Ice cooler usage 101

AfterAll

Member
Mar 4, 2020
52
You sure can spend a lot of money on an ice box these days. I think the old one my folks had was the best. They had a large very old metal one that kept things cold a long time--probably insulated with asbestos (it was that old). You pre-cool the thing by putting dry ice in it, and then you put frozen meat, frozen veggies etc in there afterwards. Then all kinds of frozen things next to stuff you shouldn't freeze, like milk. The dry ice really kept stuff cooler than regular ice. But depending on the size, it would disintegrate. Somewhere near the campground, we'd top it off with a bag of ice.

The thing is, if you're going for a weekend, that's all you need...even a long weekend, it's enough. When we went on long trips, we just made a trip into the camp store to get more ice.

The metal box sat in the shade, where it was well ventilated with wet beach towels on top. We kept them at least damp and it wasn't an issue. We also had an ice box in the pup but didn't use it because the pup would get too hot. The metal one in the shade with wet towels on top really did much better. I think we plugged the drain hole and put cereal and stuff we wanted to keep from the ants in the pup ice box.
 

Sweetpea

Active Member
Mar 31, 2021
219
St. Paul, Minnesota
I like the damp towel idea. I hope I remember that. Nowa days they don't want things to last, want us to buy newer and better, hah! I wish we would've taken better care of our old Coleman cooler, I think it got musty and moldy.
 

rhbowler

Member
Mar 25, 2020
11
Costa Mesa, California
Don't kick me out for saying this... but we have a large Yeti on wheels. Obviously a pretty penny. I've had many coolers, and this one performs admirably in the Texas heat. I've even done a few tests myself with equal amounts of ice, equal amounts of sun, etc. and nothing comes within days of beating it. It'll keep very cold for 5 days in "good" weather, and 3 days in the Texas heat. But best cooler for the $$... probably the Igloo Max Cold.

Someone may have already said this, but I ice my coolers the day before with a sacrificial bag(s) of ice, and make sure I only place cold items in the cooler. Try to keep them out of the sun while driving and camping. I have heard that emptying the water out of the cooler when it starts to melt will help keep the temp down because liquid water heats faster than frozen water but I'm not sure I buy that. Yetis are expensive and not necessarily "worth" the money, but they are terrific coolers. That being said, pre-cooling and only placing cold items in the cooler will work wonders in my experience.

I did some research on coolers and came down to two choices, the Yeti, and the RTIC. I went with the RTIC because they are a bit less expensive with very close ice retention in all the tests I saw. I ended up with the 65qt, and I love it and feel it was well worth the money. The 2 drawbacks with all the rotomolded coolers are weight, and size per quart. But I would buy it again in a heartbeat and I was one of the people sayin you have to be nuts to spend that kind of money on a damn ice chest!
 

steven kroll

New Member
May 21, 2020
6
great thread! I was unable to spend the money on a yeti or equiv... I took my good ole plastic coleman cooler, put it in a plastic tote about 1/2 the height and 2" larger on each side. Then I cut 2" foam (kaizen foam, the layered kind you cut tool shapes out of) for under, around the sides, and a lid. Taped it all together, just taped the back of the lid for a hinge, added a couple strips of hook and loop (velcro) tape to keep lid shut.

It used to keep *cold* for 24hrs, and was dead by the end of a Friday eve - sunday morning trip.

Now it keeps cold for 48 hrs, and I have ice left when i get home on sunday afternoon. Have had it for 3 seasons now.

I did find a couple 12v coolers on craigslist for $20 each, and I love them... great for the long hot days on the dusty trail....

coooooollllld beer after a long bumpy trail anyone?
 

Arlyn Aronson

Super Active Member
Jun 11, 2014
2,147
Houghton, MI
On Saturday we headed down to lake Ste Katheryn for our 1st cookout of the year. We took this cooler since we didn't have much with us. We have 3 different ones, all different sizes which is a BIG help igloocooler281.jpg .
 

Groomporter

Active Member
Jan 30, 2021
456
Minnesota
Recently found a narrow cooler in a thrift store that's just perfect to keep between the seats of the van. Just enough for sandwich fixings, veggie snacks, fruit and some soda while we're on the road and without letting the cool air out of the primary food cooler.
 

Sweetpea

Active Member
Mar 31, 2021
219
St. Paul, Minnesota
Recently found a narrow cooler in a thrift store that's just perfect to keep between the seats of the van. Just enough for sandwich fixings, veggie snacks, fruit and some soda while we're on the road and without letting the cool air out of the primary food cooler.
Axe man? My son said he's been there, funny, all these years, I've never been in one.
 

Arlyn Aronson

Super Active Member
Jun 11, 2014
2,147
Houghton, MI
I should add, I'm not sold on the idea of adding extra something to a standard cooler, hoping that it makes it into an extended version type. Seems like you'd be better off with getting a thick wall one to start with. :huh:
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,820
I'm am on day 4 with my cooler ice retention test and checked this morning
I froze one 1 gal water container..3/4 ice left
four 32 ounce gator aide bottles 3/4 ice left
six 12 ounce water bottles approx 1/2 ice left
Nothing else in the cooler...No loose ice or any other items.
 

Sweetpea

Active Member
Mar 31, 2021
219
St. Paul, Minnesota
I'm am on day 4 with my cooler ice retention test and checked this morning
I froze one 1 gal water container..3/4 ice left
four 32 ounce gator aide bottles 3/4 ice left
six 12 ounce water bottles approx 1/2 ice left
Nothing else in the cooler...No loose ice or any other items.
We've used that too. Plastic milk jugs, quart size, they work well. After they'd melt, we used them for cleaning out things, handy.
 

firepit

Super Active Member
Feb 26, 2020
2,820
We've used that too. Plastic milk jugs, quart size, they work well. After they'd melt, we used them for cleaning out things, handy.
Melted water containers will be good for watering the dogs...They go through a lot of water.
 

Groomporter

Active Member
Jan 30, 2021
456
Minnesota
Axe man? My son said he's been there, funny, all these years, I've never been in one.
Just a Goodwill store this time. Axman is fun just to see some of the weird surplus stuff they get in. I've also been meaning to swing by the Univ. of Minnesota reuse program. They have used furniture and surplus items that can be acquired by faculty/staff, but are open to the public part of the time and have interesting stuff at times. I think it's currently only by appointment due to Covid. End of the school year they also end up with things students abandoned.
 

Eskimorob

PUP life
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 5, 2016
112
Pre-cool the cooler the day before using sacrificial ice in some form. Replace with new ice when loading up.

Freeze food/drinking water when possible.

Keep two coolers, one for drinks(frequently opened) one for food (less frequently opened).

Try to avoid frequent opening and closing.

Keep the cooler(s) out of direct sunlight.

Add an internal insulating device, I use old yoga mat or reflectix cut to exact size. Place this on top of the stuff you want to keep cool and under the lid. Reduces heat gain from the lid.

I also use a couple of these on top of the ice and under the yoga mat in the drink cooler: https://arctic-ice.com/collections/all/products/tundra-series frozen in a 0f degree chest freezer. Beware, you will have to break ice the first few days to get to the drinks, and some may be frozen.
 

Mark CASTELLANI

Active Member
Aug 23, 2019
633
New York State, Erie County
we've always tried to keep our "spoilage" items to a bare minimum... canned food and dry goods is how we rolled [still do, mostly]

years ago, DW found an Igloo 120 qrt cooler at Walmart.... $10.00 bucks on clearence... $10.00 BUCKS!!!.... she said they had a couple of them but, when I went back to the store [give or take within 30 minutes], they were all gone.

IDK but, the stars must have all aligned, that day at the factory, because this cooler is awesome... keeps ice for 3-4 days durring early and late season [2-3 in the middle of the summer]

we do a couple of things....1st: we fill and freeze a couple of gallon jugs of Berkey water [highly recomended filtration system] to suppliment the ice and, as they melt, we have great, ice cold water, for drinking... 2nd: we use a folding leg "pie cooling" rack, over the ice, to keep stuff above the melt.... of course, various "tupperware" containers to "seal in the freshness" and keep food odors to a minimum [try NOT to attract woodland creatures]

when we got the PUP, we started using the 3-way fridge on propane... it started to get me spoiled... less canned tuna, less canned chicken and more BACON!!!

Happy Trails!
 




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