4 Practical Ways: How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving?

Let’s dig into How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving.

Going from campground to campground, station to station, or Boondock to Boondock it’s a struggle to know how to keep your RV cold while driving.

Cold food and beverages are not only a preference, it’s a necessity for produce. And, a need to keep those juices cold if you’re RVing with children.

Do you plan to have a running RV fridge while driving? Here we go over tips and best practices when it comes to keeping your food at a pleasant temperature during your travels.

There are three types of power sources that you can use in an RV:

  • Propane Tank: Pocket friendly but high risk
  • 120V AC: A Generator Undoubtably safer
  • 12V DC: Draw from the vehicle’s battery

Related: What is the Best Portable Ice Maker for RVs?

How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving

How To Keep RV Fridge Cold While Driving?

1. Plan and Prep Temperature a Day Ahead

Temperature Knob: Turn the temp down as low as possible the day before traveling. This increases the length of time food stays good.

Packing, Ice packs, and frozen foods: Following the same principle, keep plenty of ice, and ice bags and pack frozen foods with other foods.

Pack the fridge close to max capacity. Don’t leave too much open space if you can help it.

Make sure to put the most perishable items, like meat and dairy products, on the bottom shelves and the least perishable items, like soda cans, on the top shelves.

Related: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Run my RV AC

2. Avoid Opening The Fridge When You’re On The Road

Don’t open the fridge too often while you’re on the road. Minimizing opening the fridge door will keep all the cool air in and the heat out.

Constant opening and closing also consume more energy and watts. RV refrigerators use 500-600 watts for starting whereas running they tend to consume around 150 watts.

Plan your meal times according to lean and shut the door quickly after grabbing what you need.

That may seem obvious, but how many times have we gone to make a sandwich and left the door open between meat and cheese.

3. Generators To The Rescue

Use a portable generator to power a fridge while on the road. Your generator can certainly provide enough 120V AC power to run your fridge while driving.

An inverter generator can also be used for your heating and cooling system in your RV. The average generator has 2000-3000 starting watts.

Oh… and having your air conditioner running keeps the entire RV cool!

Related: Quietest Generator for RV Camping

4. Go Powerless With A RV Fridge Fan

Consider installing an RV Refrigerator fan to limit usage while in motion.

Now that we got that clear there is more to know about your RV fridge than knowing how to keep RV fridge cold while driving. So here are a few faqs…

Can You Run RV Fridge While Driving?

Yes, you can run your RV fridge while driving, but you probably shouldn’t. Especially if it’s running on propane.

The risks are too high.

The safest way to keep your fridge on while driving is to switch it to 12V DC (three-way refrigerator) power source. They are compatible with power sources like AC power, DC power, LP gas, house batteries, and shore power.

If you own a two-way RV fridge, then you should use a generator that can produce enough power to keep the fridge running.

Again, it’s probably best to take a break during your trip (for food, rest, etc.) which will give you time to turn on the fridge.

Related: Best Battery Tender Reviews

Is It Dangerous To Drive with a Propane-Powered RV Fridge On?

Yes, it is a terrible idea to drive while a propane-powered RV refrigerated is on. You never know if a sudden turn will jostle the tank and cause a gas leak.

It is not illegal to drive while your propane-fueled RV fridge is on, you still must turn off your RV propane system at gas stations, through tunnels, and bridges.

There has been some debate about these concerns but we like to exercise the “better safe than sorry” philosophy. Turn your propane off at the tank.

While we’re on the subject, pressure testing on the propane system should be done annually.

Does RV refrigerator work better on gas or electricity? RV refrigerator works better on electric power.

Related: RV Propane Hook Up

How Long Will The RV Fridge Stay Cold When It’s Not Running?

The ramp in your fridge will maintain briefly and will gradually decrease over a 6 to 8 hour period.

Your fridge drops about 4 degrees Fahrenheit every 8 hours that it stays off. This means that your food will stay fairly protected without your fridge remaining on.

You can maintain an RV fridge a bit longer if you install a fridge fan.

How Long Will An RV Fridge Run On Battery?

Your standard RV fridge will run on battery for weeks. However, if it is running on Dc electricity, it will drain the batteries within three hours. This is also variable depending on your battery’s strength.

Will RV Fridge Run Off Battery While Driving? Yes it will. 

Related: Is It Safe To Refill 1LB Propane Bottle?

Enjoy The Ride and Keep It Cool!

Keeping your food cold and yourself safe is extremely doable in reference to knowing how to keep RV fridge cold while driving.

It is also extremely easy to run into danger (and the law) by neglecting to turn off your propane tank.

All in all, keeping your food edible won’t be an issue if you do some simple adjustments and moments of planning. In other cases, you may have to invest in a product of 2.

Either way, follow the tips above and you’ll be just fine. You can also ask other RVers what they’ve tried.


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