Can You Use A Tabletop Fridge For Camping? (Read This First)

Can You Use a Tabletop Fridge for Camping

When planning a camping trip, there are many appliances you can take to make it more enjoyable. 

A refrigerator is one such appliance you may want to consider for your trip. However, not all refrigerators are meant for camping, as you’ll discover in this guide. 

Consequently, you’ll find that besides keeping your meals fresh, your fridge has other purposes it can serve.

You can use tabletop fridges for camping. Their small and portable size make them ideal for use in camps. However, you’ll need access to a power source to keep the fridge running. So, depending on your power needs and the length of your camping trip, you’ll need access to electrical hookups, a portable battery, or a generator.

Taking your tabletop fridge on your camping trip will certainly make things easier and the experience more enjoyable.

This article highlights the feasibility of using a fridge when camping, how it benefits you, and how you can manage one onsite. 

Can I Take a Tabletop Fridge Camping?

Can You Use a Tabletop Fridge for Camping

Yes, you can use your tabletop fridge for your camping trip if you have electrical hookups. So, you’ll need to be able to access an electrical source to power the fridge and keep it running.

On the other hand, a generator or battery pack is an effective way to keep your fridge powered without access to a power source. In addition to this, you can charge the fridge with solar power.

Though, you may want to consider the temperature range of your fridge before taking it along on your camping trip. 

For example, most tabletop fridges aren’t manufactured to function under outdoor temperatures.

If taken outside, these types of fridges will cause their components to wear out quickly, greatly reducing their durability.

This wear and tear occur because your fridge works overtime to maintain your cooling demands, which it may not be able to keep up with.

Nevertheless, the choice to take your tabletop fridge camping will depend on the availability of power resources and your specific needs.

Can You Use a Table Top Fridge in a Camping Tent?

Yes, you can use your tabletop fridge in your camping tent. However, if your camping tent groundsheet is sewn-in and you’re able to close it fully, ensure to use it in an open porch area.

For additional safety, it would be best to use a carbon monoxide alarm in your campsite tent.

Alternatively, you can opt for a propane-powered fridge. However, they generally cost more and may require you to do regular maintenance.

But, if you can afford a propane-powered fridge, then it’s generally recommended that you inquire whether they are allowed in the vicinity you plan on camping.

Lastly, if your tent isn’t electrically powered, you may need to use a generator or a battery pack powered by an inverter.

Do I Need a Fridge When Going RV Camping?

Taking a refrigerator on a camping trip will depend on your needs and personal preferences. 

For instance, if you plan on making and storing meals during your trip, you may find a fridge essential.

However, if you prefer to eat non-perishable food, or purchase food, then a fridge may not be necessary for your camping trip.

Additionally, you’ll have to put into consideration where to power your fridge if you decide to take it camping.

Nonetheless, it’s best to opt for a fridge, especially if you’re not a fan of non-perishable foods,

As stated earlier, you can be able to power your fridge on a campsite through solar power, a generator, or by connecting to shore power.

Without your fridge to keep your foodstuff cool, you’ll be left with limited options besides non-perishable or canned foods.

These canned foods are bound to get old quickly. So, a fridge is essential if you go on regular camp trips in your RV.

Furthermore, you may want to consider the ideal size fridge for your RV.  You can try installing a standard fridge in your RV, but it may require some work.

These refrigerators aren’t designed for use in RVs. They lack the durability to withstand an RV’s continuous bumping and vibrations during a trip.

These issues make them more prone to malfunction, which eventually may turn out to be more work than you can handle, especially on a campsite.

Also, a standard-size fridge requires more power, so you’ll need a larger battery pack, generator, or be connected to shore power to keep it running.

Standard-size fridges can also be larger than RVs, so you may face some challenges trying to get them to fit into your RV.

Thus, it’s always best to use an RV fridge, as they are of an ideal size for installation in the pre-sized cabinets of the RV, which have flanges to hold the fridge in place.

What Size Refrigerator is Best for Camping?

The ideal size of the fridge for your camping trip will depend on factors like the nature and number of people on the camping trip.

Generally, portable refrigerators come in different sizes ranging from sizes as little as 7 liters to as large as 100 liters.

A 30-Liter fridge will be ideal for a weekend away involving two campers or a whole week for a camping trip of one person.

In addition, a 30-liter fridge can hold up to  47 cans of drinks, while a 40-liter fridge can hold approximately 60 cans.

However, the 40-liter fridge is more common and convenient for at least two to three people for a long weekend away.

So, if you’re camping alone or with a smaller group, a smaller size fridge, like 30 liters, would suffice.

But, if you’re camping with a larger group or your family or camping for an extended period, then a larger fridge would be more suitable.

Additionally, your storage space or the size of your camping vehicle plays a role in determining the size of the fridge suitable for your trip.

A larger refrigerator may prove more difficult to integrate into the layout of your vehicle. Thus, a smaller fridge like the 30-liter one would be a better choice.

Similarly, consider the availability of a power source when choosing a particular size of a refrigerator.

Ultimately, the best size of the refrigerator for your camping trip will depend on the nature of the camping trip, your specific needs, and your personal preferences.

How to Power Your Refrigerator When Camping?

There are several ways you can power your fridge at a campsite.

Some of the most popular ways of doing this include using the following:

  • Car batteries or portable power packs
  •  Generator or camping batteries
  • Solar energy
  • Powered campsite 

#1. Car Batteries

For most people, an ideal way of powering a refrigerator while camping is by using battery power.

Also, using car batteries and portable battery packs can be reliable for powering fridges or freezers like the 12V battery if you own one.

Generally, a small portable fridge can function on a 12V 1000AH lead acid car battery for at least 30-50 hours.

Also, you can use your standard car battery to power your refrigerator. Although, a standard car battery will be able to power your fridge for at most 5 hours.

However, the ability of these batteries will depend greatly on your fridge’s power consumption and capacity.

A small fridge can run for longer hours on a car battery, while a larger fridge will need an alternative power source or a higher power capacity.

Here are the steps to power your fridge with a car battery when on a camping trip:

1. Try getting a 12V refrigerator that’s suitable for camping and has low power consumption.

2. Connect the fridge to the car battery using a suitable cable.

3. Next, ensure that the car engine is running or a solar panel is charging the battery to avoid draining the car battery.

4. Alternatively, you can use a portable battery pack to power the fridge instead of using the car battery.

5. Use a battery monitor to keep track of the battery level and avoid over-discharging the battery.

6. Consider using a solar panel to recharge the battery during the day if you plan on camping for an extended period.

Remember to always take appropriate safety precautions when working with electricity, especially on a campsite.

Also,  make sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidance on powering your fridge.

#2. Generator

Depending on the size of your fridge, you’ll need a generator with a high power output to run it. 

Most generators require between 300 and 800 watts of electricity to run. So, you’ll need a generator with enough power to meet this requirement.

#3. Solar-Powered Energy

Also, you can opt for an environmentally-friendly and sustainable solar-powered generator to run your refrigerator.

These solar energy generators are available for your purchase in markets, and they’re able to power your fridge with solar energy even when no other power source is available.

Here are some of the best portable generators for camping:

  • Goal  Zero Yeti 1000 Core + Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar Generator and;
  • Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 1000

To power your fridge with solar energy when camping, here are some steps you can take:

1. Understand the power requirements of your fridge to determine how many solar panels and batteries you will need.

2. Connect the solar panels to a solar charge controller to regulate the charge going to the batteries.

3. Connect the batteries to an inverter to convert the DC power stored in the batteries to AC power that your fridge can use.

4. Connect your fridge to the inverter, and switch it on to start using solar power to keep your food fresh.

5. Monitor your battery levels regularly and recharge them using your solar panels as needed.

It’s worth noting that powering a fridge with solar energy while camping may require a significant investment in solar panels.

It will also involve similar investments in batteries and other equipment and careful monitoring of your energy usage and battery levels. 

However, the benefits of being able to keep your food cold without relying on gas or electricity can make it a worthwhile investment for many campers.

#4. Powered Campsite

With good research, you can choose a campsite with locations where you can plug in your electrical appliances.

This resource can prove very useful when you plan on taking a portable refrigerator on your trip.

Thus, if you plan on camping at a site with access to a main power resource, then you can plug in your refrigerator to keep your drinks and food cold.

Pros and Cons of Camping With a Refrigerator

Below are some pros and cons of camping with a fridge:

ConvenienceBulky size and weight
More meal optionsUnavailability of power source
Temperature controlMaintenance
Energy efficiencyCost-effective
ComfortLimited off-grid capability
Josh Matthews

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