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Does it actually work? Road tripping with Bouge RV CR PRO portable refrigerator


One of my chief complaints on road trips is constantly having to stop to get cold beverages at gas stations. What if we could keep drinks and some snack foods cold without stopping? Well, that’s just what the Bouge RV CR PRO 30 promises it will do.

Promises, promises, but what’s the reality? On a recent 1,500 mile road trip, I tested out the Bouge RV portable refrigerator and was pretty damn impressed.

What is the Bouge RV CR PRO portable refrigerator?

In simple terms, it is a portable cooler with a plug.

Digging into it, there is a lot more to it.

Bouge RV

First, our test model was a 30 quart version. There are 21- and 26- quart versions available, and you have black and white color options.

Next, this is the new CR PRO version of electric coolers. Bouge offers other cooler types, but this model comes with the 220Wh plug-in portable power bank. This power bank can be charged before a trip or during a trip with a solar panel, letting you go off grid for multiple days while keeping food and drinks cold.

Yup, no more hunting for electrical outlets or going to get ice everyday you are camping!

On the road trip, I used the truck’s plug in the bed since it was right there. I’ll definitely be using the portable power bank in the future.

How did it work?

After four days on the road, how did the cooler work out? Well, it froze our apples. Whoops!

Turns out, it works so damn well, you really have to pay attention to the temperature setting. Initially, I had it set at 32 degrees, and it went from 65 to 32 in a matter of minutes. This is great if you need to really chill something.

Bouge RV CR PROIn our case, the fridge doesn’t have the split freezer/fridge setup of other models, so I turned up the temperature to 40 degrees. This is the average temperature of a refrigerator. Our drinks and food were kept nice and cold without freezing.

Officially, Bouge says the cooler’s fast compressor will cool it down to 32 degrees in just 16 minutes.

Each night, my wife and I made sure the fridge was empty (since the truck was off overnight), and I’m kicking myself for not bringing the portable power bank. However, this had the advantage of cycling the Bouge RV CR PRO on and off to see how it held up. We did this for three nights on the trip.

Each time, the fridge turned itself on, defaulted to the 40 degree temp, and by the time we needed a drink or a snack, they were nice and cold. It felt like we should check it more often at first, then we got a lot of confidence out of the fridge.

Bouge says the fridge has a temperature range of -8 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees.

Speaking of food and drinks getting cold, the cooler can store up to 2 bottles of 2-gallon milk, 40 cans of coke or 12 bottles of wine, with an additional storage box on the side, according to Bouge. We stored apples, drinks and some other snacks with no problems. It won’t hold a week’s worth of groceries, but it should have enough room for a few days of camping. Plus, you can store drinks elsewhere and just cool down enough of them for a day or two.

My only complaint with the fridge is I wish the grab handles (one on each side) were deeper or it was designed differently to make grabbing it easier. My hands just slip out of the handle holes too easily for my liking. Granted it only weighs 27.55 pounds, but once loaded up, I’d be pretty concerned about dropping it.

Bouge RV CR PROAlso, Bouge says there is a tie-down point and a 30 degree anti-shake design will secure the cooler for a bumpy trip. For me, the tie-down point is too thin plastic and I just didn’t trust it. Instead, I wrapped a tie down strap along the side and it worked great with it sitting on the Decked Cargo Slider with its built in tie-down points.

I also ran a bungee cord over the top to avoid the lid from blowing open in the wind.

There is an interior LED light which was handy for looking at the drinks and snacks in the dark. As well as a handy built-in bottle opener.

The CR PRO 30-quart fridge retails for $319.99. Be aware, you can also add the portable power bank for $199.99 — it doesn’t come with one. The solar panel starts at a few hundred dollars to a lot more depending on what style you go with.

The bottom line

Cool drinks, food not spoiling and not running to the store for ice or cold drinks every day. Win, win, win! It’s simple to use as well, which makes me a big fan of this cooler. I plan to use the heck out of it this summer, and if you are tired of running to get ice like I am, you might want to pick up one of these, too.

Editor’s note: Bouge RV provided Pickup Truck + SUV Talk the CR PRO cooler, portable power bank and solar panel at no cost to review. 

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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