We are trying to keep our trip simple, and that means simpler cooking and eating than our usual camping trips. I’ve camped plenty of times with no cooler, but after all, we are car camping, so we might as well take advantage of the opportunity to keep leftovers and staples like cream for coffee cold. We had purchased a smaller cooler than our standard 48 quart workhorse, when someone on a cooking forum I frequent suggested a thermoelectric cooler. We hemmed and hawed about it, but before we had a chance to buy one, we found one at a yard sale for a mere $5. The seller had used it before buying a camping trailer with fridge, and assured us it worked.
It draws electricity from the car using the cigarette lighter. We purchased a power strip inverter online which connects to the cigarette lighter and offers a spot for the cooler, 3 trickle outlets to charge laptops, batteries or cell phones, and a USB charger as well. Pretty slick.
The cooler is able to cool to about 40 degrees below the outside temperature, or flip a switch and it will keep things warm, too. That 40 degree difference will help extend the life of a block of ice or just serve to cool things down a bit in the car. It takes up a bit more real estate than the original cooler, but I think we’ll be ok. If we decide it just won’t work for us, we’re only out $5 if we don’t take it or give it away to some other camper mid-trip.