Managing your cooler box




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  1. #1
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    Default Managing your cooler box

    I gather the best way is to transfer frozen water bottles from the freezer into the cooler box - say three at a time - and to keep rotating them.

    Any good tips you would like to share?

    I remember in the old days we used to throw dry ice into the cooler box (Coleman steel) and it worked very well for about a week. That was of course before the arrival of camping fridges.

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    The last time this was discussed on this forum, I advocated the frozen plastic water bottles and rotating them as you describe. Someone, quite correctly I think, pointed out to me that the gel-type freezer blocks get colder and stay colder for longer. They might be better but we often end up drinking the cold water once unfrozen.

    Another tip is to take out your frozen meat for consumption that day, early enough and defreeze it within the cooler box, thus utilizing the cold.

    Only open the cooler box a couple of times a day and then usually in the cool of the morning and evening. Any drinks placed in the cooler box should be left outside in the cold overnight, particularly under cold winter conditions.

    A full, cold, cooler box retains cold better.

    Make sure the cooler box is stored out of the sun and if traveling, in a well ventilated section of the vehicle, as far as possible.

    With prolonged travel and at times a shortage of perishable, fresh foods, we developed an efficient routine for keeping our perishables cold enough to last a decent length of time.

    Most important is having the best insulated cooler box you can find. Not too large a size is also important. Ours was medium size only as there are only two of us. The secret is to keep the perishables cold but prevent freezer burn from too close contact with the frozen goods. Even a dish cloth or such-like to prevent direct contact helped to make food last without damage from direct contact.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Thanks Stan for the sage advice!

    There are only two of us so have bought a small
    cooler box - it is one of the new Tentco ones - 20l. Most of the other brands Romer etc. seem to start at 40l which is about the size of our freezer.

    I admit to being a lazy camper and am hoping to vary our menu away from the easy pure braais to something more appetising for longer camping trips and maybe some fresh salads and vegies where possible.

    And at long last some cold wine in addition to the wonderful beer. We head back to Kgalagadi in September.
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/03/12 at 06:53 PM.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    There are veggies that last for a decent period of time at Kalahari temperatures; potatoes, sweet potato, butternut, onions and perhaps even carrots. These can be steamed over coals in a small cast-iron pot, chopped up in a mixture, with a little water added. Especially tasty if allowed to just caramalise. Of course onions and potatoes in tin foil on the coals are an old standby. Can also do butternut like this and sweet potato.

    Cabbage in a cooler lasts a little better than lettuce, although we find the lettuce packages from Woolies last reasonably. The biggest problem with tomatoes is to avoid bruising so these also go in the cooler box. I like bottled beetroot and bottled "sousboontjies". Baked beans can be good with some mayonnaise and even chopped banana mixed in. Pickled onion and gherkins are a treat after some time in the bush. Cucumber travels quite well. Tinned tuna makes a nice salad.

    Then there are the boxes of Werda salads that Tony Weaver oft recommends.

    Fruit that lasts well includes granadilla (add to canned fruit to freshen up), apples, oranges, pineapple perhaps.
    Last edited by Stan Weakley; 2019/03/12 at 08:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Cool your canned drinks before putting them in the fridge or cooler box by leaving them in the shade, preferably in the breeze if there is one, under a wet dish cloth. I carry an old pair of rugby socks and you can fit three or four cans in them or a bottle of wine - wet the sock and hang it in a tree. Cabbage lasts well if peeled, not cut.
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    I gather the best way is to transfer frozen water bottles from the freezer into the cooler box - say three at a time - and to keep rotating them.

    Any good tips you would like to share?

    I remember in the old days we used to throw dry ice into the cooler box (Coleman steel) and it worked very well for about a week. That was of course before the arrival of camping fridges.
    My tip will be to take a box with square corners. Line it out with ISO board as it is hard wearing instead of normal polystyrine. 40mm thick will take 4.5 days to turn a frozen 2L coke into water in Gauteng summer temp. Compare this to a household freezer compartment with freezer switched off where it takes only 1.5 days to turn into water.

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Thanks Tony - Never ending uses for rugby socks. I have a good supply for wrapping around tent poles when stored in the 4x4!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    Cool your canned drinks before putting them in the fridge or cooler box by leaving them in the shade, preferably in the breeze if there is one, under a wet dish cloth. I carry an old pair of rugby socks and you can fit three or four cans in them or a bottle of wine - wet the sock and hang it in a tree. Cabbage lasts well if peeled, not cut.
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/03/13 at 06:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Thanks! 4.5 days is tempting. Two years ago we were up north and the temperatures were into the 50C's so any insulation can be most welcome!


    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    My tip will be to take a box with square corners. Line it out with ISO board as it is hard wearing instead of normal polystyrine. 40mm thick will take 4.5 days to turn a frozen 2L coke into water in Gauteng summer temp. Compare this to a household freezer compartment with freezer switched off where it takes only 1.5 days to turn into water.

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Cooling down you stuff beforehand is the right approach. But also get off to a good start by cooling down the inside of the cooler box before putting anything inside. otherwise you play catch-up all the time.
    Apart from ice bricks, I also rotate 3 or 4 large (1.5l) plastic bottles between the freezer and the cooler box. I use the square bottles that you get this aloe-stuff in.
    Also, organizing the inside of the cooler box is very important, so as to avoid extended open times. A basket or two, similar to the freezer, is the first prize.
    And keep the box in the shade - direct sun is the BIG enemy.
    Last edited by hatjohan; 2019/03/13 at 08:01 AM.



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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Square bottles sounds a nice feature!

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Woolworths had always sold small 6 packs of square bottles of water, which is what we used.
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    I have spend thousands of rands on various cooler boxes and the one that can keep ice for up to 5 day must still be invented

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Did a non-scientific test on my new box in the kitchen with vegetables/salads - ice seemed to last 3 days. Ambient 22C.
    Opened twice a day. After initial -5C ended up at +10C.
    Bottles were not replaced during the 3 days.

    It appeared frozen water bottles were more effective than the flat blue block freezers but took up more space? My Woollies branch did not have square bottles only round which were used (large). (They did have square Aloe which I did not buy).
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/04/03 at 07:06 AM. Reason: Addition

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Did a non-scientific test on my new box in the kitchen with vegetables/salads - ice seemed to last 3 days. Ambient 74C.
    Opened twice a day. After initial -5C ended up at +10C.
    Bottles were not replaced during the 3 days.

    It appeared frozen water bottles were more effective than the flat blue block freezers but took up more space? My Woollies branch did not have square bottles only round which were used (large). (They did have square Aloe which I did not buy).
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre Bos View Post
    I have spend thousands of rands on various cooler boxes and the one that can keep ice for up to 5 day must still be invented
    Some ice is frozen and kept at a mere - 10C. Our bottle store does huge blocks at -22C. This kept for 5 days as ice in our Romer before it started breaking down. Big blocks work much better than small cubes.
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    Lightbulb Re: Managing your cooler box

    Today I posted an article on my blog (CampSavvy) as well as a video on my Youtube channel (link to the Youtube video in the article on my blog) about this subject. I discuss two products that I've been using for a years time to keep my cooler box and drinks cold.

    From the article: "Today I want to discuss an extremely important subject, and that is, how to keep your cooler box and drinks cold.
    Of all the subjects we can discuss around camping, that is most probably the most important. Without cold drinks, who wants to go camping? ... "

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  27. #17
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    Gerhard I enjoy your blog. Keep posting!

    I have used Techni-Ice for years but I like Stranger's idea of big thick chunks of ice. Techni-Ice is fairly thin.

    I am new to cooler boxes and have yet to test in the Kalahari summer. But in my kitchen the large thick ice bottles stayed frozen for longer than the small ones.

    I do find flexible
    Techni-Ice very useful in wrapping easily around wine bottles etc.
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2019/04/06 at 06:16 PM. Reason: Edit

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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    I find that the trick is to precool the cooler box. So 1-2 days before a trip I cycle thru about 4 x 5l deep frozen water bottles (am/pm)
    Then I load only precooled drinks/food and frozen braai meat.
    If properly prepared I can do a good 5 days even in hot environments.
    I use Coleman extreme and a older normal Coleman

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  30. #19
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    Default Re: Managing your cooler box

    5 days is good!
    A useful tip.

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