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  • The Permanent Gypsies
    The Permanent Gypsies on

    A few months ago, someone wrote a letter about their WAECO cooler, and I decided to put finger to keyboard to tell you about our own cooler.

    We bought our new from Cape Union Mart in Johannesburg around 2006 as we were embarking on an adventure. We were going to kayak on the Mohale Dam in Lesotho with a group of kayaking friends.

    We were a bit concerned that our caravan (Sprite Scenic) was going to be out-gunned by the off-road vans of our buddies, but we were assured that the road was good and that we would have no problem towing to the dam!

    Ha ha. We dragged that van all the way up the mountain with our Kia Sorento 4×4 diesel, nearly burning out the turbo in the effort of making those switch backs with that huge van, and eventually arrived at our destination.

    Eish, what a shock! No campsite, no ablutions, no power, no water in the dam, just a parking area for us to set up camp.

    But the cooler was cool, the meat and the perishables were cold, and our caravan battery gave us light. We had our braai, sat around freezing and went to bed, ours being the most comfortable in the camp. The next morning we decided to hit the water, which entailed driving down to the water to offload the kayaks. Our car’s battery was flat! The cooler had eaten all of its power during the night. So we started the car using the caravan battery and turned the cooler off and recharged.

    Two days later, we left after eating everything in the cooler and caravan fridge, which was now warm. The rain had come down as we left and made the trip back slippery. We left vowing “never again”!

    But the cooler was great and we had many other trips where we were very grateful to have a portable fridge in the car. Then, in 2012, Ken and I hit the road as full time caravanners.

    The WAECO was our second fridge and was used 24/7/365 for five years.

    Plugged into the car, it kept our beer and wine cool, kept us fed on the road between campsites and was the first thing out of the car on arrival, to be plugged into the mains so that we could set up without having to open our caravan fridge.

    It has needed a few modifications. The fan packed up, so for R50 we bought a computer fan and replaced it. Then in 2016, the transformer packed up, so we now have to use an external one to run the AC supply. It stays on cold all the time, but we are no longer travelling, and when we do go on kayaking trips with the tent, the cooler comes along and does the job. Five years working nonstop, day and night! Not even our caravan fridge lasted that long.

    WAECO, you can be proud of yourselves. We may have to replace it one day, but then maybe we will take it with us on our final trip – nobody can guarantee that heaven has a cooler, and we like our beer and wine cool Happy camping in 2018!

    Quiksilver on

    haha. WOW permanent gypsies. what lovely writing.

    you certainly must be one hell of an engineer if you know how to replace a fridge fan with a computer fan!

    on the topic of fridges, i always keep mine plugged in to the car when traveling BUT i always unplug it when i get to my destination.

    Leisure fridges are a definite camping “must-have’s” but they are very power intensive.

    i would certainly recommend getting yourself one of these portable solar kits

    Mojave 360 – 30A MPPT – Camping Solar Kit


    i know its a bit pricey. but certainly worth it if you love the “off-the_beaten_track” resorts/campsites.  you can power your fridge all day and recharge your caravan/car battery while in port 😉

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