Will a Camping Fridge Drain My Car Battery

Will a Camping Fridge Drain My Car Battery

A camping fridge does drain your car battery. Yet, it’s the most affordable and efficient method to keep your food and beverages chilled while camping. Since a camping fridge gets its power from your car battery, you must have a backup power option in case the battery completely runs out of juice.

Therefore, this post will shed some light on how to efficiently use your camping fridge with your car battery.

Camping Fridge & Your Car Battery

When you reach your camping destination in a pop-up truck camper, one of the first tasks you should carry out is to connect the camping fridge to a car battery. If you delay that task, you might have to face the following consequences:

  • The camping fridge will lose its coolness.
  • You might not get a chilled beverage from the fridge.
  • The pre-cooked food might begin to rot.
  • The fridge’s compressor will utilize more power to reach that temperature again.

In addition to that, the car battery will drain completely sooner than you expect. When you connect a camping fridge to a car battery, you have to remember that there’s no engine to recharge the battery.

Normally, an alternator is a device that works when the engine moves and recharges the car battery. But since you only brought the battery with you, it will suffice your fridge’s power night for a single night. 

However, you might have to plan for recharging the battery if your stay is longer than one night.

Drainage of Car Battery While Connected to Camping Fridge

Undoubtedly, a camping fridge is an excellent utility that makes your trip lively. You get a chilled bottle of water or a steak ready to be cooked on the wooden fire any time you want. But you must power a camping fridge so that it can function properly.

That’s why camping experts recommend carrying a lead-acid car or deep cycle battery during the trip.

The drainage of a camping fridge depends on its amperage and voltage. To understand that, let’s take an example of a camping fridge connected to an ordinary car battery.


Generally, a car battery provides 12V voltage with 100 Ah amperage. That energy is enough to power up the engine and distributes electricity to all the electrical and electronic components of a car.

A camping fridge, on the other hand, needs 12V voltage with 4 Ah amperage to keep its contents chilled. After calculating the power requirement, it can be deduced that a car battery can keep powering the camping fridge for approximately 15-20 hours.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about leaving the fridge connected to the car battery overnight while camping. The charging process will not completely drain the battery, even if it’s been powering the fridge the whole night. 

When you wake up in the morning, you will see that the car battery still has some charge remaining. That charge has enough power to start a 12V vehicle on its own.

Ice Chest Cooler vs. Camping Fridge

When it comes to bringing a cooling box to a camping site in your travel trailer, most people find it difficult to buy an ice chest cooler or a camping fridge. No doubt, both devices serve the same purpose. 

Your edibles and drinks will remain cool for hours in both iceboxes. However, the main difference lies in the capacity.

Ice Chest Coolers

An ice chest cooler doesn’t need a power source to keep its contents chilled. It preserves the cold temperature using the ice. You only have to arrange ice and put it in the chest. After that, your drinks and food will remain chilled for at least 7-10 days, depending on other conditions.

One drawback of a chest cooler is that the ice occupies a good amount of space. For instance, if you buy a 70 Quart cooler to spend 10 days camping, you have to fill more than 50% of the cooler with ice. 

Thus, you are left with only less than 35 Quart to assemble the food and beverages.

Camping Fridges

A camping fridge or thermoelectric cooler allows you to utilize all of its space. If you buy a 60 Quart camping fridge, you have 60 Quart of free space to assemble your drinks and edibles. Moreover, you don’t have to place lots of ice inside the fridge to keep the contents cool.

The only requirement is to have a power source as a camping fridge on electricity, just like your home refrigerator. Therefore, it’s better to bring a portable fridge with you at a camping site and make your stay high-spirited.

Final Thoughts

Of course, you might find a camping fridge a bit expensive, but it’s worth it. Plus, it’s a one-time investment, and you only have to arrange a power source for the fridge to make it work all day and night.

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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