No more ice!!!

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iairj84

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My wife gave me an ultimatum (well we won't call it an ultimatum more like a **REQUEST**) that we figure out this cooler and ice situation. Over the years we've acquired through various means 5 or 6 different ice chests, all in search of the ultimate 4 days of use without restocking ice. We sometimes were able to get close to that depending on the weather and how full the cooler was (more ice the better) but ultimately it was always a struggle during our busiest summer camping season. Because of this needing to buy Ice issue our trips were often planned around going into town to restock the ice supply, which seriously hinders ones ability to connect with nature and escape civilization (that's why we're all here aren't we?)

I've searched and searched for the perfect 12v fridge/freezer, but my wallet and booty puckered every time I saw the dollar signs. The Costway models on Amazon looked like a good alternative to ARB or Dometic and were relatively affordable, but with the bulk of summer camping coming and going I figured it could wait for the fall or Christmas even. Cue an Amazon alert for a "Lightning Deal" on a Alpicool CF55 fridge freezer that looks an awful lot like the other brands, reviews were mixed, some love it and some had/have issues with the latch on the 45qt model. At a price of $288 I figured why not? If there's an issue immediately I can always return to Amazon, or even worse so I could add it to the attic collection of unused coolers. So far so good with the fridge, I can't speak to the longevity of the product just yet, but overall it seems well put together for the price.

Anyway sorry for the long diatribe, but if you're interested in an inexpensive fridge freezer it may be worth a look?

 

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Don't know about the Alpicool, @iairj84 - but know the money spent on my ARB 50 two years ago, which has been running non-stop since then except for a couple times when I unplugged it to thoroughly clean it, has been SO well worth it in not having to deal with finding a place to buy ice or dealing with using it, waste water, etc. It also allows a lot more food/drinks to be stored, as you don't have a 10 or 20 lb bag of ice taking up space.

Makes more sense, granted, if you're out a lot more than most.

Hope yours works the way you hope it will!
 

iairj84

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Don't know about the Alpicool, @iairj84 - but know the money spent on my ARB 50 two years ago, which has been running non-stop since then except for a couple times when I unplugged it to thoroughly clean it, has been SO well worth it in not having to deal with finding a place to buy ice or dealing with using it, waste water, etc. It also allows a lot more food/drinks to be stored, as you don't have a 10 or 20 lb bag of ice taking up space.

Makes more sense, granted, if you're out a lot more than most.

Hope yours works the way you hope it will!

Thanks! I look at this unit more like a gateway into the world of fridges. If it poops out then it might be time for an ARB or dometic. I know the saying buy once cry once, but ultimately it's what the budget can afford, only time will tell if it's worth it... Doing the back of the napkin math it should pay off after about the 60th bag of ice, not taking into account gas savings from driving to town.
 

Road

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Thanks! I look at this unit more like a gateway into the world of fridges. If it poops out then it might be time for an ARB or dometic. I know the saying buy once cry once, but ultimately it's what the budget can afford, only time will tell if it's worth it... Doing the back of the napkin math it should pay off after about the 60th bag of ice, not taking into account gas savings from driving to town.
Exactly. Fuel back & forth for ice, cost of ice, time spent with ice, etc. Mine has paid for itself, though I use it constantly.
 

PatricL

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My wife gave me an ultimatum (well we won't call it an ultimatum more like a **REQUEST**) that we figure out this cooler and ice situation. Over the years we've acquired through various means 5 or 6 different ice chests, all in search of the ultimate 4 days of use without restocking ice. We sometimes were able to get close to that depending on the weather and how full the cooler was (more ice the better) but ultimately it was always a struggle during our busiest summer camping season. Because of this needing to buy Ice issue our trips were often planned around going into town to restock the ice supply, which seriously hinders ones ability to connect with nature and escape civilization (that's why we're all here aren't we?)

I've searched and searched for the perfect 12v fridge/freezer, but my wallet and booty puckered every time I saw the dollar signs. The Costway models on Amazon looked like a good alternative to ARB or Dometic and were relatively affordable, but with the bulk of summer camping coming and going I figured it could wait for the fall or Christmas even. Cue an Amazon alert for a "Lightning Deal" on a Alpicool CF55 fridge freezer that looks an awful lot like the other brands, reviews were mixed, some love it and some had/have issues with the latch on the 45qt model. At a price of $288 I figured why not? If there's an issue immediately I can always return to Amazon, or even worse so I could add it to the attic collection of unused coolers. So far so good with the fridge, I can't speak to the longevity of the product just yet, but overall it seems well put together for the price.

Anyway sorry for the long diatribe, but if you're interested in an inexpensive fridge freezer it may be worth a look?

I have a 100 quart Igloo. Pack it with a couple bags of crushed and 1 or 2 blocks (or frozen 1-gallon milk jugs) all in 1/2 of it. Other 1/2 is food. Place dry ice on top of ice. Keep it in the shade and put a moving quilt over it. I have brought ice home from 4 day camping trips in hot weather. I have a 1/4 ton little military trailer so I don't have to go minimalist. This probably wouldn't work with jeeps and SUV's because the cooler is so large. Probably would work if you had a smaller second cooler just for ice.
 

KonzaLander

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Thanks! I look at this unit more like a gateway into the world of fridges. If it poops out then it might be time for an ARB or dometic. I know the saying buy once cry once, but ultimately it's what the budget can afford, only time will tell if it's worth it... Doing the back of the napkin math it should pay off after about the 60th bag of ice, not taking into account gas savings from driving to town.
That is the same philosophy I have with the Costway. Initially I wasn't sure if a fridge would be a worthwhile cooler replacement or that it would be something I really like, so I opted to buy one of the cheap fridges. After one long trip and never having to deal with cooler water, water logged packages of meat or needing to find ice...I am sold. My wife is even a huge fan of the fridge since we can store cold groceries in there during our day-to-day routine :smirk:
 
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iairj84

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Contributor I

I have a 100 quart Igloo. Pack it with a couple bags of crushed and 1 or 2 blocks (or frozen 1-gallon milk jugs) all in 1/2 of it. Other 1/2 is food. Place dry ice on top of ice. Keep it in the shade and put a moving quilt over it. I have brought ice home from 4 day camping trips in hot weather. I have a 1/4 ton little military trailer so I don't have to go minimalist. This probably wouldn't work with jeeps and SUV's because the cooler is so large. Probably would work if you had a smaller second cooler just for ice.
I am glad that setup works for you guys, it has worked for others for many many decades and will continue to. For our setup a 100quart doesn't fit with what we're doing, but your method certainly works. From time to time when going with lots of friends we'll have a second cooler just for beverages (barley/hop variety) that will still probably come in handy. Nice thing about that is if the ice doesn't hold up then we're dealing with warm beer and not spoiled food, ultimately I am not sure what is worse, warm beer or warm food.
 

adventure_is_necessary

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Until I can afford the fridge, I have toys around with various methods of using a cooler efficiently. Best method so far is having reusable ice packs (i.e. Yeti ice or equivalent), frozen water bottles (great for drinking later on :grin:) and freezing pre-made meals ahead of time for the main cooler, then using a smaller cooler (soft-sided) for drinks, snacks, and thawing. It's not a perfect method, but it works a whole heck of a lot better than just ice and ice blocks. Keeping the water contained helps a ton, but I'd rather not have to buy or make ice. Frozen bottles are great for both coolers and the ice packs seem to hold longer than regular ice, as well as keep things cold even then they're no longer frozen. Again, not perfect, but it worked well on my 10-day trip to Expo West and the Grand Canyon. I did also double-bag my soft-sided cooler with another. Didn't ever have to buy ice on the trip and everything stayed frozen or near frozen. Even came home with stuff still semi frozen. Fridge is on the list, but I think I've got a good system using what I already have.
 
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iairj84

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Just as a follow up for anyone finding this thread via search... I have been using the fridge now essentially non stop for the last several weeks. I have been on several trips, long and short and have been really pleased with the fridge overall, not a single issue to report with it yet. I have been on multi day trips down to Lake Tahoe as well as to our beautiful Oregon coast, all without issue. My only complication has been with the fact that all the cigarette lighter ports in my rig are switched outlets, that's not an issue with the cooler, just something to keep in mind. In my case if I was stopped for more than 30 minutes or so then I plugged it in to a power bank I keep handy for jump starts and otherwise. My wife is particularly happy with the fridge, the lack of watery food and the ability to unload it and not have to clear it out right when we get home has made her really happy.
 
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huudlum_jk

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Just as a follow up for anyone finding this thread via search... I have been using the fridge now essentially non stop for the last several weeks. I have been on several trips, long and short and have been really pleased with the fridge overall, not a single issue to report with it yet. I have been on multi day trips down to Lake Tahoe as well as to our beautiful Oregon coast, all without issue. My only complication has been with the fact that all the cigarette lighter ports in my rig are switched outlets, that's not an issue with the cooler, just something to keep in mind. In my case if I was stopped for more than 30 minutes or so then I plugged it in to a power bank I keep handy for jump starts and otherwise. My wife is particularly happy with the fridge, the lack of watery food and the ability to unload it and not have to clear it out right when we get home has made her really happy.
Congrats on your success so far! Our Dometic was a gamechanger for us and has been running non stop in the jeep for a year now. Camping, Costco, tailgating... it’s been great!
 
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