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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 1:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 2756
Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
On a recent camping trip we were able to test an idea I had for getting the most out of block ice in a cooler. The area we camp at can only be accessed by boat and has no facilities. Everything, including drinking water, must be carried in. We like to set up a base camp and explore from there. What usually limits our stay is how long our ice lasts. Typically we get about 5 days of safe food storage.

For ice we have found a frozen 5l water cask works well and later as the ice melts you can drink the cold water easily out of the cask bladder.
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We had tried two coolers (one a fridge, one a freezer) before and found it worked better than a single cooler. The freezer would only be opened occasionally which extended the life of the block ice. Along with the block ice we take frozen vacuum packed precooked meals, frozen milk, yogurt etc in the freezer and as we use the 'fresh' food, we replace it with frozen food to thaw in the fridge. This cools the fresh food and makes for an efficient use of the 'cold'.

For this trip I purchased two quality coolers – a 68litre for use as a fridge and a 22litre to be used as a freezer.
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I chose this combination because the 22l fitted almost perfectly inside the 68 litre, allowing the freezer to be located within the fridge.
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My idea was that this would provide better insulation and any 'cold' leakage from the freezer would help cool the fridge. This gave us around 24litres of fridge storage, plus the 22litres of freezer. Plenty for two people.

The 68l cooler fitted OK on our TI.
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I can report that this combination gave us 10 days of cool food storage. We still had a half cup size block of ice floating in the remaining 2 litres of water at the end of the 10th day. With daytime temperatures of 27C I was very pleased with how well this 'cooler within a cooler' worked.
I was monitoring temps of both fridge/freezer with a wireless thermometer. Temps around 0-1C in freezer and 8C in fridge on day 5.

On day 6 we moved the remaining fresh food to the freezer which remained at around 4C.
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With a bit more thought re usage (we were heating up still frozen meals on days 3&4 and we would add drinks to cool down each day) I reckon cold storage times could be extended to 12 days or so, depending on daytime temperatures.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 5:35 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Thanks stringy for a well thought out system. I certainly would have never thought of the "russian dolls" approach, which makes obvious sense once you think about it. Now that I have a haka, once my health permits it, I plan to get out and about more, and your clever idea is on my list!

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker and Hangkai outboard
only cool people follow the (non-magnetic) titanium weight-loss program! lol.)


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 7:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
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Location: South Florida
Yes, great idea Stringy! We're not as tough over here, so our trips are seldom over 7-8 days. The Coleman Extreme cooler holds for 5-6 days, and we tough out the final day or 2. Finally, I have to admit, I don't like carrying such a large cooler on my AI, or even on the TI because of the weight, so I'm down to about 3-4 days of fresh food. We do rely on fresh fish, which is not too bad. :)

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:09 am
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Location: Sweden
Hey Stringy! Your solutions are very intelligent. "Ice is civilisation", as it was said in The Mosquito Coast. Your solution is however more low tech than the disastrous big ice device in that book/movie...

I have an even simpler solution I want to try. There are loads of cooler boxes you can buy, but almost no cooler sacks. In Sweden however you can buy "cooler sacks" for about six dollars. They are mostly sold for marketing purposes, so you can get the name of your company on them. Every sack probably takes about 40 liters. You can put one sack inside another and if you buy six of them you certainly will get a good cooling effect if you put ice in the innermost sack and all the other sacks around. You could put food you don't want freezed in a less innermost sack, where the temperature will be a bit higher.

The sacks are cheap, doesn't weigh much and get small when you don't have much food in them, so they might be a better idea than your boxes. I however like your solutions. They might be a better alternative for you. Maybe even for me, but I will try the cooler sack solution before I buy big cooler boxes.

Frozen milk of the longlasting UHT-treated (ultra high temperature) kind is a good alternative for milk lovers, but others might prefer water or juice or something else. You can bring various frozen liquids with you!


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 5:06 am
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Location: Lake Macquarie NSW AUSTRALIA
Top idea and report Stringy. I did a dry bag with 8 ltrs of ice in a dry bag of food once to see how that performed. It worked pretty good but of course the thermal advantages were nowhere near what yours would be.

( our trips aren't usually that long either Keith. Only Stringy and Croc Dundee go out for extended periods ).

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 11:41 am 
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Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
Slaughter wrote:
Top idea and report Stringy. I did a dry bag with 8 ltrs of ice in a dry bag of food once to see how that performed. It worked pretty good but of course the thermal advantages were nowhere near what yours would be.

( our trips aren't usually that long either Keith. Only Stringy and Croc Dundee go out for extended periods ).

True Russ, but the "Russian doll" concept is so appealing, I almost feel like buying a couple of those coolers and find somewhere to try it out!. I also note that the ideal Island expeditionista has an Adventure "pack mule" in tow! I couldn't see if stringy also had his bimini on board the africa queen on this outing. :D :D

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM" with Hobie spinnaker and Hangkai outboard
only cool people follow the (non-magnetic) titanium weight-loss program! lol.)


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:24 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
I just finished an experiment with ice preparing for the Texas 200. I used a cheep igloo 3 day cooler. Filled it with ice and covered it with one of those paper thin emergency blankets turned inside out so the the reflective material is facing out. Left it outside in the sun. Temps in mid 80's. I got 4.5 days before the ice was gone and on the 5th day the water remains very cold. This works for me and has a small footprint. Thought someone else might benefit from my little experiment.

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“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 8:21 pm 
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Location: Lake Macquarie NSW AUSTRALIA
TONY - Nah, looks like the African Queen sun shade was left behind. What I did notice from the photo Tony, was the Moss Green Hobie. That colour is a collector. Rarer than a GTHO. In the early days, I pushed for that colour to be one of the AI colours, but I think I was the only one, and it got knocked on the head by marketing.

VETGAM - That's good to know. Down this way we also get reusable cheap supermarket shopping bags with a thin thermal barrier (below) to keep your frozen stuff cold between shopping and home. One inside the other works really well for a 2 day trip.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 3:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:25 pm
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Interesting discussion. Thanks all for the comments.
Couple of points:
-block ice lasts a lot longer than ice cubes due to less surface area exposed to heat. Easy to make at home with frozen water bottles and much less messy.
-I've tried soft coolers but haven't been impressed. Even tried the 'russian dolls' (like that term Tony!) technique but was disappointed with the results. Can't beat the proper refrigeration grade insulation found in quality coolers.

Tony- I forgot to mention that I had to remove the 4 feet on the 28l cooler so that it fitted. Easily done with a multi tool. I would have liked to have found a smaller combination of russian doll coolers but none fitted together in the smaller range.

Keith – Agree the cooler is a bit on the large side but once it's on the TI you don't notice it. It is a two person lift though getting it on/off!

Hobie Crafte- the multiple bags sound interesting. Let us know how you go. Re the milk -we freeze fresh milk but have UHT milk as an unrefrigerated backup for when the ice goes. Once opened UHT lasts the same as fresh milk so I see no benefit in freezing it. We have become coffee snobs (I now take a 15bar Handpresso coffee machine camping) and UHT just doesn't taste as good in coffee. This trip we tried a couple of frozen 600ml milk cartons and I would take more next time. Swapping a frozen carton every couple of days from freezer to fridge is a very efficient use.

Vetgam- in your experiment did you open the cooler like you would in real usage? That's what kills the cold! Every time you use the cooler cold escapes.

Tony and Russ- if you look closer at the TI pic you'll see the bimini is there.
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It's become an essential piece of equipment for our camps.
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We use it as the kitchen,(see it behind TI in above pic) throwing a tarp over it to protect from rain or a mossie net to escape from the insects. Works great!

And finally on the colour choice. When I got the runout Adventure I had a choice of Blue or Olive. I chose Olive and have come to like it. So much so that when we got our '16 Oasis, which we could have had in any colour, I went with Olive again.
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I've come around to your thinking Russ! It looks much better in real life than in the catalogue.
Oh ...and next trip we may take 2 pack mules -Oasis and Adventure as a B-Double! Not so much for carrying capacity but it's great having a range of kayaks to use while camped. The Oasis would have been ideal on that portage to Boolambayte Lake.


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