4WDrive

COOL RUNNINGS

with the SnoMaster 12V Fridge/Freezer

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IS A PORTABLE FRIDGE/FREEZER an essential item for the vehicles-upported traveler? No, it is not. However, once you experience its benefits, chances are you won’t go back to a cooler.

With a portable fridge/freezer, gone are the days when you have to plan your route so you can grab some ice on the way to a destinatio­n. As much as I was trying to hold off of getting one, telling myself that I didn’t need one as it was just another extra expense, I soon realized a portable fridge/freezer is a major convenienc­e.

I decided to give SnoMaster a try for two reasons. First off, SnoMaster of South Africa is well-known as one of the best portable fridge manufactur­ers for adventure travelers. Secondly, it was because Wild Coast Camping Gear happen to be a Canadian distributo­r and I had the opportunit­y to borrow a demo during my coverage of their annual customer appreciati­on weekend held in July.

Since the cargo area in my new Jeep is quite small, I chose one of its smaller models, the 35 L (9 gal) SnoMaster SMDZ-LS35. This model is different as its exterior is made of dark-gray plastic instead of stainless steel, and it doesn’t come with a transit bag or a bottle opener like the larger models. However it does use the same compressor found in the others. Overall, it doesn’t feel any less expensive as it’s still a quality, portable fridge/freezer – it’s just more compact with only one compartmen­t.

What’s interestin­g with SnoMaster is that it has developed and uses its own compressor. These fridges are designed so they can be used in the harshest environmen­ts and endure off-road abuse. This means you shouldn’t have to worry about its longevity, even if it gets shaken a

bit in the cargo area while traveling rough roads. Plus, the compressor comes with a five-year warranty.

By just switching the location of one fuse on my Jeep, I made the cargo 12V outlet operationa­l at all time so that it could power the fridge/freezer. That was the only modificati­on required. I don’t usually stay at the same location for more than two days, so I don’t need a secondary battery. However, what’s great with any of the SnoMaster fridge/freezers is they won't drain your battery. There’s a programmab­le safety feature that will cut power to the fridge before your battery power gets too low to start your vehicle.

I’ve only had the chance to use it on short trips this year, but so far it’s been a great value. At 19 kg (41.88 lbs) it’s easy to carry and it has some great features like an internal LED light (that automatica­lly turns on when the lid is opened) and if you forget to close the lid, an alarm tone will sound after 90 seconds. The USB port at the front is also a neat feature and the red LED displays are bright enough to read in direct sunlight.

I was a bit worried about the 12 V outlet connection as I wasn’t sure if the plug would stay in place or easily get disconnect­ed on bumpy roads. So far, I haven't experience­d any issues. From off-roading in Nova Scotia to some back-road exploratio­n within New Brunswick’s Appalachia­ns, the plug never became loose or disconnect­ed. However, one can always modify the connection if needed. In North America, all SnoMaster units are also provided with a 120 V cable, so you can use your portable fridge/freezer at home or the cottage.

$1046.93 CND www.snomaster.ca

 ??  ?? Words and photos by Mathieu Godin Instagram @pathfinder_overland
Words and photos by Mathieu Godin Instagram @pathfinder_overland
 ??  ?? Being relatively compact and at 19 kg (41.88 lbs) it’s easy to carry or transport.
Being relatively compact and at 19 kg (41.88 lbs) it’s easy to carry or transport.
 ??  ?? The SnoMaster also has an internal LED light, USB port, and a safety feature that cuts down power to the fridge if your vehicle battery gets too low.
The SnoMaster also has an internal LED light, USB port, and a safety feature that cuts down power to the fridge if your vehicle battery gets too low.
 ??  ?? The interior compartmen­ts of our tested SnoMaster.
The interior compartmen­ts of our tested SnoMaster.

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