Ice chest vs 12v fridge

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Wanted to address this one specifically:

>Can they make enough ice to keep a beer cold in a separate cooler?

I would say no. Yes, they can make ice. If we're doing cocktails, the Mrs. appreciates it for her G&Ts. No, you will not be able to manufacture ice in sufficient quantity to feed a separate beer cooler. Aside from the logistics of making small amounts of ice at a time, there's the issue of energy consumption. My Truckfridge TF49 is very efficient, especially when kept full, but if I was repeatedly loading it with room-temperature ice-trays and expecting it to make ice all day long, it WILL pull much more power than if I just keep it full.

Also, if you're chasing efficiency, you might as well just cool down a couple of cans to drinking temperature, rather than trying to take water all the way down to freezing temperature.

Depending on the length of the trip, we either just load all the pre-chilled beer we need before we leave (2-3 bombers for a weekend), or for long trips we go with 12-oz containers (cans or bottles) and keep 3 in the fridge and cycle room temp cans from the dry-goods box into the fridge as we drink the cold ones. (This is for two adults. The third beer provides enough buffer so you aren't worrying about cracking a beer you just loaded a little while ago that might not be fully chilled yet.)
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
Wanted to address this one specifically:

>Can they make enough ice to keep a beer cold in a separate cooler?

I would say no. Yes, they can make ice. If we're doing cocktails, the Mrs. appreciates it for her G&Ts. No, you will not be able to manufacture ice in sufficient quantity to feed a separate beer cooler. Aside from the logistics of making small amounts of ice at a time, there's the issue of energy consumption. My Truckfridge TF49 is very efficient, especially when kept full, but if I was repeatedly loading it with room-temperature ice-trays and expecting it to make ice all day long, it WILL pull much more power than if I just keep it full.

Also, if you're chasing efficiency, you might as well just cool down a couple of cans to drinking temperature, rather than trying to take water all the way down to freezing temperature.

Depending on the length of the trip, we either just load all the pre-chilled beer we need before we leave (2-3 bombers for a weekend), or for long trips we go with 12-oz containers (cans or bottles) and keep 3 in the fridge and cycle room temp cans from the dry-goods box into the fridge as we drink the cold ones. (This is for two adults. The third beer provides enough buffer so you aren't worrying about cracking a beer you just loaded a little while ago that might not be fully chilled yet.)
I think he was wanting to put some of those Blue Ice Bricks in the freezer to go in the cooler to keep fresh food and beer cool, Also He could put a smallish bag of Ice in the freezer inside a container,

Another thing the 35L has the Dairy area at the front and it also has a small basket that fits there and a larger basket for the main storage area.
 

F350joe

Adventurer
Well I thought I would see how many Cans the little 35L holds and without any fancy packing and I got 43 cans of Coke in there and still had some room for smallish items to go on top of the Cans,

One thing I do like about the little 35L is that it has the same big Compressor that the 95L Snomaster has in it So this little has some serious Cooling Power, Way way faster than a domestic fridge freezer, It is a great little fridge, But I use my ARB's 99.9% of the time and use the little 35 when it's just Me,

Oh and it has a lot smaller Foot Print than the ARB 35L and it's lighter, which is handy for folks with not a lot of room to spare.
Awesome. That is some good info there, thanks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WVI

F350joe

Adventurer
Wanted to address this one specifically:

>Can they make enough ice to keep a beer cold in a separate cooler?

I would say no. Yes, they can make ice. If we're doing cocktails, the Mrs. appreciates it for her G&Ts. No, you will not be able to manufacture ice in sufficient quantity to feed a separate beer cooler. Aside from the logistics of making small amounts of ice at a time, there's the issue of energy consumption. My Truckfridge TF49 is very efficient, especially when kept full, but if I was repeatedly loading it with room-temperature ice-trays and expecting it to make ice all day long, it WILL pull much more power than if I just keep it full.

Also, if you're chasing efficiency, you might as well just cool down a couple of cans to drinking temperature, rather than trying to take water all the way down to freezing temperature.

Depending on the length of the trip, we either just load all the pre-chilled beer we need before we leave (2-3 bombers for a weekend), or for long trips we go with 12-oz containers (cans or bottles) and keep 3 in the fridge and cycle room temp cans from the dry-goods box into the fridge as we drink the cold ones. (This is for two adults. The third beer provides enough buffer so you aren't worrying about cracking a beer you just loaded a little while ago that might not be fully chilled yet.)
Excellent feedback, thanks.
 

F350joe

Adventurer
I think he was wanting to put some of those Blue Ice Bricks in the freezer to go in the cooler to keep fresh food and beer cool, Also He could put a smallish bag of Ice in the freezer inside a container,

Another thing the 35L has the Dairy area at the front and it also has a small basket that fits there and a larger basket for the main storage area.
That was what I was thinking. Old cooler habits of not wanting to repeatedly open the cool for a beer for fear of melting the ice. I like the take one out/ put one in idea, May even be able to ditch the other cooler all together doing that on solo trips.
 

Bayou Boy

Adventurer
3 Day to week long trips? I'd say stay with Ice Chest. There are a lot of new chests that can keep ice that long unless we are talking Mojave?
No ice chest used for food or beverage consumption is going to keep ice for a week. They will keep meat cold that long if everything is sufficiently chilled and the cooler is not opened. If you have to open it 6 times a day to eat, forget about it. 3-4 days, sure. But you still have your stuff sitting in a slurry. And cold packs do not keep stuff as cold as regular ice since you can't pack them around and among the items as well.

For food use, the 12v cooler is hands down the better option, even for an overnight trip. Simply due to the ice melting and having the tendency to soak something that doesn't get closed all the way accidentally. I do bring a Yeti 50 for beer though. There is nothing like pulling a can of beer out of a nice slurry and then setting up camp.
 

jadmt

Well-known member
3 Day to week long trips? I'd say stay with Ice Chest. There are a lot of new chests that can keep ice that long unless we are talking Mojave?
The 12v Fridges lead to solar panels that leads to battery monitors that leads too....oh, you get the $$$ point...LOL

My preference is OtterBox....
I know I am pressing my luck but I have run mine solely off my stock jeep battery for two years with lots of extended camping where the jeep sat for 2 or 3 days and I know I will jinx myself for saying this but battery still is going strong and it is the crappy stock battery with 600CC and 70AH rating. I have had my Yeti tundra 50 keep ice for a week but problem is it is heavy as all get out and not a lot of room left for food and if you are not paying attention things get soggy. Cool thing about the ARB50 or insert other brands is the entire volume can be used for beer and food.
 

67cj5

Man On a Mission
I know I am pressing my luck but I have run mine solely off my stock jeep battery for two years with lots of extended camping where the jeep sat for 2 or 3 days and I know I will jinx myself for saying this but battery still is going strong and it is the crappy stock battery with 600CC and 70AH rating. I have had my Yeti tundra 50 keep ice for a week but problem is it is heavy as all get out and not a lot of room left for food and if you are not paying attention things get soggy. Cool thing about the ARB50 or insert other brands is the entire volume can be used for beer and food.
I love my ARB50 and the big 78L ARB is Awesome.
 

Kerensky97

Xterra101
I don't have a fancy Yeti so the rule for me is Ice chest for 4 days or less. 12v Fridge for 4 days or more (my fridge is massive so I don't like the bulk on short trips).

You can do a lot to extend the length of time ice can last but often it involves with that soup of water in the bottom that all of your food invariably falls into.
I like that the 12v fridge keeps everything cold and DRY.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
12v fridge definitely saves space. For one not having ice fill up the space for food/drinks allows you to get by with either a smaller space with the same amount of food, or more food for the same space.

I used to run with a 26qt rotomolded cooler, but when I got the fridge, I could fit a larger chuck box, and ended up with this compact setup. That is my tiny little fridge behind the chuck box. It's only 18qt, but it's all food and drinks, not icky water and ice. I like to keep it full so it's usually packed for better thermal efficiency, I use drinks as filler since you always can use extra cold drinks.

 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
Addendum: we winter camp frequently and use chemical handwarmer packs in a cooler to keep things from freezing.
Just thought I'd mention that.
We camped one time at Lake Winfield Scott ----- the mercury dropped so low that everybody else went home but @StumpXJ . He drove his wife and daughter home, got more propane, came back up.
It was FRICKIN cold. We put his big buddy heater inside our 3-walled EZ-up and lit a roaring fire at the entrance. Stump poured hot water on some dishes to soak, had one beer, went back to his trailer and the water was frozen solid.
Handwarmers in the cooler did the trick though. Liquid water and beer are necessities of life.
 
Last edited:
Top