Refrigerator or Ice Box?? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-30-2016, 06:27 PM   #1
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Refrigerator or Ice Box??

I'm working on my '71 Compact Jr., which originally had an ice box. I was fine with that until I undertook a 2 week seriously off-grid trip to Baja back in 1991, so I put in a 3-way fridge that would run on propane. It was great for that, but once home, I mostly used the trailer for weekends at dog shows (which means no hookups of any kind), and I had lots of issues with the propane pilot staying lit, or even starting it -- spider webs would get in the nozzle and I was constantly cleaning them out. And now I'm looking at either updating the fridge to a newer model or going back to the plain old icebox, which was fine for my weekend trips before the big Baja adventure.

I think what I really want is somebody to convince me that I should spend many $$$ for a fridge rather than many fewer $$ for an icebox and why... At this point, I have to admit, I'm leaning toward icebox, since I don't really anticipate any serious off-grid trips (like the Baja adventure) again. Even if the trips will be longer duration, I should be where I can buy ice.

Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:34 PM   #2
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A big disadvantage of ice box is... Ice. It takes too much space.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:47 PM   #3
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When I was in the process of ordering my Scamp 13 in 2008, the ice box was a stock item at that time (don't know if it still is). I didn't think twice and ordered the option for a 3-way fridge. It was the best decision not having to deal with ice and the space it takes up.
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:48 PM   #4
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Since the problem is spiders solve that since it will save you a lot of money versus making a change to the fridge.

Go to the hardware store and purchase a "No pest strip" and put a chunk of it in the compartment area where the fridge is. You will have to change it out for a new chunk every once in a while.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:36 PM   #5
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I'm leaning your way....

if availabilty of ice is good (where I am block ice is everywhere and cheap..thank you sportfishermen) I'd go for the ice box...especially if you could/will build your own "super-duper" model (easy to do really)...having done that a block will last a week I bet....

if my big honkin' fridge ever blows up that's the route I'll be going....the "super-duper" box will use up half the space....and we could all use more space for other stuff, no?....Why do I need a freezer???

I "lived" for years with an ice box on a boat...which is a lot bigger challenge because of limited reprovisioning options....but in a trailer...all you do is pull into the next supermarket parking lot....it's a snap...if you're "on the road"

JMO of course
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
A big disadvantage of ice box is... Ice. It takes too much space.
Not to mention for some strange reason it is harder and harder to find block ice and depending on what area your camping you may not find any at all.

Depending on how often you camp the price of it add's up over time. Some places charge a lot for them - have paid as much as $5 on the west coast for a block... after 100 nights out camping and replacing the block every 2 days thats $250 that could have gone to a new fridge ;-)

If I was in the market for a new fridge and would go with a 2 way only - electric and propane. I never used the DC on my Scamp due to the high battery power draw.
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:07 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Franswa;600953

....and we could all use more space for other stuff, no?....Why do I need a freezer???

[/QUOTE]

Two words ICE CREAM
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Old 07-30-2016, 09:31 PM   #8
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On the other hand- the ice box doesn't require leveling. And no propane or electric. Newer ones probably keep things much colder. And an even cheaper alternative- get a 7 day cooler for the food, and use the fridge space for storage.

It's true block ice is sometimes hard to find, though, so for longer trips an icebox isn't the best option. I ended up buying a 5-day ice chest so I could bring extra blocks to replace what's in the icebox as needed.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:21 AM   #9
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Smile Refrigerator or Ice Box??

Hi Dail, I'm in the middle of restoring a Paris Pacer and if I could, let me throw something else out there. I took my ice box and will be adding more storage and will be buying a Yeti cooler. These coolers can keep everything cold for at least 10 days! keep them covered and maybe longer. Just my two cents!

All the best
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Old 07-31-2016, 11:26 AM   #10
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A Fridge can be used as an ice box but an Ice box can not be used as a fridge.
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Old 07-31-2016, 12:04 PM   #11
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fridge/box.....

using a small fridge (under counter) as an ice box wouldn't work very well...every time you opened the door all the cold air would "fall" out....and then the ice would have to cool a fridge full of warm air again...the ice would be gone in no time...that's why ice boxes (coolers or built-in jobs) are always top loaded....

I have a huge fridge for the size of trailer (still baffles me....marketing to the "DW" I suspect)...the freezer is too large for my use too so I keep three 2L containers of water in there (bottom half of freezer)....if I have to shut the fridge down (ferry travel ?) I can take one or two of those jugs and put them in the fridge (turning it into an ice box)....but I don't open the door at those times

the three jugs also mean I will NEVER completely run out of water
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:23 PM   #12
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Thanks everybody

Thanks everybody for all the thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc. Gives me more to consider as I move forward with this... Good thing I'm not in a hurry to make up my mind
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Old 07-31-2016, 02:35 PM   #13
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My first three campers had iceboxes , they were just fridges with no workings. Block ice works best and something to contain the water is needed.
They are not as efficient as a fridge and require more care in door opening time and maintenance of ice supply. But you know this because that is what you already had.
Even today with a three-way fridge we still just use frozen bottles of water when on the move , the fridge never runs when on the road.
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Old 07-31-2016, 05:08 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Carol H;600960]Not to mention for some strange reason it is harder and harder to find block ice and depending on what area your camping you may not find any at all.

Depending on how often you camp the price of it add's up over time. Some places charge a lot for them - have paid as much as $5 on the west coast for a block... after 100 nights out camping and replacing the block every 2 days thats $250 that could have gone to a new fridge ;-)

If I was in the market for a new fridge and would go with a 2 way only - electric and propane. I never used the DC on my Scamp due to the high battery power draw.[/QUOTE

Ice is not the only cost factor if you have to travel 5 or 10 or 20 or 30 miles to purchase ice . That $5 block of ice now cost $10 when you add in the,travel expense. . I figure my refrigerator has paid for itself with the money and time I saved not having to run for ice.
We tried those so called " 5 Day Coolers " and we were lucky if we got 3 days out of a block of Ice.
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