We finally purchased a cooler for our van. This is one of the many tough decisions that must be made when setting up your van. At least for now, we have decided to go the high quality-low tech option in keeping our food cold. We purchased our Cabela’s 60-qt Polar Cap Equalizer Cooler online from Cabela’s directly. (We will always suggest a product that we personally chose without concern as to whether we can link it to our Amazon Affiliate program. Of course, we appreciate any purchase of those products or frankly, anything you purchase from Amazon through our affiliate link, as it is how we can make a little bit of money without costing you any more than you would have already paid Amazon.)
Now for our thinking process on choosing this cooler …
Our decision was based on a number of reasons.
- Refrigerators require the consideration of cost, efficiency & power draw if you are considering solar or sometimes the vehicles battery. We eventually plan on having solar; however, we are prioritizing our must haves versus wishes. If you are anything like us and have to seriously consider how much money you have available on your van conversion, then you might be even more interested in following our choices and thinking as we are definitely working on a budget and our van will evolve over time. The less we would expect from solar the smaller our requirements and cost for solar will be.
- We have found our Yeti cups to be amazing in hot temperatures and wanted to consider coolers of a similar quality. On our first van trip we went to a concert and stealth camped in our van during a heatwave. The temperature was over 100 yet we still had ice in our Yeti cups the next day! Pattie’s brother in law mentioned Orca coolers as an alternative to Yet, so Pattie dived into the research on which was better for the money. She found the following review of 12 top end coolers ranked and reviewed by Field & Stream and was impressed by Cabela’s cooler. The cost of the 60-qt Cabela was $300 versus $400 for the Yeti Tundra 65 Marine Cooler.
- Ice is cheap and easy to obtain. We don’t expect to be anywhere that ice wouldn’t be available long enough for that to be an issue. When you consider that, yes, ice does cost money, but then compare it to the fact that a fridge costs a lot more than the cooler, deal with the cost of solar and the fact that the batteries won’t last forever, we felt that the cooler was definitely the way to go at this time. We can always get a fridge later, and this freed up money for us to address other higher priorities.
Part of the beauty of setting up a van is that there is no one perfect way. You will always be making decisions where you will have to sacrifice something for another issue that matters more. We are approaching our van conversion slowly as we learn new things with each experience. You can start your adventure by thinking of your van as fancy camping. We started with having a bed and a cheaper cooler to begin our trips and our van will evolve over time.
Here is a great article on things to consider with a fridge by ParkedInParadise.com