A few years ago a Dometic fridge freezer rarely (if ever) topped the list of must have overland accessories. And, we think that is a huge mistake.
Why? Well, to start, any well-built fridge freezer is an awesome improvement over a cooler. Yes, even a Yeti cooler, a Rtic, or any of the other status symbol ice boxes. Aside from recovery gear and a reliable vehicle a fridge freezer is among the best overlanding investments you can make. But, to be completely honest, the price tag is a huge hurdle for most of us. That’s why we think you should add Dometic to your wishlist.
In the overland community many of us lust after a National Luna. The South African built fridge is widely regarded as the best of the best. However, anything north of $1,500 is tough to justify so most typically opt for an Engel or ARB fridge freezer. And, both of those are solid alternatives to the top of the line, National Luna. But, they’re still pretty expensive. In other parts of the world, you’ll also find Waeco units keeping things cool. But, even when we recently purchased a fridge for an upcoming project… we passed on the Dometic without skipping a beat.
Why did we go for the ARB? Well, first of all, ARB is a great fridge (even though ours had some problems within the first week). Second, that National Luna we mentioned earlier was just over $1,700 and it wasn’t even the big one. Engel was a close contender, but the ARB was in stock at Mule Expedition Outfitters. So we pulled out the AMEX and drove home with a new fridge. However, now that we’ve learned more about Dometic fridge freezers it’s safe to say that our next will probably be one of their larger models.
That’s Right…Our Next will be a Dometic Fridge
So what caused us to make this bold proclamation. First, those National Luna prices probably won’t come down anytime soon (despite the disparity between USD and ZAR). But, more importantly, while we waited for the team at ARB to bring our 50qt model back to life, we did a little digging. The first thing we realized; Dometic’s look a lot nicer on a bank statement than an ARB or Engel.
More importantly, however, we learned that we had already purchased a Dometic fridge. Not intentionally, but as a product of the way manufacturing, engineering, and branding operate these days. The very fridge that we purchased, earlier that year, rolled off of a Dometic assembly line. And, our ARB did so with the same compressor and electronics as fridges costing much less.
Were we disappointed? Not at all. That’s how things typically work with a huge product line like that of ARB. Plus, while the internals was virtually identical… the ARB engineering and customer service are hard to beat. But, with a sidelined fridge sitting at ARB’s US headquarters we started to wonder if the top notch customer service is really worth the additional expense.
Any quality 12-volt fridge freezer will make you a happy camper. Just ask anyone you know who owns one. They’re a great addition to your overland vehicle and whether it’s an ARB, Dometic, or National Luna. And, as it stands right now… our next fridge will be bear the Dometic name. Inside and out.