how to keep RV refrigerator cool while driving

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There is nothing better than having your RV refrigerator full of your forever favorite food and drinks. I mean let’s be honest, one of the perks of traveling is Food and when it is summer we prefer everything ICE COLD. We just can’t go without it.

Whether you are living in a tiny house on wheels or in an RV requires certain sacrifices. That means you have to let go of certain things that aren’t that necessary However, for sure, there is one thing that we probably can’t leave behind is the Fridge. Yes, the fridge is one of these essentials we are talking about. 

How does an RV Refrigerator usually work?

Managing and operating your RV fridge when you are staying in one location for a long period of time is feasible; you just have to look for your chosen power supply source, plug it and the rest is easy. However, if you are about to hit the road again to your next stop, the situation can differ and becomes a little complicated. 

As you may know, the Fridge has its own way of functioning and it demands a lot of power to operate, depending on the source of energy offered. For this reason, if it’s not handled with care, things might get messy especially when you are RV is on movement.

The question that is often asked by RV owners or those newbies who are starting their RV experience, is how to keep the fridge cold when the RV is in motion? The answer to this question depends highly on your RV setup system and other possible circumstances.

In this article, we will briefly explain how to keep the fridge running cold while driving and what are some of the maintenance tips we should keep in mind.

How to keep your RV  fridge cold while driving

if you are about to head off to the road and you are thinking of ways to keep the food and drinks inside your fridge fresh and cold, then you should consider one of these several alternatives that we are about to mention.

Of course, this depends highly on your power resource and your budget as well.


This one is more on the risk side. The question of whether to use propane while driving or not is debatable. While opinions vary on the person, some found it too risky and it is not worth the hassle and they rather are safe than sorry. 

On the other hands, the others are satisfied with it and claim that the advantages of using it surpass the possible hazards. Let us first talk about the different perks of using propane:

As we said many RV owners use propane as a great power generator when they are off the conventional power grid. The propane is capable of keeping your refrigerator cold for a couple of days while on the motion. It has been around for years if not decades now and people are still using it on different occasions.

Cars and trucks have been powered by propane for a long time ago. The propane serves to supply an inner flaming engine.  The oxidation process takes place inside the automobile itself. Once the engine is shut off, there is nothing for the propane to a flame.

When it comes to RV refrigerator, it is pretty much the same thing. a burning process takes place in order to produce the heat that eventually generates the coolness. so it’s all about the flame.

Now regarding the question of safety and riskiness: 

While it offers some advantages to its uses, a single instant and everything can go bad leading to unwanted consequences.

If you happen to make a sharp turn or make a sudden and unexpected stop or hit debris on the road, the propane line can be damaged. Consequently, the line can disconnect and the gas inside the tank can leak. 

As a result, and due to the high flammability of the propane, any spark in the air can cause a disaster not only to you but also to the people around you. Your RV will be roasted in just a matter of a couple of minutes. Moreover, inhaling propane gas can have negative effects on your health. 

While in some states using propane while driving is restrained, it is not fully prohibited and people are doing it. Therefore, if you were to choose propane, make sure to stay safe and examine your propane system often assuring that everything is danger-free.

Note: according to laws, if you are using propane you have to turn it off your before you enter a gas station or before passing into tunnels.

 If you’d favor considering a more harmless plan to power your fridge, read on.


Another option to keep your fridge cool while driving is by using a generator to supply power to it. The generator is capable of offering the essential AC power that is needed to run your fridge. 

The thing about generators is you have to make frequent stops at the gas station to fuel up your tank over and over again. Don’t expect your fridge to keep running once your tank goes below quarter (this is in case you are connecting the generator with the RV gas supply). 

In addition, it is recommended that you keep your generator outside your RV. The last thing you want to happen is to die poisoned by the carbon monoxide. Make sure to allow the polluted air to filter outside your vehicle.

Generators are loud while they are operating. Make sure not to cause attention and disturbance once you go out of the highways and enter a quiet area.

For safety measures, some generators restrict the load of energy they supply while driving. In this case, you need to look for other ways to keep our fridge cool especially that it demands lots of power to function.

What are the Alternative Methods of Keeping an RV Refrigerator Cool While Driving

Shutting off your fridge while driving will not take the coldness away. If you restrict the usage of your fridge while driving, you don’t really need to provide power supply to your fridge.  Just go powerless.

While this might be hard to believe for some but in fact, the temperature inside the fridge wouldn’t rise more the 5 degrees over the span of 8 hours, especially if our fridge is in good condition and operates properly.

To be more precise, the RV fridge is intended to keep the temperature remarkably fine as long as there aren’t continuous openings and closings of the fridge door. A great tip would be to keep the fridge as much as possible before heading off. Fill all the spaces inside the fridge with packs of freezers, ice containers and you are ready to go. 

How to Maintain Fridge Coldness While Driving?

If you follow these below-listed perks, your fridge will be able to hold its cold while your RV on the road.

Air Circulation

Unlike the tradition fridge, most of RV fridges do not include a fan to maintain the same temperature everywhere for everything. For this reason, purchasing fan is inexpensive and can be very efficient in maintaining a regular and steady temperature and preventing the accumulation of hot spots.

Keep Things Level

Whenever possible, the fridge should be properly aligned with the ground for enhanced functioning efficiency.

Close the door of the fridge

A continuous opening of the door will make the fridge lose its cold.  Once you set the temperature of your fridge, the central and internal heat will steadily and slowly decrease to meet the level of temperature wanted. 

And if you keep opening and closing the door to get yourself something to shut your hanger, the fridge gains some of the outside air temperature making it lose the coldness and taking a long period to get back that coldness back again. That’s why it is recommended not to open the door frequently unless it is necessary.

Pack your fridge properly

Yes, get yourself what you really need. Avoid bringing food that not only will take space but also will rotten easily over a short span of time. Don’t purchase frozen food as it will melt at a certain point. Make sure to keep as much as freezer packs and ice cubes in the fridge.

Set your refrigerator to the coldest temperature before heading off

This will help you to keep the fridge colder for a longer period of time once you unplug it. The temperature will increase with time and it better start off with a high level of cold temperature.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to keep your fridge cold while driving and it depends on you and your utility choices. While going powerless and using the above-mentioned tips are the most recommended ones for everyone and your own safety, you can always try the other methods. However, make sure to stay safe and keep a regular check once in a while.

For more RV tips and tricks take a look at our how-to guides.