Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Often we are asked what Fridge should I choose?

Basically there are two types of fridges for caravanning and camping and these are the Two Way Fridge and Three Way Fridge.


These fridges use a motor to cool, much like your home fridge, but they run off 12, 24 or 240 volts.

  • Electric power: 12v, 24v, 240v
  • Can run on gas: No
  • Can warm food: No
  • Can freeze food: Yes
  • Cooling at 20 degrees: -18
  • Cooling at 40 degrees: -10
  • Maximum amps on 12v: 4 to 7
  • Average amps on 12v: 1 to 3
  • Amp hours per day: 24 to 72
  • Noise level: Medium
  • Heat output: Low
  • Fast cooling: Yes
  • Capacity range (litres): 13 to 110
  • Price range: $600 to $2000

Two Way Fridges are great for Touring as power can be supplied from your vehicle even when parked.  They do not need to be level and will maintain temperatures even in hot weather.  However, they need constant power to run when camped ie; dual Battery System, Solar or a Generator.


  • These fridges use a source of heat running on 12 or 240 volts and even gas.
  • Electric power: 12v, 240v
  • Can run on gas: Yes
  • Can warm food: No
  • Can freeze food: In cool weather
  • Cooling at 20 degrees: -10
  • Cooling at 40 degrees: +3 to +15
  • Some higher priced models may also have a freezer compartment, which can hold -15 degrees on a 40 degree day
  • Maximum amps on 12v: 10
  • Average amps on 12v: 10
  • Amp hours per day: 240
  • Noise level: Low
  • Heat output: High
  • Fast cooling: No
  • Capacity range (litres): 39 to 50
  • Price range: $350 to $1200

Three way fridges can be operated efficiently for long periods of time on gas, no need to rely on batteries or AC.  They run quietly and have no moving parts.  However, they need to be ventilated and draw a lot of power especially on 12v power.  They need to be level to run on all three settings and must not run on gas while mobile. They don’t run very well in high temperatures and can take a long time to cool on 12v.

Basically it boils down to what use you need it for.  If you plan on camping in the middle of nowhere for long periods of time then perhaps a Three Way Fridge is what you need but if you’re 4wd driving and stopping frequently, the three way just won’t cut it and you should opt for a two way.



FRIGDE STAND  VALUED AT  -          $49.95
TOTAL                                        -   $149.85




  1. Hi Ian and Team

    Thank you for your email regarding the types of fridges for caravanning and camping.

    We have had a (second hand) 50 litre Chescold 3 way fridge (with small freezer compartment) since 2008 and have used it on extensive trips eg. around Australia, Brisbane to Cape York via Lawn Hill Gorge, and Brisbane to the Flinders Ranges in SA and back.

    Thought we might share with you how we overcome the valid issues you have raised on using this type of fridge.

    Firstly we do not put any food in the fridge or freezer compartment until the 3 way has been cooled sufficiently. This is done by connecting it to 240 v supply either overnight or at least 4 hours prior to departure. Secondly, the food which is put in the 3 way has been in the household fridge or freezer overnight and thus is either cold or frozen when inserted. We freeze small packs of food like the packs of meat, poultry etc. which you can buy in supermarkets, and put this in the cooled 3 way just prior to leaving home.

    We have a dual battery system and, once the fridge is connected to the 12 v supply and we start on the journey, it is rarely turned off (an exception would be urgent repairs or servicing required).

    The fridge is run all day on the 12v system while the vehicle is running. The back battery is connected to the main battery under the bonnet of the 4wd (we have a ute with a canopy over the rear tray which has sliding windows and one of these can be slightly opened to provide adequate ventilation). When we stop along the way eg for lunch, we switch off the connection to the main battery and, for a short time, the fridge keeps running off the back battery. After the vehicle is again started the switch to the main battery is turned on.

    When we arrive at our destination the fridge is disconnected from the 12v supply and, if on a powered site is promptly connected to 240v power- if not it is connected to a gas cylinder and run on gas. We carry at least 2x 4.5kg gas cylinders and can stay in an isolated area for as long as the food supply lasts. When we fill up with more food supplies, the gas cylinder which has been in use is also topped up.

    We would be happy for you to send these details to owners of Customline Camper Trailers. Should you or owners have any queries or want clarification we will endeavour to assist.


    Kevin Galligan

  2. I have a 45l and an 80l Engel Fridge/Freezer that I use on every camping trip! So reliable and use barely any battery as
    Long as they are used correctly. A