Cold beer always handy

Cool idea: A portable fridge may seem like a luxury but once you have one, the many benefits will be obvious.
Cool idea: A portable fridge may seem like a luxury but once you have one, the many benefits will be obvious.

A PORTABLE fridge may seem like a real luxury when taking off on four-wheel drive trips, but once you own one and start experiencing its benefits you'll wonder how you ever lived without one.

For starters, the money you'll save in being able to bulk buy your food and drink from large supermarkets and discount stores rather than ‘topping up' at servos and less-than-great food shops while touring is substantial.

Have you seen how much even a bottle of water or a few slices of meat cost while on the road?

And if for no better reason, I like nothing more than being able to reach for a perfectly chilled beer from my own fridge after a tough day of off-roading. Warm beer can ruin a good night in the wilds.

You can buy portable fridges ranging in size from about 18 litres up to massive 110-litre models. They can be made from steel, fibreglass or the same stuff your garbage bins are.

Ask an expert's advice on which would be best for your specific use: a fibreglass fridge will be more efficient than a steel one, but won't fare as well if it gets bashed around in your 4x4.

You'll find fridges available at a wide range of prices, with the pricier ones usually the most efficient and well specified. If your fridge can run on 12v, 24v and 240v it will be more versatile for multiple uses, such as in your 4x4, boat and as a spare beer fridge when you get home.

I'd definitely recommend an auxiliary or portable battery system with a fridge or you'll need to start your 4x4 regularly to keep it cool, which isn't great for efficiency. Cheaper fridges typically have less efficient compressors that will rob you of power, while at the other end of the scale, you can get fridges that run on solar to help you be self-sufficient.

You can get fridges with freezer compartments, but my secret tip is to vacuum seal the likes of your meat and vegetables and they'll last for up to three months in only the fridge. Happy travels and enjoy those cold beers.

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