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Best Portable Fridge for Outdoor Lounging and Camping Trips Best Portable Fridge for Outdoor Lounging and Camping Trips

Storage Ideas

Best Portable Fridge for Outdoor Lounging and Camping Trips

Written by: Ivy Sarmiento

Going on an outdoor adventure soon? Check out this article to learn how a portable fridge can make it more exciting and fun!

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A portable fridge is one of many must-have tools and equipment for outdoor enthusiasts like you. It is sturdy, convenient, and simple to use. But which of the many different types and brands is the best, and what should you buy for your next outdoor adventure? Learn more by reading this article!


Types of Portable Fridge


A portable fridge can make all the difference in your outdoor trip. This appliance, which works like a mini, mobile cooler box, can keep your travel meals and snacks fresh and prevent them from spoiling. It primarily functions with an external power source controlling its internal temperature. Based on their construction and cooling design, portable fridges are classified into three major categories or types: thermoelectric, absorption, and compressor.


Portable Thermoelectric Fridge


If you’re going on a short outdoor trip, then a thermoelectric portable fridge is the best option. This fridge works by utilizing the Peltier Effect, a system in which the inside of the fridge cools while warmth is released from the outside of the fridge. The Peltier Effect works by using two different types of conductors, such as copper or zinc.



The ability of a thermoelectric fridge to cool is also entirely dependent on the ambient temperature, or the temperature of the area around it. It can only bring down or create an internal temperature that is slightly lower than the ambient temperature, usually between 35 and 40 degrees. As a result, thermoelectric refrigerators can keep food both chilled and warm at the same time.



Thermoelectric fridges are the most compact of the portable fridge types, making them easy to transport anywhere. They also are the least expensive option, typically costing less than $300. This type of refrigerator, however, is the most power-consuming type. As its cooling capacity is dependent on ambient temperature, it is less efficient in cold weather and thus works harder than any other portable fridge and consumes more net power.


Portable Absorption Fridge


Another type of portable fridge is the absorption fridge. Unlike a thermoelectric fridge though, an absorption fridge’s cooling system uses a refrigerant fluid. This refers to a fluid that requires heat energy to help the interior of the refrigerator cool. This process begins with the evaporation of the refrigerant fluid as a result of absorbing heat from the refrigerator’s interior. The refrigerant is then heated further, converted to gas, and then back to liquid, with the entire process repeating itself.



An absorption fridge works not only with electricity but also with propane gas. Aside from that, this fridge is bulkier than thermoelectric ones, making it heavier to transport. These fridges are also more expensive than their thermoelectric counterparts. Furthermore, it is worth noting that this type of fridge generally requires a level surface to function properly, which is why they’re best suited for use on level ground or at a campsite.


Portable Compressor Fridge


Of all the three types of portable fridges, the compressor fridge is considered the best option for outdoor trips. It has the best and most effective cooling mechanism that is not dependent on the ambient temperature. Instead, it uses a refrigerant fluid that is pumped into its condenser chamber (located outside the fridge’s compartment), where it is then pressurized and releases warm air. This process causes the outside of the fridge to become quite hot. The fluid then flows into the lower evaporator, where the temperature drops, allowing the mini fridge’s internal area to cool to below freezing.



Moreover, a compressor fridge typically comes with easy temperature controls, such as a dual-zone, in which the fridge has two internal compartments that function as a freezer and a chiller. The compressor fridge also works when traveling on bumpy, rough trails and terrain; it does not need to be level to function properly.


Things to Consider When Choosing a Portable Fridge


Here are some important factors to consider when selecting an efficient and high-quality portable fridge for your next outdoor exploration:


Size and Storage Capacity


The first thing you’ll need to do is calculate the size of the mini-fridge you want to buy. This will help determine how portable and suitable it is for you. Remember that the larger and bulkier a portable fridge is, the greater its storage capacity, and the more space it will take up in your vehicle.



With that, measure the space inside your vehicle to make sure it’ll fit when placed in there. Then, compare it to the portable fridge’s size (measured in Liters) based on its equivalent storage capacity estimated by how many 12-ounce cans of drinks it can fit:

  • 4 Liter = 6 cans
  • 10 Liter = 12 cans
  • 25 Liter = 27 cans
  • 35 Liter = 47 cans
  • 40 Liter = 60 cans
  • 50 Liter = 72 cans
  • 60 to 65 Liter = 106 cans
  • 80 Liter and above = 120 cans and above




Various types of portable fridges also come in a variety of materials. They are typically made of metal wirings and internal parts with plastic or stainless steel casings, doors, hinges, and inner compartments. All these materials contribute to the product’s durability.



Plastic parts, for example, help make sure that the fridge is waterproof and less prone to denting, but they may warp if exposed to excessive heat. Meanwhile, the use of stainless steel and polished metal gives the fridge a sleek, heavy-duty appearance, and a surface that is resistant to corrosion and dirt, but it also makes the fridge heavy to lift and move.




Another thing to consider is the weight of your portable fridge. Again, this is dependent on its size and the types of materials it is constructed with.



Portable fridges with plastic casings and compartments are lighter than those with metal casings and compartments. The heaviest component in a compressor portable fridge is also the compressor, which is roughly three times the weight of a portable thermoelectric model. This means that, despite being highly efficient, it is the heaviest type.


Power Source and Consumption


Portable fridges can be used both indoors and outdoors because they typically come with both AC and DC power supplies, as well as multiple adapters for ease of use. Since the portable fridge is primarily powered by your car battery while on a road trip, you should consider its energy consumption as well. Portable fridges typically consume about 1 amp per hour when powered by a 12-Volt DC power supply, but they can consume up to 5 amps when relying on ambient temperature.



It is also best to get an alternative power source, say a generator, or even better, a sufficient solar panel. These options will help save your vehicle’s battery and are ideal if you’re planning to stay out for a few days or a week. Likewise, having power alternatives lets you or other members of your family use the fridge on the campsite when someone needs to use your vehicle for errands.




Don’t forget to look into a portable fridge’s control features. As previously stated, many portable fridges are available with dual-zone temperature control, which means they can function as a freezer as well as a cooler. Choose portable fridges that can be controlled by a remote or a smartphone application too because they are easier to use and monitor!




An efficient portable fridge also means they come with handy and helpful accessories. Opt for compact fridges that not only have multiple power adaptors but also include insulated covers. When the fridge is not in use, these covers help protect the vents and plugs from scratches.



Apart from covers, removable baskets are useful for organizing and accessing the contents of your refrigerator. What’s more, portable fridges with stands are also a smart option because they elevate the fridge and allow you to reach inside without bending.




The price of a portable fridge is determined by the brand as well as the features and accessories that are included. In general, compression portable fridges are more expensive than thermoelectric and absorption mini-fridges, but they are well worth the extra cost as they have the best and most efficient cooling system.


10 Awesome Portable Fridges to Buy for Any Outdoor Trip


Ready to pick a portable fridge? Here are some of the best products to buy before you hit the road!


Enjoy a relaxing and quick trip to a national park using this product from AstroAI. Compact and easy to use, this thermoelectric fridge is spacious with its 6-can storage capacity. You can use it not only for chilling drinks and snacks but also for keeping meals warm and ready to eat.



Furthermore, this refrigerator has a removable shelf that makes storing and organizing items a breeze. It is equipped with AC and DC adapters so you can use it not only during travels but also at home. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, including blue and pink, and has a sturdy handle!

Key Features

  • Wire shelf type
  • AC/ DC power modes
  • Sleep mode


  • Item weight: 4.44 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 10.63 inches x 9.65 inches x 7.28 inches
  • Power requirements: 100-120 Volts (AC) and 12 Volts (DC)


  • Functions quietly
  • Great for cosmetics storage
  • Has convenient features


  • Shorter than expected

While retro fridges are great, not all of them are portable and ideal for use on road trips. Fortunately, Frigidaire’s mini retro fridge is!



This thermoelectric mini-fridge, like the AstroAI, is versatile and roomy. Its 6-can storage capacity ensures that you can fill it with canned and bottled drinks of all flavors and types. You can also use it to keep your favorite fruit slices chilled and fresh. At home, the Frigidaire Retro Mini Fridge can also serve as a storage unit for your cosmetics and other skincare products.

Key Features

  • Plastic and metal construction
  • Wire shelf type
  • Heavy-duty latch and door hinge


  • Item weight: 3 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 10.25 inches x 7.5 inches x 10.25 inches
  • Power requirements: 110 Volts


  • Attractive look
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect size


  • Flimsy handle

Do you plan to spend the weekend with your entire family outside? Consider buying the Crownful Mini Fridge to make it more enjoyable and hassle-free.



This thermoelectric portable fridge has both warm and cool modes. Therefore, it can keep drinks and desserts chilled and fresh to eat while also keeping soup warm. Its dual modes also make it ideal for storing breast milk and yogurt, which is ideal if you’re traveling with your children! No need to worry about noise too because this mini fridge has a quiet cooling mechanism that won’t wake anyone up while they’re sleeping in the car.

Key Features

  • Cool and warm modes
  • Sleep mode
  • Built-in carry handle and removable shelves


  • Item weight: 9.3 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 11.4 inches x 9.65 inches x 13.4 inches
  • Power requirements: 120 Volts (AC) and 12 Volts (DC)


  • Makes minimal noise
  • Lightweight
  • Sleek appearance


  • Has a chemical smell

This compressor fridge from Alpicool is another portable fridge that will make your outdoor exploration more pleasant. This portable freezer has a great cooling system and is ideal for camping and spending a few days at the beach. It cools quickly and easily, making it ideal for storing smoothies and keeping food fresh. Additionally, the Alpicool mini-fridge is compact and features plastic casings and compartments, making it lightweight and waterproof.

Key Features

  • LCD control panel
  • MAX and ECO Mode
  • Car battery protection


  • Item weight: 18.92 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 23.54 inches x 12.6 inches x 10.24 inches
  • Power requirements: 110-240 Volts (AC) and 12/ 24 Volts


  • Quiet and cools fast
  • Low energy consumption
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable


  • Susceptible to mold
  • Emits a plastic smell

Going on a solo trip to take a breather from work? Let the awesome F40C4TMP Portable Fridge accompany you! Highly efficient with its quick cooling and freezing technology, this fridge will help keep your bottled water and juice fresh and soothing to drink.



It has a removable partition available to help you organize any type of food in the internal compartment. Monitoring and controlling this fridge is also a piece of cake with its convenient LCD panel and car battery protection.

Key Features

  • Magnetic door and removable partition
  • LCD panel
  • Car battery protection


  • Item weight: 29.6 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 22.68 inches x 12.6 inches x 15.51 inches
  • Power requirements: 110 – 240 Volts (AC) and 12/ 24 Volts (DC)


  • Quiet and cools food fast
  • Low energy consumption
  • Easy control panel


  • Flimsy USB port

Whether you’re traveling in an RV or a convertible, exploring the wilderness with a high-grade portable mini freezer within your reach like this one from JOYTUTUS guarantees a fun, hassle-free experience. It operates quietly and is excellent for preserving ice cream, yogurt, and other dairy products that both you and your kids love! Don’t worry if you want to store additional meat for grilling as well because its inner compartment is dual-zone and has ample space.

Key Features

  • Dual-zone
  • LED panel and built-in LED light
  • Rotatable handles and removable basket


  • Item weight: 31.1 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 22.2 inches x 13.6 inches x 17.4 inches
  • Power requirements: 110 Volts (AC) and 12/ 24 Volts (DC)


  • Cools down quickly
  • Low energy consumption
  • Quiet
  • Sleek appearance


  • Heavy
  • Has no drain plug

Tired of bringing an inefficient ice chest on country road trips? It’s time to upgrade to a durable portable fridge like this one from AUTOOMMO. Utilizing compressor cooling technology, this appliance is safe and efficient to preserve perishables during travels.



It also has a built-in LED light, an LED touch panel, and two sturdy handles to make it easier to use and transport. What’s more, this fridge has a non-slip pad design and car battery protection, so you won’t have to worry about a drained car battery.

Key Features

  • Built-in LED light and LED touch screen
  • Non-slip design
  • Battery protection


  • Item weight: 37.5 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 22.4 inches x 14.6 inches x 19.5 inches
  • Power requirements: 100/ 240 Volts (AC) and 12 Volts (AC)


  • Quiet and spacious
  • Low energy consumption
  • Quick cooling system
  • Attractive look


  • Flimsy door seal

Spend a romantic evening in nature with your beau while stargazing and sipping some tasty concoctions with the help of the ICECO portable fridge. This dual-zone appliance can keep your favorite date night drinks and snacks fresh and ready to eat. It is also energy efficient as you can turn off one zone independently when not in use. The ICECO also comes with a slew of accessories, including wired baskets, a protective cover, and AC and DC cords, making it user-friendly and well worth the money!

Key Features

  • Dual-zone and MAX and ECO Mode
  • Removable wire baskets
  • Car battery protection


  • Item weight: 65.7 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 31.2 inches x 19.4 inches x 18.8 inches
  • Power requirements: 110-240V (AC) and 12V/24V (DC)


  • Heavy-duty
  • Low energy consumption
  • Easy-to-follow manual


  • Poor quality cigarette lighter plug

Going off the grid for a day or two can be more fulfilling and enjoyable with the aid of Domende Portable Fridge. Like the one from ICECO, this portable fridge works in dual-zone and has a built-in light and an interior basket. You can use it when going on a fishing or boating trip too as it is lightweight and has sturdy handles. Don’t worry about energy consumption because it is equipped with car battery protection and an energy-saving mode.

Key Features

  • Dual-zone and ECO/MAX mode
  • LCD panel and built-in light
  • Key lock type and battery protection


  • Item weight: 40.1 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 22.4 inches x 14.4 inches x 19.7 inches
  • Power requirements: 90 – 240 Volts (AC) and 12/24 Volts (DC)


  • Spacious
  • Quiet
  • Adjustable temperature


  • No cons to mention

Whether you’re going to a nearby park for a picnic or exploring the wilderness as far as your car can take you, the BODEGA portable fridge will keep your energy-giving food safe and fresh. It has an excellent cooling system with a dual-zone and a large storage capacity.



With its spacious design, this fridge is ideal not only for beverages but also for storing meat, vegetables, and fruits. This fridge also has convenient handles and wheels, and can be controlled manually or wirelessly via a mobile app! Having this with you on your travels will make preparing food and meals a breeze. Just remember to bring a collapsible garbage can so cleaning it will be easy.

Key Features

  • Dual-zone and wireless control design
  • Wheels and sturdy handles
  • Battery protection


  • Item weight: 53.9 pounds
  • Overall dimensions: 32.5 inches x 21 inches x 17 inches
  • Power requirements: 100 – 240 Volts (AC) and 12/24 Volts (DC)


  • Fast cooling system
  • Spacious and quiet
  • Efficient remote control app
  • Sturdy handle


  • Bigger than expected

Having a portable fridge is indeed a great way to make your outdoor trip more fun and comfortable for you and your loved ones. This appliance is not only efficient and convenient, but it also comes in a variety of stylish options, like the products we mentioned above.



Are you looking for another great outdoor tool to use? Check out these portable gas stoves for your next outdoor exploration!

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