The 3 way fridge is one of the most popular choices for use as a camping refrigerator.
So exactly what is a 3 way refrigerator? The ‘3 Way’ in the title relates to the 3 different power sources these small portable fridge freezers can operate on. Usually they can be powered by any of the following: 12V direct current, mains power alternating current and LPG gas.
3 Way Fridges can be powered using 12V DC, such as that found within a car battery. As when powering a car fridge, limited battery life is a drawback. If you operate the 3 way refrigerator too long without the car running, you can run down your starter battery leaving you stranded.
A regular power outlet, or mains power option, for powering a 3 way camping fridge is very useful. This is the same power source a standard in house refrigerator uses. By liberating the operator from the restrictions of their car battery, they can run the fridge full time. Of course, the related drawback is that mains power is not always available everywhere you might want to run your 3 way refrigerator.
The third power option is the use of LPG gas. Generally propane – but sometimes butane – is used. Having this final power source available lets a three way fridge owner fill in the gaps when electricity to power the refrigerator is not available. Running the camping fridge off gas does, of course, require that the owner keep a supply of gas on hand.
The key to the popularity of the 3 way camp fridges is their versatility. With the three means of powering them that are available, the owner will always have an option to keep the fridge freezer running anywhere. This flexibility is what distinguishes them from their chief competition, the 12v fridge freezer.
For a cookout in the backyard the fridge can be plugged into the mains power. On a road trip, the owner can have a supply of cold drinks available by running the fridge from the car battery. Finally, when camping in a remote destination – like one might find on a 4WD off road trip – the propane option can be used to power your 3 way fridge freezer.
Probably the best known manufacturer of 3 way camping fridges is Dometic; so if these devices sound like something you might want to buy, you might start with their model line. Another well known manufacturer is Waeco refrigeration – a subsidiary of Dometic. Also worth considering are Norcold and Engel.
If you are looking to buy a portable mini fridge, and want to ensure your fridge can be used in as many location as possible, you should definitely consider the purchase of a 3 way fridge.