In trucking, a “reefer” is a refrigerated trailer that gets attached to a semi-truck in order to transport perishables and other temperature-sensitive goods. It was originally the ice cream industry that gave birth to the reefer around 1925. Reefers may also be used for heated goods.

What is a Reefer Trailer

How Does a Reefer Container Stay Cool?

Cooling for a reefer container is achieved through different methods, which can include:

  • Diesel powered generators – These attach to the container being pulled
  • Cryogenic Cooling – Melts frozen carbon dioxide ice to keep contents cool

What Is a Reefer Truck?

What Is a Reefer?

Forms Also Used:

  • Refrigerated truck

Examples of Use:

  • Jamal realized one of the constant requirements of the reefer trailer was to clean it out after every load.
  • In order to expand into the fresh produce industry on a national level, the company began training for reefer hauls.
  • The Red Cross relies on reefers to transport blood from its donors to the hospitals and clinics in need.

Other Meanings of “Reefer”


  • Reefer (also “refer”) – A line printed in a newspaper referring to a column or story located somewhere else in the paper.
  • Reefer – A double-breasted coat often worn by sailors and yacht enthusiasts.
  • Reefer – A slang term for marijuana, often mentioned in context with the 1938 film, “Reefer Madness.”
  • Reefer – A coral reef enthusiast and collector, usually involving saltwater aquariums.

More Trucker Terms:

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