dealing with ice

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dealing with ice

Postby usurpedus » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:18 pm

a common issue is dealing with ice melt.. specifically from bags of store bought ice.

does anyone have any suggestions on how to contain this ice melt?

too many times ive bought ice, thrown it in the cooler, and the next day its like an aquarium.. has anyone used a waterproof camping/rafting bag to store the ice in, to contain any potential ice melt. if so, how much did the bag inhibit the ice's ability to keep the cooler cold?
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Mojojita » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:31 pm

Lots of us use big ziplocs for ice so the melt stays fairly clean and useable for showering and cleaning. I don't notice any difference in it's ability to keep the cooler cold - the thin plastic is just not a very good insulator.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Sail Man » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:43 pm

+1 on what Mojojita says. I do the same in the food cooler, but not the beverage cooler, and then put the water from both in my rv tank for flushing the toilet and pre-washing dishes etc
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby International Incident » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:46 pm

Ice - the problem that keeps on keeping on

Block ice would last longer. But your key issue is keeping the melt/water away from the ice. So the bags might help.
If you can freeze up some containers of water - like large soda bottles - pre event and use them as the base level of the cooler that will help as they stay frozen for much longer and the melt is contained.

Draining of the melt will also help.

If you end up using rafting bags can you report back after - then we can hear whether it worked.

Good luck.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Boijoy » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:40 pm

Melanie brings up a good point. freeze your drinking water bottles & use them in your coolers. but because you will be drinking them you will have to top off with ice at some point. I have my corner mart freeze my bottles in their walk in coolers. they are happy to do it because I buy all my BM alcohol from them on the way out. win win !!
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:10 pm

Block ice + big ziploc bag = win!

If you have to use the chipped ice try using the REALLY big ziplocs.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby littleflower » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:56 pm

i love the big ziplock idea, but have never tried it. i constantly drain off water in gallon jugs, to save for various uses, and add more ice when needed ... often cubes in the bag, so i can use it in drinks, but block as well, and dry ice, at least to start. it's very important to keep your food out of the soup as much as possible, i use a little plastic shelf for that. and ziplock bags. start with a very very clean cooler! but by the end of the week, it'll have ickies in it, so watch for that as well.

oh how fun .......... :D
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:11 pm

littleflower wrote:i love the big ziplock idea, but have never tried it. i constantly drain off water in gallon jugs, to save for various uses, and add more ice when needed ... often cubes in the bag, so i can use it in drinks, but block as well, and dry ice, at least to start. it's very important to keep your food out of the soup as much as possible, i use a little plastic shelf for that. and ziplock bags. start with a very very clean cooler! but by the end of the week, it'll have ickies in it, so watch for that as well.

oh how fun .......... :D


Big ziploc means not having to 'constantly' drain it off. I know that I'm usually too distracted with other things... ;)
Also, the big ziplocs will stay upright when they are full of water. Regular ziplocs will leak and the little ones can tip over pretty easily. For those-important-things-you-really-don't-want-wet put them in snap locking plastic containers like these.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Reverend G » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:53 pm

Last year we used the Hefty brand 2.5 gallon zip bags for ice management. Best. Idea. Ever. I am OCD about cooler management, and this kept everything dry and cool. I worked with 2 large food coolers for camp. Ice blocks in the zip bags on the bottom, and crushed ice in zip bags in the middle/top. Drainage was simple using a large funnel into an empty aqua-tainer. Since the ice is segregated from the food stuffs, melt water is relatively clean and can be reused for washing up, ect.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:46 pm

If one could find a decent wire rack to put in the bottom, to keep one's food/beverages above the waterline, would that be good or bad?
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Savannah » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:18 pm

I've heard of people doing that. It helps to have the dry stuff in tupperware rather than only plastic wrap though, 'cause the water really does try to worm its way in. (Keeping the cooler slightly off the ground, shaded, and rarely opened also slows the melt).

I do not try the cooler rack trick with bread . . . I keep my bread outside and in the shade, and air it daily for 20-30 minutes to let out the condensation with the open end away from the wind. It never stops feeling weird to air my bread, but it usually works for 5+ days with whole grain sandwich bread and tortillas. Bakery bread or gluten-free products may not fare as well.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby stinkyfoot » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:34 pm

Last year had two coolers layered up like this from the bottom:

Bubble wrap

Dry Ice

Block ice in a plastic garbage bag (we didn't get enough melt in five days to drown the food, but I like the huge ziplock idea and I want to drain them properly next time. )

Cardboard <- this is important because you don't want anything touching your ice.

Food + Cube ice in gallon ziplocks which we refreshed as they melted down, usually we'd make drinks out of the melty bags.

Wrap the whole thing up in reflective blankets.

Then one lazy cooler that we just threw beer and ice in from center camp periodically.

The coolers we had the food in were actually rather narrow and had more ice and stuff in them than actual food, but it was still enough room to store more than we needed for the week and they worked pretty damn well for crappy cheap soda coolers.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby A-RockLeFrench » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:04 pm

A generator and a refrig/freezer sure would be nice to have...

But most of us don't, so we use coolers and ice. The reflective blankets are a good idea.

I like to precook a lot of stuff at home for convenience (shredded beef, pulled pork, roasted potatoes, bacon braised collards) and put it all into gallon ziplocs and then freeze the bags of food, I also freeze most of the bacon, lunch meats and cheese. last year we had a frozen foods cooler that only opened 2 or 3x a day. A small amount of ice added to the top daily and a little drainage now and then from the spout and we were still defrosting our bacon on Thursday.

This year we will be trying out dry ice...
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby BAK3R » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:37 pm

I am running lines off of my Coolers drains to feed my unicooler *two birds one stone*
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Merc007 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:40 pm

The best coolers I've seen on the playa are Coleman Extreme series. I've modded it by putting a 5 gal bucket on one side. I also drilled holes at the top of the bucket line and installed dowels to keep the bucket in place. Wrap the whole bottom with Refletix and your set. I use the bucket for dry storage and put the ice and sealed containers in the rest of the cooler. I use mason jars for anything, if you need it chilled and can't fit it in the dry storage then pop it in a mason jar and toss it in the cooler. Great for cheeses, fresh spinach, boiled eggs... anything really.

As for water run off that is collected and poured into my swamp cooler that cools my dome. Works pretty well for a computer case fan based system. I can keep the fans on all day, cool the dome and get rid of gallons of water a day.

I never thought of ziplocking the ice! I have a box of those big ones too. I'll have to give that a try! That could make my bucket in a cooler not necessary. LOL
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby plantmandan » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:54 am

Bring a couple of foot long 2x4s to place under your cooler and keep it off the ground. That will prolong the life of your ice. When you leave, you can throw the 2x4s into a burn platform.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Homiesinheaven » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:45 pm

another trick to contain the melting ice is to buy those plastic water jugs with the handles on the top. after you drink half or all the water, cut an opening at the top and then you can keep all the ice cubes you buy on the playa in there! put the jug in your cooler and drink the water as it melts or boil it for cooking, etc.

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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Lonesomebri » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:49 pm

Wow, I always thought ice coolers were for drinks, and that cans were for food. This year, fresh sandwiches on bread. Learn something new everyday.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby teardropper » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:23 pm

Strangely, it really is more efficient to leave the water in. Stays cooler. Put your food in one or two bags - ooh, especially meat - then drain to minimize contamination.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby danibel » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:30 pm

teardropper wrote:Strangely, it really is more efficient to leave the water in. Stays cooler. Put your food in one or two bags - ooh, especially meat - then drain to minimize contamination.


Is it really? I always drain my cooler when it gets more than an inch of melt water. I thought I heard the ice stays longer that way. Hmm.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:40 pm

the ice does stay solid longer. The water brings down the tempurature of the ice because the ice and the water become one system of solid and liquid. When it's all water, then it stays colder because you've got more mass at that temp, which warms up more slowly. I guess it depends on how often you want to buy ice.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby teardropper » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:54 pm

Yeah, like Fishy said...
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Make sure all your foodstuff is in sealed ziplocks. Or make a dry cooler (search for it). Or better - both.

Go to a local hardware store, get 2 new plastic gas can (they usually have them in blue, supposedly for water, BTW) and a big funnel. Paint flat black.

Pour ice melt into container. Seal container. Set in sun until water is warm. Use for shower and clean-up stuff. While you're using one, the other is warming up. DO NOT let your ice get contaminated with foodstuff (ESPECIALLY Meat Juice). It will stink and rot and negate other use - then, you're trying to evap it off without getting use from it.

IF you keep it fastidiously pristine clean, you can even drink it. I know people who do do that.

WARNING - If you use the gas can thing, DO NOT confuse this black (or blue) gas can for your red Gasoline gas can while fueling your generator (or worse, confuse it wtih your your yellow piss storage gas can when you go to fuel the genny - or take an ice-melt shower...) :mrgreen: I do know someone who used "yellow gas" on his generator - just once.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby CrispyDave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:20 pm

Save your 2Liter coke bottles and do a hot water bath on them, fill and freeze them. Store these in a separate cooler with a couple blocks of dry ice they stay frozen... Also store your frozen food in the dry ice cooler, have a second cooler with your cold items and keep a couple of the 2lt bottles in that one they will keep your cooler and food dry and become drinking and shower water. As one or two start melting pull one out for drinking and swap out a new one from the dry ice cooler. Lather rinse and repeat....
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby ranger magnum » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:48 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:A generator and a refrig/freezer sure would be nice to have...

But most of us don't, so we use coolers and ice. The reflective blankets are a good idea.

I like to precook a lot of stuff at home for convenience (shredded beef, pulled pork, roasted potatoes, bacon braised collards) and put it all into gallon ziplocs and then freeze the bags of food, I also freeze most of the bacon, lunch meats and cheese. last year we had a frozen foods cooler that only opened 2 or 3x a day. A small amount of ice added to the top daily and a little drainage now and then from the spout and we were still defrosting our bacon on Thursday.

This year we will be trying out dry ice...


You know, they arent as good as you think. They dont cool fast, and the constant opening of the door doesnt allow them to fully cool. So we will use the rv frige for coffee creamer, and other things not often used.

Costco (aka the $99.00 store) has the max pro extreme 165 qt cooler. We used a friends when we went camping in june, snd even in 100 degree weather, it still kept ice frozen after 4 days. So we will use it for drinks and stuff we use alot. Im gonna put dry ice on the bottom, a layer of ice cream sammiches above that, and food stuff above that. I have some quart containers to put cubed ice in so that when it melts it doesnt get everywhere, and i can drink the melt!
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby maladroit » Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:54 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:Pour ice melt into container. Seal container. Set in sun until water is warm. Use for shower and clean-up stuff. While you're using one, the other is warming up.


It seems like sun-warmed, tepid water would be in much greater supply than chilly, ice-cold water. Surely the cold water would be valuable for some other use?
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby CrispyDave » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:00 pm

Another good idea for drink coolers w ice, get a 5 gallon bucket with lid and about 2-3 foot of clear hose tubing big enough to go over the drain spout on your cooler, us it to fill the 5 gallon bucket as you develop water you want to drain, that can be used for showers, cleaning and a last clean of your windshield before you leave.
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby MikeGyver » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:30 pm

Everyone has their own opinion on weather it works or not, but on camping trips we put rock salt into our coolers and it seems to keep the Ice colder longer. As said before keeping the cooler off the ground help loads
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:47 am

That rock salt does work, I think. From my memories of home made ice cream...
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Re: dealing with ice

Postby BBadger » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:20 am

You're not gaining much from putting salt on your ice. The salt just reduces the freezing temperature and that phase change must extract heat from somewhere. That heat extraction is the mechanism behind ice cream making; however, like ice cream making, you're just moving heat from one place to another. What may occur is that the goods in your cooler are made cooler than they would otherwise be, but at the expense of more ice melting faster. Your main concern should not be what state the ice is in, but whether the contents of your cooler maintain the same cold temperature.

The overall goal is therefor to ensure that your cooler maintains a "closed cycle"--i.e. there is no heat transfer into or out of the system. Insulation is the most important aspect in that regard.
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