Did you ever travel to your campsite and find your refrigerator contents on the ground? Well, hopefully not, but it has happened to me once. It’s a terrible way to start a camping trip and can easily be prevented with ingenuity. Since most RV refrigerators have a latch system, they did an okay job staying closed. However, if that latch gets damaged or isn’t fully secured, it can open from all the bouncing as you drive down the road. A large or heavy item that slides into the door and forces it open is the biggest culprit of a refrigerator door that doesn’t stay closed while traveling. In this article, I’ll share some easy tips on how to keep your RV refrigerator door closed while on the road.
Here are my top 4 tips on keeping your RV refrigerator door closed during your travels:
- Ensure all latches are correctly secured before hitting the road, and if necessary, consider adding additional clasps or straps for extra security.
- Keep food secured with adjustable rods, so it can’t slide into the door.
- Create a simple barricade to stabilize and prevent the door from opening during travel.
- Pre-chill your refrigerator to its cooling temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit at least 24 hours before departure to ensure that your food stays cold during transit.
Keep Food From Moving Around
Keeping the door of an RV refrigerator shut while traveling is pretty straightforward and prevents items from spilling or shifting due to sudden stops and turns. It also helps maintain temperature consistency inside the fridge, ensuring food stays cold when driving.
Securing the contents inside your refrigerator is an excellent first step. Even if your door doesn’t open, a slide jar of pickles can create a mess I know I wouldn’t want to clean. Some great refrigerator braces install on the inside of your fridge. They’re similar to a shower tension rod and will hold the food back while traveling. These are a great option if you travel with a stocked fridge.
Whether or not you secure the items with a bar, it’s a good idea to ensure all condiments are correctly closed and that any loose containers are secured with lids or tightened down by other means. Doing so will help keep everything you have stored inside your RV fridge safe, both on long trips and even short rides to your local campground.
Keeping The Refrigerator Door Sealed
Now that you know the best way to keep your food secured, let’s look at some methods to ensure the door doesn’t accidentally open.
Properly securing the latch can go a long way in preventing rattling and thus making sure that the door remains closed. As you may have on your Dometic or Furrion unit, RV refrigerator latches are usually thin plastic pieces. While they work pretty well, they can become less effective after a few years of use. Now that you read this, giving the ones on your fridge a quick inspection is probably a good idea.
Utilizing Braces And Locks
While it’s not very exciting to ensure your RV refrigerator door is closed when you’re on the go, it is straightforward.
A simple but effective idea is to add an additional clasps or straps for extra security. My favorite types are the ones you need for childproofing your house. They stick on, are super secure, and are easy to open. I have used one of these for a while, and it is solid. If you don’t want to go through the hassle, bungee cords also work great: you must find a place to connect the ends.
If you're looking for a backup solution for your existing latches when traveling, this style of childproofing strap works great. They're easy to install with the adhesive strips and will hold any RV cabinet door closed. While they're not the most visibly appealing option, they work great for cabinets that are out of view and where you need a strong and secure closure. These are great to have on hand in the event that you need a quick repair to a latch that fails. You don't need any tools to install them, and they'll work on most cabinet doors, appliances, or other items that need to stay closed when you're driving down a bumpy road.
- Easy to install and remove
- Provides secure closure for peace of mind
- Not the most aesthetically pleasing option for kitchen cabinet doors.
- Best used for traveling and not when stationary (unless you need childproofing)
Creating A Barricade
Before I purchased a latch, this was the method I used. It was pretty effective. When packing your RV, if you have any bulky items on the floor, pack them up so one sits against the refrigerator door. For me, this usually was a bicycle. It fits well with my RV layout and keeps the door closed. I sometimes used a broom handle when I didn’t have a bike. I would wedge it so that it would keep the door closed.
While this may not be the best solution, it works great in a pinch. So call up your inner Macgyver and give it a shot. You can usually do something that will work for your setup.
Pre-Chilling The Fridge Before Traveling
Before traveling, you should pre-chill your RV refrigerator.
Depending on your refrigerator type, a cold refrigerator will stay sealed easier. Do you ever open up your refrigerator at home, close it, and then try to open it again quickly? Sometimes it can seem like it’s glued shut. That’s because the air inside the refrigerator will shrink when it cools, creating a suction. While it’s not a full-proof method of ensuring your door stays closed, it helps.
A pre-cooled RV refrigerator will ensure you’re ready to use it at the campsite. RV refrigerators can take a very long time to cool down, so starting the process before you leave home works well. I have a few good articles on RV refrigerators with tips for keeping them cold and discussing how they work. You can check them out below:
When pre-chilling your refrigerator, turn the temperature slightly above average– this will help keep everything cold during transit. Once the refrigerator has been adequately packed and cooled down ahead of time, secure the door with clips or latches found at local hardware stores. This will ensure the door stays closed no matter how bumpy your ride may get! Also, remember that a full refrigerator will stay colder than an empty one. Unless you travel for 20 hours through Arizona in July, your items (even frozen ones) should make the trip just fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should The Refrigerator Be Pre-Chilled Before Traveling?
Pre-cooling your RV refrigerator before traveling is essential for a successful journey. You should pre-chill the refrigerator to its cooling temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit at least 24 hours before departure.
This will ensure that your food and beverages stay cold during transit, regardless of how long you’re on the road. Remember that it’s essential to keep the door closed while driving to maintain the chilled temperatures inside!
Are There Any Risks Associated With Using Braces And Locks To Keep The Door Closed?
Using braces and locks to keep an RV refrigerator door closed while traveling can be a good option, but there are certain things that you should consider. For example, if you glue on a safety latch, it may not be very pleasant when you finally get to the campground. I suggest selecting one that has a removable strap to avoid this.
Also, if you’re securing it with a bungee, wood, broomstick (like me), or other items, double-check that it’s secure and won’t rub against the door or nearby paneling. Since RVs bounce around, it can mark up your RV if not positioned correctly. Additionally, if they aren’t adequately secured, the traveling vibrations may work them loose, resulting in an open door.
Can you drive with your RV Refrigerator running on Propane?
Well, technically, you can, but you probably shouldn’t. Here’s a complete article that explains why it’s not the best idea and is usually unnecessary.
While an opening fridge when traveling is not guaranteed, it can be a mess and headache if it happens. However, it’s easy to prevent, and solutions are very inexpensive (or free). Using a childproof strap is the best way to keep your RV refrigerator door closed while traveling. It will cost you a few dollars, but you won’t have to worry about anything on the road.
Some of the other tips listed above also work well. In addition to keeping the door closed, keeping the food inside safe from sliding and falling over is also important. Plus, don’t forget to pre-chill the fridge before travel. This will add the benefit of ensuring you’re ready to use the fridge when you get to the campsite.
Regardless of your choice, I wish you many years of ketchup-free floors and walls! If you have any additional tips, feel free to drop a comment below. Happy travels!