I got the BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge just before a planned 10-day road trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. I was debating a little whether I should bring a portable fridge on such a long trip since it does take up some space that I could have used for other gear. But it was the best and probably the most used item I had on this trip.
Read on to learn more about my experience with the BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge.
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The BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge boasts a powerful yet efficient cooling performance, offers multiple charging options, and doesn’t take up much floor space, compared to some other similar size portable fridges. You can customize its cooling performance by setting the interior temperature within a given range.
Another thing I liked about this fridge is that it offers multi-stage charging, thereby minimizing the risk of battery drainage. Go for it if you want a refrigerator that could come in handy during a weekend camping trip as well as provide a little extra storage at home.
BougeRV 30 Quart Portable Fridge Field Test
As mentioned before, I was debating whether I should bring a fridge on a 10-day road trip in general, before I even saw the BougeRV one. I thought that it would take up some significant space that might be used for something more important. The decision to take it came with having to rent a standard-sized SUV – a 2021 RAV4 – instead of taking my old compact 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan (due to technical issues) which had a fairly small boot compared to the RAV4.
Once I saw the size of the boot, I knew there’s plenty of space for the BougeRV 30 quart fridge for sure. I planned the layout of the items carefully and found that the fridge fits perfectly in the car. Eventually, I’d say it takes up about 20% of the boot’s space, but you can still put items on top of it if you need to. That’s if you have a standard size SUV though.
Of course, if you have a bigger SUV, a truck, or an RV, you have plenty of space anyway. And if you have a small SUV or a car, you might want to think of your priorities to decide whether to bring it on your trip or not.
Setup and Usage
I thought it would take me some time to figure out all the settings of the BougeRV portable fridge, but luckily it comes with a short manual that explains every button, mode, and usage of the fridge. I took out the middle section of the fridge to have one big compartment instead of two smaller ones, since I did not know what items I would need to put there beforehand.
Throughout most of my trip I used the MAX mode and had it on M (for medium I assume) for energy consumption and power. I usually had it on 39 – 41 F (4-5 C) since I had various items in there to keep chilled, but I did not want to freeze.
For power consumption, I used my BougeRV Fort 1000 power station when in the boot. I did not use it too extensively, nor did I have to. I would use it for about an hour, so it would cool down to the temperature I need and then unplug. It would keep the temperatures cold for extensive periods of time, before it would go up again, even in high heat. To keep the temperatures colder, I also covered the fridge with a wool blanket, which should not let the cold air escape through it.
When in lodging, I would take the fridge out of the boot and plug it to an AC plug inside over the night.
This periodical power consumption was more than enough to keep some of the products chilled and unspoiled throughout the whole 10-day trip.
What I loved about it
- Food longevity. I normally rely on products that have a long shelf-life and don’t need any chilling on my road trips. This fridge was a game-changer. I was able to carry meat, dairy and other products for long periods of time without the fear of consuming something spoiled.
- Cold beers. I mean, this doesn’t need any explanation.
- More reliable than having a cooler. Sure, some coolers can keep the temperatures low for an extended period, but then you usually need to add ice, plan ahead of buying more ice, limiting the space because of it. With the BougeRV portable fridge, you just need to plug it to a power source and let it cool down to the temperature you want.
- Ease of use. I’m not too tech savvy, but there was a short manual that explained everything I needed to know about the usage. And without it, you can just plug it in, set the temperature and that’s literally it. Nothing too complicated. As it should be.
- Even though it does make some noise, it does not last long. I liked that it doesn’t make more noise than an actual fridge, and it goes away after a short period of time it takes to cool itself down to your set temperature.
What could be improved
- Weight. Depending on what you put inside, the fridge can weigh quite a bit. This was not a huge issue as usually I either kept it in the car or carried it short distances to our lodging. But I can see how it might be a bit annoying if you had to carry it for a longer period of time, especially if it’s full of beers.
- Handles. Although the handles are actually well made to keep the fridge compact (they’re inner handles you insert your fingers into), but sometimes I found I wanted the fridge to have outer brim ones too. I found it hard to get the fridge out of the boot when the boot was compactly packed.
Would I recommend it?
Yes. No doubt about that. It made my awesome trip to Yellowstone and Glacier parks even better. I was able to cook burgers after a long hike, or to get a cold beer after driving for hundreds of miles. It’s big enough to keep all your food items for at least 10 days. It’s probably been the best road trip improvement with an SUV we made in years.
BougeRV 30 Quart Portable Fridge Spec Review
What’s in the Box?
- BougeRV 12V 30 Quart Fridge
- Removable partition
- 12/24V DC power cord
- 110-240V AC power cord
- 2 non-slip foot pads
- User manual
Weight and Size
The BougeRV 30 quart weighs 22.8 lbs. This doesn’t just make it heavier than similar-capacity fridges (more on this later). A weight of almost 23 lbs means that this unit is much heftier than rivals with almost 1.5 times the capacity, such as the Coleman 40-quart PowerChill Cooler.
Yet you aren’t going to break your back carrying this fridge. How can I be so sure? Because I have used the pair of handles molded into the sides of its body. By evenly distributing the weight, the handles make this unit much easier to carry than some of its lighter rivals.
This is great news considering that this unit has a 30 quart capacity, big enough to hold all the items a couple of people would need during a weekend trip to the woods. But if the number of people who’d be using this fridge exceeds 3, storage space may quickly run out.
A cream-colored, plastic outer housing hasn’t just turned this unit into eye candy. It has also made it a breeze to clean. Additionally, there are inner handles on both sides for easy transportation and vents at the sides to make sure there is minimal heat build-up inside. My only comment here is that sometimes I wished it also had handles on the top brims of the cooler as sometimes it was hard to get it out of the car boot as it was pretty packed.
In case you’re wondering about the whereabouts of the controls, they are at the top of the housing, right next to the lid. The 1st row of the controls is occupied by the LCD, which shows the temperature, your current settings, and your vehicle’s battery status.
A column of four buttons is located right underneath the display. These buttons can be used to turn the fridge on and off, adjust the temperature, and unlock the control panel. They feel very rugged and look the type that could withstand a few years of abuse.
There are many things I like about Bouge RV 30 Quart Portable refrigerator’s build. The first of which is that it comes with a shock-resistant compressor. One that kept it in excellent working condition even when it was plugged into my BougeRV Fort 1000 and was subjected to bumps and vibrations.
Secondly, a rubber seal around the edges doesn’t let much air in or out, thereby keeping the inner temperature right where you set it. Plus, the unit’s lid is magnetic. As such, you don’t have to worry about your food items accidentally popping out during transport.
Equally importantly, it comes with replaceable rubber feet. These rubber pads help stabilize this fridge on uneven surfaces, saving you from adjusting it time and again.
As stated in the name, the total capacity of the BougeRV 12 Volt car refrigerator is 30 quarts (28.4 liters).
The number of items you can fit into this fridge obviously depends on the size and shape of the items. However, based on my own experience of using this portable fridge, here are the items and quantities you can easily store (if you put in nothing else):
- Beverages: 12 to 20 cans of soda or beer or 6 to 12 bottles of water
- Dairy products: 2 gallons of milk or 1 to 2 blocks of cheese or 1 container of yogurt
- Frozen items: A few frozen dinners or 4 to 5 ice trays
A removable partition (included in the package) lets you divide the inside of the storage compartment. However, you don’t necessarily have to use it. Here’s why. While the partition will let you separate different types of food, it won’t be able to completely block heat transfer between the two compartments. As a result, don’t expect that the temperatures in both compartments will be significantly different at any time.
The fridge comes with two cooling modes: MAX and ECO.
The Max Mode draws 60 watts and allows for super-rapid cooling. I can recall this one time when the temperature outside was in the high 90s. Yet it didn’t take too long for the fridge’s inner temperature to drop to 41 F (5 C).
As a result, if you are storing items that will go bad unless extremely cold, Max Mode is your best friend, as long as you can tolerate the quick battery drainage that comes with it if you’re using a power station or your car. Plus, when running at Max Mode, the compressor makes more noise than usual.
If that is something that worries you, opt for the ECO mode. Not only will the fridge draw less power in (up to 45 watts), but the compressor will also remain whisper quiet, though you may have to wait for up to an hour for your hot beverages to get chilled.
Since this fridge is powered by an external source, you’d have to rely on one of these options:
1) Portable Power Bank
The BougeRV Fort 1000 power station has always been my go-to option for juicing up this fridge because it can hold lots of power, charges super quickly, and has a battery that lasts 7x as long as its rivals. Plus, it can keep this fridge running for up to 15 hours on a single charge.
This fridge comes with a power cord designed to plug into every 12V car socket, or at least that is what its manufacturer says. In theory, though, the plug may be too big for some cars, necessitating the purchase of a 150W inverter, which you’d then have to plug into the carport.
3) Wall Outlet
Are you buying this product to get that little extra power at home? The good news is that it can also draw power from a standard wall outlet. While I have only used this fridge when I was outdoors, I like having this option as it means I can bring it inside whenever the need arises.
Since this fridge runs off 12 or 24 volts DC (two voltages which are the most commonly used by solar systems), it can be easily solar powered. Also, the fact that it has a built-in low voltage cutoff means it will stop drawing power before your battery is completely drained.
Other Notable Features
Here are the other stand-out features of the BougeRV 30 quart:
- Innovative battery monitor: The battery monitor doesn’t just shut off the fridge if the battery’s voltage gets too low. Upon noticing that the battery is draining, it reduces the voltage, thereby keeping the battery running for longer periods.
- Automatic power saving: The fridge’s compressor will automatically shut off when its internal temperature reaches the set point, before automatically turning off as the temperature increases by 2 to 3 degrees.
- Three-stage battery protection: This mode makes sure that you don’t accidentally drain your vehicle’s battery while drawing power from it. The three stages include low, medium, or high mode.
BougeRV is THE brand to check out first, if you’re looking for a portable power fridge. I mean just look at the variety of portable fridges they have in their collection. If I get a chance to get my hands on any other fridges they made, I’ll be sure to post the reviews on the site, so make sure to come back for updates.
How It Compares With Other Portable Fridges
BougeRV 30 Quart Fridge Vs Dometic CoolMatic CD 30
- Similarities: The BougeRV 30 Quart and Dometic CoolMatic CD30 boast similar storage capacities (30 quarts vs. 31 quarts). Both also let you adjust their inner temperature between a given range and are equally ultra-portable.
- Where the BougeRV 30 Quart Fridge fares better: Despite costing $300 less than its counterpart, this fridge offers more battery protection features and can be used anywhere (the CoolMatic CD30 needs permanent installation).
- Where the Dometic CoolMatic CD30 fares better: This portable fridge weighs less, unlocks and opens with a single movement, and comes with a rust-resistant coating.
BougeRV 30 Quart Fridge Vs F40C4TMP Portable Refrigerator
- Similarities: Both these portable fridges have the same storage capacity (30 quarts), let you adjust their temperature within a given range, and have handles on both sides to help you easily carry them around.
- Where the BougeRV 30 Quart Fridge fares better: Although both units come with a 2-year warranty, BougeRV offers an extra two years provided you buy the product from the official website. They also offer 24-hour customer support.
- Where the F40C4TMP Portable Refrigerator fares better: A touchscreen LCD display and two cup slots on the lid (which let you use the lid as a table) are areas where the F40C4TMP portable refrigerator holds an edge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge noisy?
The BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge makes less than 45 decibels of noise even when operating at Max Mode. As such, it can be described as whisper-quiet.
Does it come with a warranty?
The BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge comes with a 2-year warranty. You can get an additional two years by purchasing this unit from the BougeRV official website.
Is it waterproof?
The BougeRV 30 quart portable fridge is weather-resistant. This means it won’t be affected by a little spray water. That said, it’s not designed to be used in wet conditions or to be left uncovered outdoors in the rain.
Mins Lukas Savela is a travel writer whose main focus is adventure travel. His passion for wildlife and nature has carried him to many countries in the world. He loves hiking the best trails on earth and sharing his experiences through writing. He hopes his experiences will help more people to start their own adventures and appreciate the world surrounding them a little bit more.
Mins Lukas Savela (also known as Lukas Saville) has written numerous articles that have been published on websites like Wandrly magazine, Go Nomad, Osprey.com, RAD Season, Wilderness Society, The Los Angeles Beat, California.com, Nature Conservancy, and many others.