Coolers

bykfixer

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Supposing this in is the vein of food storage:

What's your favorite cooler?

I'm an Igloo user but am not strapped to that brand. It's just been the brand that makes coolers I prefer.

When I travel for work I carry groceries with me in a 48 can Igloo with several ice blocks. My lunch pale has been an Igloo Cube for years and years. I just bought a soft side Coleman to replace the cube since it has seen better days.

I place a layer of plastic bags and a cardboard sleeve over top of the contents. That seems to help in hot weather.
 

hsa

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The fantastic latches alone on the Pelican is worth the switch. I ended up getting an Otter Box because of the similar latches and they were on sale. It works great.
 

hsa

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Byk. You probably won't like the soft sided coleman, they don't hold ice very well unless you get thick sided closed cell foam models and they are expensive. The zippers suck on all of them, Yeti included. Use Cooler Shock ice packs in everything, they are pretty amazing. My most used cooler is a 30qt Igloo even though I have a roto molded cooler. A 60 qt wheeled Igloo for when I go to the kids house in the city.
 

Poppy

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The cooler I use most is a small soft sided bag that is narrow at the top and is like a purse. It'll hold 6 - 16oz bottles of water. I'll put a couple or three frozen bottles of water, and a couple or three cold refrigerated bottles and it will stay for a good part of the day. In time, the soft sided bags will leak if you put ice in them. I found that using frozen bottles of water, doesn't leave a wet mess behind, and through the bag. AND the ice, as it melts is drinkable!

Regarding a hard sided cooler, bigger is usually better. I have a big igloo idk 100 qt, maybe 120 qt. You can put in 2-3 bags of ice, and have room for lots of drinks. If they go in cold the ice will last a lot longer. I saw a youtube comparison of the standard big name brands, including yeti, and for a couple of days, they all did pretty well the same. IIRC, the yeti was a little better on the 3rd or 4th day, but unless you need that 4th day it wasn't worth the cost difference.
 
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bykfixer

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The Coleman passed test day 1. Shadey lower 80's. Ziploc with sliced lunch meat, ziploc with boiled egg and 2 sausage links, 3-20 oz beverages all remained cool using 2-16oz frozen water bottles. I like freezing water in Fiji bottles because they are square.

Hopefully the zippers will last for a couple of summers. I don't expect it to have to with stand the rigors that the Cube once had to as my duties no longer require my lunch pail to be as durable. I went a a Wal Mart expecting to buy another cube but since they had none I figured the soft side for $21 is worth a go.

Most of the contractors I deal with use Lifetime coolers these days. Used to be you would see a 10 gallon yellow or orange water cooler on the side of a truck and little paper cups scattered about the job site but these days it's mainly ice chests and bottled water. Every so often I see a Pelican or a Yeti for those situations. But I suspect much like with flashlights the contractor elects to forgo the cost of a Yeti or Peli in favor of a Lifetime. One contractor I worked with a few years back insisted on US made and used Pelican coolers. He also still carried his dad's old red 7D Maglite.
 

hsa

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You will probably do okay with the frozen water bottles. Making it all day when it is hot is the limit though, but if that's all you need it should work. The Lifetime coolers are pretty good. Pelican coolers and red Maglights are great. Ha.
 

sledhead

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Been using an ENGEL for a few years.... lighter than the Pelican's. Both great coolers though.
 

KITROBASKIN

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We have an smallish Engel as well. Maybe 5 years ago compared it with an old Coleman same size with broken hinges and no latch. Turns out the old Coleman kept the ice slightly longer than the Engel.

We picked up a floor model (3 years ago?) fairly small portable refrigerator and really like it. Dometic does not offer it on their website any more, though there are many other brands from Asia these days. It can function as a fridge or freezer. Downside is heaviness and bulk for the capacity, but if you read the handy hints from Pelican coolers, they recommend having twice as much ice as product in them for best performance. And the high end coolers cost pretty close to a lot of the travel refrigerators.
 

PoliceScannerMan

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I’ve found that if you keep an extra 5lb ice pack in the freezer, put it in your cooler 12 hours before you use it. Then remove that ice pack and pack your cooler as normal. Really helps with ice retention. Obviously chilling whatever you’re going to put in your cooler helps as well.
 

bykfixer

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Pre-chilling a cooler or pre-heating a thermos really does make a difference.
When I was travelling for work I stuck a one gallon ice block in my 'grocery' cooler overnight because it had to keep stuff cold all day in the sunshine. It had to withstand a warm 2-3 hour 70mph breeze while travelling in the bed of a pickup to the job site then bake in the sun all day until I checked into a hotel. I learned to put whatever frozen meal I wanted for dinner the first night in the hotel on top as it would likely be partially thawed. Non frozen perishables would go in the center and be surrounded with either frozen food or ice blocks. By pre-cooling it made it possible to carry more food and less ice and still keep things cold all day. The weak spot was the lid so I used a dense layer of insulation across the top made of around 1/4" of newspaper and a frozen meal box.

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The Igloo at the bottom was my grocery cooler.
It now serves as an ice dispenser at family gatherings.

In the lunch pail I use layer of plastic grocery bags and a frozen food box so that when I want something from it, my hand slides under the insulation and plucks the item(s) out without exposing everything to the heat. It's kinda like sticking your hand through the refrigerator door to grab the milk instead of opening the door.
FC4770-ED-4351-45-F8-83-D8-C59-F68-B4233-D.jpg
 
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bykfixer

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The Cube has some medals of valor. I've been married to Mrs Fixer 14 years and she remembered I bought the Cube shortly after we met because I had backed over my previous lunch pale at work one night. It was a plastic bucket lined soft side that did not hold up well to being run over by a pickup truck.
The Cube survived falling out of a truck at 35mph, being used as a stool countless times and baking in the sun for over a decade. It's a keeper.
 

scout24

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I have an Orca, (U.S. made) bought it when we were living in our RV after our house burned down. VERY tiny fridge/freezer, I wanted some overflow capacity. Worked fantastic over the summer when we really needed it, held ice for days. Byk- that cube has seen some things!
 

bykfixer

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Heat: 0
Cube: 100,000,000,000,000,000+4

It likely has a quarter million miles on it, literally. I've had it through at least 3 company trucks that retired at 100k miles.

The Coleman soft side aint the Cube, so I'll add another frozen water bottle.

Edit:
3rd ice block was a 20oz Gatorade bottle filled to 75%. Cooler sat in a cargo area of an Explorer at up 108 from 9a to 5p and what items remained at 5 were still chilled. Nice!!
Bonus: No sweat on the outside.

I checked the cargo area at times with a heat gun and then the outside of the cooler that read in the upper 70's all day.
End edit.
 
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Hooked on Fenix

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I prefer the Coleman 5 day coolers. They keep food cool for a decent amount of time, they aren't super expensive, they don't take up all your vehicle's storage space (will fit in a car trunk), and they fit in a bear box.
 

JimIslander

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100 quart cooler for boat/multi-day car camping = Blue Coolers Arc Series (pricing went up from $300 to $320 since May 13!
- Rotomolded
- Locking holes, so you can lock it with a cable lock
- Replaceable rope handles
- Drain hole below floor level
- Gasket lid, so rain won't get in (really a go/no-go factor for me)

For day trips, inexpensive Coleman coolers.
 

DBee

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We’ve got a Coleman Xtreme 3 cooler. It says it’s 28 quarts/26 litres. It’s the hard plastic blue bodied type with hinged white lid. The blurb says it keeps ice frozen for 3 days with outside temperatures of 32 Degrees. We’ve used it for holidays numerous times - packed it full of frozen goods & ice packs, spent a night with relatives and another day driving through France and it has kept everything completely frozen. I think it cost around the £50 mark in he UK, but well worth it. You can also use it as a stool to sit on & it has two drinks holders built into the lid. Nice!
 

bykfixer

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Yesterday at work I made 3 concrete strength samples in 4" id by 8" tall round plastic molds. The contractor supplied an Ozark Trail 26 quart high performance cooler to place them in. The concrete hydrates, which cause each mold to put off heat. The strength samples are required to be stored at 60-80 degrees farenheit for 28 days. Now they need to be transfered to a lab between 24 and 48 hours. Either somebody from the department of transportation picks them up or I drop them off at their lab on my way home.

Before I put the sample molds in the cooler I checked it for temperature. It was 75 degrees. It had been inside a building until needed for concrete samples. I placed the samples in the Ozark Trail cooler and left them over night under a bridge. When I left the project yesterday the outside of the cooler was 92 degrees. After placing the 3 half thawed frozen water bottles from my lunch cooler inside the Ozark Trail and leaving over night, this morning the inside of the cooler was 67 degrees and the bottles had not completely melted.

It's $88 but from what I could tell is a pretty good cooler.
 

Poppy

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My son is an excellent cook, dare I say chef? He recently bought a hot dog cart and is making gourmet hot dogs. He varies his menu, and will typically have a variety of a half a dozen cold condiments, and a half a dozen cold sauces (that he puts into squeeze bottles.)

Function is sometimes more important than the R value of a cooler. R being resistance to heat gain. (I made that definition up, but it might be right).

A working cooler, (one that is opened up and closed often), will gain more heat/lose more coolness than one that just sits there. The efficiency of the cooler may be less important than the reserve capacity of the ice to cool. So, for a working cooler, larger with more ice, is better than smaller with less ice, even if it is more efficient.

We are still kind of figuring everything out... what works the best. So far it seems that using the big 120 qt cooler is a given. It holds all the drinks, and ice, and spare ice for the other coolers. Then a 50qt cooler for spare condiments, to refill the others when necessary.

Next, there are two very much working coolers:

A low profile 24 can cooler that will hold 8 32oz containers. Some may contain frozen water, and others will contain a variety of condiments. They have to be kept cold. This particular cooler has not been rated as being particularly efficient, but its size is perfect, and since the top is off so much, efficiency is not so important. He'll just feed it more ice as needed from the big cooler.


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Today, I bought him this 9 qt cooler. Again, it is not the most efficient cooler, but it is the perfect size to hold half a dozen or more of his special condiment sauces in squeeze bottles. 1631060725490.png
 
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