dry ice

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.

Re: dry ice

Postby MyDearFriend » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:35 am

I brought 20 lbs that didn't last beyond Tuesday, because I didn't get my coolers off the ground until Wednesday. :cry: Oh well, live and learn!
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Re: dry ice

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:14 am

Best I've ever gotten out of dry ice - whether in Yosemite or on Playa - was 10# a day. This was wrapped in Newspaper and kept in a separate DI Storage cooler. MAY reinsulate my cooler next year, but still, it seems to be what it is!

IIRC Crystal in Reno was 89 cents or something. My big mistake this year was not pre-chilling my coolers - cost me a day and a half. Oops.

Keeping the coolers off the ground is IMPERATIVE no matter what kind of cooler or ice you use... Again, it doesn't matter if you're on playa or forest, you will lose your "chill" to the earth faster than to the surrounding air.
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Re: dry ice

Postby Boomr » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:51 pm

Well, after all that experimenting about how to use the dry ice, we had a bit of a different experience. I'm sure it is typical so I'm happy to share it here.

First, the two of us were driving from Minnesota and our departure was a bit disrupted for stupid reasons, and I was not thinking straight, so at least half of the frozen food I had planned to take was left at home, in the freezer in the garage. The amount of frozen food that made it into the cooler was tiny, and when I looked at it (not realizing that most of it was in the freezer back home) it was such a lame amount I couldn't imagine why I had gone to the trouble.

Secondly, we missed the turn for Winnebago and the dry ice plant, so we didn't get the dry ice on the first day as planned. We got it on the second day in Sioux Falls SD, but because I was still tired and stupid, I looked at the tiny amount of food and thought "We certainly don't need 40 pounds of dry ice for THAT!" So in Sioux Falls I bought (I think) 15 lbs of dry ice.

Wrong. If you are trying to keep one ice cube frozen for 1 week (in my cooler) you need 40 lbs of dry ice. If you are trying to keep an entire cooler full of food frozen for 1 week you need 40 lbs. It doesn't scale. One ice cube doesn't need a tiny amount, and one cooler a larger amount. No. Doesn't work like that.

Then, on day 3 when we were camping in Wyoming it was late and we didn't feel like taking the 10 minutes to pitch the tent, so instead we spent 45 minutes taking all of the stuff out of the van so we could sleep inside. And the air mattress had a leak, and we had mosquitos by the bushel, and my tender-fleshed partner from England got eaten alive, and we forgot to take the coolers out of the van and I woke up in the morning in the sealed van (full of mosquitos) on a soggy mattress with a killer back ache resting my head on a cooler full of CO2.

Sigh. We lived. We really are not usually this incompetent.

Thank goodness (I suppose) that the dry ice was almost gone already for some unknown reason, so we had to buy more the next day in Winnemucca. I bought another 20 lbs in 10 lb blocks. I was getting sort of spooked about how much this trip was costing (GAS OMG!) so I tried to be cheap on the dry ice. As you can see, this was already a lot of hoo-hah about a few frozen sausages and chicken wings. We also bought water ice cubes and blocks for the other cooler. We were still a day away from the playa.

When we finally got to the playa we did enjoy the frozen sausages for many days, and my chicken drummies are so good that people would riot for them (recipe upon request.) The best benefit was the frozen jugs of water in the dry ice cooler that were transferred to the water-ice cooler, where they kept things cold for several days. Then we used the cold water to make lemonade from frozen concentrate. We only had to go to Arctica once, which was actually quite fun, although I wouldn't want to do it every day. We ate very well for an entire week.

Conclusions: I would probably still do the dry ice thing again for two people, but I would get a really LARGE chunk of dry ice on day one and use it mostly for keeping jugs of water frozen. What I wanted most were cold drinks, and cold water, and the frozen water jugs were great for keeping the ice cubes cold. It was so fabulous to store cubes and to relax in the shade and reach over to flip open the cooler to grab a handful of cubes for my drink of choice. Totally decadent. If I had a camp bigger than 2 people, or I had children with me, I would definitely take frozen food. Precook all of the food you can, then freeze it. Dump a very large chunk of dry ice on top of it (40 or 50 lbs which will cost you around $50) and it works like a charm.

Even though we screwed it up, the dry ice was still much easier that the water ice. We had to constantly drain melt water from the cooler and then figure out how to get rid of it. We didn't have an evap pond (and I never saw any of them work) so we left our basin out in the sun to evap as much as possible (not much) then sprinkled the rest around our camp and washed our windshield etc before we left. Next time I will remember to pack the funnels to we can siphon off this water into an empty water jug and pack it out. We took everyone's advice about raising the coolers up off of the playa, and I believe this worked well. Maybe we will experiment with this next year....

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Re: dry ice

Postby SquirrelHead » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:37 pm

This is a very informative post. Thank you to everyone that pitched in to create it! I had never even thought about keeping the coolers off of the ground. Now that it was mentioned it makes total sense. I will be testing dry ice out over the summer but I like the idea of freezing milk jugs with water and using those to cool the chill cooler each day.
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Re: dry ice

Postby Jesus » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:43 pm

Thanks, Squirrelhead.

Boomr, wow, did you remember to CLOSE the cooler? Just kidding, but seriously, which of the many ideas folks have shared for making the dry ice last longer (if any) did you adopt?
In your test, you didn't mention taking any extra steps, or what kind of cooler you got, just that it was an Igloo maxcool, which means nothing, as Igloo makes maxcold coolers that are thin soft-sided bags just for day trips, and maxcold coolers with very thick insulation.
My dry ice lasted a long time, keeping multiple coolers of stuff cold/frozen, depending, and I got much, much less than you.
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Re: dry ice

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:51 am

Jesus wrote:Thanks, Squirrelhead.

Boomr, wow, did you remember to CLOSE the cooler? Just kidding, but seriously, which of the many ideas folks have shared for making the dry ice last longer (if any) did you adopt?
In your test, you didn't mention taking any extra steps, or what kind of cooler you got, just that it was an Igloo maxcool, which means nothing, as Igloo makes maxcold coolers that are thin soft-sided bags just for day trips, and maxcold coolers with very thick insulation.
My dry ice lasted a long time, keeping multiple coolers of stuff cold/frozen, depending, and I got much, much less than you.



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Re: dry ice

Postby 48_love » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:24 pm

^ come on ... knowing we have an impending Exodus for each event, the joke needs to be completed. haha
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Re: Here's my Trick

Postby solemnraven » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:44 pm

Tricky wrote:I'll bring a cooler full of frozen 1 gallon plastic Milk Jugs. If they're filled about 3/4 or 2/3 with water when they freeze they should expand but not burst. I will then black a sheet of dry ice in that same cooler, this will keep all of those frozen gallons frozen. Each day I'll take one of those frozen gallons into the other cooler in which I'll keep food & drinks. Over the course of that day that 1 gallon of ice will keep the cooler cool and thaw into on gallon of Ice water for the next morning.
The next day I'll fill my camel back etc with this ice water and place another frozen jug in the food cooler. This process worked perfectly! Always had Ice water, never needed to fill the food cooler with ice which of course kept all the food contained with-in dry, and that one piece of dry ice lasted the whole week, as the cooler containing it was opened only once a day!!!



this...is pretty genius.
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Re: Here's my Trick

Postby piehole » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:29 pm

solemnraven wrote:
Tricky wrote:I'll bring a cooler full of frozen 1 gallon plastic Milk Jugs. If they're filled about 3/4 or 2/3 with water when they freeze they should expand but not burst. I will then black a sheet of dry ice in that same cooler, this will keep all of those frozen gallons frozen. Each day I'll take one of those frozen gallons into the other cooler in which I'll keep food & drinks. Over the course of that day that 1 gallon of ice will keep the cooler cool and thaw into on gallon of Ice water for the next morning.
The next day I'll fill my camel back etc with this ice water and place another frozen jug in the food cooler. This process worked perfectly! Always had Ice water, never needed to fill the food cooler with ice which of course kept all the food contained with-in dry, and that one piece of dry ice lasted the whole week, as the cooler containing it was opened only once a day!!!



this...is pretty genius.



i would like a diagram of this method as I too agree that this is GENIUS
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Re: dry ice

Postby inthecolumbiagorge » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:53 pm

We used this idea for Coachella last week. Left our house on Tuesday morning early with a 156qt cooler with 6 gallons of frozen water, four 1/2 gallons of my favorite lemonade, 15 lbs of frozen bacon, 6 lbs of frozen sausage, 6 lbs of frozen good quality lunch meet and 1 whole pork tenderloin seasoned and cut into 3 equal roasts. We got 15 lbs of dry ice in The Dalles, OR and drove 2 days to Indio, CA. Purchased another 25 lbs of dry ice there on Wed. evening and my biggest issue was getting things thawed out in time to use:-) I still had 2 gallons of frozen water and two 1/2 gallons of lemonade on Sunday night and used them to keep the cooler cool for the 2 day drive back home. Still had some ice left on Tuesday night when we got home and I cannot say enough good things about how this all worked so well. Seriously great way to keep food cold for a whole week and with a smaller cooler you could cut down quite a bit on dry ice I think. Tricky....I am a fan:-)
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:11 am

Been looking around for several days trying to find a source for large blocks of dry ice.

Most is just 5"x10"x2".

It seems the larger blocks don't sublimate as fast as the smaller and although "Airgas" shows that they can supply 10"x10"x10" blocks, I can't find ANYWHERE that has that size.

Pheonix is a pretty big city, but still no luck.

Anybody else having this problem? :?
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Re: dry ice

Postby cordsally » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:45 pm

I faces the same? but doesn't matter at all.......................... :wink:
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Re: dry ice

Postby bryozoan » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:10 am

I have been lurking and following this thread waiting for someone else to say the following, but I have run out of patience. :-)
As many of you have learned, dry ice does not last very long by itself. However, if you surround it with water ice (ordinary ice) it will last a week or more easily, even if you have a relatively small quantity of dry ice (7-10 lbs). Your mileage may vary.

Here in the midwest, we have lots of humidity. If I put dry ice in a cooler, it makes frost on the outside of the cooler. This is highly inefficient. There is way too much heat being transferred through the cooler and there is nothing to prevent the dry ice from sublimating as fast as it can. Since the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is very low and coolers are not anything like air tight, sublimation is not just a product of temperature, but of the CO2 trying to equilibrate with the atmosphere. So, what I have been taught is to take a few pounds of dry ice, which will look very small, and place it 4-5 inches of water ice. Then cover that with 5-6 inches of water ice. You may even want to spray a little water on the ice to make a more perfect seal (the dry ice will freeze it). My biggest problem is if you don't use enough water ice, the dry ice will still freeze your stuff through the water ice.

The bottom line is: the water ice acts as insulation and as a nearly airtight seal around your dry ice. More water ice is better if you want to store. I did this last in August canoeing the Upper Missouri River in August in full sun at temperatures over 100 degrees F. I only had about 3" of water ice, so I was only able to keep my beer and water in the cooler for about 1/2 hour before they would freeze solid. However, I still had lots of ice at the end of the week.
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Re: dry ice

Postby MyPlayaUserName » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:38 pm

I did big blocks of dry ice wrapped in towels and then lots of frozen pre cooked food and it was easy and lasted until about Sunday morning. By then plenty of people had ice to spare so I never had to buy ice and ate better than my previous burns.
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:05 pm

How big were the blocks and where did you find them?
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Re: dry ice

Postby usurpedus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:08 pm

when you covered the dry ice with water ice(regular ice cubes) was the dry ice covered with newspaper or anything? were the ice cubes?

thanks for the informative post
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:04 am

Still can't find the bigger blocks.

But here's a tip.

Try not to buy dry ice from grocery stores or walmart.

Their price is usually $1.19 a pound.

I found an ice cream supply place that sells theirs for 40 cents a pound!!! 8)

Shop wisely!
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Re: dry ice

Postby moonrise » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:51 pm

One or two of the ice suppliers in Reno sells a de-mineralized type of ice. It lasts longer in your cocktails!! :) (it's mentioned in resources, ice, main webpage)

It's similar to the glacier ice served in the drinks at an Alaskan bar I used to frequent.
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Re: dry ice

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:06 pm

Why is this a sticky, and the Figjam's Cooler thread isn't?
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:28 pm

It was "Once upon a time", don't know why it got changed. :?
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Re: dry ice

Postby stinkyfoot » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:29 am

bryozoan wrote: So, what I have been taught is to take a few pounds of dry ice, which will look very small, and place it 4-5 inches of water ice. Then cover that with 5-6 inches of water ice. You may even want to spray a little water on the ice to make a more perfect seal (the dry ice will freeze it). My biggest problem is if you don't use enough water ice, the dry ice will still freeze your stuff through the water ice.



This is what I did last year except I was less exacting about quantities. I like the idea of spraying the whole setup with some more water to seal it all in and I think this year I'm going to get some ice forms so I can make a little ice igloo around my dry ice in the cooler instead of throwing a chunk of dry ice in there and then a chunk of block ice on top.
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Re: dry ice

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:36 am

FIGJAM wrote:It was "Once upon a time", don't know why it got changed. :?

Probably something to do with your evil step sister then.
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Re: dry ice

Postby tisha2 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:27 pm

meat businesses/slaughterhouses use dry ice and sell it in larger quantities. try contacting one in your area. gross, i know.
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Re: dry ice

Postby DustyBubbles » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:37 pm

I'm so sorry if this has been answered but I can't seem to find it if it has. We are driving from the north and will probably be stopping in Alturas. Do any of you know if there are any grocery stores there that sell dry ice??

Yes, I found another thread that had everything I needed to know.
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Re: dry ice

Postby Esteban Ohh » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:57 am

a cooler containing dry ice in the trunk of the rental car, driving from Reno to the playa, is that safe? or will the co2 favor leaking into the car vs out the cracks of the trunk?

im picturing that movie with chris farley and david spade in the suped up cop car when the nitrous in the trunk malfunctioned and leaked gas into the car and they got high.
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Re: dry ice

Postby lucky420 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:18 pm

Esteban, you should be fine and if not at least you'll have a grand time :mrgreen:
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:18 pm

Not funny, it could kill you.

I have to pick up my dry ice in my car.

I'll have the AC on vent and keep my window down an inch so the co2 can't biuld up.
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Re: dry ice

Postby lucky420 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:16 pm

well fuck figjam ya can't live forever
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Re: dry ice

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:31 pm

I CAN'T???

But, but, but I has plans. :cry:
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Re: dry ice

Postby uniunicorn » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:13 am

Just make sure you have some room for the CO2 has to come out, otherwise fresh things like grapes or vegetables can get carbonated and spoiled.
I think if you freeze things and then put them in the dry ice cooler, it is much better, but as to keep thing cool ( not freezing) you have to be careful to not carbonate them.

also if iyou buy a big chunch like someone said earlier, it does evaporate and produce CO2 which is toxic.

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