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How to Pack A Powered Cooler

How to Pack Your Dometic Electric Cooler

We’re all creatures of habit in some shape or form. Habit building is essential for us to do anything successfully. This also extends to traveling and camping.

Packing a powered cooler, or a portable refrigerator like the Dometic CFX3, the same way every time you pack helps ease that mental camp burden. Proteins will always be in a certain place, same with milk products, vegetables, or cold drinks. Knowing exactly where things are prevents difficult digging through the cooler – especially if you want to keep it cold!

Cleaning Preparation

Before packing the food and drinks in the portable fridge or loading it into your car for the road trip, there are a couple of steps you'll want to take before the refrigerator or freezer temperature is ready go.

  • At ambient temperature wipe out the cooler if needed or rinse and dry the baskets before you start packing with warm water.
  • Set the Dometic app on your phone for optimal temperature control and power consumption.
  • Charge your portable battery the night before. Our PLB40 portable power pack, with three-way charge, is designed to power coolers and other 12V appliances off grid.
fresh cooking while camping
cooking fresh with Dometic powered cooler
Packing Preparation

In the two main areas of the cooler, we always place the same things so we instinctively know where they are. The left side of the divider is for milk, juice, vegetables, herbs and fizzy drinks and the right side is long term storage for raw meats, lunch meats, and cheese.

  • Organize your food in two groups for quick and easy packing and access.
Think about temperature layers

The bottom of the cooler is the coldest and the top will be the least cool. Knowing this will make packing the cooler so much easier. Knowing about these temperature layers, we do these things before and during every camp trip:

  • We set our fridge temp to 2C/36F. We’ve found that temperature to be a good balance of enjoyably cold drinks and not frozen leafy veggies.
  • Meats, proteins, or heavier things that need to be cold should always be at the bottom. The same goes for products that aren't accessed much in a day.
  • On top of the drinks and raw meats are heartier veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and zucchini. The more leafy vegetables and herbs go at the very top of everything. Since the top of the cooler is the least cold it prevents any delicate veggies from freezing.
  • The smaller area right above the compressor is storage for butter, yogurt, eggs, tomatoes, cheeses, and things that will be used or grabbed often.
  • If you're not making ice on your trip, the ice maker area of a CFX3 55IM can be used to store 3-4 popsicles or smaller ice cream sandwiches!

We all know camping can be unglamorous at times. Packing and unpacking the cooler is one of the necessary steps to enjoy the beautiful places beyond your front door.

Taking a moment to organize and create a system that works for you makes all the difference later. When hungry youngsters are demanding snacks, or when you arrive to camp late and have to prep a quick dinner in the dark and you don’t have to dig around the cooler wondering where things are, we promise you’ll thank us.


To discover more camping recipes and inspo check out GonDirtin's Instagram.

Want to kit out your camp kitchen like GonDirtin? Check out powered coolersstorage, and camping tables

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