Not everyone likes “roughing it” when it means warm drinks, iffy produce and extremely questionable meat. That’s why portable backpack refrigerators were thought up, as they provide a solution to those who are looking for an efficient way to keep their food items cold (and safe) on their adventurous outings. We’ll dig a little deeper to determine whether or not these refrigerators are actually worth the investment.
What Is It?
It’s a great concept, for starters. Having a refrigerator of sorts that’s portable, lightweight and easy to carry for hikers and adventurers has been a long time coming. Backpack coolers tend to be too flimsy and, quite frankly, don’t insulate well. High end coolers are bulky, heavy, and, well, more apt for sitting on a sea shore holding your beer than providing an efficiently functional purpose for people lugging it around on their backs.
While there are a few different “refrigerators” you can buy, it’s important to note that it’s not actually a refrigerator. Rather, it’s an insulated cooling pouch that actually works to maintain consistent cold temperatures (in heat) for over 24 hours. Add ice packs or dry ice to dramatically increase that time!
How Does It Work?
Typically coolers are insulated with a thick foil that cushions and protects the FDA compliant inner liner. Each refrigerator comes with a thick resealable top that locks in once you seal it to keep air and moisture from escaping.
How Can I Use It?
You’ll want to use it, mostly, as a refrigerator for already frozen foods. It will allow your foods to safely thaw at a reasonable speed and temperature for safe consumption sometime over the next 24-48 hours. Ideally, you’ll put a couple of pieces of frozen meat in your refrigerator at the beginning of a weekend hike, for example. Expect to eat one piece of meat for dinner one night, and if you pack it with ice, the other will be good for night 2.
What Are the Problems?
Although the concept is great – a lightweight, portable, insulated cooler for adventurers that helps get everyone away from nasty re-heatable meals – the name is a bit misleading. “Refrigerator” implies that the food will stay cool for longer periods of time, when in fact, it does have a point where it’s no longer safe to eat, and without extra cooling precautions, that food comes a little more quickly than most campers would like.
For an overnight getaway, it’s the perfect solution for enjoying a tasty home cooked meal in the wilderness. Is it worth the expense, though? That part’s up to you.