Small Fridge - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-04-2013, 06:14 PM   #1
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Small Fridge

My question is for those of us who prefer having a fridge. What is the smallest sized fridge that can be useful?

The reason I ask is I purchased on ebay a brand new Norcold N400 4.5 cu ft fridge. All was great except that it is essentially 24" X 24" x 37" and I can't fit it through the 22" door opening. I knew this when I bought it and just figured I'd expand one of the side back windows in my Scamp 19' from 24" x 19" to 24" x 24" (or higher) whatever will fit.

Prior to buying the Norcold I was deliberating going with a 12v compressor style fridge instead and just making sure to provide enough solar and batteries that I would never have to worry about it. Which brings me to yesterday.

I was looking on the Trillium Outback site and noticed that they come with a 1.7 cu ft 12v fridge. I just happened to have Craigslist open in another window and typed in 12v fridge and an ad came up for a barely used Waeco 12v 1.7 cu ft fridge. They were asking $300 and the deal making side got the better of me so I offered them $200 sight unseen and they accepted it. I drove the 30 miles to pick it up and quite frankly was SHOCKED as to how physically small it is. It measures 15"w x 19"d x 21"h. It will easily fit the space or anywhere else I care to put it but will it be practical?
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
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I've got a Norcold 323 that is 1.7 cubic feet. It holds essentials like milk and meat. I guess it all depends on what you want to put into it.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:55 PM   #3
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I think this question is a big "it depends on...". We have a 2.7 cu ft. It is the smallest we have ever had, but we made it work. We were actually surprised how well it worked out for our family of 5. There are tradeoffs but I would do it again.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:00 PM   #4
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That totally depends on what you want it to do. If all you want is something to keep some beer cold, then small is fine. If you plan to stock up, something bigger. When camping, cold drinks, and cold cuts, and a two litre of milk are mostly what is in our fridge. We have a rather large fridge. It is an old RM36E. The 1300 that has a fridge has a smaller RM211. It still has enough room for a jug of milk and then some.
A table of fridge sizes is available here:
Refrigerator Conversion Chart
It looks like an RM211 would fit through your door. But, I suspect that you are looking for an electric fridge though. The site in the link has compressor fridges as well. They have one that is 3.1 cu ft that would fit:
DE-490
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:10 PM   #5
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Steve,

We have the Standard Scamp 2 cubic foot or so fridge. It worked perfectly fine for our 315 day trip last year and we are people who cook at least two meals a day in our Scamp. There are two of us when we travel.

We maximize the volume by fully shelving our fridge; we have four shelves. Generally it is full. We thinks it helps it to run better when it's full, comparatively little cold air falls onto the floor when we open the door. There is also a lot of cold capacity in every thing already in there when we add a hot item.

We keep a quart of milk, a quart of half and half, a bottle or two of water and five cans of soda/beer in the fridge at all times along with a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, box of breakfast sausages, a jar of jelly, a few condiments and two pounds of Tillamock Cheddar cheese. As well there is always at least one meat entre and one plastic containers worth of left overs from a previous meal. I know there's other misc stuff and there's always room for a little more.

We had to make additional shelves for our fridge. Making more shelves means is that stuff doesn't get stacked on other stuff and is easier to get at.

As well we have a nesting set of three sizes of square plastic containers with a common covers that fit between our shelf spacing.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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You could also get a 12V portable cooler/fridge. Coleman makes some. You can plug it into your 12v accessory access in your vehicle when traveling. They usually have a AC accessory cord so you can plug it in when at a camp ground. I got lucky and found one at an auction sale a while back for under $20. A new one will cost between $60 & $170 depending on what size you get. The one I got will both heat and cool. They look much like your average portable cooler.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:18 PM   #7
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David, the fridge that it is replacing is the rm211. The reason I'm replacing it is the rm211 became very hit or miss. It would only work on propane and then sometimes when it stopped working I couldn't get it to work at all.

Prior to this Scamp I sold a 19' stick 5th wheel with a 7 cu ft fridge w/ separate icebox. It was so convenient. I thought the 4.5 would work fine so I might have to keep it in mind.

Norm, thank you as always for your in depth response. I might be able to make it work. What I worry about most is I spend 3 months at a time in my rig and like to buy in bulk. I suppose I just need to change my way of thinking.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:37 PM   #8
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We use our small fridge( not sure about excite size) for food and milk. We use a cooler for sodas and other canned drinks. We have found that to work good for us because then the fridge does not get opened at all times of the day.The fridge is turned on and stocked with all cold items only the day before we leave,cooler is stocked with ice and cold drinks that same day.The day we leave we add fresh ice and if we keep the cooler covered and in the shade we will only have to add ice once for a whole week of camping.

Our friend has the Coleman 12V portable cooler/fridge that also has a 110 plug adapter they use for drinks.That will be my next big item for the camper.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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What it really comes down to Steve, is does it hold enough beer? All other uses are just bonus.

I know our 5 cf fridge holds tons. We could easily get away with less. Our dog is raw fed, and his food takes up a fair bit of space too, usually 4-10 lbs worth.

A cooler can easily supplemental your needs too. When we had an icebox in a tent trailer, we bought a gas/electric cooler from the dealer that worked great, except in extreme heat. We had a gas quick connect on the trailer we used most of the time.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
What it really comes down to Steve, is does it hold enough beer? All other uses are just bonus.
Don't forget the munchies, man can't live on beer alone.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:38 PM   #11
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Well I think I have a Norcold 323T, would love to have the N260.3 but need to see if I can squeeze an inch of height out of it without loseing a small storage spot...but I had bariatric surgery this summer, so I eat next to nothing...so as long as I have space for half-n-half for coffee Im good lol

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Old 01-04-2013, 10:42 PM   #12
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We don't carry any coolers. We do carry aa fair amount of canned and dry goods. We have a storage compartment under the fridge that holds a dozen drink cans that stays pretty cool.

We have a two drawer pantry for canned goods and a potato/onion/carrot bin. We do have the under stove Scamp bread box. In the back of it we have 4 - 8 ounce packages of smoked salmon, 4 entrees. Under the fridge we also have a pull out pasta drawer.

We store larger box items in our shelved closet like coffee, bread crumbs, crackers and cookies as well as spices and meds. We also carry at least 3 kinds of snack nuts.

Our apples and bananas sit in a bowl in one of the overheads. Citrus normally sit on the rear bumper box when stationary.

Besides a couple of cold water bottles in the fridge we have a case in the car. Ginny likes it there for our dirt road trips, still a cautious girl. For the same reason there's always some quick energy snacks in the car.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:01 AM   #13
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Well then darn it I think I might just give it a try. It sounds to me like no one is particularly unhappy with a small fridge. I think I am going to cut into my curbside counter. Take out the old 120v water heater and install it there. All I need to do is expand the opening by about 2" and run a 12v cable and it's done. By putting it on that side I can convert the entire, much larger, previous spot into storage. I do plan on removing the old vents and install aluminum sheeting to cover the holes.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #14
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A small fridge gives you an excuse to carry a cooler for the beer. Ice cold beer is always better than fridge cooled beer. We don't run the fridge while towing so it becomes a salad crisper during the day. All the things that can spoil are on ice. When stationary, we get the fridge running on propane and move things when it is cool. The biggest problem I have had was keeping the lettuce from freezing. We went from a three cubic foot with freezer model to a two cubic foot without freezer model. Without the freezer works better. Raz
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