So recently we came back from a camping trip and unpacked as we always do, this time to find leftovers waterlogged with melted ice. I’ve been hinting to the wife that having a fridge would be beneficial in this regard but it wasn’t until that last trip that she agreed to it. Woo! Time to go shopping.
There are quite a few options around, the Engels, Waeco/Dometics, Snomaster, Evakool, ARB etc, and newest kid on the block myCOOLMAN. Yeah i’ve never liked the way they capitalise the branding but anyways.
I guess you can think of this article as a mini review of sorts, I wanted to share my experience of the fridge with anyone else who might be on the same journey. A lot of research went into it, but to tell you the truth as of when I write this there’s not a lot of reviews and real world experiences out there as the fridge is so new. I even took Steve’s (Australian 4×4 Adventures on Youtube) experience with his fridge into consideration, the fact that he was still happy with it after failing on him a few times says a lot. To be fair his previous Engel failed a few times too.
Side note after some research into the company, the same fridge models can be found overseas under the Truma brand. Something to do with do with a partnership between the parent company Leisure-Tec and Truma.
I’m usually willing to pay a bit more for a quality product but the difference in price between an Engel or a Dometic was pretty substantial. We’re talking $300 – $400 more for a roughly equivalent sized unit, and even being the price that it is the myCOOLMAN was feature for feature on par with the more expensive fridges, even the warranty. There’s the compressor to think about and how well it performs but I guess we’ll find out when we take it out in the real world. This is not an Adventure Kings fridge, far from it. Read into that however you like, but the fridge looked solidly built and had decent seals. I really like the recessed handles. Why don’t more manufacturers do that?
What it eventually came down to was cost. Well value not just raw cost. We paid around $1.1k for the fridge and thats with the insulated cover thrown in. Bargain! It’s normally around $1.3k if you shop around, and the cover is an extra $160. I’ve seen videos of tests done with fridges in general with and without covers and they make a big difference especially if your fridge is sitting in the sun, so a cover was a must if you want to lower power draw and keep your fridge cold.
We’re a family of 5 so we need a fair amount of food for our camping trips, after umming and arring over what size we need and taking the size of our previous ice boxes into consideration we decided to go for the 69L dual zone model, which is also the smallest sized dual zone fridge freezer they make. That should give us options around what kinds frozen and unfrozen food we can take. And if we don’t need to freeze things we can always turn the freezer compartment into a normal fridge.
I took the time to conduct some very unscientific power consumption tests in my garage using a watt meter. The fridge was powered on from room temperature and left on to cool to the target temperatures (-15 degree freezer and 3 degree fridge). Measurements were then taken after this point. The freezer had a couple of frozen milk bottles filled with water, and the fridge was about a quarter full of drinks. The insulating cover was on, and the fridge was not opened during the testing period. Here are the results.
|Peak power draw (Turbo mode off)||4.0 Amps||53.6 Watts|
|Maintenance power once temp was reached||2.8 – 3.0 Amps||40 – 42 Watts|
|Total power draw over 24 hours||34 Ah||460.9 Wh|
|Average power draw over 24 hours||1.4 Ah||19.2 Wh|
Results are over a 24 hour period during summer with temps ranging from 32 degrees (in the garage) during the day to 16 degrees at night. The battery was on a floating charge at full capacity during the entire test with the voltage at around 13.5 – 13.6 volts, you’ll notice the Watt Hour measurement a factor of this which is why i’ve included this additional detail. In a real world situation the voltage is going vary as the battery is used so a Watt Hour measurement (I think) should allow a more uniform way to measure power usage.
We’ve since taken the fridge on a few camping trips and it kept what needed to be frozen frozen, and food in the fridge cold. We’re very happy with it.
[Update 1 – 07/02/2022] Houston we have a problem
Well it’s only been a year and we have our first problem. The thermistor in one of the zones along with a circuit board failed. myCOOLMAN (Leisure-Tec) directed me to one of their service centres for a warranty service. It took just under two months for the fridge to be ready for pickup with part shortages taking their toll on supply.
Well I am beyond happy that I have a fully working fridge back. It’s just a shame it took so long for parts to be delivered but given the global chip shortages this is understandable.
[Update 2 – 28/08/2023] No news is good news
Three years on and the fridge is still humming along. It stays on permanently in the garage as a drinks fridge when we’re not camping. Doing this is apparently better for the life of the fridge than only turning it on for the occasional camping trip, so that’s what we do. Anyways just thought i’d post an update.