freezers camping models is that they can keep your food and tea warm, sparing you from starting a fire just to reheat your drinks and meals. In order to make this function energy-saving, make sure you put a couple of dry ice packs inside.
Things to Consider
• What’s important to consider before buying a dual zone fridge freezer, is the amperage draw as this largely affects how the freezer will operate and the safety around it. The amperage draw increases together with the demands of your electrical system, and if they increase the power draw too much you’ll need to start supplementing the freezer’s primary battery. But there’s also the risk of your food getting spoilt if the amperage drops too low as in this case, the freezer will turn off in order to keep the engine going. In this scenario, it’s best that you get a portable freezer with a low amperage draw and then add a secondary battery.
• The wiring on these portable fridge freezers is made to sustain a fair amount of electricity but it is not enough to handle the current draw which usually starts at around 2.5 amps. This will require you to connect an extra wire from the battery to the fridge so it can handle the electrical demands easier. Talking about everything running properly, you’ll also need to leave some free space around the freezer so there’s enough airflow going through the mechanical and electrical components.
• A 3-way freezer works using LPG gas in order to keep its inside cool and because of that, there is no need to purchase additional batteries. This type of freezer is ideal for people who don’t want to mess around with different charging options and various backups as you’ll only need a gas bottle and a couple of refills which can last you up to 3 weeks at a time.
• Unlike dual zone fridge freezers camping models, 3-way freezers are not noisy and they make for an affordable solution for long caravanning trips that don’t require you to climb up and down hills on the regular. They do not allow heavy-duty cooling when it comes to highly perishable foods but they are ideal for people who want to keep it simple without having to spend a lot on bulky batteries or to charge them before every trip.
• When it comes to long-lasting capabilities, a 3-way portable freezer is the winner here since it can last more than 20 years. This is due to it being able to maintain more moderate temperatures as more power is needed to maintain lower temperatures. A dual-zone fridge freezer doesn’t have an extremely long lifespan – it will perform at its best for about 10 to 15 years – this depends on the model and how well you take care of it.
Things to Consider
• Weight plays a major role in the performance of these freezers since portability is their most prominent feature, which means adding a 9kg gas bottle can definitely hinder it. Of course, this will also depend on its capacity, which when full can have an effect on the gas mileage. But all in all, if you can move it easily from one place to another, there’s really nothing else to worry about.
• The direction in which the doors open plays a great role in where you place the fridge. Therefore, your best bet is choosing a model that opens from the top. This also affects how the cold air escapes as it’s easier for it to leave the freezer from the sides rather than the top. Also, the food and drinks you keep inside it are not going to fall out as easily if you go for a freezer that opens from the top.