Pvc ice packs


New Member
Jul 22, 2020
Has anyone made pvc ice packs. I am just wondering how effective they are for 3 or 4 days at a time. Size is a question as well. Diameter mostly. Thanks

I made one with salt water only last 2 days tops.
Really didn’t even open cooler that much. My intentions was keep food outta water when ice bags melt


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Aug 23, 2018
Wilmington, NC
Bottom line, there is no more energy (btu) being absorbed by either block of ice, but the salt water ice is absorbing it faster/more. Which is also why it melts faster.

This whole conversation had me intrigued as to heat capacity difference between salt water and fresh water and it seems salt water has a lower heat capacity than fresh so ideally you should used fresh water, and is why salt water has it's temperature rise faster. This is assuming the enthalpy of fusion is the same in both a salt and fresh water system

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Jan 23, 2020
I broke down and bought a Yeti today. I always said I wont spend that kind of money on a cooler but I finally gave in. DW bought a new igloo picnic basket cooler in the spring for 80 bucks and it is the worst cooler I have ever owned. I figured the Yeti is worth the investment.. hopefully it lasts longer than me.


Jan 23, 2020
I also became a Yeti fan this year.
We camped in 100% weather last month and our original ice bag from day 1 was still 1/2 frozen.
We kept our meat in that cooler, so we only opened it 2-3 times a day.
I actually returned the first Yeti, exchanging it for the Yeti Haul, because it has the wheels and handle.


Oct 21, 2018
Check out the lifetime coolers at.walmart (yeti style) much cheaper than yeti and perform very well. We have 2 and usually only have to add ice if we are.camping more than 4 days.

Barbara Whitman

New Member
Jun 7, 2020
Don't want to bring this up again but salt water in a container is no different than fresh water in a container excepts that it freezes at a lower temperature. It still has to be the same temperature as everything else in the freezer once equilibrium is reached.
Which also means salt water melts sooner than fresh water.


Mar 23, 2018
Has anyone made pvc ice packs. I am just wondering how effective they are for 3 or 4 days at a time. Size is a question as well. Diameter mostly. Thanks
We swear by these


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New Member
Nov 4, 2012
Livermore, CA
Has anyone made pvc ice packs. I am just wondering how effective they are for 3 or 4 days at a time. Size is a question as well. Diameter mostly. Thanks
Use the 2 liter soda bottles filled with clean water and freeze (leave an air gap for expansion). You can also use it for emergency water if needed (car, drinking, etc.). Also, make the investment and get a Yeti cooler. For some reason those coolers hold the cold MUCH longer than most all others. They're a bit expensive though, but worth it.


Super Active Member
Jun 26, 2020
Lancaster PA
The reason the yeti and similar coolers hold the cold so much better is the amount of insulation in them. Also they have insulated lids, where as most coleman and igloo coolers do not.

Prechilling the cooler, freezing anything you can, loading it with ice correctly with the correct ratios (way more than most people think), keeping it in the shade and closed as much as possible all make the cooler stay colder longer.

Most people take the cooler out of the hot garage, load it full of food and put a bag of ice on top...then don't know why it won't keep ice for more than 24 hrs.

And BTW, you can have ice left in the cooler and the cooler temp be at unsafe levels for meat. Don't assume its all good on day 4 because there's ice floating around still.


Sep 18, 2018
Colorado Springs
To the OP, I'd not use PVC. Below is a summary of what we've found that works very well:<-That's a link to the specifics.
  • We use cran-apple type containers for blocks or 1 quart plastic milk jugs. Refreeze when you get home.
  • Keep your surface area small, and keep things away from contact with the sides of the cooler if you can. Less heat transfer occurs. Air is a better insulator than melted ice i.e. water.
  • Pre-chill the cooler before you go, or even before you put anything in it.
  • Pre-chill or freeze everything going into the cooler. If it's already cold, less ice is required to keep it cold.
  • Wrap the outside with some reflective type material. I use two $3 windshield reflective do-dads from the Walmart automotive department.
  • Keep it in the shade.
  • Use a white cooler.
  • Use a well insulated cooler that seals air tight.

Salt vs. fresh: Last bag of ice we bought was in transit on the way home from a 17 day, 12 state trip over three years ago. It melted in less than 8 hours in our vintage Coleman cooler. I now use salt blocks in a much better cooler because it simply works the best for us. Examples: For our Grand Canyon Trip a year ago in June, I put salt blocks in a cooler with completely frozen food items on a Sunday afternoon. The 3 lb slab of bacon was still frozen in the middle on Friday as displayed by the ice crystals on it when we peeled it apart. On our last camping trip a month ago I again used salt blocks, and some of the previously unfrozen contents of my cooler actually froze during the three day camping trip. I have never had frozen items in my cooler at the end of any camping trip using ice or even fresh water blocks in the same size/type of containers, even if they were touching the fresh water ice block.

I do realize that my real world experience using salt water does not line up with other's experiences or "scientific expertise". Experiment for yourselves to find out what works for you, that's what we did. One of these days I intend buy two identical coolers and put identically sized water bottles in each, one fresh, one salt, stick a probe in each cooler, and then notate the temperatures hourly, but I doubt even that would finally put the controversy on which lasts longer to bed. I'm not a physicist, and to be honest, I don't really care to know the "scientiifics" about it. I just know that the methodology above and the way that we use it keeps our food colder for a longer span of time than using fresh water blocks, and regardless of the science, that's the desired result that we get every time we camp!


New Member
Aug 5, 2019
My wife and I have a Palomino Shetland. It has an ice box with a drain. We are using it for drinks. I tape the drain then fill it with beer, soda and water. To keep it fresh I have made ice blocks with 12"x12"x6" aluminum pans. Usually the week before our trip I start making them. I also have some plastic popcorn boxes from big lots. The are about 10 inches tall and are nicely tapered. I fill them and freeze as well. We top everything off with what ever ice is in our ice maker.

For the food to keep cool we use a normal cooler. We raise it off the ground. We place several frozen half gallon milk jugs. This seems to do the trick.



Aug 25, 2020
Pvc is highly toxic. Be careful.

Only in California! The rest of the country uses it for potable water mains in almost every city. We have an 800 gallon a minute RO systems that is made almost entirely of PVC! I still prefer my water out of the old asbestos clay pipe. But I would like to see your source for PVC toxicity.


Aug 25, 2020
I am now curious about the PVC Ice packs. Anyone remember piecrete? They found that if you mixed sawdust and water to make ice it stayed frozen longer a lot longer! To the point they thought of making an aircraft carrier out of it. But then we are trying to keep a cooler cold not keep ice packs frozen. Big difference!


Jul 9, 2020
I changed to Apple juice bottles filled with water and frozen...
Lasted out a 3 day trip and most had more than half solid on return.
Way better and less messy than bag ice, plus usable for drinking water at the end of the trip


Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2012
I used the Xtreme coolers, had two of them and could go more than a week without issues. First we would have a menu so we knew the order we needed the food. One cooler for food and the other for drinks. Pre-chill the coolers, next, freeze what food we could and load the cooler accordingly to minimize how long we opened it. Also, we didn't use much crushed ice, typically we freeze 1/2G or 1G milk containers and would fill in the holes with crushed. The second cooler was for drinks, in that one I used more crushed ice and would also use rock salt - yep, rock salt. Not enough room in the cooler to pack all the drinks, but I could put a warm Corona in the cooler and it would be partially frozen the next morning. After 5 days, the coolers were still cold, and had plenty of ice. I did a post on that back in 2012, interesting discussion, but it worked great for us.


Active Member
Apr 30, 2019
New York
Dry ice is easy to use and can keep ice cream frozen. Plus there’s no water mess. Before our Aliner, we always used dry ice and it’s long lasting.

Happy Camping...[ALPU][PUT]
We love using dry ice, but can't really get it up here (at least not easily, maybe at a welding place). When we get to Texas, we can get it in the grocery stores. It's one way to know you're in a place that gets REALLY hot. So hot that the ice cream would melt just on the drive home from the store. ;)