Last Update: 10/13/2017

How to Get By With No Fridge or Cooler in the Van

ice cream truck made of ice cream is melted all over the sidewalk

I ain't never found no need to keep food cool on the road. So, yeah, my van life ain't got no refrigeration or ice chest. Tell you why, and how I gets by ...

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10 Reasons My Van Don't Need No Fridge


  1. Cost – Your propane fridges cost propane money. Your electric fridges cost power budget, especially on solar. Your ice chests cost ice money.

  2. Space – Vanholio's got a tiny van, so anything bulky better be worth it. A chiller ain't.

  3. Simple Food – Don't cook much on the road. Mostly, I eat trail mix, Soylent, cheese sticks, fruit, peanut butter, tortillas, shit like that. Don't need a cold pantry.

  4. Many Store Trips – I'm in and outta grocery and convenience stores every few days. Don't need keep a big stock cool.

  5. Immediate Cooking – When I get somethin' real perishable, like meat, I cook it right away. Hell, I might get a pot goin' in my Max Burton Digital Stove to Go right in the parking lot!

  6. Dry Goods – Vanholio never knows when the mood to cook is gonna strike. So most food I keep around is dry goods, like rice, dried veggies, and canned soup.

  7. Refrigeration Overrated – Lots a "perishables," like fruit, vegetables, eggs, butter, and cheese, don't necessarily need to be kept all that cool. Fresh eggs'll last a week or so! I buy cheese sticks, and they do fine without chillin' for a week or more, too.

  8. Lazy Cooling – Know what I do with those cheese sticks when it's hot weather? I wrap them in a wet towel, and tuck the bunch under my bed by the water jugs. That keeps them from gettin' that greasy sweat.

  9. Condiment Packets – Your laziest bachelor uses his fridge mainly for beer and condiments. But Vanholio uses packets of condiments – including mayo! – that he swipes from convenience stores.

  10. No Cold Beer – The No. 1 argument for havin' a chiller in the van is cold beer on hand. But Vanholio ain't a daily drinker. And when he does beer, a chilled 6 pack from the store don't last long enough to get warm.

Any Downsides to Van Life With No Fridge or Cooler?


Yeah, Vanholio does have one regret about not havin' a cooler or whatever in the van. That's not havin' ice on hand. See, he likes a huge jug a ice coffee to sip from all day. Mostly, I just get free ice from a convenience store. But when I'm boondockin' for a couple days or more, then it's ice-less van life sufferin'. May get a compact ice maker soon, just for the drinks.



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