Every traveller in Australia has, or aspires to have, an Engel.
With Japanese technology and made in Thailand, it is as iconically Australian as the Holden. A brand on the verge of becoming a generic term here.
The Engel is a portable, dual voltage refrigerator/freezer that runs on 12 or 24V battery, or mains power. In the less expensive models, such as the one I could afford, the refrigerator/freezer option is an either/or choice. The unit I bought has a single 38 litre compartment. Larger costlier units can do both at once.
It operates incredibly efficiently. I am running mine on my secondary solar panel and battery. Even overnight, my battery voltage didn’t drop below 13.1 volts. I found that remarkable. The fridge in my caravan can only run on 12v from the car when the van is being towed. It needs a motion sensor to turn it off when the car is parked, or idling at the traffic lights because it draws too much current. Should you stop for fuel, or to shop, it’s possible the car won’t start again.
The Engel is silent. The only way you can tell it is operating is by touching it and feeling the faint vibration when its Japanese motor is running, and by the green LED on the panel. Also, by the fact its content is nice and cold. Something my caravan fridge struggles to manage even on mains power or gas.
It is strongly constructed and can handle being bounced around in the back of an off-road 4WD in desert temperatures. It even operates for a time even on an angle of 30 degrees.
The Engel is not cheap. It is far more expensive than other brands, even its closest rival, the Waeco. But it has a solid reputation for strength, reliability and efficiency in even the tropical outback. So when I saw my small one on special discounted offer for less than $800 I was waiting outside BCF for them to open at 8:30 the next morning. My Christmas extravagance this year. Possibly the most sensible purchase I’ve made since I bought the caravan, apart from the bike.