Coolers - Keeping food cool

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opfor
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Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by opfor » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:09 am

So I got to talking to WPX tonight at the BBQ about coolers. Generally, a cooler is going to be reserved for car camping, in most cases it's far too bulky and heavy to carry on the trail unless you're using pack animals. However, if you're using pack animals, you're into a category more like car camping than backpacking.

The consensus I've arrived at after years, and many different coolers are that the best reasonably priced coolers on the market are the Igloo Marine coolers, I have two of the 52qt models.

I was kinda interested in seeing what makes Yeti coolers and all the other high-dollar coolers out there better. I found this video on youtube where they cut them open:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHUJmfipkoY

It looks for the most part, that the Yeti, and probably most of these coolers are just thicker than average and have a better locking system and a lid seal. I'm not really sure this makes spending an extra $100-200 on a similar sized cooler, plus the added weight makes it really worthwhile.

We were also talking about using dry ice, I've only used dry ice a few times, and usually prefer to jackpot ice machines at hotels and motels I may stay in along the way (or if you're judicious, you can sneak in) The trick with dry ice is to make a reflectix pouch to put the dry ice in, this will make the dry ice last longer, and will also prevent the rest of your food from freezing solid.

Over-all, the best method I've used for packing the cooler:

Freeze 1/2 of the water bottles - Intersperse the frozen bottles with the unfrozen bottles. Don't put warm bottles into the cooler, try to refrigerate everything the night before. If you're taking meat, pack it in heavy duty freezer bags in addition to it's original packaging, this will prevent meat from leaking into the ice and contaminating other foods. If meats are packed with foam trays, put the trays back to back giving more surface area of the meat to the ice. These should be placed vertically. After loading the water bottles, and meat, cover everything with ice until at least 3/4 of the cooler is full. If you have fruits or other items that need to be kept cold, put these on top of the ice, and then fill the rest of the void with ice. In most cases, a cooler in this configuration should keep all items cold and icy for at least several days in normal use in warm temperatures. Minimizing cooler openings, as well as keeping the cooler in the shade, and even covered with a blanket may allow ice to stay for up to 3-4 days.

It might be interesting in the near future to do a cooler shootout. Lets also not forget, coolers are just a means of insulating things, and a cooler can be an important part of a snow camp, in that it will keep food from freezing.
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nacho
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by nacho » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:18 am

1 block of ice and 20 lbs of regular ice has usually lasted me all of Burning Ham. Thursday afternoon - Sunday afternoon. 90% of the loose ice melts 50% of the block melts.

opfor
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by opfor » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:05 am

What brand of cooler?
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arclight
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by arclight » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:41 pm

If you have the money for a full-sized Yeti, I would get a 12V compressor fridge instead. I can run my TB51 (51 liter) indefinitely on ~80W of solar:

http://www.truckfridge.com/tb51/

The main advantage of the Yeti and knock-offs is that they are rotomolded heavy-duty plastic, have thick insulation, and take a lot of abuse. We have one on the SAR team (Grizzly) and it's pretty bomber.
Last edited by arclight on Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

opfor
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by opfor » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:41 am

Kinda funny, once upon a time 80W of solar was crazy expensive, large, and fragile. These days it's a "oh, is that all?"

We should probably get on Dave and Nacho about the hook-upz on those flexible solar panels.
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nacho
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by nacho » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:21 am

opfor wrote:What brand of cooler?


One of the big traditional igloos, 120qt or so.

Since I'm too old to bring 60 beers out to Cuddyback any more I'm looking to downsize. I'd like to be able to roll with half the ice and still stay cool for 4 days. I saw the 52qt Ozark Trail fake Yetti's at Walmart the other day for about $120 If they roll it down to under $100 I'll jump on it.

opfor
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by opfor » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:44 am

That's still crazy money for a cooler.
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arclight
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by arclight » Sun May 13, 2018 5:26 pm

Update: I've now been using the TB51 Truckfridge for about 3 years, and I can officially say that it is awesome. It will run indefinitely on a 100W solar panel, even in the Summer. If you're thinking about spending the money on a Yeti-like cooler, consider one of these instead.

The only reason you might want a rotomolded cooler is if you need a rated bear-resistant box.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/techno ... st-are-in/


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Last edited by arclight on Mon May 14, 2018 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

opfor
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by opfor » Mon May 14, 2018 12:23 am

I think for the most part, no one on this board was seriously in the market for a Yeti. Even then, Yeti kinda burned some bridges badly over the last few years, and rather than staying at the bleeding edge of innovation, decided to loop back and drop lawsuits on it's competition. When that didn't work out as well as they hoped, they then went towards screwing up their distribution network, and then with what might be one of the worst timed letters, told NRA/ILA they were dropping the incentive/discount program. (coincided with a lot of other companies cutting ties and launching boycots of firearms manufacturers, retailers, etc)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/mor ... f24e443e42

If you have a premium brand, with a premium price, but your market share is falling in an economy that's picking up steam, probably the worst thing you could do with your core market is make them think you hate them. It was fun knowing you Yeti.
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arclight
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Re: Coolers - Keeping food cool

Post by arclight » Mon May 14, 2018 6:42 am

Yeti is no longer at the top of the price/performance curve. If someone here really needs a high-end cooler, I'd look at Pelican. Their coolers are literally a giant Pelican box with high-performance insulation built in.

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