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It’s safe to assume that you have done some extensive research and are seriously considering upgrading your camping cooler to a camping fridge especially if you are into RV camping, van life, SUV or truck camping, or Overlanding.
After all, you have the storage space. And you don’t want the inconvenience and expense of buying ice all of the time.
The trade-off is that a camping fridge is expensive, loud, and could drain your battery.
That’s where the SetPower RV45D Pro comes in. This little fridge is perfect for truck and SUV camping, road trips, Overlanding, and RV/Van camping. It solves the problems of coolers without all of the drama and cost of typical camping fridges.
Keep reading to see why I think it’s the best camping 12v fridge on the market!
Who Needs a 12v Camping Fridge?
Let’s start with that question. Who needs a 12-volt fridge for camping anyway?
We’ve discussed at length the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of portable refrigerators in our Best Camping Fridges article.
👉 Click Here to Read the Full Camping Fridge Buyer’s Guide!
After all of the research and comparing the pros and cons, a 12v compressor fridge is the best choice for most people. They are efficient, quiet, and can keep your food cool indefinitely.
Especially when compared with thermoelectric coolers (some of the least efficient 12-volt coolers) or an absorption fridge.
That said, anyone who is going to be outdoors for a few days and has access to power. That could be RV owners, who take the road for weeks at a time. Or van life enthusiasts who choose to live in their vehicle long-term.
Truck and SUV owners that take long weekends have opted for 12-volt fridges that they can keep plugged in at home as an extra cool box.
And overlanders may choose a 12v refrigerator for a good reason. Since they are often miles away from stores that sell ice but can provide their power through their car or solar power.
And they even make small 12v coolers for cars, so any car camper could benefit from having a powered cooler over a simple ice chest.
We are SUV campers ourselves. After years of tent camping and backpacking, we have ventured into camping in our Honda Pilot.
Naturally, we needed a fridge to make our camping lifestyle a little simpler. So, why did we choose the SetPower 45D Pro?
Take a look at some of the specs. I think you’ll see why.
Overview – SetPower RV45D Pro Features
Construction & Build Quality
I was surprised by how sturdy this fridge is. The handles feel beefy and strong enough to heft the fridge, even with food inside.
The extension handle is tough and stable when fully pulled out, but the foam padding makes it easy to pull long distances if necessary.
The wheels are surprisingly smooth. I’m not a big fan of plastic wheels for outdoor use, but these seem to take it well.
We’ll get into some of the other features later, but essentially they are all engineered well with good fit and form. Everything seems to be tough enough for everyday camping.
Dual Zone Refrigeration
The dual-zone configuration makes this a versatile little fridge. With the divider in place, you have a fridge/freezer combo. Or take the divider out and you can make the whole space a refrigerator or a freezer.
The lid reverses which side it opens from. This is convenient, even necessary in some cases since you can change which side you access all of the contents.
The lid is completely removable, which is fine for cleaning. But we found the best way to keep the cold air in is with the lid on. Imagine that.
I personally love this feature. The logic is sound: if your fridge runs your battery down, you can’t cool the fridge. Plus you can’t start your car which leaves you stranded and you can’t cool your fridge.
SetPower has made sure to circumvent that mistake and shut off power to the refrigerator before completely tapping the battery.
That way you can still start and run the vehicle and can get back to cooling the food much quicker.
Two Temperature Modes
With two temperature controls, you can adjust both the freezer and the fridge parts separately.
With the Max mode, you can quickly drop the temperature of the cooler. This is a great way to get to your desired setting when you first turn it on, or when the ambient temperature rises.
In eco mode, your fridge draws less power while maintaining the interior temps of the fridge/freezer.
Multiple Power Options – AC/DC or Solar Power Source
The SetPower fridge comes with a 12v charging cable. So it uses dc power by plugging into your charging socket and running off of the car battery.
But it also includes a 110v AC adapter. That means that you can use shore power at the campsite. (That’s a fancy way of saying a regular plugin like at home). Or use it as a portable fridge freezer around the home.
Plus, with the right size solar panels, you can run this baby off of solar power for endlessly cool food…at least until sunset.
LED Light & Removable Basket
Likely you will have a headlamp or flashlight when camping. But you will invariably leave them in the tent..or was it on the table? “Honey! Have you seen my headlamp?”
Not to worry. The RV45D Pro comes with an interior light. As if to say “I got you. And I’m not going to make fun of you just because you forgot that your headlamp is on your head.” It’s a real friend
And the removal wire basket makes organizing a breeze if you want it. Or you can take it out to cram as much food as you can.
Removable Wheels and Handles
The difference between the RV45D Pro and the RV45 is the wheels and handles. The pro version includes the wheels and the extendable handle that can be removed should you see the need.
The 45L capacity is, to me, the Goldilocks size. If it were any bigger and it would be difficult to fit into your vehicle. If it were much smaller it wouldn’t hold enough food for a long weekend.
But at 45L you have plenty of space for food without taking up too much storage space.
If you are just bringing a bunch of canned beverages, you can fit 52 cans inside. Which will mean you won’t have to set up a tent since you will be up all night peeing.
The interior dimensions are about 17” L x 12” W x 13” H. Part of that is a shelf that goes over the compressor, but it leaves you with about 1.5 cubic feet of cold storage space.
Exterior Dimensions and Weight
The exterior dimensions are 29” L x 22 ”W x 19” H with wheels.
Without the wheels and extension handle, it is about 26” L x 17” W x 17” H. So you could definitely save some space without the portable features.
It weighs about 43 lbs, so not super heavy. But fully loaded you may want to consider getting a couple of people to move it.
The nice thing is that it has two spring handles to make that just a little easier.
Energy Efficiency and Compressor
The compressor is only 60 watts and will consume between ½ – 1-½ kWh per day. For a fridge this size, it basically sips power in eco mode.
That’s a powerful little cooler that takes very little power. Is that some sort of paradox?
Warranty and Reliability
The compressor is covered by a 3-year warranty while all other parts carry a 1-year warranty. With over 100,000 sales, SetPower has proven to be one of the most reliable 12v fridges on the market.
I saved the best for last. With all of these features, this puts SetPower on par with the most reputable brands on the market. These are some of the reasons we named it one of our top picks in our camping fridge deep dive.
It has all of the features of more expensive fridges.
But the current price for the RV45D Pro is under $570 on their website! That is a fraction of the price for a similar size Dometic or ARB fridge.
Needless to say, that is already a great deal!
Better yet, for our readers, they are offering a 12% discount by using our link. If you use this link we may make a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Unboxing – 3 Important Reminders
One thing that came with the instructions was that on the initial run from the factory, there is a small piece of foam insulation that was cut but not removed at the factory.
It’s a simple matter of removing the cover with a few screws and discarding the small piece of foam but without taking this step the refrigerator won’t cool and the motor will likely burn up.
The second thing is that you will have to put a few things together. The instructions are clear enough, but it will take 15-20 minutes to get everything in order.
The third thing is that when you are putting things together you want to avoid tipping the fridge. Like all compressor fridges (even your home fridge) the fluid can drain out of the compressor and inhibit the function of the refrigerator.
If it does tip more than 45° it is best to let it sit for 24 hours to let the refrigerant drain back into the compressor. In fact, that is a good rule of thumb since you don’t know how it was shipped to you.
Testing – How Does the SetPower RV45D Pro Perform?
Our initial test was impressive! I couldn’t wait until our big road trip, so I packed some food in it the next morning. It started cooling right away. And within about 45 minutes the fridge and the freezer were at operating temperature.
I know that isn’t the hardest test. It was at room temperature of about 70°F in the apartment, so it wasn’t fighting the hot ambient temperature we will be in a few weeks when we take it on the road.
We were impressed with the capacity. We put enough food in it as if we were camping over a weekend. Even with the freezer divider in place, there was plenty of room for everything, including ice cream!
Most likely we will remove the freezer divider for our big camping trips. After all, camping is more about bacon and hot dogs. We can have ice cream on the way home!
We will continue to update this page as we put the fridge through its paces.
But our overall impression is amazing and we can’t wait to take this camping.
Is This the Right 12v Camping Refrigerator for You?
Now I know you are still shopping around. So is this the perfect fridge for you?
I would say that this is the ideal 12-volt refrigerator for most campers. Here is who it’s for, and who it may not be the best choice for.
Who isn’t for:
The name of the series is the RV series. It’s the perfect size camping fridge for Rvers looking for a mid-sized refrigerator. It would be ideal for something as small as a Scamp trailer or even a class C.
And it is a chest style, which is a nice alternative to the typical upright RV fridges.
I think this is really the perfect scenario for van life. It is the right size to fit into most configurations of kitchens. I could see this under a bed in the back of the camper van or just inside behind the driver’s seat under a kitchen counter.
Not only is it the right size, but the low power consumption makes this a good fit for Overlanding. The fact that it can bounce around a bit and tilt up to 45° makes it suitable for some serious off-road adventure.
Suv and Truck Camping
As I mentioned, we use it in our Honda Pilot, our favorite camping vehicle. It fits neatly to one side in the back which makes easy access to everything. And since it is only 43 lbs (empty) it’s not too difficult to get in and out.
The same would hold for truck camping. A great size, low power consumption, with easy access makes it the best choice for a truck.
Who it isn’t for:
Ok, so it isn’t perfect for all scenarios. It is a bit too big for a small car. It could probably fit into most small to mid-size trunks, but there wouldn’t be much room for anything else.
Ok, so you don’t like to have a lot of stuff. As a minimalist, you reduce as much unnecessary stuff out of your life. Admittedly, this is a luxury item.
As such, you could live without it. Just like you could live without coffee.
Haha. Just kidding. No one can live without coffee. (does that sound like a threat?)
Hitchhikers need to be like extreme minimalists. This isn’t meant to be advice for them. It’s just a practical observation. I mean, when I see a hitchhiker I’m looking at their gear. A few things that give me pause are luggage, farm animals, machetes, and refrigerators.
It’s not personal. It’s a space thing…and maybe some safety concerns.
What’s Great About It?
Everything we listed above is some of the best features of this camping fridge. It is small enough to be portable but big enough to be useful.
It is adaptable to any situation. It can run on any power source without requiring too much power. It has removable wheels and handles to make it easy to transport.
The lid is even adaptable! Couple that with the interior LED light, the dual-zone fridge freezer option, and the low price point, what’s not to love about this?
The battery saver is a game-changer. However you choose to run your fridge, if you drain the battery the refrigerator stops anyway.
So why not stop the fridge before it completely drains? Genius!
What Can Make it Better?
The only improvement I could see would be to have the wheels and extension handles somehow be quickly removed.
As it is they are installed with a few screws. It’s not a deal-breaker. But I think this would be an appealing feature to some who just want to leave it in their vehicle while still having the option of quickly making it more portable.
But this is a minor quibble for such a great product.
Our Take – Is SetPower RV45D Pro the Best 12v Camping Fridge?
Overall we think the SetPower RV45D Pro is the best portable 12v fridge. It’s a dual-zone fridge that is great for keeping cool food cool and cold food cold.
Unlike a single-zone fridge or a camping cooler, you can actually freeze food, ice cream, or ice packs.
I don’t think you can get any better features, especially at this price. SetPower stands behind its products and has great customer service.
If you are ready to step up your camping game and want to upgrade your cooler, I can’t recommend the RV45D Pro anymore!
Unless you’re a hitchhiker.