Snomaster CL56D Long Term Review | Field Tested

We have been travelling for a long time now and I am a large man who loves a cold drink, my family consumes more meat than even the most carnivorous Uruguayan. What do cold drinks and meat have in common? Well, they both need to be kept cold, or at the very least cool. Until early 2017 we used two fridges while overlanding – an old, second hand 40L Engel and a shop bought 40L Waeco fridge and have found both to have their strengths and weaknesses. The old Engel is reliable but will drain your battery if left unsupervised (no low voltage cutoff). The Waeco can be as temperamental as an aging drag queen, needing a solid 110 volt current or it will refuse to perform, ehm, you know what I mean. That said, both fridges worked their tushes off trying to keep up with our needs and operating under extreme demands of heat, cold and altitude. When we eventually retired the fridges, battered and beaten after almost five years of constant use, both were still working well, particularly when plugged into the American power grid, but it was time to try something new.

We replaced both fridges with one Snomaster CL56D (Classic Series, 56 Liter, Dual Door) fridge. Immediately I liked the look of the fridge, I was amazed by the thickness of the insulating walls, I was not too impressed by the loose fitting fabric fridge cover (which we soon donated to another traveler). I then plugged the fridge in and gave it a while to cool. This ambitious creature was cold in minutes! I lifted the top cage, placed a warm six pack at the bottom and within fifteen minutes was having a cold drink with my new best friend. I used the solar powered remote control to adjust and monitor the temperature of each of the two compartments. I had another beer. I was a happy man.

The divider cages create compartments which only an overlander of the highest order could have designed. Gone are the squashed tomatoes and mystery meats lurking at the bottom of the fridge. Gone are the days of having to unpack and repack the fridge to get to a tub of yogurt, waiting down there where cold airs naturally sinks. You can open the compartments individually, you can crack a drink using the Snomaster bottle opener attached to the side of the fridge. I am happy, but more importantly the wife is happy. Happy wife, happy life.

Our Snomaster fridge has not had an easy life so far, it has travelled across three continents and has endured beaten, undulating third world roads, extreme temperatures and unreliable power sources. When we hunker down in a brick and mortar home for a few weeks the fridge is dragged indoors and used as a back up or primary fridge. We have lost the power chords and have broken a remote or two but the fridge soldiers on despite the constant use and abuse.

Now, if only we had space for a Snomaster ice maker…

Snomaster CL56D Classic Series Stainless Steel AC/DC Fridge/Freezer – $1300

Graeme Bell was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Together with his wife and two children he has spent much of his adult life chasing momentous experiences and campfire smoke across five continents. He has traveled overland to Kilimanjaro from Cape Town, circumnavigated South America, explored from Argentina to Alaska, Europe to Asia, and across the entirety of coastal Western Africa, all in a trusty Land Rover. Graeme and the family are now encouraging their self-built Defender live-in camper (and permanent home since 2012) to find a way from Cape Town to Vladivostok. Graeme is a member of The Explorers Club, the author of five excellent books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015.

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Graeme Bell is a full time overlander and author. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa but considers Cape Town home. He is currently travelling the planet with his wife Luisa and two children, Keelan and Jessica, in a Land Rover Defender 130 affectionately know as Mafuta.