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Why a Fridge


(Snomaster SMDZ-cl56 Fridge Review)


The most satisfying braai (BBQ) I have ever enjoyed was not Japanese steak prepared over glowing desert grown wood coals in a specially built BBQ. There were no starters, no toasted breads, no fine salad, or a beautiful view. The opposite in fact.

In late 2019, we were nearing the end of our overland journey across tempestuous West Africa and found ourselves in The Republic of Congo. The road was long, muddy and unpaved, my daughter Jessica was battling malaria and the Land Rover had developed a debilitating misfire as we struggled along through Sunday afternoon villages where youths inebriated on palm wine blocked the road, beat and chased the Land Rover when we forced a diplomatic smile and refused to stop. A Japanese hitchhiker dozed on the floor of the camper, waking occasionally to eat fruit and gaze out of the window. The track we were negotiating connected Gabon and Angola via Pointe-Noire and we were doing our best to reach Angola before we lost our sanity. It had been a very long, hot and difficult year.

As night fell we stuttered up yet another long hill and found a small quarry of sorts south of Maboudou, beside the track where occasional lumber trucks thundered by despite the terrible track surface. Our Japanese friend, Yuki, quickly disappeared to set up his little green tent and after checking on Jessica, Luisa and I got to work on the Land Rover hoping that we would not be visible from the road and would be left unmolested. Our suspicion was that the Crank Position Sensor had failed and we went through the process of elimination to confirm our diagnosis. The night was black and hot, we were tired, stressed and hopeful that we would once again be able to repair the vehicle and reach our destination the next day (we often have to perform road side repairs, not due to lack of maintenance but due to the severity of the routes which we explore).


Keelan, my son, started a fire from foraged sticks and branches and the smoke drifted over to us, comfortingly. After three hours of sweaty work in cramped conditions Luisa had soldered new threads into the CPS loom and we started the Land Rover, she revved perfectly, success! Tired and weary we cleaned and stowed our tool boxes and then cleaned ourselves as best we could. We did not set up our camp chairs as we might need to leave in a hurry but Keelan had arranged a large rock and two jerry cans for us to sit on after one of the most stressful days we had ever experienced on the road.


What on earth, you may ask yourself, does this tale have to do with a fridge?  Well, as Luisa and I sat, relieved but drained, Keelan handed us each a large, ice cold beer. That first sip was glorious, liberating and we almost forgot that we were hiding beside a road in the Congo . He then produced a length of fillet which we had bought (and had been saving for the right time) before leaving Cameroon and grilled that for our dinner. A dash of coarse salt, a swipe of butter, the most delicious meal I had ever tasted. Jessica was fed breakfast cereal and cold milk as that was all that she could stomach. The fridge provided us with comfort, the kind of comfort which has been until the last two decades impossible for (overland) travelers to enjoy. The cold drinks and the preserved meat were a luxury, an essential luxury which raised our spirits and gave us the strength to continue, a luxury which placated and satisfied a family which had been living on and travelling the toughest roads on the planet. That fridge was worth it’s weight in palladium and we kept it stocked every day with bottles of water, the odd fizzy drink and mangoes. Cold refreshment on a very hot, dusty road is more than just refreshment, it is a portal to civilization, a reminder of easier times and we all looked forward to the physical and mental relief which that fridge offered.



Our fridge is the 60 litre Snomaster Classic Series, dual fridge SMDZ-cl560 supplied to us by SnoMaster USA. The fridge features a solar powered remote control (which displays temperatures for both compartments and battery state of charge (voltage)) and a low voltage cut off setting. The fridge performed very well, is robust and gave us zero problems from mountains to jungles to deserts, despite the extreme temperatures we encountered from a European winter to blistering West and East Africa.


You can read more about our African adventures in Mud, Malaria, Guns and Miracles available here.

You can purchase a Snomaster fridge here.

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