Review: ARB 63 Quart Classic Fridge
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
In the first installment of Gear Review, I'm going to talk a little bit about a true game-changer for your adventure rig: The Fridge.
I've been using a fridge in my cruisers for almost 4 years now and its been just that: a game-changer. No more worrying about having to get ice before or during a trip, no more water-logged food, no more messy spills, no more rushing to get home from the grocery store because of thawing or spoiling. One you've had a fridge, its hard to imagine going without it.
There are several companies that make fridges for adventures rigs but I chose to go with ARB. ARB has a long history of making rugged and dependable products for adventure-lifestyle and off-road vehicles. Their expertise translates not only to a great product straight out of the box, but great support also.
The ARB Classic series of fridges come in four sizes: 37-quart, 52-quart, 63-quart, and 82-quart. The 37-quart was a no-go for me because it didn't have the capacity I wanted. I chose the 63-quart because its actually three inches shorter than the 50-quart and the 82-quart. That really comes into play when you have the fridge on top of a drawer system. I've had the 50-quart before and its just a little too tall to see inside conveniently. The 63-quart is wider than the 50-quart to give it a larger capacity, while the 82-quart is both tall and wide.
The 50-quart was a little too tall to be practical on top of a drawer.
Capacity wise, I feel like the 63-quart is about perfect for 2 people. It would be good for several weeks if all you are doing is storing food. If you are also keeping drinks cold, it would probably hold enough food for a week. Unlike coolers, you don't have ice taking up space. You can put a ton of food in the 63-quart but I do recommend making sure the food or drinks are cold before putting them in, as this really helps with energy consumption. Sometimes its not possible to pre-chill drinks before putting them in, so I always keep the drinks separate from the food in case I want to add drinks that aren't cool.
40 bottles of water and there is still room for food!!!
The ARB Classic series has some very well thought-out features. The huge lid is hinged in the rear for quick access but can be completely removed with a swift pull. Once removed, you have full access to the interior. This makes it super easy to load/unload the fridge. It's a feature I use almost every time I go on a trip. Another really nice feature is the interior basket. The basket has a removable divider that can be used to separate the fridge into two compartments or removed altogether if you need all of the space for larger items. With the lid removed, you can also remove the basket to load and unload food. It makes unloading everything super easy after a trip. Just pull it out and take it inside to load the items in the refrigerator in your house.
Removable basket with removable divider
Large hinged lid for easy access
Detachable lid for easy loading and unloading
Also available, is a heavy duty transit cover that helps insulate the fridge and also prevents the fridge from getting scratched and dented under heavy usage. The cover also has a nice pocket on the side. I use the pocket to store the owners manual and the AC cord that comes with the fridge.
Heavy duty transit bag with side pocket
The controls on the fridge are very straight-forward with a power button, a menu button, and also up and down arrows to set the temperature or cycle through the menu. The temperature can be set to 50*F all the way down to 0*F. The fridge cycles on and off, pulling around 30 watts when cooling and zero when not. The ARB is very efficient and can run for several days on a heathy 12v truck battery. The fridge has three user-selectable voltage cutoff settings. These settings will cut power to the fridge if the truck battery falls below 11.8v, 11.4v, or 10.1v. I have my fridge set at the 11.8v setting to maintain the health of my battery and also ensure that my truck will always start. Because of this feature, I chose not to run a 2nd auxiliary battery and I've never had an issue with the fridge draining my main battery below a healthy level.
Large easy-to-read display
The fridge comes with both 12v and AC power cables. I've used the fridge numerous times outside my truck at parties and get-togethers. Having the AC option is fantastic. Once, I used it for a few weeks in my house when our main refrigerator died. That alone saved several hundred dollars worth of food.
The fridge being used in my house when our refrigerator died
All in all, I've been very impressed with the ARB 63. I really can't think of anything that I don't like. It's a very well thought-out design. The efficiency, durability, and ergonomics are excellent, and when you add the versatility that comes from being able to use the fridge outside the vehicle, that really takes things to another level. I highly recommend the ARB 63.