As many of my readers know, I do quite a bit of research before making a purchase. My research involves the almighty Internet, crunching numbers, and talking with folks who actually have the equipment I’m interested in.
I did all of the above before pulling the trigger on the ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer. Spoiler alert: I’m not sorry I made this purchase.
For the record, I’m not on ARB’s payroll, nor was I compensated for this article in any way.
ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer: Why We Got One
Gone are the days when we’d stop at a store, buy bags of ice, and pack them in the cooler before heading out. No more soggy food for us. No more draining the cooler or looking for a place to buy more ice.
Let’s be clear: this overlanding fridge isn’t cheap. At $855.50 on Amazon, this bad boy is an investment in a lifestyle.
But think about it….
If you’re using a cooler, you don’t get to use all of the room inside because you have to account for ice. In addition, if you’re getting a high-end unit like a Yeti hard cooler, then you’re paying a pretty penny for the cooler itself. The Yeti Tundra 75 (close to the same capacity as the ARB 50 Quart when you account for adding ice) is going to run around $450.
So let’s do some quick math:
$450 for the Yeti cooler
+$19 per week of camping (ice at $2 per bag x 8 bags + $3 in gas to get to the store and back to your campground because you can’t store all the ice you’ll need for a week)
Subtract $469 from the price of the ARB 50 Quart to get a difference of $386.50. Divide that by $19 for each week of camping, and you end up needing to camp for 20 weeks to “pay off” the ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer.
So you really need to think on this. Don’t buy something you don’t need. But for my family, as full-time travelers, we’ll have recouped our investment in a short period of time.
For us, it was the right decision.
Not to mention our RV fridge went kaput in July, so we’ve been living exclusively out of our ARB fridge for over two months straight already. But that, my friends, is another story.
ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer: What It Is
The ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer is a true refrigerator. What do I mean by that? Well, it isn’t an ice chest or a cheap 12V electric cooler. This unit is an actual refrigerator like one you would use at home, only smaller.
It’s perfect for overlanding because of its durability and design. It was intended for the trail. The unit is rugged and filled with features unique to off-road travel. It draws a minimal amount of power in order to maintain temperature settings.
Speaking of which, when it comes to power consumption, how effective is it?
To put the answer into perspective, this unit can maintain sub-freezing temperatures in 90-degree ambient temperature, while drawing less energy than a typical desktop computer. Pretty incredible, right?
The ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer is designed to run on 110V, 24V, and 12V. It is optimized for 12V use, which is perfect for those of us using the fridge for overlanding purposes out of our rig.
The unit features a powder-coated zinc steel cabinet shell, and a hard-formed plastic top and bottom. Inside components are made of stainless steel, copper, and aluminum. Top that off with a Danafoss compressor, and you really can’t beat this unit. ARB didn’t skimp on anything.
The folks at ARB have over 30 years of experience in innovation and technology, and it shows in the quality of everything regarding this unit.
Simply put, this thing is one well-built beast of a fridge.
ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer: Important Features
Some of my favorite features of the ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer include:
- Removable top – The lid actually comes off. Why is this important, you ask? I’m glad you did. First of all, when cleaning, this feature comes in very handy. Secondly, if you don’t have a slide-out for your fridge and can’t lift the lid all of the way because of the overhead clearance in your vehicle, then you can just remove the lid, get what you need, and replace the lid. No need to pull the entire fridge out. Don’t underestimate this feature!
- Off-road considerations – If you’re parked and unlevel, then unlike most refrigerators, the ARB fridge will continue in operation without any issues, at up to 30-degrees of incline.
- Handles – The ARB 50 Quart has two solid handles on the front and rear of the unit, which make loading and moving the unit easy.
- Rounded corners – You wouldn’t think this would be an issue until you hit that off-camber trail and your fridge slides into your upholstery. Then you’ll appreciate it.
- Inside the unit, there’s a rear-facing LED light that illuminates the interior of the fridge without blinding you in the face.
- An integrated battery protection system, compatible with generators and solar panels. Perfect for off-grid use.
- The storage capacity is tall and wide enough for gallons of milk and full-sized bottles. Our toddler is extremely thankful for this feature.
- The ventilation grilles are well-placed for use in small and enclosed spaces. You’ll appreciate this when you’re packing your overland rig for the first time.
- Warranty – ARB is so confident in this product that the company offers a 3-year warranty.
For ourselves, off-road and overland enthusiasts, the ARB 50 Quart was a no-brainer purchase.
We compared the features of various competing models in-depth and kept coming back to the ARB.
ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer: Final Thoughts
We’re looking forward to putting the ARB 50 Quart Fridge through rigorous use when we head into Mexico in January 2019. But for what it’s worth, as stated above, we’ve been using it in our RV for two months straight (on shore power and the inverter while dry camping) and it has been operating flawlessly.
As a side note, we also opted for the the ARB 50 Quart transit bag, which gives an added level of thermal protection and even makes the fridge run more efficiently–if that were even possible. The bag is high-quality and has a topographical map graphic which is just cool.
We’re really happy with this unit and our purchase of it. We’re careful to never recommend anything we can’t stand behind personally. This unit definitely has our “Jeepsies seal of approval” (as of right now, that’s a thing).
If you have any questions about the ARB 50 Quart Fridge Freezer, then don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.
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