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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 16 May 2009
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Ice Ice Baby...

Hi there...planning a 12 month ish 4x4 trip from S Africa to UK and wondering if anyone has done this without a fridge?

Is it possible to buy ice along the way to put in a good quality ice box?

I eat a mainly vegan diet, so keeping the steaks cold won't be an issue.



P
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  #2  
Old 19 May 2009
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Lots of travellers do it, not least because if you are on a motorbike, bicycle etc, you don't have the option. Fridges are very useful in terms of being able to keep food for longer but definitely a luxury rather than a essential
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  #3  
Old 22 May 2009
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I have done two long trips in Africa without a fridge. You get by just fine, no drama at all.

I have now bought a 40l fridge for the next trip as:

- Mostly being myself I cook most of my meals (rice, pasta etc) and so it's great if you can cook a nice meal, and make enough of it to last for breakfast and lunch the next day etc. Saves a lot of effort and time. You just reheat and eat, not cook. Without a fridge pasta would go off in a matter of hours when left in the vehicle. Even vegetables were rotten within a day. So with a fridge you can eat better for a longer period in between points of 'civilization' where you can stock up. Else you end up relying on a lot of tinned food etc.
(Disclaimer: All depends on how you travel as well!!)

- It's nice to have a cool drink when it's 38 degrees!

- When camping in fun places like Portugal where you can eat well everyday with ease, it means you can stock up with a weeks worth of food ie: saves breaking camp to drive to the fish market/supermarket etc to buy food every day or two etc

- I was trying to encourage my girlfriend to come and she loves quality food, whereas I'm quite 'easy' eating rice, beans and canned tuna every day.

(Forget the ice idea imho - treat it as a lucky break when you do find it).
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  #4  
Old 22 May 2009
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Beware of buying ice - it can contain some very nasty stuff-
- how will you acertain the origin (read cleanliness/safety) of the water used?
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  #5  
Old 23 May 2009
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Thanks for the replies.

Hearing that finding ice will not be so easy makes me more inclined to go with the fridge. The quality of ice doesn't really matter...wouldn't be eating it, just using it to chill food.

Plan on staying places a while, so not having to break camp to go shopping would be good also.

Just out of interest, which fridge did you go for roamingyak?
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  #6  
Old 23 May 2009
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Fridge seems the way to go
and if even if you say you just want it to cool food....
unless yours is sealed in completely waterproof containers, ice or melting ice water will, most probably, come in contact with your food resulting in the
same problem! = Montezuma's revenge....
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  #7  
Old 23 May 2009
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I went for a Waeco in the end, based on it being considerably cheaper ( over 25%) as well as the accessories I needed being sensibly priced compared to the rip off that Engel seemed to be for accessories (and their fridges prices had just gone up (about 3 months ago).

That combined with the Waeco fitting exactly in to the space I had sealed the decision even though it only had a 1 year warranty instead of 3 for the Engel.

Though Engel is perhaps the better product with it's own advantages (easily serviceable parts etc, good support in the UK etc) it was much bigger and oddly shaped.

As a fridge is not vital and Waeco is a solid brand I thought it sensible to take the cost savings and put them towards buying a top quality part that was of more vital importance - in this case a shiny new axle!

They will all work but it's nice to have the time to weigh up all of the options and make the best decision for you and your trip.

Good luck!
(PS: I only really looked at Engel and Waeco - Minus 40, National Luna and ARB all do fridges - ARB is not so good I hear)
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  #8  
Old 24 May 2009
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Yeah, had a look at waeco too. Much better value and they also have a factory 2nds shop here which makes them even better value.

Agree with you about the relative sizes too. When you put the 40l waeco and 40l engel next to each other the engel box is going to take up much more of your valuable space inside the vehicle.

You'll be pleased to know the 40l waeco was rated best compact fridge by 4wd action magazine in Aus recently. Supposed to have a lower current draw than the engel.

The old arb was a rebadged engel, they've got a new one out now which is supposed to be very light weight (plastic body, looking quite like a waeco). They're also quite pricey compared to the waeco, as is everything else in Aus.

There's lots of choice here but it seems to come down to buying waeco or spending a lot more on one of the others.

Thanks for your thoughts guys.
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  #9  
Old 28 May 2009
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One final thought: I was kind of surprised to learn that none of the fridges seem to operate like your fridge at home, in the sense that when you set the temperature to 4 degrees you expect the fridge to get to that temperature and then pretty much hover around that point.

But apparently none of these fridges work like that - you have to ignore the temperature gauge on them and keep checking how cold things are yourself, or add in a external gauge and display to tell you the real temperature and then adjust the fridge.

As the external temperature changes it won't keep pace etc

(You would get more responses by posting in the 4x4 section by the way)
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  #10  
Old 2 Jun 2009
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Try the Tahoe fridge. works good. plugs into the cigarette lighter, sits on the hump between your feet and keeps stuff really cold. About 90 bucks on sale (always on sale somewhere) won't make ice, but does keep the cola super cold in the high desert country of Oregon>S. dakota. don't know where you can buy one direct, but if you just type in Tahoe cooler, it will show up.
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  #11  
Old 2 Jun 2009
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Compression fridges only!

Whatever you go for, make sure it's a compression fridge, not absorbtion. Absorbtion fridges are not very efficient, and if running on DC voltage you'll flatten your batteries in no time at all; DC compression fridges are way more efficient.

I take it you aren't on a bike? Where would you put your fridge... on your helmet? So I'll assume you're in a 4-wheel vehicle of sorts. You mention the desire to sit up in a campsite for a few days without having the need to mission to buy food... ergo, a fridge would be useful for this. If you don't want to have to switch on your vehicle's engine every day or so to get the alternator running and charge the batteries, you'll want to look into solar panels to charge your batteries used to keep your fridge going.

Solar panels are pretty expensive, but the current required to keep a DC compression fridge going is sufficiently low to make solar panels a viable option. The current required to keep an absorbtion fridge going is too high to make solar panels viable (on my budget anyway!).

Good and well-known examples of DC compression fridges which are well suited to overland travel are: National Luna, Engel, Waeco... and in my opinion, in that order.

Hope this helps.
Steve
www.overafrica.org
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  #12  
Old 3 Jun 2009
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We ride a maxi-scooter and there is room for the little fridge on the hump along with a small hump bag. I have an auxillary battery just for that sort of thing and wired so that it never touches the main battery that is used for starting. I used to have a homemade fridge but it used too much juice, was heavier, and took up more room. It would make ice after a fashion, and this one doesn't. It only keeps things really cold. Along with the cooler vests, we are reasonably comfortable riding in the heat. Take care, Joe
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  #13  
Old 4 Jun 2009
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Nice to have but:
  • They take up alot of vertical as well as horizontal space as you have to open the lid.
  • You have to leave room around the unit for "airflow".
  • You'll have to wire it to an isolated second battery either by mechanical switch or some sort of split charge relay. (Mine failed in Zim and had to be "bodged".)
  • You'll need to rig up some sort of solar panel charging system for when you're parked up in the bush for a number of days.
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  #14  
Old 5 Jun 2009
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This small bag fits right on the hump of our scooter. as above, we have a separate battery.

Koolatron D24 Soft Bag Cooler, 26 Quarts

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