Since we live full time in our van, a question we often get asked is “how to you keep your food and drinks cold?” When we started our van trip we didn’t really consider installing a decent sized fridge due to there not being much space inside the van.
However, once the weather started to get warmer at the end of spring, we soon realised how important it was to install a decent sized fridge in our van so we could prevent our food from becoming rotten.
In this blog post I am going to explain about the fridge system we use in our van in order to keep our food and drinks cool even when it is 30 degrees outside!
Why Did We Install A Fridge?
When we started van life back in March 2020, it was still quite cold most days so we didn’t feel that having a large fridge was necessary since we went shopping most days and usually ate what we bought on the same or next day.
Before setting off in our van, we saw a small fridge that could fit 6 small cans of beer so we purchased that so we could always have access to cold beer if we wanted it!
If you plan to travel in the winter or colder months and don’t want to spend too much money on your van renovation, you can probably survive without a fridge unless you are purchasing food that can rot quickly like meat, fish or dairy products.
Another cheaper option would be to buy a simple cool box and just add in some ice blocks after shopping in order to keep the food cool.
Where To Install The Fridge?
The main issue we faced when we wanted to install a larger fridge was deciding where we would put it inside the van. Since we had already renovated the inside of the van, there was really no space unless we put the fridge on top of the kitchen countertop.
After taking some measurements, we realised that the fridge could fit between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat if we built a strong shelf for it to sit on and attached it securely.
The extra seat between the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat was never used anyways since there are only two of us so it seemed like that spot would be the best option. The fridge we decided to use can also be charged using the car cigarette socket, so placing the fridge there also meant we could charge it easily.
How Did We Install The Fridge?
After building a shelf out of old wood we got from a recycling center, we attached the fridge securely using stretchy cables. We didn’t want the fridge to move around when we were driving or if we needed to break suddenly.
We always charge the fridge using the cigarette socket while the van is moving, however when we are staying overnight in one place or spending the day sightseeing, we use the Jackery 700 portable charger to power the fridge.
We placed the Jackery 700 charger on the floor between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat and it’s powered using a 100 watt solar panel on our roof. You can read more about our electrical system and solar panels on another blog post we wrote by clicking here.
The fridge we use has some different settings and there is an eco-mode which we always use and this requires around 7 watts to operate the fridge which is really low and means the fridge doesn’t use much energy at all.
What Is Our Verdict?
We are really happy we decided to install a larger fridge in our van as it means we can travel for much longer without needing to visit a supermarket.
We can also store many condiments such as mayonnaise, salad dressing and wasabi. However, the best part for us is being able to have lovely cold drinks whenever we want!
What Fridge Are We Using?
I will share some details about the specific fridge we decided to use. We are very satisfied with our fridge and would recommend it to others who are looking for a good quality fridge for their van.
The name of the fridge is Pacificool by Sawafuji.
We also made a video about our fridge, check it out below.
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