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. They are built like one featureless box, and you put ice in the bottom where it melts, so that your food has to marinate in ice water. Over time ziplocs leak, jar labels turn gooey, and it's just *so funky*. Why o why doesn't someone make an extra deep cooler with a nice rack that sits up above the ice to keep everything out of the water?
I got excited when I found out about Yeti coolers. Just looked at them. Same dumb aspect ratio. You can get them up to like 55" long but not deep. It's like everyone's copying a design from the 1940s.
I'm posting this in hopes that I'm wrong, that there is one out there. And coolers *are* on topic for BBQ guys. Who among us hasn't brought meat to a remote site to cook, or used a cooler to hold hot foiled smoked roasts to let their temp equilibrate?
The reason frankly is it would be very inefficient. First of all, you sound like you want a cooler that resembles a chest freezer, very deep top to bottom, not so much long side to side. Then, you want racks so the food can sit up above and off the ice. There are 2 problems with this. First, the biggest problem, you would be using ice to cool a large amount of air. The biggest culprit to melting ice in a cooler is air. You melt a LOT of ice just to keep air cool. Ideally you want your cooler packed to the top with product and ice, the less air it needs to cool the better. Second, heat rises, so the air up top of the cooler will be warmer, and use even more ice to keep cool. Once you open the cooler it will start all over. I think that is why nobody really makes a very high cooler.
I have 2 yeti 250's in my trailer, each sitting along the side across from the other on a rack. I have had food that was not frozen originally stay ice cold for 3-4 days no problem and would have stayed for much longer had I wanted that. I find the key to getting the yeti to work optimally is pre cool it first. Think about it, the more insulation you have, the colder it stays longer. Well, if the box is warm to start, the insulation makes it stay warmer longer. I toss 1-2 sleeves into each cooler 24 hours before I want to use it. When I go to pack the cooler the next day, i remove that watery ice and use fresh rock hard ice. When i take that watery ice out and the cooler is empty before i pack it, i can stick my head in and feel that the box is nice and cold already.
When buying a cooler, size is really important, you want at least 1/2 and more ideally 2/3 of it filled with ice for long term transport.