How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving? Here Are Few Tips

As if a bed wasn’t enough, RVs also have a refrigerator to provide a complete homely feeling when you go on a vacation.

(This is like a dream come true for all the “snacky” people!) However, with excellent facilities comes several doubts.

One of the most common problems that RVers face is keeping the fridge cold while driving the RV. If you, too, have had a problem of spoilt food while traveling because the fridge inside the RV does not remain cold for long journeys, you have come to the right place.

How To Keep The Rv Fridge Cold While Driving?

A typical refrigerator stays cold for 10-12 hours after switching it off.

But there are some ways to extend this period so that the food inside the fridge can stay fresh for more extended hours while the refrigerator is off. Some of the methods are listed below.

1. Start cooling before the drive:

Turn the power on for the fridge a night before your journey. It ensures that the fridge has sufficient coolness before you turn it off for several hours.

Set the fridge to the lowest temperature setting the night before.

If this freezes the items, turn the temperature a bit up or reduce freezing to a few hours instead of overnight. Make sure that your fridge is at its coolest before the start of your journey.

2. Pack your fridge properly:

This may not seem like much, but this is an essential step in keeping the fridge cool longer. The space between various items in your fridge should be minimum.

Try and pack as many items as close to each other as possible. Lesser space between items reduces movement and prevents spillage in case of bumps in the road.

Also, in the spaces between food items, place cold cans and ice packs. These types of items ensure that the fridge remains cool for long hours. These items reduce the temperature drop in the fridge as they stay cool for a longer time.

3. Avoid unnecessary opening of the refrigerator door:

While driving, do not open the fridge door until necessary. Frequent opening of the fridge might not be a problem when the fridge receives continuous cooling power, but while turned off, we need to preserve the cold as much as we can.

Opening the door, again and again, loses the precious cold air inside the fridge and replaces it with the hot outside air.

Inform all the passengers not to open the fridge door every few minutes (Like something’s going to appear that was not there five minutes ago magically!).

4. Place the food properly:

The food items that are easily spoilt, like meat and dairy, should be kept in the bottom part of the fridge.

As hot air rises, the fridge’s bottom stays cool more extended than the top part of the fridge. So, items that do not need much attention, like beverages, cans of soda, and fruits, should be kept in the fridge’s upper part.

5. Freeze foods:

You can preserve some food items like peas by freezing them.

Do this to as many foods as you can as this will not only help them last longer in the fridge without any power source, but they will also slow down the heating up of the entire fridge significantly.

6. Ice cube bags:

Apart from the fridge’s deep freeze part, you can use ice cube bags in the entire refrigerator to fill in the spaces between food items.

It can be of great help if stored properly. However, if not stored in a proper container, it might fill the fridge with water because of the condensed droplets on its surface.

A fridge, when not attached to a power source, loses approximately four degrees every hour.

However, by using the above steps, you can slow down this process significantly. Storing cold products goes a long way in preserving the coolness of the fridge while driving an RV.

Can you run an RV fridge while driving?

If the time for which the fridge remains cool is still not enough even after taking the steps mentioned above to increase it, one might wonder- Can you run an RV fridge while driving?

The simple answer to this question is YES. Keeping some things in mind, one can think of operating the fridge while driving. Some of the ways using which you can keep the fridge running while operating are:

1. Propane-operated fridge:

Propane is most common in use in two-way fridges. Although there are concerns regarding the safety of using propane while driving an RV, you can operate the fridge by switching to a propane tank while driving.

If you’re using propane in your RV, you need to be extra careful as it is highly inflammable. As RV is continuously moving, a strong movement can cause a leak in the propane pipe, which might lead to an explosion.

If the RV is in an accident, it is very likely for the propane pipeline to blow. And it is compulsory to switch off the propane power source before entering a gas station.

Using propane has its pros and is safe, considering you have to get the propane fittings checked regularly and follow all the safety procedures.

But it would help if you considered all the cons before deciding which power source to use for your fridge.

2. Use generators:

You can also use generators to make sure your fridge operates while driving. A built-in or an external generator can provide sufficient power to your 120V AC fridge.

For using a generator, your fuel tank must be full. Generators are not a very fuel-efficient choice as they consume a lot of fuel to power your appliances.

And if it is a propane-operated generator, you have to follow the same safety measures as those for a propane-powered fridge. Another disadvantage of generators is they take up a lot of space that is kind of limited in an RV.

3. Use three-way fridges:

Three-way fridges have an option to be powered through a 12V DC. It is the safest method to keep a fridge running while driving.

You can keep the fridge plugged in, and the RV battery itself can provide 12V DC. One of the disadvantages of using this is that it drains the battery very quickly.

Also, three-way fridges are smaller in size than two-way fridges.

They are now mostly obsolete and are generally found in old RVs and smaller campers because they are not enough to fulfill the needs for more extended periods. It is the reason people prefer 120V AC and propane for powering their fridges.

Extra tips for running the fridge while driving

After seeing how we can keep our fridge on while driving an RV, let us see some tips that will come in handy if we decide to do it.

  1. Be extremely cautious while using propane in your RV. Take care of all the rules defined for it. Turn off the propane supply before going into a gas station or a tunnel. A minor accident can turn into a big catastrophe if propane is involved. Make sure to check the propane pipelines regularly (Or get them professionally examined).
  2. Store the contents inside the fridge carefully. If the RV is traveling on an uneven surface, you do not want the contents to spill.

Although we know how to run a fridge while driving an RV, I suggest you do not keep it running unless necessary.

If you can keep the contents safe and fresh without taking the risk and wasting fuel, it is undoubtedly the better option. Pack the fridge correctly, and have an incredible journey!