THE CON­TENDERS

4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

WE re­quested all sup­pli­ers pro­vide (as close as possible to) 40 to 50-litre sin­gle-zone fridges. Why 40 to 50 litres? This vol­ume fridge is one of the most pop­u­lar sizes and is per­fect for short camp­ing trips. Larger ca­pac­ity fridges are ideal for longer trips and larger fam­i­lies, but this com­pact size is a great start­ing point.

What’s the go with the old En­gel? That’s my personal fridge; I pur­chased it in 1990 for $1199. I needed a fridge for my two-year work­ing hol­i­day around Aus­tralia. On that trip it was wrapped in two-inch-thick foam with a pil­low on top to help with in­su­la­tion and, while that worked a treat, it also trapped mois­ture and caused a lit­tle sur­face rust to form. It then served as my freezer while I lived in Dar­win – I got to eat ice cream for the first time in two years! While I’ve looked after it the best I can, it hasn’t been ba­bied and it’s copped a cou­ple of dents, had the re­mov­able lid hinges twisted and straight­ened a cou­ple of times, and even had a Two Zone clipped to the top for ex­tra ca­pac­ity.

You know what? Not a damn thing has gone wrong with that trusty old fridge and it has been the best camp­ing prod­uct I have ever bought.

You know what else? Fridges cost about the same price now as they did 26 years ago and lit­tle has changed with their specs, other than a fancy electronic ther­mo­stat con­trol, a com­pres­sor fan and an in­ter­nal LED light. So we fig­ured we’d chuck my old En­gel into the mix to see how much fridges have im­proved, if at all.

Each fridge was loaded with these typ­i­cal prod­ucts.

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