With the many different pieces of equipment one can take on a camping trip, a camping fridge is often an unsung hero. We all think about a flashlight, tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils, but a camping fridge is often relegated to a simple cooler.
A camping fridge can be run in many ways, but one of the most popular is through the use of a car battery. These fridges can operate on the 12-volt battery from your car. However, there are going to be some considerations in using and operating a camping fridge to ensure that your battery will last your entire trip without any problems.
Size of Camping Fridge
There are several different sizes of camping fridges to choose from for your campsite. The larger the unit, the more power it is going to take to keep the inside cooling area to a cool enough level to keep food fresh. Typically, you will want to keep a smaller camping fridge with you.
A smaller camping fridge also has a major advantage of larger units. If the power from your battery does go out, then the motor in your smaller fridge will still continue to run from stored energy. This could be enough to keep your items cool enough to keep them from perishing.
Periodically Start Engine
A car battery can recharge from the alternator once is it running. Every few hours, start your car and let it run for a few minutes to give the battery another charge. This will keep the level topped off as much as possible.
Install a Second Battery
Sometimes the battery will go dead for unforeseeable reasons. It is a good idea to have a second battery installed that you can switch over to in the event this happens. You can even use the second battery to help recharge the first one.
Install an Auxiliary Switch
Having your camping fridge connected to the battery can give you the power you need, but can also drain your battery quickly when your car is not in use. With the more modern camping fridges available, they will remain cooler much longer when there is no power to them. Install an auxiliary switch between the battery and camping fridge so you can turn it off when you don't want to run down the battery. When it starts to cool down too much, simply turn it back on to bring back to temperature.
The location of your fridge will also have a lot to do with the battery consumption. If you place the fridge near a window that gets direct sunlight, it will draw more power to keep it cooled down. If you are camping in a place where the outside temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, your camping fridge will draw a lot of power regardless.
Many campers will help out their battery by having a small solar-powered generator installed to run the fridge during the afternoon hours. This will lessen the load on the battery and make it only for night time use when the temperatures are cooler.