We travel with a 55L Evakool Fridge (which is actually broken at the moment!) in the Dmax , and an 82L Evakool Fridge/Freezer in the camper trailer. In actual fact they can run as fridges or freezers (or both), but we’ve set them up this way for a number of reasons. Having a 12V fridge and freezer is a game changer, and allows us to camp in comfort for weeks at a time.
On a different note, we’ve written an Evakool Review for those who are interested!
A fridge in the 4WD is fantastic
One of the best accessories you can fit to your 4WD is a 12V fridge. No matter where you go, you always have the car nearest to you.
We use our car fridge a huge amount, and whilst on day trips out and about its great to be able to pull over, fold the table down and open the fridge, grabbing out what ever it is that you feel like eating. I did consider having the freezer in the car, but it would be totally useless 95% of the time, and they use more power which means you need a bigger 12V electrical system to run it.
You are better to run a fridge and freezer separately
The Fridge Freezer in our Reconn R2 is currently run as a fridge/freezer, in that about 35% of it is freezer space, and the other 60% is fridge. This is always a compromise, as its very hard to keep your fridge at fridge temperature, and your freezer at freezer temperature without some cross over. If you put vegetables, or sensitive food in the fridge section close to the freezer, it will often freeze, and then it goes bad real quick.
The ideal scenario is to run two separate units, or a lot of new units are coming with splits in the middle and separate controls, which is brilliant. It’s so much more simple to have two units with one as a dedicated freezer, and the other a dedicated fridge. However, having both a fridge and a freezer makes it worth it, regardless.
Fridge and Freezer size
You can never have too much fridge or Freezer space (just watch your weights!). For a family of 3, we can just squeeze what we need into a 55L Evakool for a week. However, having an 82L on top of this is gold, and its not hard to be at 70+% capacity between the two units when travelling for longer periods.
Getting a freezer
When we started camping in our 80 Series, we just had a single fridge in the back of the car.
The real game changer for us though, was when we decided to run a freezer in the camper trailer. Back then, this was in our soft floor camper trailer, and we ran a dedicated 55L Evakool Freezer. I had to do a substantial 12V electrical upgrade in order to run this, and we used the older of the two Evakools as the Freezer. This was partly because it had no digital thermostat, but also because it used less power.
The original design and build was done for Steep Point, where we spent 9 nights camped out at a fairly remote place; the western most point of Australian mainland. We brought back a fair bit of fish, and having frozen meals ready was fantastic for our little son in terms of easy meal preparation and overall enjoyment on the trip.
Since then, we’ve done a 3 month trip up north, where we prepared a vacuum sealed food, taking it with us in the freezer. We had ice cream, pasta sauces, various marinated meats, pre mate spaghetti bolognaise and a whole heap of other delicious food. The freezer was completely full when we left (including a loaf of bread) and slowly emptied as we travelled. We bought more food along the way at the bigger places where it was cheaper, and froze it to have with us.
Having a freezer has made camping so much easier. When you are camping with a toddler things are tedious enough without having to prepare food from scratch every time. If we had a long day, we would simply pull out a bag of lovely home made pasta sauce, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta in, drop the bag of sauce into the water to warm it up, drain the lot and combine it.
One pot, one stove and literally about 10 minutes for some delicious home made pasta, or butter chicken, or soup, or what ever we chose to have. Of course, there were days where things were far cruisier, and then we’d pull out a chunk of pork, or a roast lamb and cook it over the fire from late in the afternoon.
The freezer has been brilliant; you can laugh at the fact that ice cream is a luxury, but the benefits of being able to take a fair bit of food with you has been fantastic for us, and I’m really happy with the way our electrical system is handling it.
Today, we get away with running a much smaller freezer (probably about 35 litres, but it does us just fine.
If you’ve been considering adding a 12V Fridge or Freezer to your arsenal, they are a game changer. What do you use now?