Is An Icebox a Waste of Money? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-16-2012, 09:00 PM   #1
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Is An Icebox a Waste of Money?

OK, so I've tried searching using just the keyword "Icebox" and I seem to get everything out there. So, as far as I could scroll through and catch everyone's opinions on iceboxes - I seem to only see how everyone is REPLACING them with new fully functioning refrigerator units.

We're pretty basic campers and have only ever used coolers and a plug-in cooler. Our 1972 Cloud had a non-working ref. unit and we're seriously thinking on popping in an Ice Box. It seems like a good idea. Do I insulate around it as it is going in?

Does anyone have any advice on if they bought one and then found it to be useless? I'm attaching a photo of the vacant spot that the fridge used to be in.
RV Ice Box Small
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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There was a thread where poster reported getting 4-5 days out of block ice using an ice box after putting additional insulation around it when installing. Hopefully someone can point you at that post or recall details like what they used for insulation.

I also saw a neat idea for an RV fridge that would probably be a great help for an ice box. The person cut a thin piece of plexi glass to fit the inside of the front opening, then cut it up into pieces that matched shelves in fridge. Hung the pieces fom shelf above using zip ties through drilled holes as hinges.

Opening fridge door does not dump all the cold out and you just flip the plexi glass cover up to get to the shelf you want.

Scamp online store sells at least one model of ice box you might want to look at to see if dimensions will work for you. Pretty good price, especially compared to a fridge. $105 vs $540 for fridge Ice Box
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:06 PM   #3
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We Like Our Ice Box

We are minimalist campers coming from a background of backpacking and eco-friendly car-camping. We like to keep things simple so we purchased our new 13' Scamp with an icebox and love it! We place a block of ice on the top shelf, place foods in sealed Rubbermaid containers or keep them in the original plastic bags. Meats go on the top and sides of the ice block and we put produce in the lower section. Depending on the daytime temperature a block of ice can last from 3-5 days. The most important thing is to check that the tubing is securely connected from the bottom of the upper shelf (where the melted ice drains) to the hole in the bottom shelf (which drains to the outside). We have inadvertently knocked the hose off the holes resulting in water on the floor of the trailer (not fun). When we park the trailer to store it we remove all remaining food and ice and clean the inside of the icebox with baking soda, leaving the box sweet-smelling. In addition, we keep the door open so the box can air out.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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When purchased, my Scamp had a piece of masonite covering the hole where the ice box went. I took it off, framed the opening and put a shelf on the bottom. Now I use a large iglo style cooler that fits in the hole. It is well insulated. And I can pull it out and throw it in the tow vehicle with lunch when needed.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:25 PM   #5
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The main problem I have with the ice box is that once the blocks I put in at home melt, I can't find block ice and cubes don't last.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
The main problem I have with the ice box is that once the blocks I put in at home melt, I can't find block ice and cubes don't last.
Your right block is getting harder to find. I did see it in a Meijer gas station here in Mich. at Frankenmouth and was shocked.

Only other place I can recall is Rose City Mich. at the groc. store but lots of campgrounds around there.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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Hello, my 1978 Trillium refrig quit. Since I like to boondock
I installed an icebox like the one from Scamp. I find that
if the weather is not too hot it takes about 2 blocks of ice
per week. I keep the contents in plastic trays to be able
to quickly remove and replace them keeping the door
openings to a minimum. This is lighter and the trailer
leveling is not so critical now. Extra insulation was
installed... 2 back to back layers of reflecting bubble
wrap stuff, then 1/2" of foam insulation then another
layer of the reflecting stuff with the shiny side out.
These were installed with Scotch 77 spray on contact
cement with the joints covered with aluminum tape.
Good luck, Larry H
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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Ice Box Redeemed vs Fridge
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:32 AM   #9
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i guess it depends on your individual needs. i will say that if i had a vintage trailer i was "restoring " that came with one,i would be happy with it. ice boxes provided good service for a couple billion campers for a lot of years...and they don't break down.
that being said,,, if you spending weeks at a time out,, hard to beat a propane refridgerator.

of course it all depends on you food needs too...if all you eat is mac and cheese,,,you know?
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #10
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Our Egg Camper has a 12 volt compressor fridge. No propane. We would not have an icebox. Block ice is hard to find. We used coolers for years and were never fully satisfied with them. I once read of a study concerning meat in coolers. The meat was laid on top of the ice. The bottom of the meat was frozen and the top was spoiled. Not for us, but whatever floats your boat.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:18 AM   #11
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I think the big issue with refrigerators is the cost. New propane refrigerators are $600 and up and compressor refrigerators are even more expensive. My solution was to buy a used propane fridge from a scrapped popup trailer for $50.

As noted in the link that I posted above, ice boxes have really minimal insulation. If you have the space, you can double or triple the insulation for a few bucks. Then, as Diane notes in her post, they work a lot better. You can also install a small fan inside to keep a more uniform temperature inside. I used a tiny 12 volt computer fan for a couple of bucks.

C5755 2 Pin 40mm 12V Computer Cooler Cooling Fan PC Black | eBay
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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This got me thinking about the ice problem. I was out Thurs- Sun in moderate temps (high probably 80, low maybe 55 at night) and two ten pound blocks of ice were almost gone by Saturday night. No local source of block ice. I may try insulating but I'm also considering an electric fridge and use a 60 hr cooler for when I need ice instead.

But I wonder if there is any kind of listing anywhere of block ice availability? Sure would be nice. Could we maybe start a sticky for that or a master list of places to find block ice? The best one I know is the machine in Fresno that dispenses 25 lb blocks. It's on Blackstone (1474 N, I think.) Also the Goose Community Grocer on Whidbey at Bayview (Highway 525 between Freeland and Clinton) has 10 lb blocks. And sadly, that's all I know! I'd like to find one near Sedro Wooley.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:16 AM   #13
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I had another thought about five-day coolers, that is, getting one for the main purpose of storing extra block ice. Put two in the fridge, buy two more and pop in the less-convenient but more insulated cooler (which can sit under the trailer out of the way until needed.) Hassle to bring it, but it would only be for longer trips in warmer weather. And if I did end up getting a fridge I'd have it for the rare trip without power.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #14
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For what it is worth, we camped in a popup, a boat, and a tent and never used anything except an icebox. We are looking for an egg, and would be happy to get one with an icebox. If we order a new one, it will be with an icebox. Nothing to fail and no gas bomb or pilot to worry about. But we go on weekends and try to take minimal cold stuff, so your situation may be different.
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