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Can I Travel With a Mini Fridge?

Mini fridges are pretty great since they allow you to have a refrigerated space in a location where it might not be practical to keep a regular fridge. Plus, because mini fridges are relatively small, it’s pretty easy to move them around from place to place and set them up quickly.

can I travel with a mini fridge

Today, we’ll be talking all about how to travel with a mini fridge, and discuss how to use one safely in a variety of vehicles.

Related: Accessories for Truck Drivers

Can You Put a Mini Fridge In Your Car?

In many cases, it’s also possible to install a mini fridge in a vehicle and take it on the road with you. You might need to install some kind of adapter to make the fridge work properly, but it should be totally possible in most cases.

Here’s the thing;

In theory, yes, as long as you have a flat space to rest the fridge on and an outlet nearby. It’s important that the fridge remains upright while it’s in use, otherwise, it may become damaged.

Parts to be aware of

Your mini fridge has a compressor, which is essentially a pump that turns the refrigerant in the fridge from a gas to a liquid and moves it through the refrigerant lines. The compressor contains oil, which keeps it lubricated. If the fridge is operating while tilted, this oil can sometimes escape up the refrigerant lines.

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If you try to run your fridge’s compressor without enough oil in it, it’s likely that it will overheat and wear out prematurely. It’s ok to tilt your fridge on its side for a little bit if you’re transporting it while it’s unplugged, but if you do so, you should let it sit upright for about a day before plugging it in, just to be safe. 

All of this being said, it’s probably going to be more practical to use a mini fridge in something like a camper van or the bed of a pickup truck, where it will be easier to find a flat space for the fridge and plug it in.

Vehicles and Outlets

Some modern vehicles some with household-style AC outlets, so if yours has one of those you can just plug your fridge in and be done with it. Otherwise, if your vehicle just has those cigarette lighter DC outlets, you’ll have to get an adapter to make it work.

When using a mini fridge in a vehicle like this, the most important thing is to be mindful of your vehicle’s battery life. A mini fridge can easily drain your car’s battery if it runs for too long while the engine is off, so you should try and run your vehicle a few times throughout the day to keep the battery charged. 

Can You Use a Mini Fridge In a Semi Truck?

If your semi truck has a sleeping cabin, then it almost certainly has enough space for a mini fridge. If you do plan on using a mini fridge in your semi truck though, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

If you’re using the truck’s batteries to power the fridge, you’ll likely need to use an inverter to provide usable power to the fridge. You’ll also need to take your truck’s battery life into account; as you might expect, if you run your fridge for too long while the engine is off, you’ll deplete the batteries.

However, many modern semi trucks use an auxiliary power unit (APU) to circumvent this issue. The APU is a small motor that can be used to power accessories when the main engine is off. The APU may be powered by its own set of batteries, or it can sometimes be a small diesel generator. 

If you’re in the business of long-haul trucking and you’re looking to install a mini fridge in your cabin, it’s probably going to be worth it to look into getting an APU if your truck doesn’t already have one. 

Make sure you have a power inverter than can handle the load for all the gear you’re bringing with you.
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Can You Bring a Mini Fridge On a Plane?

Obviously, we’re not talking about actually bringing a mini fridge onto a plane as carry-on luggage and using it during your flight; we’re talking about bringing a mini fridge on a plane as a piece of checked luggage and setting it up at a vacation home or something like that. So, is this possible to do?

In some cases, you may be able to, but for the most part, you should assume that you probably can’t. On most airlines, anything that contains compressed gas is considered a restricted item. Since the refrigerant in most fridges is kept under pressure, this means that your fridge will likely violate this restriction.

You might be able to bring a mini fridge with you on a plane as checked luggage if you drain the refrigerant from it first, but this is a job that only a licensed professional can do (since only someone with a license to do so can legally handle refrigerant). Really, it’s probably going to be way more hassle than it’s worth to bring a mini fridge on a plane. 

Can You Use a Mini Fridge On a Boat?

In most cases, it should be possible to keep a mini fridge on a boat, as long as it’s well-sheltered from the water. Obviously, water and electricity don’t mix well, so you should take care not to place your fridge anywhere where water might get splashed on it.

Most small personal boats use DC power, so you might need to use an inverter to power your fridge if it only takes AC. As is the case with using a mini fridge in any vehicle, you’ll need to either provide your fridge with its own dedicated power source or ensure that your boat’s batteries are always charged if you want to run your fridge all the time.

It might be worth it to set up an extra bank of batteries just for the fridge so you don’t have to worry about the drain on your actual batteries.

Can I Travel With a Mini Fridge… Conclusion

Can I travel with a mini fridge? It’s totally possible to bring a mini fridge along with you and use it in a variety of vehicles. Granted, you’ll probably need to take some extra steps to ensure that the fridge is able to run without stopping, but it should be doable in most cases.

The main thing to keep in mind when running a mini fridge in your vehicle is the drain on your vehicle’s batteries. However, if you’re able to install some kind of auxiliary power source in your vehicle, you can easily work around this issue.

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