RockPals 26-Quart Portable Refrigerator Review & Quick Install Overview For the 5th Gen 4Runner
In my other article, I reviewed the RockPals 500w power station. I liked their power station so much that I decided to get their portable refrigerator as well.
As I mentioned in my previous article, RockPals is a much more affordable brand compared to many of the big names out there. Like some of you, I am a modifier on a budget. I love upgrading and modifying my 4Runner, but when it’s possible, I search for quality products at a lower price point, even if that means purchasing from a smaller brand. Granted, there are some things you don’t want to go cheap on when upgrading or modifying your 4Runner, however, I feel that a power station and fridge are things you can shop around for.
When I first got my 4Runner, I didn’t know portable fridges were even a thing. As I went deeper into modifications and overlanding setups, the more I saw guys getting portable fridges. I thought it was really cool, but when I saw the price tag…ouch. For $500+, I was fine packing for my trips the old fashion way with ice and a cooler.
I came across the RockPals brand when I was searching for portable power stations. Due to COVID, I was allowed to work from home and now had the opportunity to take my work with me and work remotely but I needed an extra power supply. Having the power converter in the rear cargo area is great but you don’t want to leave the 4Runner running the whole time to get power.
Long story short, I went with their power station and liked it for the price. I saw they had a fridge and decided to give it a try as all of their products are pretty affordable.
Find it online:
- RockPals 500w Power Station: Check Price
Ryan wrote a great article on the ICECO fridge and has an easy-to-read comparison chart of the ICECO, ARB, and Dometic fridges. His article gives you some info on the top brands for comparison. This Rockpals fridge is even cheaper than the ICECO that he reviewed, but it is also about half the size.
The fridge comes with two power cords… one for a cigarette lighter and one for an AC wall outlet.
- Dimensions: 25.39×17.12×15.47 inches
- Weight: 24.25 lbs empty
- 2 L Refrigerated Area (6.31 ×11.42 ×1.18 inches) and 23 L Freezing Area (12.21×11.42×8.3 inches)
- 8-min Fast Cooling
- 45dB Low Noise (to guarantee your nap during car travel)
- Interior LED
- 3-stage Battery Protection (and anti-shake up to 30 degrees)
- Low Voltage Protection (power-off automatically and normal ignition to protect your vehicle battery without run down)
- 30-day Money-Back Guarantee and 2-year Warranty
The instructions say to wait 12 hours from delivery before turning it on so make sure you don’t buy it right before your trip just to be safe. It also has a sticker on it with the same warning. I assume, if you happen to store the fridge in any other position than normal, that you will want to wait 12 hours before turning it on also.
I put the fridge on the back right of the cargo area so it can plug right into the power converter. When I am driving I have it plugged into the 4Runner AC outlet and then I plug it into the RockPals power station AC outlet for all other times. It’s really a great combo having a fridge and a power station. If you are looking for a fridge I would also recommend looking at purchasing a power station.
Step 1. Use Cargo Strap to Secure Fridge To Cargo Area D-Rings
I used a small cargo strap to tie down to the cargo area D-rings just so it’s somewhat secure for trips. It is a good idea to secure it for safety.
If you are in an accident you don’t want it to go flying but also if you are going off-road, then you don’t want it bouncing around while you’re on a trail. I went with the straps to make it a nonpermanent mount. Since the fridge is on the smaller side, I planned on taking it in and out and using the power station to power when out. A nice feature that makes this fridge mobile is the collapsable handles. They can go upright so you can carry the fridge and then fold down to stay out of the way.
For those with pull-out cargo trays, putting the long side against the wheel well is probably best for storage but I did realize it makes it more difficult to get into since I don’t have the tray. On my last road trip, I put the short end towards the wheel well so when I roll down the back window I could easily open the fridge door and have full access.
Depending on what I take and where I go, I may mount the fridge to the back D-rings. You don’t need to mount it like this (pictured above), you can get as creative as you want when mounting a fridge. Another good option is running a rear cargo gear plate so that you can mount a fridge in any configuration you want. There are hundreds of ways to mount a fridge so do your research and mount it the way that’s best and easiest for your travel style.
The nice thing about this fridge is once you set it to your desired setting if you shut it off or it loses power, when it turns back on, it will go back to the last setting. So if you stop for gas there is no need for you to go to the back of the 4Runner to turn the fridge back on. You can just press your power inverter button on your dash and the fridge will turn back on and you’re good to go.
It has Eco, HH, and Lo (Economy, High, Low) modes:
- High will get it the coldest fastest and will keep it as cold as possible
- Low mode will slowly get to the desired temperature
- Economy mode will be the most energy-efficient
I would use Economy mode if you are running the fridge off of a portable battery supply as you want to pull as little power as possible.
So far, I have had it on High mode at 10 degrees. It keeps everything very cold. I have yet to run it off my power station but I would change it to Eco mode for the power station as I want it to last as long as possible.
What can it fit?
It has two compartments:
- One bigger deeper compartment that gets the coldest
- One smaller shallow shelf that doesn’t get as cold
Think of it as a freezer at home with one bigger area for larger food/drink items and the shallow shelf in the refrigerator. It does not get cold enough to freeze anything but it will keep your already frozen items frozen. I just did a 7-hour drive from Northern California to Southern California and I had frozen food and it all stayed frozen, no problem.
The bigger compartment easily fits 24 12 oz cans and only took up about 2/3 of the compartment. The only downfall to the size of the fridge is the height. It is too short to have a carton of juice or gallon of milk stand upright.
Overall I really like the fridge and find it very convenient. It is much better to have a fridge and not have to deal with melting ice and a cooler.
A fridge is very simple to hookup, especially since the 4Runner comes with the power outlets in the back. I do wish that the fridge latch was a little tighter but it’s not that big enough of a complaint for me. It is also a nice size and fairly light in comparison to other fridges. I am comfortable lifting it in and out of the 4Runner when full. I think this is great for smaller trips but if you need to keep a lot of stuff cold you might want to check out some of the bigger options from other brands.
If you are in the market for a fridge and don’t want to break the bank, this one is for you!