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I have a propane/120 volt refrigerator/freezer in my camper. For safety reasons I turn off the propane when moving. I keep the freezer section mostly full of the blue ice containers, which keeps things cool, for short trips (~24hours) between electrical connections.

It becomes ineffective for longer trips, as 24 - 48 hours of electrical supply is required to get things cooled off again. Generator for a couple of hours, or overnight electrical connection does not get it ready for another day of travel.

The freezer is about 16 inches wide, 4 3/8 inches tall, and 7 inches deep. Tank Calculator tells me this is just over 2 gallons or 7.8 liters. Unlike an ice chest, the refrigerator/freezer does not do well with uncontained loose liquids (i.e. melted ice). Normally we put a towel on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to absorb any condensation that might otherwise puddle and leak.

I am thinking that a container that I can fill with ice cubes purchased in bags at a gas/convenience store is the solution. But I am wondering what attributes to look for in the container. It needs to be able to stay sealed and not leak with partially melted ice and water sloshing around, while driving at speed on country roads and highways.

What to look for in a leak proof ice container, for RV fridge?

  • I am guessing you are against sticking a couple of pounds of dry ice in there. – StrongBad Apr 19 '19 at 22:52
  • Any reason not to upgrade the freezer? Here are some ideas. – wallyk Apr 20 '19 at 2:23
  • @strongbad I understand dry ice is easier to obtain in the US than here but it will never be as easy as ice when travelling. I haven't run the numbers on the CO2 given off but I'd be wary unless the cab was reasonably sealed from the fridge, especially as air conditioning often means not a lot of ventilation. Coming back into the vehicle after a stop would be a worry as fairly low concentrations cause drowsiness – Chris H Apr 20 '19 at 7:38
  • @StrongBad My CO2 detector would be very unhappy with dry ice, for good reason – James Jenkins Apr 20 '19 at 10:18
  • @wallyk In my case, the RV is a small camper trailer, the cost of an upgraded freezer is a significant percentage of the value of the trailer. It is probably the single most costly component. – James Jenkins Apr 20 '19 at 10:24
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I'd use food storage boxes - yes, plural, for flexibility in arranging the fridge. The good quality ones with an o-ring in the lid should seal tight (in practice they're not always airtight for long but will still contain all but a few drops of sloshing water). I have a 2l box here, so 4 of those would be the volume you want.

For smaller cool bags I've used wide-necked water bottles (Nalgene style) but the boxes will stack when empty.

Another trick I've used is disposable water bottles 3/4 filled with water and frozen - this is good when you have more ready access to a freezer than to ice. You could use the boxes in a similar way starting from home.

An unrelated idea is to run the fridge off an inverter when driving (and only when driving - the power consumption will rapidly flatten a battery). Here in the UK caravan fridges are often 230V/gas/12V for driving, achieving this without an inverter (my campervan fridge is different: a 12V compressor yacht fridge which will run on batteries for a few days).

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For traveling we will pre-freeze pop bottles with ice or juice. When we stop at a motel, we refreeze the bottles. This works well. As we drink the juice, we will refill with water.

For your use, you need something with a wider opening for ice cubes. Peanut butter jars work well for this, as most of them are plastic. Some mayo jars too are plastic.

Not that the liner seals don't work forever. Test each year by filling with water an laying on their side for a few hours.

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