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Old 09-15-2019, 08:19 PM   #1
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2019 22' Sport
holladay , Utah
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Lightbulb Installing a 2nd fridge in 22' Sport (or installing larger fridge altogether)?

I just bought a 2019 22' Bambi Sport for trips to Burning Man in the middle of the Nevada desert with daily temps 100+. I typically stay 7-9 days each year so I need as much fridge/freezer space as possible. In years past I have rented a 35' Class A RV that had a larger fridge and I've got to think outside the box and get creative on how I could install a larger fridge in my 22' sport -OR- install a second mini fridge above the existing one.

The Airstream dealer said they haven't seen that done before but also though it could be done, but some modificatnios might be needed. So I'm throwing this out here to see what you experienced AS lovers think about accomplishing this.

There are a few items that pose some challenges. I've also outline some clarifying bullet points below:

1 - My 22' Bambi Sport AS is already vented for a 3-way propane fridge, but a larger fridge may have different venting needs (but I have no idea) so this could be a problem or require modification - I really don't want to modify the exterior aluminum and am hoping to find any way possible to add more fridge space to this AS.

2 - a larger fridge that is taller would need to fit the curve of the interior wall. One thought is to install the new fridge a few inches away from the wall to fit the taller fridge. At some point the top of the fridge will meet the wall. This gap for the taller height might also create the needed space behind the fridge to route propane exhaust to the existing exterior vents? Any idea if this would work safely?

3 - I plan on removing the millwork counter that is above the top of the existing fridge, as well as the TV mounted on the wall to make space for a larger fridge.

4 - I don't need a full size fridge (and there probably isn't the space with the curved wall) but would like to go as large as possible without it sticking out so far into the walkway that it becomes a huge pain.

5 - I am also considering installing a second fridge mounted above the existing fridge. This new fridge would be identical to the factory one. I would plan on pulling out the lower fridge millwork a couple inches so the second fridge on top is flush (again, would need to be done this way because of the curved wall).

6 - I am aware of the additional propane and power requirements needed for a larger fridge (or a second additional mini fridge above the existing one) so I plan on buying whatever generator(s) would be needed to accomplish this.

LET'S GET CREATIVE! Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions would be welcomed! I am willing to think outside the box in any way that is realistically possible to achieve more fridge and freezer space for long trips in the desert.

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Old 09-15-2019, 11:50 PM   #2
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Tucson , Arizona
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Have you considered a large Yeti (or other brand) cooler? I've seen rotomolded coolers hold ice and keep things cool for days in extreme heat. As long as you're not opening it frequently it should keep things cool, allowing you to work through fridge contents and refill the fridge with things from the cooler after a few days. It's not a glamorous fix, but it might be an easier option.

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Old 09-16-2019, 01:17 AM   #3
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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What McStreamy said. Walmart brand is Ozark Mountain I believe. What the heck, get two of you need them. FAR less expensive than modifying your Airstream, and you will use them again and again. Plunk them in your truck bed or cab for the trip.
Vacuum sealed food bagger for less than $100 will save max space, too.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:31 AM   #4
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2019 16' Sport
Middleton , Idaho
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I would consider a second fridge in your tow vehicle. We have an ARB with a homemade solar charger (75AH AGM). ARBs are low draw if kept in the shade, etc. This allows us to have cold stuff with us where ever we go. It is nice to pickup milk, etc at the store and just throw it in the ARB while we are out.
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Old 09-17-2019, 04:38 PM   #5
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2018 22' Sport
Blue Sky Ranch , Texas
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I bought an RTIC 45 to hold food or drinks that we prechilled. Fridge can then hold dry food food that should not be immersed in water. If you don’t need to freeze, take the 22 fridge shelf out altogether to better pack it. It really holds a lot.

This year we added an RTIC 25 with a compartment separator to hold more drinks and the other side holding ice for drink service. 25 holds 10 lbs and 45 hold 20 lbs. Both keep ice in 100° + for 2-3 days.

I think you will be very disappointed adding a larger fridge if it is even possible due to cabin curvature. Same for a second fridge.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:36 PM   #6
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A couple of thoughts:

I agree that a Yeti (or alternative like Pelican or Orca) would be far more cost effective, more versatile and faster and easier to do - even in those conditions if keep in shade. These coolers have been tested and claim to have retained ice for up to 10 days in 100 degrees F. and are indeed remarkable and certainly worth a try before going the even more expensive route.

Additionally, if you pre-freeze all the food in the cooler, it will stay safely cool for even longer.

An even more extreme way is to place the entire cooler in a meat locker or large freezer beforehand, arrange the frozen food (sealed in water-tight bags) in the center and fill the cooler with water/ice and let the food freeze into a solid block of ice. Kept in a Yeti cooler, for several days in the desert conditions you describe, you would likely still have to chip out the frozen bags!

All Airstream trailers share the same shell, and vary by length and to some degree width. I believe the classic is six inches wider. The height and the curvature are identical across the TT line. So the largest fridge AS uses would "fit" in the sport, but you would have to sacrifice whatever counter-space, closest space, cabinet space etc. you choose.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:05 AM   #7
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:03 AM   #8
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1976 Argosy 28
Alamo Heights , Texas
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Since you only need this fridge for one extreme week during the year, I'm going to second the people supporting a big high-end ice chest. The best Igloos perform about as well as the best Yetis for half the cost, and are made in Texas. They are not as cool and it won't impress your buddies if put put an "Igloo" sticker in your pickup window, but other than that it'll do.

The next step would be a portable refrigerator (ARB, Engel, Dometic, off-brands). These cost a lot and you'll also need some solar to keep them going, but you won't have the 6- or 7-day practical limit you'll end up with using a high-end ice chest with no source of new ice, and you don't have to tear up your interior.
— David

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He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:01 AM   #9
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I see some great ideas here.

When we renovated our 64 Safari I added the largest refer that I could fit. We love it. However it is still not enough for extended stays 2-3 weeks.

Make your own yeti. I have a couple Igloo's that I made a Prodex insulating shell for the bottom and sides. The cooler slips inside the bottom shell. This and a shell for the top and sides that slips over the bottom is adding at about a week or so at 90 degree weather to my functional usage. We find that coolers work best for things like drinks and frequently used items, however they can keep frozen items frozen for about a week if we don't get into it much. Plus it is easy to throw a cooler in the truck for restocking or a road trip to my favorite fishing hole.

I also love the idea of the refer in the TV with battery and solar.

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Old 09-19-2019, 11:51 PM   #10
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Seattle , Washington
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Ours is not a bargain solution, but may be an alternative to modifying your existing AS. For long distance trips we have an Engle refrigerator/freezer (very efficient) in the back of the TV that we use to freeze food and ice packs. The ice packs are rotated into the Yeti to keep bulk food refrigerator temperature. As they thaw, they go back into the Engle. The as needed items are stored in the little AS unit.
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Old 09-20-2019, 06:21 AM   #11
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Kansas City , Missouri
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Suggest actually getting 2 Yetis. One with dry ice and fully frozen foods. Yeti 45.
One for a refrigerator with block water ice. Yeti 105.

See my thread above on how we did this for a 10 day trip with a family of 4.

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Old 09-22-2019, 02:20 PM   #12
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Blue Sky Ranch , Texas
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Dometic now makes portable 12DC fridges. Kinda expensive.
(Sorry if this was said already...I tend to jump in late)
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Old 09-22-2019, 02:43 PM   #13
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Celina , Ohio
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This should solve your problem

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