April '21

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40 • RV PRO • April 2021 rv-pro.com RV O E F O C U S L et's face it: Camping in an RV isn't quite like home. However, it gets a little closer all the time. Consider the kitchen. What might once have been a camp stove and a small gas-absorption refrigerator is today a place with a multi- burner range, oven and microwave. As for the refrigerator, gas-absorption is still out there, but for some larger rigs, the trend a few years ago was to incorporate res- idential models powered with 110-volt AC for a true "at-home experience." Just as the rest of the RV has continued to evolve, so have refrig- erator options. Today, thanks to better power management systems, and solar power to top things off, the hottest refrigerators going may be those running on 12 volts. More … with Less While not everyone thinks about 12V when they're thinking RVs, the reality is it's a dominant power source in RVs. So, why not a 12V refrigerator? That's the question executives at Elkhart, Ind.-based Way began asking themselves back in 2015, according to Chris Greer, the com- pany's vice president of product development. "Aside from some of the safety concerns with the gas-absorption refrigerators, we felt there was a great potential to be powered by 12 volts," says Greer, who notes Way has been selling 12V fridges for almost five years now. Two companies that know all about gas-absorption refrigerators for RVs are Elkhart-based Dometic and Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford/Norcold. Both have been serving the RV market with refrigeration for years, but they, too, believe the market is changing. "There's been a trend toward electrification," says Dan Smith, Dometic's senior product manager – Americas. "The trend is toward more dry camping with solar, especially in the Midwest and East Coast. It's still expensive, but you now see rigs out there that have more than 100 watts of solar power." In the last few years, solar has gone from offering trickle power to where it's not uncommon to see people putting enough solar on their units to run every device in them, Smith adds. A gas-ab- Keeping Cool on the Go OE suppliers are responding to the growing desire by RVers to have residential-style refrigerators that they can use for extended camping. By K. Schipper Photos courtesy of Dometic, Thetford/ Norcold and Way Norcold's Polar 8 refrigerator (pictured) offers residential styling, featuring reversible stainless-steel doors with curved edges, glass shelves, adjustable wire shelves with front risers and an adjustable full/ half shelf for storage flexibility. Meanwhile, taller door panels provide a more built-in look.

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