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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-06-2012, 09:47 AM   #1
seattlepitboss
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Default best cooler?

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?

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Unread 11-06-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
The_Kapn
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I understand your frustration.

We just put stuff we don't want wet (like sandwiches) in sealed TupperWare containers.
We also may put a plastic "bin" over the ice to keep stuff in it out of the water without sealing.

A "work around" that fixes it for us.

Good Luck.

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Unread 11-06-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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They are called Cambros. They work great to keep stuff cold too. Or you could buy one of those airling carts that have all the trays for cold storage. Its just a tall cambro though.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 10:03 AM   #4
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We rebag ice in gallon Ziploc bags. This greatly cuts down on the water in the cooler and seems to help cube ice to last a little longer.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #5
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I drop a stainless restaurant tray over the ice and place the food inside the tray. I also leave the drain open so I don't slosh water into the pans as I travel... although I realize the drain open might not be an option.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 10:19 AM   #6
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We use Crypopaks from Restaurant Depot. They are a reusable gel pack that work much better than ice, but we have found that they work much better when placed in a quart sized ziploc. The gel packs are susceptible to tears after a few uses, so placing them in ziplocs gives them a longer life span. These things get seriously cold, and last way longer than ice.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:03 AM   #7
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Coleman Xtreme
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:04 AM   #8
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:05 AM   #9
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Also use blocks of ice instead of cubes, less surface area so they melt at a slower rate.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #10
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What about using dry-ice? I've never used it. but it seems like it might be a good option. Also, you could get a travel refridgerator, they just plug into a power-port.

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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by el_matt View Post
What about using dry-ice? I've never used it. but it seems like it might be a good option. Also, you could get a travel refridgerator, they just plug into a power-port.

Matt
Dry ice doesn't work in a sealed cooler. The off-gassing of CO2 will pop the lid open.

I have a Coleman six-day marine cooler that is big enough for my food, plus two gallon milk jugs of frozen water. It makes them into plastic wrapped ice blocks.

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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokerKing View Post
Coleman Xtreme
+1, and the milk jug thing works well.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
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This summer I delivered buffalo meat to clients around the midwest. I used a Coleman 200 qt cooler and dry ice. We started with 300 lbs of frozen meat and 15 lbs of dry ice. The dry ice lasted two days in the back of my pickup in ninety degree temps. The cooler top stayed sealed. I do not know if that is common, but I was hoping that the dry ice would last longer. For our three week trip we used close to $ 300.00 of dry ice.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #14
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Here's a couple more options:

OPTION 1
As already mentioned; get a thermoelectric cooler. These tend to generate temperatures about 30 deg. under ambient (or 40 deg. over ambient in the heating mode).

OPTION 2
Get a DC to AC power converter and use it to power a small 120-volt AC refrigeratir or chest freezer.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 12:18 PM   #15
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I don't have a solution, but I have had the same (frustrating) thoughts that you expressed.

It seems to me that there should be a "dry well" in the middle of the cooler. You fill *around* the well with ice, and put all your food in the middle. I have thought about trying to create something along those lines by putting a tall plastic box in the middle of my cooler - with clean bricks on the bottom to keep it from floating when the ice melts.

Haven't gotten around to trying it yet though.
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