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Fridge vs. Yeti cooler

Vigor

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Ford Bronco Fridge vs. Yeti cooler Screenshot_20201105-182436_Edge


I'm naturally going to get a large cooler for the trunk of my Bronco. But then I remembered this [really pricey] mini fridge that looks to be a more integrated solution. Does anybody have experience with these, compared to coolers?
Looks tiny

I have a pretty capable bookbag style portable cooler thats great for transporting beers to the beach or the woods. But my purpose with this second cooler is storage for meats, cheese, food, etc that id take with us on our camping trips. Would the mini fridge provide any benefits over say, a large YETI COOLER?

Thanks for the answers
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deejay08

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There's a bunch of fridge options out there, not just the generic one Ford is selling and i would advise anyone to check out brands like Dometic. The big difference between a cooler and a fridge aside from the obvious, fridge needs power source, is that fridge does not need ice. You gain a lot of extra space not needing any ice so it may look small but it probably holds the same as a cooler 1/3 to 1/2 size larger. The other benefit is you have a freeze option so instead of cold, you can freeze something (aka chunky monkey or my favorite americone dream and slam a pint after an hour or two hike in 90 degree heat. Overall, fridge requires power, no need for ice so you get lots more room and many have freeze option and larger ones have dual zone. I'd definitely look aftermarket if you're considering it. I am probably putting one in right away on a rail when i get my 2dr. It's just so handy, but yes it is pricey.
 

Felix808

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How long do you intended to be camping? I have always done fine for a just over a week with our 5 day cooler, a block of ice & a chunk of dry ice. After 8-10 days the block of ice is still 80% its size, so the fridge is a hard pass for me.
 

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I have/use the cheaper Dometic version of one of these integrated into my travel trailer's pull out kitchen. On short trips (~2 nights), I tend to just use it as a cooler (for which one of my Yetis would be better...) but the fridge is already strapped in. But on longer trips I turn it on. Downside is coolers like this use a lot of juice so I need to make sure the solar panels are deployed for a few hours each day if I have any hope of not draining the AGM battery down.

So I think it goes back to how many days does that meat/eggs/beer need to stay cold and is that more than the Yeti can do?
 

BlueOvalBandit

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No experience with the fridge freezer but, I do have it with Yeti and Yeti knockoff Lifetime coolers. Yetis will hold ice for about a week as long as you're not continually adding hot items into it. I recently bought a knock off Yeti (77 qt Lifetime brand from Walmart) for annual training with the National Guard since I did not want to take a $400 cooler to the field and potentially destroy it. Strapped it to the side of my truck, held ice for days in 100+ heat. I'd rate it comparable to a name brand Yeti, but it only cost $160.

I'd be worried about power draw from a fridge freezer killing my battery accidentally.
 

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dejones64

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I plan on going fridge. Dometic is so darn expensive. I'm currently considering the Iceco V35. Will run on Bronco power while driving and on a portable power station while at camp.
 

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ARB, dometic are two good brands to look at. What Ford is selling looks pretty cheap. Might be a center console replacement fridge based on the shape.

But realistically speaking, unless you’re spending over a week with no access to ice or civilization a really good cooler is probably fine.
 

BadlandsBroncoBen

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Go with a Yeti, they really do keep things crazy cold for a long time, and they even sell one in a color just like Cactus Grey!
 

centra28

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I usually keep my Grizzly (rotomolded and rates better than a yeti) cooler around with me in the back of my explorer packed with drinks. The ice last several days and keeps everything cold for a long time. 5 days usually in the back of my car which is also parked in the garage. The ice will last up to 10 days depending on the conditions. It is annoying to hear the water/ice slushing around on every turn and it's also annoying to renew the ice after several days.

just some experience to share to hopefully give you an idea of what you want.
 

CWO4

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I run Yeti coolers on fishing trips up to 5 days and always have some of my original ice left. I do have to buy my ice a day early and put it in my freezer for it to last. All my meats start out frozen and by the last day still under 45 degrees. The electrical coolers do save space, I have to use a Yeti 102, think that is the size, which is pretty big and heavy but it does work. An electrical cooler/freezer plus small generator would only take up a little more space but you do need to haul fuel. Both work just need to make your own choice.
 

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pan-y-cerveza

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All depends how you power your fridge. If you're set up in one spot for a few days you'll need a dedicated battery for it. Depending on battery size and fridge size you may only get 48hours of life out of a battery. A cooler wins for this reason.

If you're driving far enough to charge a battery fully then a fridge could be a good plan.

As an anecdote I pulled the three-way (12v, 120v, propane) fridge out of my camper to use the room for storage and use a cooler 100% of the time.

Now...Yeti vs other brands is a good conversation too.
 

Jamyers77

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I have an Rtic 65. I bought it when they had a "settlement" sale after their Yeti litigation. It's awesome and the ice definitely lasts (about 5 days outside in Pennsylvania summer w/ minimal opening). You can buy/ make a basket so food doesn't float in your ice H2O or make ice tubes (pvc + salt + H2O) instead of using ice.
 

Beef78

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I have a soft sided Engel cooler. It’s even more convenient than that fridge. That fridge is not large enough to keep enough food and drinks cold for my family for the weekend. Maybe just me on a solo trip.

edit: also, the soft cooler stuffs between seats or around awkward cargo and holds ice well for days. Especially block ice or frozen water bottles.
 
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deejay08

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How long do you intended to be camping? I have always done fine for a just over a week with our 5 day cooler, a block of ice & a chunk of dry ice. After 8-10 days the block of ice is still 80% its size, so the fridge is a hard pass for me.
Just piggy backing on this. This biggest questions you need to ask is how remote will you be for how long? Are you regularly camping places that will get really hot. If you answer +3-4 days on the minimum and you camp in places temps can scorch, the luxury of a fridge is pretty high, about as high as i rate a good shower. The cost of needing to ice continuously ($5-10 per trip into a store) should also be considered. And if you're anywhere it pushes 90-100+ degrees, no ice is going to last too long. The best compromise (money aside) is a smaller yeti (ice only dedicated) and a fridge / battery + solar option. You get the best of all worlds in this scenario but ya pay out the ass for it.
 
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