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  • Coolers and camping.

    So, I'm in a number of camping related groups on Facebook, regularly people ask for recommendations for a good cooler.

    There are so many out there now, that's a tough question to answer, especially without knowing specifics. Area, type of use, frequency of use etc. Usually, I will answer by asking about the above mentioned variants.

    Lately it's been a more generic answer. Today my response got a bit long winded. As I read back through it, I thought it would make a nice informative thread here and fit well in this section needing some more threads. So, hope it's okay and hope you find it helpful.



    Most of the extreme coolers do well under normal camping conditions. I do think, in certain circumstances, there is a difference (IE: bear country, desert or extreme heat, commercial use such as a guide etc).

    I have a Yeti, Gander Mountain roto molded, Coleman Extreme 6day and a regular Coleman. There is a significant difference between the regular Coleman and the rest. The others are pretty compareable under my camping use (which is very typical) weekend trips, a couple long weekends and a couple extended trips.

    There are some things you can do to improve any cooler. A number of the roto molded coolers actually talk about this in their literature.

    Pre chill your cooler. I put a couple frozen two liters in the night before a trip. Change the next morning before work, then again as I'm packing it to leave.

    Fill with drinks etc that are already cold. Whatever meat I'm taking I take frozen, may leave one meal fresh so it's ready to go, the rest thaw as the trip goes.

    Take two coolers. One for food, one for drinks. Constantly opening for drinks (especially if you have kids) will melt ice and lose cold fast. Food cooler only opened a couple times a day makes a huge difference.

    A blanket or refectix can make a big difference. I don't use it, my Yeti (food) goes in a slide out tray in my campers galley so it's always in the shade. My drink cooler, I'll keep under the picnic table that's under my canopy.

    I've talked with people in the past who were very unhappy with whatever extreme cooler they had. The majority of the time, those folks put hot drinks in a hot cooler but didn't understand why the ice was gone in less than a day. Coolers aren't designed to get things cold, they're designed to keep things cold. On extended trips, when I know I'll have to add more drinks, I take an extra cooler. When I get close to needing more drinks, I use it to get them cold so it doesn't kill the cold and ice in my main coolers.

    A common misconception is leaving water in the cooler helps, that's not accurate. Water is warmer than ice, a bunch of water will melt the ice much quicker. I tend to drain water daily. I've done a ten day trip, in 90*+ temps, as described above with my Yeti 45 as the food cooler and only added one bag of ice one time.

    One final thought (and sorry this got so long winded). If you have an extreme or roto molded cooler that has the rubber gasket and/or the rubber closures. Do not store it with the closures closed, leave them loose. Long term storage like that will compress the gasket and stretch the closures, greatly reducing the efficiency.

    If you do decide to get one of the extreme/roto molded coolers, be sure you can get replacement parts, closures and gaskets especially. They do wear out over time and while they aren't cheap, they're certainly cheaper than a new cooler.

    Happy camping!

    B
    "It's not the years in your life but the life in your years"



  • #2
    Originally posted by Brian S View Post
    So, I'm in a number of camping related groups on Facebook, regularly people ask for recommendations for a good cooler.

    There are so many out there now, that's a tough question to answer, especially without knowing specifics. Area, type of use, frequency of use etc. Usually, I will answer by asking about the above mentioned variants.

    Lately it's been a more generic answer. Today my response got a bit long winded. As I read back through it, I thought it would make a nice informative thread here and fit well in this section needing some more threads. So, hope it's okay and hope you find it helpful.



    Most of the extreme coolers do well under normal camping conditions. I do think, in certain circumstances, there is a difference (IE: bear country, desert or extreme heat, commercial use such as a guide etc).

    I have a Yeti, Gander Mountain roto molded, Coleman Extreme 6day and a regular Coleman. There is a significant difference between the regular Coleman and the rest. The others are pretty compareable under my camping use (which is very typical) weekend trips, a couple long weekends and a couple extended trips.

    There are some things you can do to improve any cooler. A number of the roto molded coolers actually talk about this in their literature.

    Pre chill your cooler. I put a couple frozen two liters in the night before a trip. Change the next morning before work, then again as I'm packing it to leave.

    Fill with drinks etc that are already cold. Whatever meat I'm taking I take frozen, may leave one meal fresh so it's ready to go, the rest thaw as the trip goes.

    Take two coolers. One for food, one for drinks. Constantly opening for drinks (especially if you have kids) will melt ice and lose cold fast. Food cooler only opened a couple times a day makes a huge difference.

    A blanket or refectix can make a big difference. I don't use it, my Yeti (food) goes in a slide out tray in my campers galley so it's always in the shade. My drink cooler, I'll keep under the picnic table that's under my canopy.

    I've talked with people in the past who were very unhappy with whatever extreme cooler they had. The majority of the time, those folks put hot drinks in a hot cooler but didn't understand why the ice was gone in less than a day. Coolers aren't designed to get things cold, they're designed to keep things cold. On extended trips, when I know I'll have to add more drinks, I take an extra cooler. When I get close to needing more drinks, I use it to get them cold so it doesn't kill the cold and ice in my main coolers.

    A common misconception is leaving water in the cooler helps, that's not accurate. Water is warmer than ice, a bunch of water will melt the ice much quicker. I tend to drain water daily. I've done a ten day trip, in 90*+ temps, as described above with my Yeti 45 as the food cooler and only added one bag of ice one time.

    One final thought (and sorry this got so long winded). If you have an extreme or roto molded cooler that has the rubber gasket and/or the rubber closures. Do not store it with the closures closed, leave them loose. Long term storage like that will compress the gasket and stretch the closures, greatly reducing the efficiency.

    If you do decide to get one of the extreme/roto molded coolers, be sure you can get replacement parts, closures and gaskets especially. They do wear out over time and while they aren't cheap, they're certainly cheaper than a new cooler.

    Happy camping!

    B
    EXCELLENT THREAD SUBJECT

    while growing up most of our camping was long weekends and real block ice was our goto product

    then in the mid 1950's we rebuilt an old campping trailer of my grandfather's including rebuiding the 4' wide cooler riding on the tongue

    50# of block ice (25# on each end) would keep our food stuffs for a long week(both weekends)

    the Yeti craze hit me when i joined folks on a week long saiing event on the Texas coast in June w/ very little access to supplies along the way

    after reading the previous accounts of the event i bit the bullet and got a 45qt Yeti

    long story short(r) so far when pre-cooled w/ a full bulk dump of vending machine ice 24± hours prior to loading/departing for a trip/event the Yeti has dunn me a real well job of keeping food stuffs COLD for at least 5 days in SW U.S. summer heat(June-August) and safe/cool for a good week

    the prime scenario is to access it ONLY 1x/day moving cold/frozen food out for thawing and daily eats go into the daytime cooler w/ the drinks(Igloo type) and as mentioned above keeping it in the shade/under cover

    shade/blanket/reflectix...

    water can cool faster than simple air therefore if you didn't have room to keep drinks cool from the beginning of the trip you're up against cooling them down during it

    throwing drinks in ice water cools them off quicker butt does consume frozen water doing so

    again as mentioned above store the empty rubber sealed coolers without the seals compressed or misshapen

    which brings us to repair/spare parts availabiity

    i bought a 2nd basket for the Yeti and turn them both downside upwards w/ the hard center of the lid resting on them for storage

    gaskets baskets latching systems and hinges WILL eventually get wonky and need replacing

    i paid the premium back in the beginning and the Yeti did it's job when i needed it

    NOW there are several super duty rotomolded contestants on the starting line for anyone entering the race and i've been along side folks w/ some of them and they worked quite well based on personal observations

    the old Igloos Colemans... do a real well job for folks who only need a cooler for weekend trips or even cross country trips camping nightly and traveling each or every other day

    if you're going to be on an extended trip/event off grid or w/ limited re-supply opportunities i'd suggest looking seriously at the HD rotomoulded units

    BON CHANCE

    sw

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    • #3
      Originally posted by swoody126 View Post

      EXCELLENT THREAD SUBJECT

      while growing up most of our camping was long weekends and real block ice was our goto product

      then in the mid 1950's we rebuilt an old campping trailer of my grandfather's including rebuiding the 4' wide cooler riding on the tongue

      50# of block ice (25# on each end) would keep our food stuffs for a long week(both weekends)

      the Yeti craze hit me when i joined folks on a week long saiing event on the Texas coast in June w/ very little access to supplies along the way

      after reading the previous accounts of the event i bit the bullet and got a 45qt Yeti

      long story short(r) so far when pre-cooled w/ a full bulk dump of vending machine ice 24± hours prior to loading/departing for a trip/event the Yeti has dunn me a real well job of keeping food stuffs COLD for at least 5 days in SW U.S. summer heat(June-August) and safe/cool for a good week

      the prime scenario is to access it ONLY 1x/day moving cold/frozen food out for thawing and daily eats go into the daytime cooler w/ the drinks(Igloo type) and as mentioned above keeping it in the shade/under cover

      shade/blanket/reflectix...

      water can cool faster than simple air therefore if you didn't have room to keep drinks cool from the beginning of the trip you're up against cooling them down during it

      throwing drinks in ice water cools them off quicker butt does consume frozen water doing so

      again as mentioned above store the empty rubber sealed coolers without the seals compressed or misshapen

      which brings us to repair/spare parts availabiity

      i bought a 2nd basket for the Yeti and turn them both downside upwards w/ the hard center of the lid resting on them for storage

      gaskets baskets latching systems and hinges WILL eventually get wonky and need replacing

      i paid the premium back in the beginning and the Yeti did it's job when i needed it

      NOW there are several super duty rotomolded contestants on the starting line for anyone entering the race and i've been along side folks w/ some of them and they worked quite well based on personal observations

      the old Igloos Colemans... do a real well job for folks who only need a cooler for weekend trips or even cross country trips camping nightly and traveling each or every other day

      if you're going to be on an extended trip/event off grid or w/ limited re-supply opportunities i'd suggest looking seriously at the HD rotomoulded units

      BON CHANCE

      sw
      I used block ice for years. Unfortunately, it's not available much any more (I suspect because they figured out how much more ice will sell if cubes are all that's available) there is a place I can get it local but it's a 30 minute drive. Frozen bottles have a similar affect.

      I have both two liter bottles and gallon juice bottles. I use the two liters to prechill and in the bottom of the Yeti 45 for food. I use the juice bottles in my drink cooler, I found the squared off juice bottles fit better, are easier to pack drinks and ice around.

      Seems you're using one of my favorite tshirts as your profile pic. LOL


      B
      "It's not the years in your life but the life in your years"


      Comment

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