Fridge only or fridge/freezer?

BobsCreek

Adventurer
I definitely think that a fridge/freezer is the way to go.

I currently have a NL 50l (I think) and I admit the freezer side is a bit small, but compared to the single zone Engle I also have, I definitely like the NL

Oh, and don't buy a snomaster if you plan on driving off pavement (they don't handle bumps) also their customer service is weak.
 

TwinStick

Explorer
Old thread, I know.

When we purchased ours, there was pretty much 1 choice back in 2014. I ended up getting a 82 qt & a 50 qt ARB Classic, with the intention of using the 50 as a freezer & the other as a fridge.

Turns out that we use the 50 by itself more often than the big one but it sure is nice to have both & have the choice. Also is super nice to have both on long trips. We have 2 big AGM batteries for them and set up our ZR2 to be able to charge both aux batteries while driving down the road, while silmotainiously running the fridges on trucks 12v. We usually camp where there is 120v but have the Honda eu2000i when there is not. It would not be good to let our ZR2 diesel idle all day to charge the batteries. But when driving, no issue.
 

ChadHahn

Adventurer
When I was in Namibia, I went to an outdoor supply store. They had National Luna freezer/fridges for about a third of the price they are in America. I couldn't find anyone with a scale though so I didn't know if the box would weigh over 50 lbs.

I have a Dometic fridge, about 50 liters, I don't want to go check. I also have an Aplicool 15 liter that I intended to use as a freezer. I like Dreadlock's idea of just keeping the temp down near freezing.

I use a Yeti battery pack with a Renogy suitcase panel. As long as I move the panels during the day, it keeps the Yeti charged up.
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
I have an ARB fridge freezer. Meaning that it can be either a fridge or a freezer, I choose the fridge part that I keep at 35 deg. I run it off shore power for a day before a trip to get it cold. I put things in it that are already cold and that helps. I freeze some things in the freezer at home that I do not intend to use right away and when I put them in the fridge, I put them against the wall where it is colder. They usually don't thaw for at least two or three days, not long enough to be an issue. Milk, eggs (in a bottle), meat and vegetables will last a week in there easy. Unless I am with a group that is going so far off grid that we cannot get resupplied easily I am usually not out for more than five days so all is well. Many things not in the fridge are non perishable, canned or freeze dried.
I have been doing this camping stuff for about 40 years so other than my backpacking days I think I have things fairly under control.
I do not have the room for a large piece of equipment and certainly not enough for a large freezer along with my fridge. Would be great to have a gin and tonic after a very warm trail ride but the Ice thing is beyond me. I have a friend with a combo unit and having an ice cream bar in the middle of the desert is very nice and the first time we were out and he ask who wanted ice cream we were all stunned. It was nice to have. Really nice.
I would definitely opt for the single unit fridge. Maybe someday, hmmm.
Is there a 12V ice maker?
 

spikemd

Explorer
Looks like this thread was revived. I have both, single unit and dual unit. I really wanted the dual unit and thought it was so cool, until I used it for a few trips. Dual zone interior is split so less overall space. Biggest issue? Power! The dual zone sucked down more than double the draw the draw of a single. One or the other zone kept kicking on the compressor and if u are using one as a freezer, it uses a lot of power. Without a high capacity AGM/Lithium battery bank, the dual zone kills batteries. It takes more than a 100ah deep cycle for a weekend. You can only draw down 50% of an AGM or deep cycle.

My new build has a large single zone with Lithium battery and Redarc Manager30. It should be sufficient.
 

jmvar

New member
Bringing this one back from the beginning of the year to continue this discussion.

I am looking at getting a 60-70 liter fridge and can see the major benefits of having 2 zones, specifically one that freezes.

When we camp we take little excursions where we use cool packs in little coolers for food and drinks. Currently in our cooler we can only use these for 1-2 days and they thaw. Also having ice would be nice but not completely necessary.

My worry with a dual zone is that we keep a lot of prepared foods in tupperware that is not that easy to cram into limited spaces. Our current cooler is 62 qt. Igloo with one compartment. I figured a 70L fridge would be nice because it gives us more space and we can room by not having to have ice to cool. But I am worried about fitting all the tupperware into 2 separate compartments.

Anyone here have experience purchasing a dual zone fridge and then regret the purchase due to limited options with the 2 smaller compartments rather than one big compartment?

Looking specifically at a Dometic CFX3 75DZ
 

llamalander

Active member
With a freezer, one tupper is many!
I've found a fairly compact, square, Ziplock brand tub that I use for a mold. Meals get frozen in parchment paper in the tupper and decanted into a bag in the freezer, no space wasted on edges or lids. When something needs defrosting, it goes back in the tub in the fridge, and empties straight into the pan, no mess. The parchment is minimal trash or compost, and you only need to keep 1-2 containers in the fridge while the freezer is a library of meals, weeks with a 70L fridge/freezer setup.
Aside, we also have an insulated drawer where we keep veggies so we don't have to move them each time we want something from the fridge. Every day we replace the ice block (bottle) that keeps it cool with a second that has refrozen overnight. This makes the fridge portion quite a bit larger and things stay in better shape, having a proper fridge and a cool box. It's a good system for a few weeks of food, plenty of cold drinks and ice when needed, a thousand times better than eating out of cans!
 

NOPEC

Well-known member
Bringing this one back from the beginning of the year to continue this discussion.

Anyone here have experience purchasing a dual zone fridge and then regret the purchase due to limited options with the 2 smaller compartments rather than one big compartment?

Looking specifically at a Dometic CFX3 75DZ
On our last build, we purpose ordered a non-freezer option in a NovaKool upright. (I realize this is mostly a discussion about the more efficient chest fridges but hopefully some of these thoughts are relevant)

We had a couple of reasons for the non-freezer decision. We had the same sized/brand of fridge in a prior build but with a freezer and found it took up a lot of room in a small fridge for a relatively small payload. This current same sized fridge w/o the freezer feels like it has away more useful space.

As we are mostly campers, we consider our fridge a huge luxury but it is also the biggest gobbler of power when running all of the time. I have really tried to keep our power requirements to a bare minimum. I know that modest is often associated with being boring but so be it. We had decided that we just don't need to have frozen food when we are on the road (no kids and their need for frozen treats helps). So with a pretty efficient fridge and a maintained decent cold thermal mass (we start off with frozen water bottles, cold beer, etc. and work to maintain it by restocking frequently), we simply turn off the fridge at night, something that simply can't be done where there is a need for maintaining below freezing conditions. We have a dedicated external BlueSea switch/breaker that is used after the last "door opening" of the evening occurs. By doing this, we reduce considerable draw on our system.

We just turn it back on in the morning and if there is any decent sun at all, our 200 watts of solar is more than enough to top off the battery while the fridge is running (We also have a dedicated AC battery charger but aren't near shore power most of the time as well as charging from the vehicle batteries). So basically, the fridge stays nice and cool with the door closed at night.

Maybe not an issue if your chest fridge/freezer is down on the floor but with our set up, the compressor makes a very small harmonic buzz while running (probably needs a bit more insulation in the cabinet) and as it is closer to the bed being an upright, we can hear it at night if the fridge is running. We don't run the furnace much at night either just because of the noise......
 

TwinStick

Explorer
Lots of pros and cons to consider. For us, it was the height. We wanted to be able to bring fullsized milk jugs, coffee creamer, & wine. They fit upright in the ARB 5O & 82. They didn't seem like they would in the 37 or the 63. Dan Foss compressors seems to be the most liked for frugal power usage. For us, at our time of purchase, the ARB'S ticked all the boxes. I do not regret our decision. Cutting the ties to ice purchases is truly life changing.

It certainly was less stressful when being in 114°F heat in the deserts when we traveled, not having to even think about ice or soggy food. We can run our fridge/freezers on 12v or 120v while driving down the road and charging the aux battery. But even when not camping, we use our fridge/freezers. If we travel to a distant farmers market or store, we can keep the cold stuff cold all day while we do other things too. Also get lots of use as overflow fridge or freezer if company stops by & I will be cooking a lot for them while they are here. And, considering the high cost of coolers these days, for 2x the price of 1 cooler, you can cut the ice bag umbilical cord. Lol
 

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