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Cool it mate!
  |  First Published: April 2007



In our hot climate anglers always need some form of refrigeration for when they land fish. In this review we’ll look at a couple of products that will all do the job.

DOWNUNDER FIVE STAR COOLER

I think this cooler would be perfect for daily use in the boat or the car. It’s not for your bait or catch but is ideal for storing your lunch or drinks.

The Five Star Cooler is a roto-moulded unit that effectively insulates its contents with the help of some ice. Thick rubber seals come down onto a raised lip on the lower section to ensure that your food and drinks stay icy cold.

The walls of the Cooler are 5cm thick and provide plenty of insulation. The Cooler is around 400mm long, 280mm wide and 240mm high.

The attractive finish and robust carry handle make the Five Star Cooler a winner in my book. The Five Star Cooler starts at $119.

CHESCOLD 3 WAY FRIDGE FREEZERS

Camping store shelves are filled with different camp fridges these days and it doesn’t take long to work out that your options are either electrical or 3 way units (240V/12V/gas).

Electric compressor units are fine as far as in-car performance is concerned but require lots of reserve battery power when used in a stand-alone situation.

CHESCOLD 3 WAY UNITS

Chescold offer all three power modes in their 3 way units, namely the Explorer F400 and Combi Box RC11870. These units are available in 39L and 50L capacity. The F400 can operate as a fridge or freezer while the larger RC1180 offers a separate freezing compartment thanks to a movable partition.

I recently had the chance to review an RC1180 unit and connected it to 240V power to see how long it would take to chill effectively. Within an hour there was a nice icy feeling in the freezer box. After four hours the partitioned freezer compartment had frosted nicely. I left the unit on overnight noticed that it successfully froze an ice cream container of water. The temperature in the freezer section was 4.

GAS IS THE GO

After that success I tried the big fella on gas. The Piezzo ignition kicked into life straight away and a look through the unit’s window revealed a clean blue flame. Although the RC1180 was slightly chilled already, after four hours of gas operation my thermometer showed -10 in the freezer section and 4 in the remainder.

When using the Chescold for an extended trip, the trick is to pre-chill your food and then use mains power to make the unit icy cold. After that let it run in your vehicle on 12V. Chescolds’ run best when kept level (so the coolant can move around) and the back of a moving vehicle never stays level for long. However, the unit will hold its contents at a chosen temperature if kick-started on the mains initially. Gas operation, once at the destination, is very efficient and will kick in quickly once the unit is set going.

I’ve owned a Chescold 3 way unit for more than 25 years and it has always served me admirably. It seems to operate equally efficiently on gas as it does on the 240V mains.

When you look at modern Chescold units their neat, polypropylene housing will catch your eye. I noticed that the carry handles were larger than my old stager and seals, closure clips and hinges were all very heavy duty.

Full instructions come with each Chescold unit, with wiring directions for the 12 Volt set up within a vehicle. It should be noted that you can’t plug these powerful units into a cigarette lighter or phone accessory jack. Separate wiring is required with a 16 amp fuse near the positive terminal.

Chescold fridge freezers don’t use environmentally detrimental CFCs or HCFCs within their cooling system and each unit comes with a 12 months private usage warranty.

The reviewed 5 Star Cooler and Chescold RC1180 were provided courtesy of The Great Escape Camping Co. Telephone is (07) 3808 9924.

FACT BOX

DIMENSIONS

HeightWidthDepthWeightPrice

F400500mm610mm510mm23kg$899
RC1180525mm665mm505mm25kg$1189
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