This product review is brought to you by Garry Purcell.
Ridge Ryder Travelkool 22L (cooler/warmer) Review
Whether tackling tough tracks in the thickest bush or battling loose sand at the beach, nothing beats a cool, refreshing beverage after a hard day out in your 4x4. Outfitting your 4x4 rig with the right cooler is a must if you want to kick back with refreshments when you get where you’re going, but choosing the right setup for your needs can be daunting. Before you buy, check out what camping and caravan veteran, all-round DIYer and reviewer of a whole host of interesting things, Garry Purcell, has to say about the Ridge Ryder Travelkool Thermocooler.
Before we get stuck into the nitty-gritty details of the cooler, Garry checks out the packaging. The first thing to note is the feature list on one of the ends of the box. There is a list of specifications - including the external dimensions, capacity and weight, as well as the insulation, voltage ratings and a few other important details. These are handy to know ahead of time when you are outfitting a caravan or other vehicle where internal space is at a premium.
Alongside these specs, there are a series of photos showing some of the more interesting features. One of the most interesting of which is the included USB outlet - allowing the user to charge a phone or device directly from the cooler while it is plugged into the vehicle. Another neat feature is the viewing window, so you can keep an eye on proceedings without needing to open the lid and affect the internal temperature.
What’s inside the box?
After opening the box, Garry artfully removes the cooler from the box so we can see the cooler in all its glory. On the front panel, there is a temperature display, as well as the on/off buttons, temperature controls and the aforementioned USB outlet. The power inlets are on the right-hand side, and inside the cooler are the included power supply cables as well as a handy carry strap.
The power supply cables have different plug shapes, so you know which one to use where, and the cooler can be run on 240v mains as well as 12v from your vehicle’s accessory power socket. The power supply to the cooler will automatically switch from 12 to 240-volt power when it detects mains power and will switch back to 12v charging when mains power is unavailable, saving you from potentially forgetting to manually change the cables around if you change the power source in a caravan for example. Garry quickly attaches the included carry strap, before plugging the cooler into mains power and turning it on for the first time to test the cooler out.
Testing the Ridge Ryder Travelkool 22L cooler/heater.
With 240v power plugged in and an ambient temperature of 24 degrees, it’s time to turn the cooler on and see how well it works. It’s important to note that for effective use it is best to cool the unit down overnight before you use it, so it is pre-chilled and will more effectively keep your goodies nice and cold. While the cooler works away, Garry checks out the USB by plugging in his phone. It immediately starts charging - very impressive and super handy. After around 3 hours, the temperature in the cooler has dropped right down to around 5 degrees celsius - already 3 degrees below Garry’s own household fridge.
Next, it’s time to test out the heating capabilities, so Garry switches the unit off and lets it return to the ambient temperature of 26 degrees. He turns it on and adjusts the temperature up with the buttons on the front panel. After only half an hour it has reached a hearty temperature that maxes out Garry’s poor thermometer at 50 degrees. He starts again with a proper kitchen thermometer that goes high enough to measure the internal temperature of the unit. From an ambient temperature of around 27 degrees, the cooler/heater gets all the way up to 60 degrees - more than enough to warm your pies!
Testing the Ridge Ryder Travelkool 22l capacity.
Now that the heating and cooling capabilities have been proven, Garry moves onto the most important test of all - cramming as much stuff into the cooler as is possible. It’s a good idea to check the fitment of commonly shaped and sized containers since the internal dimensions tend to have more impact than the actual volume you have to work with - especially when dealing with taller bottles, or larger containers. Although as we’ve previously discovered, the cooler/heater could be readily used for anything from chilling your egg sandwiches and iced coffee to keeping the turkey hot on the way to your campsite Christmas dinner, unfortunately, for this test, Garry only has beverages on hand. Quite a few beverages though, so you can get a good impression of a real-world practical use for the cooler/heater.
To test out the actual storage capacity of the Ridge Ryder 22L unit, Garry begins by standing a 1.25L bottle in the cooler and is able to close the lid. However, a taller 1.5L bottle won’t fit standing up, so instead, it needs to be placed in the cooler on its side. Similarly, a 2L bottle can’t fit standing up, but will comfortably lie down in the cooler. Next up is a 24 pack of Cocacola cans and to Garry’s surprise, the whole pack fits inside, box and all! When free from their cardboard box, a pack of 24 cans as well as either a 1.25 or 1.5 Litre bottle can be stuffed into the cooler - meaning that plenty of refreshments of all sorts can easily be cooled at once.
The Ridge Ryder Travelkool 22L cooler/heater heats up to 55-60 degrees, and dropped to 20 below the ambient temperature (3 degrees lower than Garry’s home fridge!) While the cooler is capable of dropping up to 25 below the ambient, of course, this will depend on a range of factors so as far as coolers go, this unit “definitely gets a thumbs up from me.”
It fits a generous number of drink containers, of various sizes too. Of course, if this isn’t quite enough, Ridge Ryder also offer a larger cooler/heater - capable of storing a real banquet (and a smaller one for carrying the snacking essentials or supplying light eaters) so be sure to check out the entire range of Ridge Ryder gear in store or online, exclusively at Supercheap Auto - and find the perfect cooler/heater as well as a whole lot more useful equipment for your camping and 4x4 requirements.
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