THE ACCESSORY EVERY CONESTOGA WAGON WISHED THEY HAD
THE TRAIL AND OVERLAND SEASON HAS BEGUN IN EARNEST,
and with it my annual review of gear I want to upgrade to suit my new goals. One of those goals is to go farther and longer off-road. We need more water, more fuel, and the topic of this article, more food.
The CFX series comes in a variety of sizes from 28 to 100 litres. I chose the CFX40W to go with the recently released PLB40 (Dometic's Portable Lithium-ion Battery). This size still fits in my MORryde Trail Kitchen, tucked behind the back seat of my 2015 Jeep Wrangler JKU - along with a lot of other gear. It has the same footprint as the CFX35W - but it is a little taller. It’s relatively lightweight at 18.5kg (40.8lb), the 38L size will hold enough fresh food for one or two people for a week (the volume of about 60 cans), and it doesn’t draw a lot of power to do it.
The construction is rugged. Each corner has a reinforced cap, the handles are spring loaded to retract out of harms way, you can use them as tie downs (detachable if you need the space), and the lid is strong enough for a 77 kg (170lb) editor to stand on. True to its nature as an offroad appliance, the reinforced lower corners have four M6 nutserts that you can use to bolt the fridge down to a slide. The interior light is handy, as is the USB port to charge or power a device in use near the cooler Bluetooth speaker for instance?
The temperature can be adjusted from +10° to -22°C (50° to -7.6°F), and it’s very quiet, emitting a barely audible hum. The emergency override does not call search and rescue - it is there as a backup in case the electrical settings control fail but you want to keep your food cold until you reach civilization. It puts the cooler into freezer mode and then you have to manually turn it on or off to maintain temperature.
Something you might not know is the lid is removable - handy if you’re serving a camp buffet line their beverages. Once inside, it comes with a removable basket with a divider to keep your food organized and you can pull it out to get at your food and to clean the basket. When you look below the basket, you’ll see a drain pull for easy cleaning. This basket area is the fridge/freezer zone and the more shallow compartment next to it is a ‘no-freeze’ zone - great for eggs etc. that you don’t want frozen.
There are a number of features that drew me to this series of coolers from Dometic, aside from build quality, reputation and the ability to not only cool, but also freeze food. The first is the battery save mode. These units can be plugged into 120V AC but more importantly will also run on 12V or 24V DC by plugging the adapter (with a built in protective fuse) into an accessory socket (once upon a time called a cigarette lighter socket). What is innovative is the adjustable shut down when it recognizes that your car battery is low. It is a threeA
stage setting so you can pick your comfort zone - sort of like a safe word... leave more power in the battery if you are running on a single battery, or less if you’re running a dual battery system. The cooler will never drain your battery so you can’t start your engine. And the cooler is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can control it via a mobile app (providing that you and the cooler are within range of each other).
There is also an optional insulating cover to help keep the CFX40 cool if you want to decrease the power draw especially useful in hot environments.
The Dometic CFX40W is a key piece of kit in our quest for adventure travel. Look for us - way out there.