Portable fridges - Is bigger, better?

This is one of the questions we are asked the most.



Our first instinct is to think bigger is better. A big fridge with a separate freezer sounds easy, and fair enough too – after all it’s what we’re used to at home. But happy camping and touring is all about saving space and saving power – something a big fridge is definitely not going to help you with.

The inconvenient size and high-power usage of a really big fridge is a major drawback. Where are you going to store it? Can you even lift it when it’s full? If you think about practicality, it’s very unpractical. And, what are you going to do with it when you’re not on vacation? If it’s too big, it probably won’t stay in the back of your car. Most likely, it’ll be sitting in the shed growing cobwebs. But if you’ve got a small or medium size fridge, you can keep it in the car or ute, and use it all year for things like shopping, keeping your lunch fresh and your drinks cool.

So, where to from here?

Let’s break it down into three main categories:     Camping, 4WD Touring and Caravanning.



Handy Baskets

When it comes to camping, preparation is the key to a good trip.

If you’re at a caravan park, or a well-known campsite, chances are you’ll be within walking or driving distance to a local store or town. This is great, because you will be able to re-supply every couple of days, so you won’t need a big fridge full of meat, dairy and other perishables. Even for a family of four, you will be able to get away with a 40 to 50 litre fridge. And if you’re smart with your storage of cold drinks (for instance keeping 6 cans cold at a time instead of 24), then you are well on the way to an easy camping trip.

For general camping, we recommend either the Original Bushman in 52L configuration, or the 3-Way XD70. These are two very different options, so please check out the detailed information on each of their pages on our website.

In short, here are the benefits of each fridge.

The XD70 is a 61L chest fridge and is designed primarily to run on LPGas. It will run for up to 4 weeks on a full 9kg gas bottle. The XD70 is not designed to run in the back of a car, so it’s great for a long stint in the one place. And, you don’t have to worry about your 12V power supply. The XD70 will also run effectively on 240V, so you can cool your fridge down and have it packed and ready to go before you leave home.

The Original Bushman. In 52 litre configuration, The Original Bushman Fridge is a great family camping fridge. It operates on 12V or 240V and when packed well, you can keep enough perishables for all the family (and plenty of cold drinks). To see how to best pack your Original Bushman in 52L, check out this video by Jarrod The Camping Guru https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm2WH2WDuwc.


4WD Touring

Roadie Back Seat

Ok. So you’re up for some serious 4WD touring or camping away from amenities? Number one, cryovaced meat is a must. Number two, think about using your fridge primarily for perishables like dairy, pre-cooked meals, cold meats, fruit, and for keeping just enough drinks cold at a time. Simple things, like replacing your cold drink with a warm one when you get one out of the fridge, will save you a lot of fridge space and power. Aluminium cans will cool down very quickly, and you’ll never run out of coldies.

A good tip is to use an eski without ice, like a home pantry. This will stop any critters getting into your supplies and is an excellent way to ensure everything stays airtight and dry.

Finally, if you’re going to be spending a lot of time behind the wheel or in a vehicle, consider a small, console style fridge like the Bushman Roadie 15L. The compact size will fit almost anywhere; like on your back seat, in the foot well, to replace your centre console or squeezed in between your gear – preferably even somewhere within reach. The beauty of a little fridge like the Roadie is you can keep drinks and snacks on hand at all times, and even save a bit more space for supplies in your main fridge. Oh yes, and you can also use it as a dedicated freezer!


Portable Fridge in Toyota Landcruiser

When you’re caravanning, space is not such an issue and you may even have a powered site, so having an extra fridge for drinks or a freezer for ice-cream and ice cubes is both handy and practical.

Your caravan probably has a built-in fridge with a small freezer compartment. To compliment this fridge, many of our customers use a chest fridge / freezer in the back of their 4WD or under the bunk / bed in the caravan – either as a dedicated freezer, dedicated fridge, or a bit of both.

In this instance, you might consider using the The Original Bushman Fridge in 35L as a dedicated freezer, or in any configuration up to 52L for use as an extra fridge. And, when in 52L configuration, you can also keep frozen items in the bottom basket and they will stay frozen, while you use the middle and top baskets at fridge temperature.

More info!

Check out our Fridges to find the best portable fridge for you.

Like to see one in person? Visit your Closest Portable Fridge Dealer.

Still got questions? Keep browsing our Buying Guides or Contact Us directly anytime.