Anker portable fridge chills camp with swappable lithium pack
Anker has already established itself as a major player in portable power, and now it's used that expertise to launch a more convenient RV and camping fridge. Unlike the portable fridge/freezers that are tied to a vehicle battery or separate portable power station, Anker's new EverFrost family of wheeled iceless coolers features integrated power. The removable lithium battery offers up to 42 hours of continuous refrigeration, readily removing to swap out for a fresh pack and charge via solar. In this way, the EverFrost cuts the cord and rolls wherever you want it without lugging a battery block along with it.
The ice-filled cooler used to be the camping standard. Then, along came rooftop tents, jacked-up 4x4 campers, and all other things overlanding, putting the spotlight on the added convenience of a portable fridge. And now you see them all over the place, delivering multi-temperature capabilities down below freezing and dry storage without the soggy melting ice.
While offering some clear advantages, portable fridges also bring some disadvantages. High on that list, second perhaps only to price, is the need for an external power source, either a vehicle battery system or a portable power station. That's easy enough while driving the vehicle but becomes harder when camping outside it. Without an isolated leisure battery system, draining the vehicle battery and stranding yourself becomes a worry. Plus, unlike a cooler that can move around camp, the fridge has to remain in the vehicle. A portable power station or generator can free it from vehicular lockup, but then you're dragging both a heavy fridge and power source around camp. At some point, you might just end up wanting that ice-filled cooler back.
Portable fridge designs are advancing, however, and integrated power solutions becoming more common. Anker isn't the first to present a fridge with integrated battery, but the EverFrost lineup looks like it could be among the most feature-packed out there and a serious contender, even in the highly demanding overlanding segment.
The EverFridge's 299-Wh battery sticks out slightly from the wall over top the wheels, preventing the fridge from being a squared-off box. Anker's 42 hours of runtime is based on the 33-L EverFrost 30, the smallest in the series, set to 39 °F (4°C) while in an ambient temperature of 77 °F (25 °C). Anker estimates 35.8- and 27-hour respective runtimes for the larger 43- and 53-L EverFrost 40 and 50 models at that same 39 °F temperature setting/77 °F ambient temperature.
Those runtimes will work well for a weekend or overnight trip, but for longer journeys owners might want to carry a spare battery or two. Anker is offering a Kickstarter package with a spare battery and plans to sell extra battery packs so that users can bring along multiple packs and swap them as necessary. With the available 100-W fold-out solar panel, users can recharge the dead battery in the field while keeping the fridge humming with a spare.
Each battery pack features one USB-C and two USB-A outputs, allowing it to work as a portable power bank and charger. Anker estimates the battery will charge an iPhone 14 up to 19 times or a 2020 MacBook Air five times.
In addition to solar, the EverFrost battery can be charged directly using its 60-W USB-C input. Or owners can plug the fridge into a car or wall outlet and charge the battery while it's docked on board.
The EverFrost series cools to a temperature range between -4 and 68 °F (-20 and 20 °C), and the 53-L model includes two separate temperature zones. Users can view and adjust temperature with the integrated LED control screen or accompanying mobile app.
Each EverFrost fridge also has a pull handle that doubles as a tray table and an integrated bottle opener. Anker also plans to add an attachable cupholder and side table option in the future.
EverFrost models weigh between 49 and 60 lb (22.2 and 27.5 kg) with the battery installed. Fridge/freezer manufacturers don't all offer the exact same sizes, but we did find a 53-L model from Australian company MyCoolman with which to compare. That 61-lb (27.8-kg) model, which does not include a battery, actually weighs more than the 60-lb 53-L EverFrost 50 with battery installed. On the other hand, the 33-L EverFrost 30 with (49 lb/22.2 kg) or without (44 lb/20 kg) battery installed weighs well more than the 38.6-lb (17.5-kg) 32-L Dometic CFX 35W.
Anker is currently running a highly successful EverFrost Kickstarter, which is pushing US$1.5 million raised with over a month left to go. It's offering the EverFrost 30 with battery at a pledge level of $519 and the 40 at $549. Unfortunately for those looking for the dual-zone EverFrost 50, Anker already sold out its campaign allotment. EverFrost 30 and 40 bundles that include an extra battery or a solar panel are still available, though. If things continue to move along as planned, Anker will begin deliveries in June – just in time for the summer camping and adventure season.
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There is no good reason why we cannot have one type of battery that will work in both the lawn mower, e-bike, portable cooler, and etc. Limiting a battery configuration to just one vendor only benefits large corporations with extensive product lines.
No portal covers! Bugs, mud and water can easily get into those ports and outputs!
No protection for the surface controls/readout. Why? Planned obsolescence?
Back to the drawing board, and while you're there, make sure the extending handle for it works real well. Don't cripple our 6+ footers.
We’ve been happy with the performance, but have found there’s a dramatically heavier power draw when the ambient temperature is 80-85° F vs when it is 70° F. So it seems a 100 watt solar panel might have difficulty staying ahead of battery discharge for this Anker, over many days of use. One trick we’ve found that greatly reduces power demand since our fridge has very thick insulation - throwing a single small 5 lb bag of ice in it. Seems to take the edge off of power demand in very hot temperatures.
Still, the all in one convenience of this Anker is tempting. We’d have difficulty with less than 50 quart capacity. Massimo also makes a model with removable battery, but Massimo is not Anker, reputation-wise. As I recall it is in the $500+ range.