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The Gearzette


- September 20, 2022

Whether you’re heading to the mountain bike trails for the morning with your mates, out for a picnic with the family, camping for the weekend, or embarking on a long overland camping mission, you need to keep drinks cold and food fresh. There is a myriad of coolers and portable fridges on the market, so where do you start? Here is a guide to help you choose the right cooler or fridge for your needs plus some valuable tips on making the most of its cooling capabilities:​


For the day-tripper

If you’re heading out for the day with your family or mates, you don’t want to lug around something huge, so the Dometic Patrol 35l is ideal. It is big enough to pack food and drinks for the whole family but compact enough to not take up too much space in the car. It features a robust rotomolded polyethylene construction that makes it highly durable and allows it to keep ice frozen for days.​

For the amateur athlete

There is something special about sharing a cold drink after a day on the trails. For those looking for a cooling storage option for shorter missions, the Dometic Patrol 20l cooler is ideal. ​

Hot (cold) tip: Mix your post-ride or run recovery drink the night before and refrigerate it. Put it in your cooler in the morning (leave a sticky note on your cooler lid to make sure you don’t forget it) and when you get back from your ride, run or hike it will still be ice cold.​

© Charlie Keating

For the weekend camper

Not everyone is going to install an auxiliary battery system and run a big fridge/freezer, which makes the portable Dometic CFX3 75DZ Dual Cooler/Freezer and its flexible power options (AC 100-240 V and DC 12/24 V) ideal for camping trips. It features a powerful cooler offering two-zone storage compartments that have independent temperature control so you can keep your drinks ice cold and your food chilled without frosting.​

You don’t necessarily need a power fridge for camping, however, a high-quality, larger cooler, such as the Dometic Patrol 75, will keep food fresh for days if you pack and manage it properly. Here’s how: ​

  • Start by making your ice blocks, at least a week (two is better) before your trip. For a cooler the size of the Patrol 75, flat, two-liter (0,5 gallon) plastic containers are ideal. Before starting the packing process, cool your cooler down overnight with a couple of packs of ice (to be discarded before your start packing). When packing it, layering is the best way to go. Pack from the bottom up, stacking your supplies from the last planned day/night to the first so that the first evening’s food and drinks are at the top. ​
  • To be most efficient on your camping trip, pre-cook easy-to-heat meals such as stews and curries and then freeze them in packable, freezable containers. Put some newspaper (and an ice brick or two) on each layer and then work your way up. Cooler maintenance is important too on extended trips. Make sure it stays out of the direct sun and if that is impossible, covering it with a wet towel makes a huge difference.​

© Dometic

For the driver big on mods

Certain vehicles have the capacity for custom mod coolers, (which is pretty cool!) such as the Ford F-150, Ford Super Duty, or Expedition. With the Dometic CCF-T Center Console Refrigerator, you can keep ice-cold drinks within arm’s reach for your day trips or extended expeditions. The unit seamlessly integrates into the center console of the Ford adding serious refrigeration with minimal noise.​


For the overlander

If you’re planning on doing a multi-day expedition and require keeping food frozen for extended periods go for the Dometic CFX3 75DZ Dual Cooler/Freezer — this powerful cooler offers two-zone storage compartments that have independent temperature control so you can keep your drinks ice cold and your food chilled without frosting and load it on a Cargo Slide.​

To make meals last the longest and maximize space invest in a vacuum-pack machine. Vacuum a range of pre-cooked meals and then freeze them as flat as possible. This way you can pack your freezer vertically, almost like a filing system.​

Top tip: use masking tape and a marker to label each meal so that you know what’s for dinner. To reheat, simply defrost slowly in warm water and then pour the contents into your Potjie Pot (Dutch Oven).