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How To Cool The Fridge For Travel

Preparing to head out for a camping trip takes a lot of planning ahead and making sure all of your systems are functioning, your gear is packed, and everything is stocked! Your refrigerator is no exception, as it is the perfect way to transport your cold and frozen food during your travels! You might be wondering how to cool the fridge for travel, so here are some tips for your pre-travel checklist!

Types of Refrigerators

There are two different types of RV refrigerators, and it is important to know which kind you have in order to effectively cool it down before you load it up and take off! Two-way refrigerators operate on both 110-volt AC and propane, and are fairly more common. Three-way refrigerators are a bit more versatile and operate on 110-volt AC, 12-volt DC, as well as propane. Determine which type you have so you can cool it down properly before you begin your journey! This way, you can bring along ingredients to make these scrumptious Overnight Breakfast Recipes for your hungry crew to devour!

Make Sure Your RV Is Level

Although it’s always a good idea to have your RV sitting level, it is essential for proper operation of your refrigerator! A level refrigerator allows the solution within the cooling unit to percolate. A heating element warms up the solution and creates circulation within the unit, causing warm air to be pushed out of the refrigerator and cool air to come in. If your RV is not level, the solution cannot properly percolate and will not cool the refrigerator down!

Most newer-model RVs don’t need to be precisely level, however older models may be more finicky. It is best not to rely completely on your RV's exterior level, as it might not indicate that your refrigerator itself is perfectly level. Use a small bubble level in your refrigerator to ensure that it is as close to level as possible in order to keep it operating at maximum efficiency!

How To Cool Down The Fridge

Electric Hookups

When it comes time to cool down your refrigerator, there are a couple different options on how to go about it! Household 110-volt AC running off of a 30-amp receptacle should be a sufficient power source for your refrigerator. However, if you are running an extension cord straight from your house, it may not provide enough power to properly heat the element within the cooling unit. If this is the case, you will want to switch to propane to get that refrigerator cooled down!


Using propane to start up your refrigerator is fairly simple, and generally makes your refrigerator run more efficiently! Starting your RV refrigerator is usually easy, and can be done with a simple flip of a switch! Just move the switch to gas, and your pilot should light! If your RV has been in storage or hasn’t been used in some time, it might take a few tries to get it lit, as there might be some air in the propane lines. Try turning on a stove burner to move some of the air through, which will make igniting the refrigerator easier!
Your RV may not have an electric ignition, so you will have to use the pilot knob to light the flame. Hold it down until it ignites, and continue to hold it down for 30 more seconds until the thermocouple senses the flame. There is a lot of debate on whether it is okay to use propane to power your refrigerator while driving, but there is no right or wrong answer! It is a personal preference, so do whatever you are comfortable with!

Things To Remember

-Start your refrigerator up about 24 hours prior to your departure time to ensure your refrigerator is completely cooled down and ready for use.
-Don’t overpack your refrigerator or freezer, as it will cause it to work harder and use more resources to keep it cool!
-Pre-refrigerate items you’d like to put in your RV refrigerator so that energy isn’t spent trying to cool down these items.
-It isn’t necessary to try to run your refrigerator during travel! If you’ve properly cooled your refrigerator prior to your trip, the cooling effect should last for a few hours, which is perfect if you’re traveling a shorter distance!

We hope these great tips on how to cool the fridge for travel will help to streamline your pre-trip checklist! Have any other tips or tricks on how to cool down that fridge and make travel easy? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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