Should we buy a fridge? (Coleman Columbia 1988)

Genie2010

Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2013
1,284
I bought a dorm fridge on Craig's list for $15.00 [:D] It doesn't fit in my PUP but we only have hookups about 1/2 of the time so I just bring it when I can.
 

WendyLouWho

Wendy & Marlin
Aug 21, 2013
409
speckhunter80 said:
If you don't have a fridge I would not go buy one unless it is a two way dorm fridge. A good cooler will work well for those 2-4 day trips.

Agreed! We don't use ours. We use cooler or two. Much better for 4 or 5 people. But our fridge does cool down nicely if we need it. Otherwise, yes...drying rack, lol.

Hey...want to buy a dorm fridge? j/k [;)] I need my drying rack!
 

geoffm3

Active Member
Jun 21, 2010
176
Rusty said:
[:!] I guess I am in the minority here. Our current pup has a fridge and we LOVE it, no need to keep getting ice, we don't even take a cooler any more. I turn the fridge on the day before we leave (on gas) and load it up just before we leave. When we get to the CG, we switch over to 110 ac. To me this is better than dealing with a cooler, the ice, the water mess, and the space they take up. Keep in mind that we always camp where there is Shore Power.

I agree. My parents never used the fridge in the pop up they had, but I think that was because like many people they didn't know how to use it. Anything that saves us from having to bring One More Thing (especially a larger thing like a cooler) is a plus.

On our old Coleman we had a three-way fridge, and it worked fantastically. Our current camper has a bigger fridge but still works just as well (it's a two-way one instead, but it keeps the gas burner lit while traveling).

First, as you say, start it up a couple days before you leave.
Second, you should load it with stuff that's cold already. If you don't it will take forever to get cold.
Third, these fridges can be temperamental and unless you're moving, you need to have the camper as close to level as possible. While moving this isn't an issue.
Fourth, keep the fridge as full as possible. There's not a lot of space in there, so every time you open the door, all the cold air will escape. Having it fully stocked will keep things nice and cold.

We usually put our meat and cold drinks in there. We like Fresca, and ours would get cold enough to form ice in the can! Another good trick is that when you take a cold can out, put a warm can back in straightaway.
 

BarbaraFaith

Super Active Member
Oct 15, 2011
1,447
We bought new last year, and it had the 3 way fridge. In hindsight, I wouldn't necessarily need it. The majority of our trips are 1 to 2 hrs from home, the longest so far was about 3.5 hrs. Our fridge isn't accessible without the top popped up. We would use battery power to help cool it down whiile we travel. We've always used just the a/c power except for over the 4th of July when it was really hot, then we used the propane.

When we pack, I take frozen stuff out of the freezer, add dairy and some beverages to cool down. I always use a 5 lb bag of ice, and a block of ice in an older steel belted Coleman cooler. We keep most of the stuff outside in the cooler, putting only milk, juice, a couple of bottles of water, and a few O'Douls in the fridge.

On our most recent trip, I didn't take the cooler, becuase it just takes too much space in our TV, and we were winterizing and I would be bringing all the pillows, bedding, etc. home. So we used the fridge and I was suprised how much it accomodated for the weekend.
 

dion

Active Member
Apr 26, 2012
639
We don't have one in our pup, but we used to have a camper van with a built-in 3-way fridge. That was both the greatest and worst thing about that van. Greatest, because I always had cold drinks, cold food, no worrying about buying ice, no food getting wet at the bottom of the cooler, no numb hands from digging through icewater to retrieve things. It would run for at least a month on a tank of propane. I've never been one to rely on hookups, so it was wonderful.

But it was the worst thing because it was a maintenance headache. It would fail to light, soot up, require disassembly and cleaning, require leveling, and generally be the most finicky item in the vehicle. Sometimes I had to pull it out of its cabinet at the campsite, disassemble it, and clean the burner to get it to light. That was a 45 minute ugly job that I really didn't want to do in the field.

Since we sold the van, we've camped with coolers. I don't like having to buy ice, but at least a cooler is very reliable and predictable.
 

jayco1997

Super Active Member
Oct 1, 2012
951
our 1997 pup only has an icebox and we thought about replacing with a 3 way but after reading this, it doesn't seem worth the expense. We also bring a cooler. it is a pain sometimes getting ice but I have found that the blocks of ice work best at staying cold longer. we also use a small fan that helps circulate the cool air and works real well.http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/fridgecool-fan-with-onoff-switch/38134 it uses 2 D batteries and after camping every weekend over the summer we only had to replace the batteries one time.
 

chipskiittles

Member
Jun 16, 2013
39
I was debating the same as the previous owner of my pup removed the built in cooler and installed a dorm fridge in its place. I thought it might be nice to have a 3-way fridge but what I've found works for me is loading all the cold stuff into 3 20GAL ice chests for the travel, offload the food into the dorm fridge at the campsite and then use the remaining ice for the 2 or 3 days we camp to refill the drink cooler that stays outside. It was nice to not have to buy ice on our trip. That being said, i don't usually camp when its hot, there's only me and my son, and I like the full hookups for now.
 

copperbear

Member
Sep 26, 2011
55
I agree with the comments on the height of the dorm fridges. I found out the hard way. I bought an Igloo fridge before the trailer and found with the pup closed....the fridge was too high. I was lucky enuff to find a used Sanyo fridge...quite small height wise...but great for a long weekend...fits perfect on counter top.
 

Sumoman

Super Active Member
Mar 20, 2013
826
jayco1997 said:
our 1997 pup only has an icebox and we thought about replacing with a 3 way but after reading this, it doesn't seem worth the expense. We also bring a cooler. it is a pain sometimes getting ice but I have found that the blocks of ice work best at staying cold longer. we also use a small fan that helps circulate the cool air and works real well.http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/fridgecool-fan-with-onoff-switch/38134 it uses 2 D batteries and after camping every weekend over the summer we only had to replace the batteries one time.

Get dry ice. Some Wal Marts have it. Your cooler will not need ice if you do.


CATAPULTAM HABEO. NISI PECUNIAM OMNEM MIHI DABIS AD CAPUT TUUM SAXUM IMMANE MITTAM.

2000 Land Rover Discovery, loaded with ARB and ready for the end of the world.
2008 Fleetwood Evolution E3, loaded and ready for the end of the world.
1967 Heckaman Manufacturing, "Phoenix" 18FT travel trailer.. Beginning of Mobile Man-Cave process.
 

BillBlackett

Member
Aug 26, 2013
73
BillBlackett said:
Great discussion on this thread.

I've found a 18" high dorm fridge at Walmart.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Igloo-1.7-cu-ft-Refrigerator/19766095#Specifications

Should be big enough to keep bacon/eggs/hotdogs, etc. cold, and maybe a bottle of adult beverage or two.
The Black & Decker refrigerator I paid $90 for last October is not working.

Fortunately, I discovered this while camped out in "Camp Driveway" over the weekend.

I had been storing it in the Pup. I guess these things aren't made well enough to handle being jostled around in a trailer.

I dislike using ice, as everything gets soggy, but I guess it's back to the old reliable cooler.
 

Heartman_wa

Super Active Member
Mar 5, 2006
1,703
Tacoma WA.
So the qustion is how many people do have going with you? I see a lot of coments about to small but DW and I can pack it for 5-6 days inculding condiments, ice chest for drinks. After baffle and fan mod my big problem is freezing stuff. We haven't been anywhere that had power in 3 or 4 years. So what kind of camping do you do? For how many people? What do you cook? How many "meat" meals a day? Those would answer it for you. Remember its like a hot tube in your house you will never get the money back if you sell. It has to be good for you.
 

Strut

Active Member
Jun 24, 2014
250
When I was looking for my first PUP a fridge seemed like an unneeded expense for something so small, and takes up so much valuable cargo space. Come to find out its hard to find a newer PUP that doesn't come with one. Now that I have it, I love it. I still bring a small cooler for iced drinks, but all of our cold/frozen foods go into the fridge. Mine is 1.8cf, and has plenty of room for enough food to feed 2-4 people for a week.

I run the fridge on 120v before I leave to cool down while I top off the battery. I prefer to run in in 12v mode while I travel then switch to propane while I'm at camp. I don't tend to stay in electric sites.
 




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