a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Custom Van Refrigeration
Custom Van Refrigeration

Custom Van Refrigeration

Whether it is the middle of summer or the middle of winter, some food just always needs to be kept cold. Deciding how you are going to do that can be a challenge in your van. Do you use a cooler, install a refrigerator, or something in between? Here is a breakdown of how we chose our custom van refrigeration.

The Cooler
Custom Van Refrigeration
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After rebuilding our van, we had to figure out a way to keep medicine, cheese and other drinks cold while traveling with JoVanna. From previous tent camping adventures, we had a 10-year old Igloo cooler. Instead of investing into anything right away, we decided to make due with what we already had.

The Problem with Ice

The cooler worked well for short trips, but it became a problem after a few days on the road. After 48 hours, the ice is usually gone leaving all the contents in a pool of water. This leads to a variety of problems. The first problem is that all of the food stored in the cooler is now floating and full of water. This is particularly annoying for insulin pens and other things we prefer to keep dry. Wet cheeses are not our favorite.

The other problem is that you have to routinely find and purchase more ice. This is just another thing that we did not want to have worrry about when we really just wanted to hit the beach.

Custom Van Fridge
Custom Van Refigeration
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AC/DC Refrigerator

After our first week long trip with JoVanna, we decided it was time for an upgrade. We began researching three options; a better cooler, an AC/DC Fridge, or a mini-fridge. After reading a lot of reviews and debating what our best option would be, we decided on the Alpicool K25 Portable Refrigerator.

This portable fridge/cooler hit all the right notes for us (correct size, lid instead of a door, AC/DC power adapters, good insulation, etc.). When driving around, we plug it into the DC car outlet. When we are at camp, we can easily switch the plug to the wall outlet instead. As an AC/DC fridge (not the rockband), it will also run on battery power. This is important for when we upgrade to an offgrid system later.

The Aplicool is also extremely well insulated (this is key for a good fridge). On our last trip, after a whole day on the beach (6-8 hours), the interior temperature only increased by a few degrees. Additionally, this particular model fit exactly where our orignial cooler was and is large enough to hold about five days worth of cold food.

The Ice Cooler/DC Cooler Combination

The Alpicool was a huge improvement for our two-week trip in Texas, but we also brought our old Igloo along. Now that we had plenty of room to keep our food and medicine cold and dry, we decided to use the cooler for drinks. Since beer, water, and soda won’t spoil if they get too warm, we didn’t feel pressured to keep it full of ice. Instead, we reloaded on ice when we reloaded on beverages. If you have additional exterior storage, the Fridge for food and Cooler for drinks combo is highly recommended and works really well for custom van refrigeration.

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Cool on Swing-away Hitch Rack

Keep it cool!!! Thanks for reading. ~KiteBikeVan

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One comment

  1. Pingback: How do you know when your campervan conversion is complete? – Jo"Van"Na

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