Dometic Fridge Review – 23 Liter

Howdy gang! We hope everyone have been enjoying their summer. Today we are bringing you a Dometic fridge review. We have been using this Dometic fridge the past 2 years while on the road in our van. This will be a new section on our site aptly named “Stuff we use”.

We are going to be talking about the portable Dometic 23 Liter Fridge/Freezer combo. While this unit is a tad pricey, it sure beats out continually buying ice for that Yeti cooler you’ve been using. All you need is a 12v hookup (cigarette lighter port). Most vehicles have these standard, while others will chose to incorporate them into their solar system. Because of the 12v hookup, this fridge is practical for truckers, travelers, and van lifers alike.

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New Summer, New Adventure

Well well… It’s been quite some time since we’ve posted any sort of update on this website, huh? It’s finally a new summer. I gotta be honest with everyone. Sometime around midway through the road trip last summer I gave up with updating this blog and just continued living life. We have so many awesome photos from places that we went after South Dakota. Let me breakdown the full trip; California > Nevada > Utah > Colorado > Wyoming > South Dakota > Wyoming > Montana > Idaho > Washington > Oregon > California. Basically I didn’t blog on the second half of the trip. I’ll eventually get around to putting pictures up and writing about some of the cool things we did in Washington and Oregon before getting back to California. As least were not in this boat and still building the van out… In the mean time, lets do a trip breakdown.

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Utah National Parks: Scootin’ Utah

It was on Hwy 21 headed southeast out of Great Basin that we finally crossed the Utah state line. Great, we were going from one desert to another. The good news is that we were headed to 5 different Utah National Parks. But this desert happened to have 5 national parks! Thats right, good ol’ Utah, USA.

Instead of doing a seperate post for each national park (because you know we had to go to all of them) I’ll just make this a longer post with different sections and loads of pictures, of course. Before I continue I should say that at this point the van has been running good ever since the first little overheating bout. I just put oil and tranny fluid in it every couple weeks and it keeps moving down the road. Oh yeah, and gas, we put a lot of gas into it! It’s a blast to drive though. Anyways let’s get started with Utah National Parks numero uno….

Utah National Parks Breakdown

Scootin Utah; Pt. 1: Zion National Park

I gotta say right off the bat, this park feels a little like Disneyland to start. People are everywhere. It’s funky because to access most of the hikes and other cool things, you have to
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Finished Build and Test Trip

From the previous post, we had the flooring, walls, bed, and fantastic fan put into the van. A clean pallet for building our design. If I still had Bailey’s original “inside van sketch” I would certainly post a picture of it but when we were done, it came out really close to what we were shooting for. So…. after the bed was built we moved onto the countertop, cabinet, and storage area. It was perfect for the far side of the van because there are no windows on that side of the van. It made sense. Basically, we built a storage cabinet from the floor to the ceiling directly behind the drivers seat. The lower area of that cabinet would house all of the solar system items (batteries, inverter, fuse box, etc.) and the upper shelves would be mostly food storage and whatnot. Water jugs will be housed underneath the countertop area. We built the storage cabinet and the under-counter storage to fit some cool shutters that we scored from a local friend here in town. Shoutout to Mike O’Neill! They are old antique mini shutters. The shutters are perfect for the job because they hide all of our crap while also making it easily accessible. We painted them a cream white color to match the ceiling. Bailey did a stellar job at putting some fabric that we got from Jo Ann’s on the ceiling. The trick? A whole bunch of 3M 90 spray adhesive. That shit really holds stuff good! I’ve blabbed on a lot here, but we are somewhat close to being done with the build. I’m sure I have forgotten some things. There are plenty of small things still to do and I’m sure we’ll find another hundred things to do once we hit the road, but in the mean time… we are pretty proud of our progress!

First picture above is on/off switch to turn the solar panels off to stop charging the batteries when we aren’t using them. You can also see the charge controller and fuse block. A separate write-up on the solar system is coming whenever I quit being lazy. So you’re not chomping at the bit, it’s 2 – 100 watt panels on the roof running to 2 AGM sealed Vmax batteries wired in parallel for double the storage. This is plenty of power for what we will be running (LED lights, fantastic fan, charging phones, etc). Β The middle picture is the counter and cabinet just after we put the shutters on. You can see how great of a job we did. Hey, they hold stuff in!

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Installing a Fantastic Fan in our Van

After we had the flooring and walls up, it was high time we installed our new Fantastic Fan. They have many different models but after researching we decided to go with the medium model that has 3 different speed settings and the manual vent open and close. The more expensive ones that come with automatic rain sensors, reverse, 10 speeds, etc. just seemed like a little much for our application. Here is how we installed our fantastic fan vent into our 1985 Ford 4×4 van. A classic write up with lots of pictures is always good and relatively easy to follow along.

For this application, there was already a standard 14′ x 14′ hole cut that was housing an old manual vent that the previous owner installed in the van. From my research that is the scariest and/or toughest part, basically because you are cutting a hole in the roof of your rig. If you are installing the fan in an RV, there is a good chance that you already have the hole cut and are just replacing your old vent for the new Fantastic fan. This write-up is perfect for you.

To start, I needed to get onto the roof and start scraping away at the old sealant from the current vent. With a paint scraper, screwdriver (for scraping), and my drill with the proper bit, I was able to easily remove the old screws fairly easily. After the screws were out I was able to remove the old vent without much problem with a bit of Bailey’s help down below.

hole in van roof

The hole in the roof after the old vent was removed

In the photo above you can see what the hole looks like with no vent in it. Getting the vent out was pretty painless. Now the real work starts…. I’d say I spent a good hour scrubbing and scraping at all of the old sealant and caulk on the roof. Honestly this was the hardest part of the whole installation, LOL. In addition to the paint scraper and my screw driver, a bottle of mineral spirits and a rag is great in this situation. The mineral spirits really helped to bring all that old crap up without jacking up the paint. Goo gone also works just the same.

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