BougeRV 30 Quart 12V Portable Car Refrigerator Review

The world is opening up, and our freedoms may soon be returning. Hopefully, we’ll all be living it up to New Zealand style shortly. Spring is well and truly here, which means hot and sticky summers are just around the corner.

There’s nothing better than sinking a cold one miles away from civilization on a hot summer’s day in the great outdoors. And there’s nothing worse than accidentally presenting gone-off meat to the in-laws when you were supposedly the “grill king.”

The only thing that separates these two outcomes is the cooler setup in your car or RV. Let’s dive straight in and see how this cooler stacks up (SPOILER ALERT: BougeRV has got your back).

Road Test

After waiting patiently for UK COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted, I finally got to take this cooler on the road. The first thing I noticed about this cooler was its build quality and size, which thankfully doesn’t compromise design. In our little European car (Volkswagen Polo), the cooler dominated the boot space. With its measurements of 222.68×12.6×15.55”, it will look right at home inside an RV or American truck.

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It’s excellent, but be watchful of your little ones as it features a stunning mirrored finish on the lid and trim that will be easily scratched. There is a slight amount of play in the plastic towards the bottom of the cooler. This is an intended addition that will allow for shock-proof transit when hitting those bumpy roads leading to wandering trails.

The Little Things

The cooler’s handles have been designed with consideration to space-saving inside the unit. With just enough space to get your fingertips in, you can get a good grip even with a full fridge. It’s just long enough to allow you to carry the unit around with ease without compromising on consumable storage.

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Candid Shot

We know our readers are keen-eyed and astute and will have noticed that this unit’s lid opens upwards. This is a great design feature for a fridge destined to be used on the road. Obviously, there is a much lower chance of its contents being spilled during transit, but there is also a cooling advantage. Convection means that cooler air will naturally remain at the bottom, meaning that even if you unplug the cooler, your food will stay cooler for longer.

If you plan a campervan conversion or a custom RV build, don’t forget to consider the placement of your cooler within your units. A lid that opens upwards will mean you won’t be able to build anything above your BougeRV fridge.

Break The Rules

When using an RV fridge for a day trip, a good practice is to plug it in at home, set it to the temperature you want, and then plug the fridge into your vehicle and get on the road. This allows for minimal fluctuations in temperature for your precious food and drinks.

But, being the rebel that I am, I put our sandwiches and drinks straight into the cooler and plugged them into the car without letting it cool first. The LCD screen was easy to read even in the bright light of the morning sun. The cooler’s computer is nice and simple with just four buttons. I set the temperature to 40°F.


Thankfully BougeRV made this cooler idiot-proof by leaving an optional sticker that tells you how to work the thing. Without overcomplicating things, the coolest option (excuse the pun) is the battery protection setting. This allows you to determine where the fridge will cut out to protect your vehicle’s battery, depending on its capacity. There is even a USB port, great for charging your cell phone on the road.

Cool Your Engines

Our journey was over 40 miles, half of it through the windy English countryside. Within fifteen minutes, we had to pull over to see what the baby was crying about. They say a watched pot never boils, but I couldn’t resist a peek at the cooler. It had already reached the desired temperature and was actually hovering at around 38°F! Not one to believe everything I read, I quickly opened the lid and grabbed the sandwiches that were cool to the touch. My can of Dr. Pepper was as if I had grabbed it straight from the 7-Eleven.

I turned off the engine but left the ignition on; the fridge was still running in the quiet layby. I got really close and could still barely hear the thing. Another thumbs up!

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A modest meal for three

I would confidently say that this cooler can perform from a cold start when it comes to cooling, no need for ice packs with the BougeRV. In the case of freezing, I would always recommend getting the device frozen at home first.

When we arrived at our destination, I proceeded to take our food out to put in our pack for the hike ahead. When the lid opens, it is held by a chain allowing you to easily take stuff out one-handed. Printed on the inside of the lid is a helpful guide telling you the best temperatures to set the cooler depending on what items you have stored. There is a removable divider in the fridge itself that could easily double up as a chopping board.

Here’s To Good Company

You can tell that BougeRV is still a growing company and haven’t become too corporate for their own good. I can’t see this fridge letting anyone down, but in the unlikely event that it would, BougeRV has got you covered with contact details inside the manual and on the sticker I mentioned earlier. Skype, email, and even WhatsApp are listed, not something you see every day.

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She’s a beast!

So, if you want a cooler that will take the bumps of the road and a storage capacity that could feed your family numerous times over, this may be the fridge for you. With its battery-saving functions and plug-and-play simplicity, the unit really is a no-brainer.

Let’s be honest for a minute here though, at the end of the day, a cooler can’t really offer much more than cooling and freezing your food. However, if you chose this cooler, you are also giving yourself peace of mind knowing that you chose a small company going out of its way to help out its customers.

It’s time to sink a cold one, “grill king.”

Thomas Board