Cool Boxes & Camping Fridges Buying Guide

Whether you’re on a campsite, enjoying a picnic or simply hanging out with friends in the sun, a cool box and camping fridge is an essential piece of kit.

Whether you’re on a campsite, enjoying a picnic or simply hanging out with friends in the sun, a cool box and camping fridge is an essential piece of kit.

With so many cool boxes and camping fridges to choose from in our range, we’ve put together this helpful guide to help you find the perfect product for your needs.

Do you need one with a large capacity? Can it be powered from your car? 

Read on to find out more about cool boxes and camping fridges…

Why buy a cool box or camping fridge?

Why buy a cool box or camping fridge?

Cool boxes and camping fridges work in the same way as your fridge at home, they keep food – and some drinks – fresh and cool.

If you’re out and about on an outdoor camping trip or picnic, they will work to keep lunches just how you like them and your drinks chilled. After all, nobody enjoys their beverages at a  lukewarm temperature or a soggy sandwich.

In short, cool boxes and camping fridges are essential items for any camping holiday or day trip.

What are the types of cool boxes and camping fridges?

At Winfields Outdoors, we have a wide variety of cooling options for your next camping trip.

You may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there. But don’t worry, we’ll explain each type of camping cooling equipment available:

Passive Cool Boxes

Popular for their ease of use, these are a go-anywhere option that doesn’t require any additional power. Passive cool boxes feature foam insulation but must use a cooler pack or ice to keep your items cool. Passive cool boxes can be effective for 24-48hrs if used correctly. 

  • Hardshell, so they are extremely robust and come in a range of sizes
  • Cheapest cooling option outside of a cool bag, they don’t need any power – making them lighter
  • Foam insulation works best when in conjunction with freeze packs
  • Work best when full so there is less air circulating that can be warmed up
  • They are ideal for daily use, including picnics, festivals, day trips or light camping

Powered Cool Box: Thermoelectric Cooling – Electric Cool Boxes & 12V Cool Boxes

One of the most popular types of cool boxes contains thermoelectric technology. These are your electric and car cool boxes that will run off either 12V or mains or both. Most thermoelectric cool boxes and 12v cool boxes are ideal for UK use thanks to their capabilities of handling between 12°C and 22°C ambient temperatures.

  • You can use 12/24v from your car, van, a leisure battery or mains hook-up at the campsite
  • Ideal for the UK use thanks to outdoor temperature range from 12°C up to 22°C
  • No fumes – you can keep the coolbox in your tent or locked up in your car
  • Most will run off 12V and mains, although some are solely 12V but with a converter to mains as an optional extra
  • Light in weight and available in a range of different sizes

Powered Cool Box: High-Performance Thermoelectric Cooling

Higher performance thermoelectric camping fridges are available that will cope with higher ambient temperatures, so if it’s 30°C outside then it will be 0°C inside the cool box. Their more efficient technology means that you can control the temperature you desire.

  • Cooling up to 30°C below outdoor temperature, making them ideal for both UK and Europe
  • Work off both 12V and mains
  • An intelligent power-save circuit that draws little from batteries
  • You can control the cool box to the temperature you desire
  • Better insulation than a standard thermoelectric cool box

Compressor Cool Boxes

Often the premium option when it comes to cooling on the move. These cool boxes feature a huge amount of tech, from digital screens to temperature setting controls and even app connectivity. This allows you to set the temperature, and track it, from your phone. All compressor cool boxes use an electric compressor to cool the box.

  • Can work off 12V – your car, mains electricity or even built-in solar panels
  • Larger capacity, from 40 litres upwards
  • Some models, particularly from Kampa Dometic, feature WiFi/Bluetooth connection for an app to control the temperature
  • Robust and durable shell
  • Can be used in most temperatures due to its electric compressor to cool and recycle air

Absorption Cooling – Three-Way Fridges

The term ‘Three-Way Fridge‘ means that these types of camping fridges will run off 12V, Mains, and also gas. One of the main reasons people buy one of these camping fridges is because they may be camping in places where they won’t have access to electricity.

Their size (generally quite big, around 40 litres) is another great feature that people love, along with their incredible reliability.

  • Can work off gas, 12V, and mains, giving great versatility
  • Silent operation
  • Some models are great for use in Europe as well as in the UK
  • Great space offered 40 litres and above
  • Robust and durable shell
  • Incredibly reliable technology used

Coolbox tips

  • Pre-chill: make sure everything you put in your cooler is already as cold as possible. You can always pre-freeze items to increase cooling duration. This would include buying food on a trip.
  • Fill it: when you have a half-full cooler, most of the cool contents, such as air, will leave. Keeping it full will prevent this from happening. If you are coming up short, top it up with more treats!
  • Shut it properly: it’s an easy thing to forget, but try to limit the amount of time your cooler is open and put cool items back as soon as you’re finished with them.

Pack it out: don’t hold back on your ice packs particularly if you have extra space to fill. Cool boxes work best when full, so you can improvise with more ice packs by filling plastic bottles with water and freezing them.

What are the best cool boxes and camping fridges?

What are the best cool boxes and camping fridges?

Totalcool Totalfreeze 45L Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer

This Totalcool creation is manufactured using premium quality components, bursting with the latest cooling technology. Perfectly suited to caravan and motorhome use or coastal trips down by the beach. 

This superbly engineered compressor fridge freezer is surprisingly lightweight, featuring an ergonomic design that makes it a perfect piece of equipment for when you’re on the move. 

The Totalcool Totalfreeze 45L Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer provides energy-efficient cooling or freezing (to an impressive -20ºC) with an exceptionally low current draw at only 30-40 watts. Outstanding!

Kampa Dometic CFX3 45 Portable Compressor Cool Box

Part of the market-leading CXF3 compressor cool box range by Kampa Dometic. This cooler features superior cooling technology, Wifi/Bluetooth to your phone for temperature control, a high-resolution colour display panel and USB charging.

Bayasun 3 Way Absorption Fridge 34L

This fridge combines high performance and a sleek design to bring you one of the best camping fridges around. Powered by either a 12V in-car charger, 230V mains plug or gas, it’s extremely versatile and provides excellent cooling power up to 25ºC below ambient.

Igloo Wheelie Cool 38 Quart Wheeled 36L Cooler

The Igloo Wheelie Cool 38 Quart Wheeled 36L Cooler features a stain and odour resistant liner, as well as Ultratherm insulation. This makes sure that the food and drink items stored within the cooler stay fresh and at a chilled temperature for much longer. 

This cooler option is comfortably portable, thanks to the use of robust wheels which make for easy transit via the reinforced tow handle. This model also features moulded-in side handles, perfect for lifting in and out of vehicles easy.

This type of cooler is greatly suited to a wide range of outdoor trips and activities, including beach days, camping adventures, festivals or barbecues.

Totalcool Totalfreeze 55L Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer

If you liked the sound of the Totalcool fridge freezer we mentioned earlier but would prefer a model that’s more suitable for large groups, look no further than the Totalcool Totalfreeze 55L Portable Compressor Fridge Freezer. 

This incredible 55L portable compressor fridge freezer is engineered to an extremely high standard, featuring a lightweight and sleek ergonomic design. It’s also brilliant at providing energy-efficient cooling or freezing (to -20ºC) with only a current draw of 30 to 40 watts.



  1. wilson
    Is it still possible to get one of these 3way camping freezer boxes please
    1. Craig Winfields
      Craig Winfields
      Hi Martin, I'm sorry but we are completely sold out this season of 3 way camping fridges!
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