How to Keep an RV Fridge Cold While Driving (4 Chilly Tips)

Keeping your food fresh while on the road can be challenging when you travel in an RV. However, keeping your RV fridge running all the time can drain your battery pretty quickly. There are ways to keep your food cold without running your fridge on the road all the time.

Making sure that your food stays cold can be an easy task. You’ll be able to keep your food cold for a longer period of time by freezing some of it and not opening the fridge all the time. It’s as simple as turning your fridge into a cooler. This will help keep your food fresh for as long as it can on your RV road trip.

Here are some tips for keeping your RV refrigerator cold while you’re driving:

  • Ice packs or frozen beverages can be placed in open spaces.
  • It is a good idea to lower the temperature the night before or a few hours before you depart.
  • The fridge should not be opened when it isn’t running.
  • Use a generator as a last resort

When you’re full-time RVing, you need a system that prevents your food from spoiling, no matter how long your drive is.

Here, we will go over each of these four options, provide maintenance tips, and answer a few frequently asked questions about RV refrigerators.

Keeping Your RV Fridge Cool While Driving

Keeping your refrigerator running while driving is not recommended, so here are some tips on keeping food cold on the road.

Fill open spaces in your RV refrigerator with cold

Fill open spaces in your refrigerator with cold items and pack your fridge properly

Packing your fridge correctly will ensure that your refrigerator items stay cool while driving.

It is important to keep ta tight space between each item.

By limiting fridge space, spills can be prevented and movement can be minimized in the fridge. You can also keep the refrigerator’s temperature low for longer if you have more cold items in it.

Cold cans or ice packs can be packed between items to make them more compact. A frozen drink, such as water or juice, can also be used.

When they thaw, they won’t spoil, and they won’t generate much moisture. Be careful not to pack in ice cubes or frozen food.

There’s a good chance that frozen food could spoil while thawing in the fridge because they create water when they thaw.

Prepare your fridge for departure by lowering the temperature

Leaving your RV fridge at the lowest setting the night before you leave is one of the easiest ways to maintain a low temperature.

Use the lowest temperature setting you can without freezing items if your refrigerator is prone to freezing.

Reduce the temperature a few hours before you leave rather than the night before if you want to avoid freezing anything on the lowest setting.

It is important to lower the temperature of the fridge as much as possible before you shut it down.

Leaving your refrigerator at a low temperature will help keep it cold for a longer time.

Keep your fridge closed while you’re traveling

Your RV refrigerator loses cold air quickly when you open its door. You don’t need to worry about this when the fridge is running, but when you are trying to conserve cold air and keep perishables fresh, it should be avoided.

Be sure to avoid opening the fridge door while lowering the temperature of the fridge before turning it off.

It is important to remind passengers not to open the refrigerator door while traveling.

The easiest way to avoid this is to pack a small cooler with items you’ll need during the trip.

By doing this, you’ll be able to enjoy all your food and drinks without wasting any cold air during your trip.

Invest in a generator

The last resort can be to run your generator if nothing else seems to work, or your drive is simply too long.

The fridge can be plugged into the generator once you stop for lunch or a short break, but not while you are driving.

The noise and fumes that come from generators can often be unpleasant. You might want to consider other people if you choose to do this while you are stopping. Parking far from other vehicles is recommended if you are in a rest area.

You should not run your generator inside your RV. There is a possibility of toxic fumes being released, such as carbon monoxide.

More RV fridge tips

A constant flow of air helps keep RV refrigerators cool and fresh.

It regulates the temperature evenly, and it can also eliminate odors.

The fridge can be cooled with the help of small, battery-operated fans when you are driving.

A Few More FAQs About RV Fridges

Is it safe to drive with my fridge running?

Unfortunately, no. The majority of appliances in your RV can be used on a stationary surface only. During your driving journey, you will experience bumpy roads and turnabouts.

The vibrations from these movements can damage your refrigerator if you are driving while it is running. Using propane to power your fridge presents other issues we will discuss in the next question.

Why Should You Never Drive While Using Propane?

The propane gas is flammable. Having leaks in the system could lead to a fire or explosion.

It is easy for a line in the propane power to break or leak while you are driving due to the jostle of the RV.

Many states have made it illegal to run propane while driving an RV because of these reasons. Although it may be tempting, it is highly hazardous and has led to a number of fatal accidents.

How Long Will The Fridge Stay Cold When It Isn’t Running?

In most cases, refrigerators are able to keep food cold for 10-12 hours when not in use. It is possible to extend this time frame by following the advice provided in this article.

However, your refrigerator can lose as much as 4 degrees per hour. Packing cold or frozen items before a long trip, and keeping the temperature low, is important.


It can be difficult to find a fridge-travel system that works for you. The best way to discover what works for you is to try out multiple options.

Try a few of the suggestions we laid out in this article and you just find a system that works for your RV and traveling group.

Running your RV while driving is always a dangerous practice and is something that you should avoid at all costs.

The perishable items in your fridge can be preserved in several ways. Planning and practice are all it takes.



Hey there! I'm Shawn. We were traveling full-time in our travel trailer with our 7 kids. We had to learn a lot to make that lifestyle work, and we wanted to pass some of that experience to you! Our goal is to help save you time, frustration, and money!

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Hey there! I'm Shawn. We were traveling full-time in our travel trailer with our 7 kids. We had to learn a lot to make that lifestyle work, and we wanted to pass some of that experience to you! Our goal is to help save you time, frustration, and money!

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