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Thread: Ice for coolers

  1. #1

    Default Ice for coolers

    Over the years I have felt, at times, the cost of ice for the cooler has significantly added to our food budget. We have traveled with a battery operated refrigerator, but found them too small, not cold enough and not good for extended days of not driving to recharge.

    On this last trip I did some research and found that the national chain, Ice House of America, has a website that lets you find locations along your route.

    These are the free-standing 'ice houses' you see as you travel through towns. For us it has always been hit or miss in finding them. So to have a resource to plan ahead is great.

    On this trip a 16 pound bag of ice was $2 and if you wanted to load directly into your cooler you would get 20 pounds for the same $2.

    If you are a member of Costco I have purchased a 20 pound bag for $1.67 to $1.75. Not all stores have ice.

    As I don't want to promote just one or two companies I hope others will share other resources for ice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    For our 2012 vacation, we also felt that ice had cost us more than we realized. We needed ice to keep drinks, mayonnaise, condiments, and dressings cold. Then we decided, this is nuts! So, for our 2014 vacation, we can buy little packets of mayo, mustard, catsup, and even salad dressings that don't have to be refrigerated. Then the only thing we "need" ice for, are the drinks. We can take a small cooler and pick up ice, then use it inside a drink cup to get the water or soda cold. This way, we don't need two separate coolers (and therefore, more ice).

    Thanks for the hint on CostCo. We are first-year members of that store, and are just starting to find out some of the ways that this membership will help us on our trips. The ice house map will be a nice resource, too.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Refrigerator or cooler?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pmount View Post
    We have traveled with a battery operated refrigerator, but found them too small, not cold enough and not good for extended days of not driving to recharge.
    Maybe you were travelling with a battery operated cooler. I too have had these. Not only are they not big and cold enough, but they have a very limited life.

    However, a battery (12v) refrigerator with a proper compressor is a completely different thing. Add to that an extra battery with recommended wiring at least a 1/4" copper, and you have a refrigerator/freezer in a conventional car. I have had this for many years, in several different cars at home. I use it not only for trips, but when shopping in summer, to stop food spoiling; ice cream melting.

    The one I have both at home and in the US. in my van is large enough to carry 6 x 1/2 gal milk bottles plus lots of other food. When I have been on any trip of length and the battery is fully charged, it will easily run for 72 hours (haven't tried it for longer) without driving or flattening the battery. I have mine set at 1C, and it keeps that temperature all through the summer, even when the van is parked in the sun for an extended period. (I tried 0C, but found food freezing.)

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default No ice for me for several years

    I haven't carried ice for years... I use the cold packs (like are used to ship chocolate). I use up to about 7-10 of these artificial products at a time depending upon how big a cooler I am using. But I am rarely, if ever, camping and so it is easy to find a freezer in a motel that I can use to refreeze these gel-packs.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    That's what I do too, Mark - "blue ice" packs. Occasionally I do wind up in a motel without an in-room fridge/freezer - once when this happened the desk clerk offered to put my packs in the lobby freezer for me.

  6. #6

    Default They're the only ones I've seen

    The Ice Houses of America, dba "Twice the Ice", have 4 locations near to my home,including a new one just 1.5 miles away. As messy as it can often be, there is often no substitute for lots and lots of ice. If that's what you need, "Twice the Ice" works well. We've purchased several 100-150 quart capacity marine coolers full for wedding receptions and large oyster roasts, and at that scale, the savings are meaningful. Just be sure to bring lots of help to manhandle those coolers with 120-160 lbs of ice inside! They don't jump back up in the truck by themselves.

    Foy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Different species

    No question that ice trumps for stationary special events. I buy ice in bulk too when entertaining.

    Mark

  8. #8

    Default Ice chest cozy and mini-blocks

    A few more ideas relating to ice and ice chests. A couple of years ago I took a quilted windshield sunscreen and fashioned it into a cozy for the cooler. It slips over the cooler top and covers the 'gap' between the top and base. It has extended the ice for our trips.



    On this thread several have mentioned using reusable blue ice. As we seldom have access to a freezer this doesn't work for us, especially having to store them in between freezers. What does work is freezing 32 oz soda cups. It is almost like using block ice, which does last longer. We do this at the beginning of a trip, it lasts quite a few days. Once melted we can store the cups inside each other and use them again when we do have access to a freezer. Also, if they split or get lost along the way they are easy to replace.



    Just a few ideas to enjoy a road trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Frozen food to keep the rest cold.

    This reminds me of when we used to go camping with the family, all those decades ago. We froze the milk in litre cartons, as well as all the fresh meat we were taking. We had a large cooler (a bit like in your picture). This kept drinks cold for the 5 or 7 days we would be away. The first few days we would have to take out the milk before going to bed, if we wanted liquid milk for breakfast.

    I like your cosy. Am now thinking of something like that for my fridge. Not that it is not running extremely efficient, but, who knows, it could still run more efficiently.

    Lifey

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