A last minute dash to a campsite to make the most of the recent heatwave, got us wondering how to keep our food cold while camping when day time temperatures began to sky-rocket. So we decided to put a portable chillbox through the hefty task of keeping drinks and food fresh for a family of four.
Our fridge of choice was the 12 volt Ventura Chillbox, which is a thermoelectric cool and warm box. It has a solid state heat pump which is extremely reliable. It can keep food and drinks cold or hot and is ideal for camping, using at home or using in your vehicle of choice.
While we wanted to use it for keeping our food cool (it cools up to 23 degrees below the ambient temperature) its fixed point thermostat can also be used to keep food warm that has been previously cooked and is already warm.
Reviews of it were good, and it was small enough and handy enough to transport. It could also be used in the upright position as well as a chest position, which for us was essential, as having two small children who constantly have their noses in the fridge helped us minimise the loss of cool air in the main compartment.
We found it was best to start it off fully loaded at home 12 hours before our trip or with a large ice pack to bring the temperature in the unit down rapidly.
It had the added benefit of being on wheels and very light to pull around, even when stacked with goodies, and it could be charged using an in-vehicle cigarette lighter or via an electric hook up at the campsite.
We discovered it needed good ventilation to work well and was a bit noisy, so it was best to place it away from the sleeping area. However it is sturdy and good quality so we feel it will last the test of time with our energetic family.
The added benefit is we will also be able to use it at home when we get a glut of vegetables at the end of the growing season, or have a special occasion and need a bit of extra fridge space.
It also proved its worth when we used it to store our 25 bottles of home-made elderflower champagne before a recent ‘Love Your Garden’ party with Alan Titchmarsh. Now that’s a whole different story for another day!