BougeRV 30-Quart Fridge/Freezer
BougeRV reached out to us asking if we wanted to review a portable refrigerator. Of course we obliged, and they sent us a 30-quart single zone fridge/freezer.
At 30-quarts, this fridge/freezer sits on the small end of the portable fridge/freezer selection. A cooler with roughly the same external dimensions would have closer to 40-quarts capacity. However with the 12-volt fridge there is no need for space consuming ice to keep it cool, and it can be set at a desired temperature rather than whatever temperature the ice/dry ice keeps a cooler at.
Items included in the BougeRV Portable Refrigerator
12-volt power cord
110-volt power cord
2 replacement soft feet
Capacity: 30 Quarts
Size: 22.7 x 12.6 x 15.6 inches
Temperature Range: -4°F – 50°F
Weight: 22.8 pounds
Voltage: 12/24 DC or 110 – 220 AC
Wattage: Eco Mode 45W Max Mode 60W
MSRP: $269.99 (BougeRV is giving our readers a 15% discount using the code: CRD15)
The quality and finish appear very nice with a durable feel. The magnetic lid closure is exceptionally strong and creates a good seal. Initially, we worried that the 30-quart would be too small for our needs, but it turns out the size was just about perfect. If you’re wondering what size is best for your needs, click here for a sizing guide.
For initial testing we set up the fridge/freezer in a quiet office plugged into a 110-volt wall outlet. The compressor is hushed but noticeable in an office setting and is on par with a computer running its fans at full speed.
With the empty unit plugged into a 110-volt outlet the cool down time required from to go from 68°F to 32°F was just under 15 minutes. Going all the way to 0°F took another 50 minutes, for a total of 65 minutes. The unit cooled to about 10°F quickly but going from 10°F down to 0°F took nearly 30 minutes. From there the empty unit would stay off for about a 45-minutes until it reached 4°F before turning on and cooling down to 0°F again.
Once loaded up it would take longer before the compressor would turn on, but it would stay on for a longer time to get cooled down. This is expected because the food stored inside acts as a larger heat reservoir.
We took a trip to Capitol Reef National Park in a Cadillac Escalade and decided to bring the 30-quart BougeRV portable fridge along. The fridge was used to take care of the daily cooling needs for four people. We ended up using a 110-volt outlet and set the fridge between the 2nd row captain’s chairs. This outlet is only on when the vehicle is on, so there was no risk of the fridge draining the battery. On the other hand, there was the possibility of the fridge not staying cool long enough to keep the food fresh. To increase our chances of keeping the fridge cold we set the temperature to 32°F and we found that even when hiking for a couple hours away from the vehicle the fridge never exceeded 40°F.
For those using a 12-volt outlet with power even when the vehicle is off, the BougeRV portable refrigerator has three different battery protection settings. This detects the input voltage and will disable the fridge if the voltage gets below the set amount. The three modes are low, medium, and high and the voltage cutoffs to start the compressor are 10.9v, 11.4v, and 12.5v respectively. There are also two other modes which are Max and Eco for the cooling type. We used Max for our trip as the fridge only powered when the vehicle was on, but Eco mode is a good option for those running the fridge with a starting battery to save energy.
The smaller size of the 30-quart is nice for using inside a vehicle for a few reasons. Obviously, the smaller size means it fits in more places and most larger units wouldn’t have fit where we wanted it during our trip. Also, on this model the handles are also recessed reducing the chance of other items getting caught on the unit. Another obvious pro is that the unit can be set to whatever temperature is desired between -4°F and 50°F and stays there. This is great for storing things like ice-cream that will melt when stored in ice.
The only downside to this smaller unit compared to other larger units is that there is only one cooling zone. Larger units can set one compartment to freeze and another to refrigerate, which allows for more versatility in storing food. However, for the 30-quart size one zone makes more sense.
In conclusion, when looking for a budget portable fridge, the BougeRV 30-quart is an excellent choice. The display is easy to read and adjusting the settings is simple. The built-in battery protection is great for those who are using their vehicle starting battery to power the fridge. This unit has all the necessary features at a fraction of the cost of other brands.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.
Matt lives in the Utah mountains and often posts cool off-roading videos to his Instagram and YouTube channel.