Fridge V Ice Box - What is right for you?

Deciding whether to buy a good quality Ice Box or invest in a 12V fridge is a daunting task.

There are so many variables and different scenarios where one is better than the other.

If you are on the fence, have a read of this comparison article and see which is for you.

Let’s compare the two….


Fridges will obviously run for as long as your fuel source will last (12v, gas, 240v).  A High quality Ice Box can keep food and drinks cold for up to 3-4 days before the ice becomes a slushy mess. This is where you need to assess your needs; what are you using it for and how long do you need to keep it cold?

If you are a weekend explorer and it is simple overnighters or 2 night trips you frequently go on, an Ice Box is a much more economical choice. Ice is only a few dollars from the store and it is quick and easy to fill and empty the Ice Box. Perfect for keeping food for a couple of days and drinks will keep as long as the ice lasts. (Tip: Put all food in waterproof containers before putting them in the Ice Box, that way if the ice melts, nothing gets soggy or contaminated, but it still stays Cold)

If long trips are more your forte a Fridge has the definite advantage of not needing ice etc, however you do have the initial investment which can be quite substantial. Perfect for keeping food and drinks cold for weeks on end, with no risk of soggy food. If you choose a fridge, you need to have the fuel source to run it, so take this into account, as you will need to either invest in propane each trip, or a deep cycle battery system for your vehicle. The $$$ start to rise, but this is the convenience and investment of a fridge.


When making your choice, it is important to decide what you are wanting to use it primarily for. In every case it is optimal to leave the fridge or Ice Box closed at all times and open it as little as possible. However we all know that the beer doesn’t drink itself. So if you are going to be opening it constantly while wanting to keep your food cold, it may be best to consider a separate Ice Box or Fridge specifically for drinks. If you need to take food with you on a long trip, a separate Ice Box for the food will maximise the time that the ice lasts and keep your food cold for longer. 

If it is a simple weekend adventure that you are going on, then a single Ice Box for both food and drinks is absolutely fine. Be sure that you purchase one of adequate size for your needs, as a ratio of 2 to 1 (Ice to beverage) is a must for long lasting ice. 


While both an Ice Box and Fridge are very convenient, a fridge is worth its weight in gold on a long trip. There is nothing like going on a 10 day trip, always having cold drinks at your finger tips. You can go on an off-road adventure for weeks on end, without needing to go to a store to restock. 

Ice Boxes really come into play on Weekend and day trips, as a single fill of ice is all you need. If you plan your trip and can stop at a Service Station etc every 2-3 days to refill the ice, coolers are perfectly fine for long trips. 

But I want the ease of a Fridge Slide…

Good News! Both a Fridge and an Ice Box will fit onto a Fridge Slide, meaning that just because you are going on a weekend trip you don’t need to hurt your back lifting a full Ice box. All Ice Boxes come with the standard handles on the sides to lift them, these can be used as a strapping point to secure them to a fridge slide. For optimal safety with a Fridge or Ice Box, it may be advisable to have a rated cam-buckle strap directly over the top to secure it down just in case a roll over occurs.