Every camper build has to answer this question: How do we keep perishable foods fresh?
Our solution: A modified sleek black mini fridge.
We settled on a full fridge unit (Amazon has it for CA$400, but we found ours refurbished at Factory Direct), rather than one with a freezer. There's nothing worse than unexpectedly mushy ice cream, so we opted for more fridge space instead.
Before making our decision, we debated the following options.
- just eat food that doesn't go bad — instant noodles!
- use a cooler and top it up with ice every so often
- use a cooler that runs off your car
- use a fridge that runs off propane
- use a fridge that runs off your car
For short-term camping, the first three are viable options. In the RV world, you're likely to have a propane fridge or a fridge that can run on a 12 V system. Unfortunately, these fridges are insanely expensive at over CA$1,200 for the same space as a mini fridge at CA$170!
Is there a better AND cheaper way?
In this post, I'll cover the solution I came up with, which was combining an inverter, start capacitor, and your typical, dorm-style mini fridge into the perfect, camper van fridge on a budget.
This post will be more technical than usual, so hopefully I don't lose you on the way. If you're here for the TL;DR, click here.