BougeRV CRPRO30 Powered Cooler Review: An Excellent 12V Portable Refrigerator
For years, companies like Dometic and Coleman have been selling powered coolers that function like portable refrigerators at the campsite. These devices typically run off 12-volt power, often plugging directly into the cigarette lighter port found in most vehicles. But recently, we’ve seen a number of new players enter this space, bringing some innovative new ideas and technology to the market.
Such is the case with the BougeRV CRPRO30 Portable Car Fridge, which not only delivers excellent performance but offers some new ideas to help it stand out from the competition. But best of all, this model is efficient and affordable, making it an excellent choice for RVers, vanlifers, car campers, and tailgaters.
A Refrigerator You Can Take Anywhere
At first glance, the CRPRO30 looks a lot like a traditional cooler. The unit measures 23″ x 12.6″ x 16.2″ and offers 30 liters of cargo space. That’s enough to hold 40+ cans of your favorite beverage with a little room to spare. Better still, there is enough space for plenty of drinks, plus room for fresh meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables, greatly expanding what you can take with you when you hit the road. BougeRV even includes a removable divider to keep those items separate.
The first indication that this isn’t a traditional cooler comes when you go to pick it up. Due to its electronic components and compressor unit, the device weighs 27.5 pounds even before you put anything in it. That is significantly more than a non-powered model, although you do recoup some of the weight by eliminating the need to use ice. Something that is especially notable three or four days into an extended camping trip.
My one complaint about the CRPRO30 is that moving around can be a bit cumbersome, but not because of its weight. In fact, compared to other powered coolers of a similar size, this model isn’t especially heavy. But the built-in handles, which are bolded into the design, are a bit on the shallow side, making it a challenge to get a good grip, especially when loaded with food and drinks. I never dropped the cooler while testing it, but it was something that I noticed nearly every time I picked it up.
Powering the Cooler
In the past, most powered coolers like the CRPRO30 were only as portable as their power sources would allow. That is changing with improvements to battery technology and the increasing availability of portable power stations. Now, these devices can be used in more places, making them even handier as a result.
This particular model can be powered in multiple ways. As with most of the competition, it plugs into a 12V DC car port or is wired directly into a vehicle’s 12-volt power system. It can also connect to a 120V AC wall outlet, which are now common not only in our homes and RVs but trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles too. This makes these types of coolers very easy to use when car camping, tailgating, or just making a trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
In addition to making portable refrigerators, BougeRV sells a line of solar-charging power stations. Those battery packs provide a lot of power at the campsite and are perfect for running a powered cooler like this one. And because most models come with a 12V port built right in, they make an ideal companion for the CRPRO30.
But BougeRV also offers another clever way to keep the refrigerator running while out in the world. The company makes a 220Wh mini power station with a 12V port (plus a couple of USB-A and C ports) specifically meant for use with its line of powered coolers. This small battery pack weighs just 3.3 pounds and can power the CRPRO30 for up to six hours on a single charge. The cooler even has a built-in storage bin for the battery and its power cables, making it easy to take with you when hitting the road. And at $190, it is a less expensive option than buying a full-sized solar generator.
Fast and Efficient
One of the more impressive features of the CRPRO30 is how quickly it can cool itself down. The unit can reduce the internal temperature from 77ºF to 32ºF in as little as 15 minutes, which is far faster than adding several pounds of ice. That rapid cool down is achieving using “Max” mode, which draws 60 watts of power while active. That isn’t a big deal when plugged into an outlet, but it will impact the battery life on a power station. Alternatively, the unit also has an “Eco” mode which reduces power consumption to 45 watts, unsurprisingly improving battery life.
As long as it has power, the cooler can maintain a temperature setting of -8ºF – 50ºF. This allows users to bring a variety of items with them on their travels, including frozen foods like ice cream. The temperature and modes are adjusted using a control panel found on the cooler’s exterior, which also has an LED screen that continually shows the current temperature.
Because it is a company that deals with sophisticated battery technology, BourgeRV understands the importance of protecting the power supplies that we use with our devices. To assist with that, the company has included battery protection settings that ensure the CRPRO30 isn’t putting undue stress on a power station or vehicle battery. The cooler has three modes—high, medium, and low—that can be adjusted based on the type of connection being used to prevent unexpected surges. These settings also help prevent the refrigerator from completely draining a car battery while in use.
More Handy Features and a Great Price
BougeRV clearly knows its customers, and it shows in its products. With the CRPRO30, this is found in some of the subtle details that went into its design. For instance, the cooler has safety tie-down points on either side, allowing it to be secured in place while driving. This isn’t necessarily something everyone will need or use, but the off-roading and overlanding crowd will appreciate having it.
The cooler also has a built-in bottle opener, and interior LED lighting for finding food and drinks in the dark. Its digital display and controls are intuitive and easy to use too, allowing RVers to dial in the exact settings they need. The unit is even very quiet, producing just 45 decibels of sound while in use. That means it is nearly silent most of the time.
All of these features and functionality make the BougeRV CRPRO30 an excellent option for vehicle-based travel. It is an especially handy device for camper vans and small towables that don’t already have a built-in refrigerator or overlanders looking for a few additional comforts during their adventures. But the cooler is also an excellent addition for tailgating, attending concerts and festivals, or even backyard barbecues. Its versatility is one of its biggest strengths, which is why it is easy to recommend to anyone in the market for this type of device.
The other reason it is easy to recommend is the price. The CRPRO30 sells for just $319.99, which is well below similarly-sized options from competitors. At that price, this is an affordable upgrade for anyone who needs a portable refrigerator, let alone a model that offers so many great features.
For more information, visit the BougeRV website.
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