Outbound Collective logo

Dometic CFX28 Portable Refrigerator Review

It’s basically a mini refrigerator/freezer for your vehicle!

By: Chris Engelsman + Save to a List

Have you ever packed for a trip with your cooler only to find the ice takes up more room than your food? This is typically the case on our trips, but I’ve found the solution - Dometic’s CFX portable powered coolers! It’s basically a mini refrigerator for your vehicle. Dometic (pronounced doe-meh-tic) is a Swedish company that works mostly within the RV industry and has recently created their line of energy sipping portable powered coolers.

I recently used my Dometic CFX28 portable cooler on a camping and mountain biking trip to Moab. Since I didn’t need to use ice, I could use a smaller 28-liter version instead of the much larger cooler I typically take to accommodate all the ice. Also, since this cooler runs off your car battery, you can set the temp and it will stay that temp the entire time. There’s no need to drain water and continually run to the store to get more ice.

The cooler is powered by plugging into your car battery via the cigarette lighter, but when you turn your car off, the cooler turns off, so it’s best to hardwire an additional cigarette lighter in the back of your vehicle. This way the cords are hidden, and your cooler stays powered even when your car is turned off.

What about the car battery you may ask? The cooler has been designed to be super-efficient, even more efficient than a typical dorm room fridge. It also has a processor that gauges your battery. If your car battery drops too low, the Dometic cooler will shut off leaving enough juice in your battery to start your vehicle. You can also set the cooler to turn off when you have 1/2, 3/8, or 1/4 percent of juice left in your car battery.

What’s the downside of this portable powered cooler? You need to have a power supply like a car battery or a lithium-ion battery pack. The good news is that in 2019, Dometic is coming out with a lithium-iron phosphate battery to power their portable coolers. The other downside is that unless you already have a hardwired cigarette lighter, you’ll need to install this, but it’s only $30 at your local Pep Boys if you are unable to it yourself.

Pro-tip: when hardwiring an outlet, get the ARB threaded socket/surface mount outlet. You can get them from Amazon for only $43.00 and it comes with all the wiring. Also, you can use the Dometic CFX portable refrigerator as a secondary fridge/freezer to keep your turkey/ham and side dishes cold before cooking the big meal!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


A Full Guide to Running

The Outbound Collective

Car Camping Tips for Beginners

Adriana Garcia

Review: Sierra Designs Women’s Tepona Wind Jacket

Bethany Stivers

The Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandal needs to be in your go-to beach gear list.

Shea Donavan

Review: Darn Tough Hiking Socks

Ben Dawson