Originally Posted by seattlepitboss
We're on a long road trip. Just started week 7 of 8. We're living out of a cooler to hold meat, and similar things. I'm frustrated with this cooler. It seems to me that all coolers have the same design deficiencies.
The nature of a portable ice based cooling solution is problematic from the beginning. It really is not as easy a problem to fix as it appears. Most folks put ice in the bottom first, then start loading up. Copule problems with that from an efficiency point of view: lids are usually less insulated than the bottoms and sides, and ice would be more efficient on the top. Of course ...... putting ice on top sure makes it harder to get to the food. Then there is the soggy-ness issue of ice melting over food....
Personally, If i needed to keep perishable food items in a cooler for extended time periods, this is what I would do:
- Use an "igloo polar" or similar cooler. (Similar to Coleman extremes mentioned here). They are the most feasible value if you can not swing a yeti or do not want to kill your back with an obsenely heavey rotomolded style cooler.
- Use predominantly larger blocks of ice/freezer packs/frozen liters for the bullk of the cooling.
- trim a couple plastic grates (like milk crates to create small platforms to raise the food if needed.
- use cooler trays to keep the stuff rasised that absolutely HAS TO stay dry.
- Fill spae with cubes/smaller chunks
- Use ice ON TOP of it all.
- DONT drain the water until you "have to".
I make my own ice blocks that are sort of custom sized to my cooler and packing style. For example, I make "slabs" of ice that go on top (and often the bottom). This sounds un feasible for a multi week trip though.