Author Topic: best cooler for extended trip  (Read 38790 times)

Offline Greg1109

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best cooler for extended trip
« on: August 06, 2011, 08:51:41 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm planning a 4-5 day canoe/camping trip in early september and I was wondering if anyone has purchased/used the coleman xtreme coolers.  They're supposed to keep ice for 5 days. 

I did a similar trip last  year and ended up making a trip for ice every other day.  I'd rather not have to rely on the lake to keep my beer cold.  (can't go camping without beer!!)   Er, I mean eggs..  yeah, eggs. 

Would dry ice be an alternative?  I don't know how long it would last in a regular cooler.

Thanks in advance.

Offline fred.greek

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 07:29:48 PM »
For some time, I’ve enhanced our coolers with “reflectix” (shiny bubble wrap), either inside, outside, or both.  My opinion, it makes the ice last much longer.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2011, 07:59:34 PM »
I have a coleman extreme and have used it for 10 plus years. Very durable and coleman has replacement parts for it if I ever break a hinge or handle. It does keep things colder longer. 5 days is pushing it. I can get 2 days out of mine before needing more ice. Day 3 its just cold water. All the ice has melted. Of course the more you open it the faster the ice melts.

Online Alan Georges

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2011, 08:02:38 PM »
I've had good luck with them, but wouldn't count on more than 3 days of real ice with maybe a day more of 'cool enough, meh, I'll still eat it.'  Now, that's in Deep South summertime heat with 100 degree days and 80 degree nights, mind you.  Things should be quite a bit better in other locations.

Having said that, fred.geek's idea of using reflectix is something I'm going to try!  Even a simple flap of the stuff over the cooler to shade it in the canoe has got to help a lot.  I've installed a lot of it in the attic and under my house, and that stuff works like magic.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2011, 09:30:55 PM »
With just about any portable cooler, the more insulation you add, the more effective it will be in keeping ice for longer periods of time.

I rigged up an Igloo Cooler with extra insulation for a camping trip last summer. I took some scrap foam sheets that I had from various projects along with some styrofoam appliance packaging that I had lying around and attached it to the outside of the cooler. I then secured it with duct tape. It wasn't pretty, and I had to do a little experimentation to make sure the lid would open without much hassle, but it definitely extended the time I could keep ice. Unfortunately I covered the drain plug so I had to scoop the water out.

I also ended up wrapping a blanket around all of that.

When all was said and done I got 3 days out of the ice easily and that was with diving in for beers often.

Offline Cryptozoic

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 10:01:27 AM »
Sometimes it is easier to change our perspective than the physical world.  One could, for example, develop a taste for the many fine beers which are designed to be consumed at room temperature.  I think the British and Germans think like that.  It is only advertising which has Americans convinced that "the colder, the better". 

Backpackers have long known that there are many ways to get eggs (in various forms) into the wild without refrigeration.

On the other hand, if your boat can handle the weight of a battery and one of the small (5w) solar panels designed to keep stored RV batteries charged (harbor freight) you could use the ultimate Coleman ice chest, which plugs into a 12v car lighter. Truck drivers use these and they work great.  No ice required. But you need sunlight, the solar panels are not very effective unless you have good light.  And some of them have to be kept dry, so read the labels.   

Offline Greg1109

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 12:25:00 PM »
Warm beer??   That's just crazy talk!!

I came across an old large Coleman cooler this week and I'm going to try to line the inside with some 1" rigid foam and see what effect it has on the ice longevity.

I'll post pix and results.

Thanks everyone that responded...  even the warm beer guy.

Offline gobblerblaster

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 12:46:01 PM »
Have you ever heard of the Yeti ? They are expensive but, from what I see they are well worth it. They are supposed to keep ice for a week in extreme heat. I find a link and post later.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 12:50:33 PM »
I have a Coleman Extreme Ice Cube.  It is supposed to keep cold for 5 days.  I camped a couple weeks ago and used it.  I put a gallon jug that I froze, packed in my cooler drinks and food and covered that with ice cubes.  When we left the campground 4 days later, there was still a small chunk of ice in the gallon jug.  This was 90F temps, but you have to keep it in the shade.

I'm going to try the reflectix thing with my cooler.  It should make a noticeable difference.

As long as you are canoeing out of a base camp, these would be good.  But I wouldn't want to have to put them in and out of a canoe

Offline gobblerblaster

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 12:55:15 PM »
Here's the link for some Yeti's

http://www.buycheapr.com/us/result.jsp?ga=us14&q=yeti+coolers

I don't have one but, a local gun shop has them for sale and I am seriously thinking about it. They look and feel like they are extremely well built. The cost seems high but, this is probably something that would last a lifetime and then some.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 01:34:11 PM »
^^^^ Looks like my coleman extreme except it has 2 latches instead of my one.

Offline Greg1109

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 05:14:31 PM »
Those "Yeti" coolers looked nice, but jeezus h. they're quite pricey.  Maybe it would be worth the investment if I was into black-market human organs, but not for a once-a-year camping trip.

If that rigid foam doesn't do the trick, I'll try the reflectix as well. 

More info on the trip:  yes, a base camp.  But the base camp is 4.5 miles from the registration/parking area and I'll be paddling solo.   Not keen on a 2+ hour (guestimate) paddle each way AND a drive just for ice. 

My 'adaptation' to the problem, if the cooler mods don't work, will most likely be hard liquor instead of *shudders* warm beer.   Heck, I may even forget alcohol altogether...  Nah, that's just more crazy talk. 

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2011, 02:32:44 AM »
Camping without alcohol is just sleeping in the woods. :beer:
Or so Ive been told since I dont drink. ;)

Offline styven74

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2011, 09:20:51 AM »
We have one of the big colman coolers they have at Wal-mart. The cooler says that it would keep ice for up to 5 days, The first time we went out camping I was thrilled when on day 5 I still had ice. Of couse it was june and there was still snow on the gound.
Since than we have been camping plenty of times and my cooler will keep ice in it from 4 to 5 days in the middle of the heat. There is not a lot of ice at the end but there is some. 
We also Plan out our meals for the trip, if the food is going to be in the cooler more than one day we freeze it for a day or 2 before it goes in the cooler. I have went to cook dinner on the 3rd day and found that the meat was still frozen.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2011, 06:40:57 PM »
I can vouch for the yeti. It is a big investment but you defiantly get what you pay for. Bought a few colman and igloo over the years. They always break at the handles or hinge. This one will be the last one I ever own.

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 08:16:08 PM »
I've got a Dometic 35qt Fridge/Freezer that runs on my 12v aux battery. The battery will run it for three days on a charge. With a solar panel, you can extend it much further.
The cost was around 600 but well worth it.
There are other brands like ARB and National Luna but cost much more.

Offline Wingman115

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2011, 06:44:15 PM »
I have a Coleman Xtreme and it has held ice for 5 days.. Of course you have to keep it in the shade but I'm really impressed with it.

Offline Cryptozoic

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2012, 01:14:51 PM »
In the 90s we brought huge ice chests with dry ice houseboating on Lake Powell AZ.  The dry ice worked very well but warped the bottoms of the coolers.  These were 60 quart coolers.  A small one fit for a canoe may fare better or worse.  Experiment at home. 

I have no idea what dry ice would do to a container of beer, I assume you are not bringing glass into a canoe. 

But there's another solution: only Americans demand cold beer.  You could go German and learn to enjoy room temperature dark beer.  Humans have been drinking warm beer for thousands of years, it won't hurt you.
Warm beer would completely eliminate this problem.  Not a beer drinker any more but I assume it is available in cans.  Didn't some manufacturers experiment with a plug in a can which, when you popped the top, immediately cooled the beer?  90s tech.

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2012, 02:21:48 PM »
I can vouch for the yeti. It is a big investment but you defiantly get what you pay for. Bought a few colman and igloo over the years. They always break at the handles or hinge. This one will be the last one I ever own.

I have to agree with that . . . .  By it once and love it forever.  Not only will the Yeti last a lifetime, but it keeps items cooler MUCH longer.

Offline PE

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2012, 12:58:24 AM »
I had the privilege going on a private permit trip down the Colorado River, though the Grand Canyon.  There were 16 of us in 2 kayaks and 6 rafts, each with pre-planned coolers and contents and only two designated people were allowed in the coolers and that was before the sun came up to retrieve the pre-planned dinner makings for later that evening.  No beer was allowed in these coolers.  The river provided ample coolness for canned only beer.  Our iced/frozen things lasted I think about 6 days and then after that we went to our dried food dinner items.  The trip went for 26 days...lots of photo taking, hiking up dry creek beds (hoping for no flash flood surprises) and having the best time I have ever had....in my entire life....yet!

I have also done lots of multi-day sea kayak adventures and my favorite coolers for this, was the soft sided coolers.  We mostly were in the PNW or along the west coast of Canada for these trips and used wet sea-weed for our refrigerant.  Boxed wines minus the boxes provided libations.  The eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage survived just fine for up to 8 days out.  It is truly amazing what all one can get into a sea kayak.  PE

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2012, 09:19:59 AM »
I had the privilege going on a private permit trip down the Colorado River, though the Grand Canyon.  There were 16 of us in 2 kayaks and 6 rafts, each with pre-planned coolers and contents and only two designated people were allowed in the coolers and that was before the sun came up to retrieve the pre-planned dinner makings for later that evening.  No beer was allowed in these coolers.  The river provided ample coolness for canned only beer.  Our iced/frozen things lasted I think about 6 days and then after that we went to our dried food dinner items.  The trip went for 26 days...lots of photo taking, hiking up dry creek beds (hoping for no flash flood surprises) and having the best time I have ever had....in my entire life....yet!

I have also done lots of multi-day sea kayak adventures and my favorite coolers for this, was the soft sided coolers.  We mostly were in the PNW or along the west coast of Canada for these trips and used wet sea-weed for our refrigerant.  Boxed wines minus the boxes provided libations.  The eggs, cheese, bacon and sausage survived just fine for up to 8 days out.  It is truly amazing what all one can get into a sea kayak.  PE

Your trip sounds like it was amazing, but staying with the topic, what cooler did they use? 

Offline PE

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2012, 08:49:04 AM »
I am pretty sure they were those humongous Igloo icechests that you find at the marine supply houses.  The key is loading them up to the half way mark and then putting the block ice on top to fill it all the way up...cool air falls...and keeping them shut at all times, except to retrieve what you have planned to get to first... having been placed closest on top.   We had rigged an ice pan to lift up and grab what we needed underneath.  Keep in mind that even after the ice melts, that water is very cold and stays cool for quite a while. I have learned not to pour it out, but to keep it in there and have whatever is floating around in it, ziplocked in a baggie if it matters.  It will definitely keep perishables good to go for another day or two or three.  This system does not work for beer hounds, obviously...if you are looking for that...good luck. 

Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 10:58:40 AM »
In the 90s we brought huge ice chests with dry ice houseboating on Lake Powell AZ.  The dry ice worked very well but warped the bottoms of the coolers.  These were 60 quart coolers.  A small one fit for a canoe may fare better or worse.  Experiment at home. 

I have no idea what dry ice would do to a container of beer, I assume you are not bringing glass into a canoe. 

But there's another solution: only Americans demand cold beer.  You could go German and learn to enjoy room temperature dark beer.  Humans have been drinking warm beer for thousands of years, it won't hurt you.
Warm beer would completely eliminate this problem.  Not a beer drinker any more but I assume it is available in cans.  Didn't some manufacturers experiment with a plug in a can which, when you popped the top, immediately cooled the beer?  90s tech.

I was in Germany two years ago and they do have cold draft beer.
If you want it warm or hot they bring a small bucket with hot water so you can warm it up.
This was in Pfronten Germany.


Offline Adam B.

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 02:44:39 PM »
I second (or third, or tenth) the Reflectix idea for your cooler. It works VERY well.

I have used it for backpacking trips with very good results. I have kept a six pack of beer ICE cold for 2 days using a handful of ice cubes and having the cans wrapped in a reflectix bag I made, stuffed inside of a soft sided cooler that would otherwise have left them skunked.

I have frozen steaks (after stuffing them with goodness) and wrapped them in reflectix to have them thawed, yet refridgerator cold after hiking in 90 degree heat for 2 days. No joke.

I have YET to have the need to break and shake one of the ammonium nitrate cold-packs I keep in my backpack when I do this (in case I need to cool everything down and save my beer from being skunked) so those ice packs can actually be used as first aid instead of beer aid.

I have yet to line one of my bigger plastic coolers with the stuff BUT — the absolute BEST technique I can tell you for keeping things cold longer is to use BIG ICE BLOCKS vs ice CUBES.

I take various tupperware containers and freeze blocks of various sizes (some thin and wide surface area for the bottom, and a few "blockier" chunks and have gone on 4 day trips where I still have a large block of ice floating in the cooler keeping everything nice and cold. Usually ice CUBES purchased by the bag don't last more than 2 days — ONE day if it is really hot out.

The ultimate test I've had recently was in Kentucky this summer when I was camping for a week in 110 degree heat. We ended up having to go buy 3 or 4 bags of ice EVERY SINGLE DAY in that heat — and I am curious how I would have fared lining my coolers with reflectix and using large ice blocks instead.

If I end up going on a trip like that next year I am surely going to be better prepared in that department. Going back to civilization every day just because you need ice is kind of a drag when your intent is to get away from everyone!

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2012, 04:32:30 PM »
Simple Solar Homesteading has a video where he takes an old ice chest, adds some insulation and it does fairly well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjh6RDTgMuQ

Offline Adam B.

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2012, 09:10:53 AM »
My other advice other than the Reflectix and large ice blocks would be to freeze EVERYTHING that won't get ruined by freezing it.

Freeze your 2 liter bottles or gallon jugs of drinking water. They will melt quick enough to provide you with ice cold refreshing water, and if they aren't just leave one outside the cooler long enough to get some. That gives you one more LARGE hunk of ice.

Freezing all of your meats, hot dogs, ground beef, etc also provides you with more ice in the cooler, yet will thaw out as quickly as they do in the refridgerator once you are underway on the trip.

If you insulate your cooler, use large ice blocks, and freeze everything freeze-able I would assume you could get 5 days out of it without having to get ice — even if on that last day you are saying "eh, it is cool enough."

Offline Greg1109

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2012, 07:42:32 AM »
Sorry it has taken so long to post an update.

The rigid foam insulation worked really well.  It reduced the capacity of the cooler, but with creative planning and per-freezing some items, I'm able to get the 5 days I need out of it.

The only problem, and it's minor, is that with the reduced size of the cooler due to the added thickness of the insulation, long neck bottles will no longer stand up inside the cooler.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2012, 08:37:51 AM »
So you put the insulation on the inside?  How about creating an insulating box and putting the cooler into that?  No reduction of capacity.

Offline Greg1109

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2012, 11:45:04 AM »
So you put the insulation on the inside?  How about creating an insulating box and putting the cooler into that?  No reduction of capacity.

Then it would take up more space in my canoe.  A lot of microbrews now come in cans, and Woodchuck Cider comes in the shorter bottles, so I'm all set.

Offline Welshrats

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Re: best cooler for extended trip
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2012, 12:35:17 AM »
I don't have a high end cooler that I can recommend but the following video review might be helpful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-TE4RnqT0U