Ice chest and space blanket

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

Ice chest and space blanket

Postby geospyder » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:14 pm

The ice chests will be on 2x4's under a table which will be in the shade under a monkey hut. Would a space blanket over the top of the ice chests be an over kill?
Don't believe everything you think.
User avatar
geospyder
 
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: South of the Playa
Burning Since: 2009

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby BBadger » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:38 pm

Yes, it would be overkill. You're in the shade, and the coolers are probably not adjacent to a sun-lit-up surface that will reflect much heat. The main method of heating will therefore be conduction. The conducting medium will be air, notably air that can transfer heat, which is usually moist air. Fortunately, the playa is nearly devoid of that enemy-of-comfort humidity, and the wind/air will pass on little heat to the cooler. Speaking of wind, it will suck having to deal with a thin sheet of mylar like a space blanket in the wind, etc. unless you bind it to your chests with glue and tape. If you're going to do that, you might as well make your own ice chest with taped, silvered styrofoam.

I'd concentrate on buying some good quality, well-insulated (white-colored) ice chests and keep them out of the sun. Some people like to elevate them, but I a good cooler will be insulated on the bottom as well (it doesn't hurt to elevate them anyway).
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

Hate reading my replies? Click here to add me to your plonk (foe) list.
User avatar
BBadger
 
Posts: 3966
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:37 am
Location: (near) Portland, OR, USA
Burning Since: I'm not sure

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Savannah » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:41 pm

Agreed.
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
 
Posts: 10525
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby geospyder » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:49 pm

After doing some reading I think I'm going to use the space blanket to line the inside of the cooler.
Don't believe everything you think.
User avatar
geospyder
 
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: South of the Playa
Burning Since: 2009

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:50 pm

A disenting opinion: bbadger hit the nail on the head regarding conduction being the dominate heat transfer mechanism,but he didnt take it far enough. Conduction gets the heat into the cooler, but it has to be there in the first place. Block it from the surface of the cooler and there isnt anything to conduct. The paradigm is this: the "cold" doesnt "leak out". Instead, the heat leaks in. This is not a distinction without a difference.

We did an experiment a few years ago. Two Coleman coolers placed next to each other. Both contained 80 lbs of ice and equal drinks. We put one under a silver tarp, and the other was exposed. Both were placed on a sheet of R-panel ala monkey hut materials. After 5 days, the one exposed was completely awash and devoid of ice. The one covered by the tarp still had quite a bit of ice. Identical coolers.

So IMHO, yeah, it matters.
"Give me an underground laboratory, a half a dozen atom smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care NOT who writes this nations laws"!
User avatar
GreyCoyote
 
Posts: 713
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:24 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Savannah » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:57 pm

It would seem like a tarp has different capabilities than a space blanket! Thank you for sharing the results of your experiment.

I wonder if the tarp-covered cooler being slightly more irritating to delve into helped at all?

Please note: that is 50% smart-ass, 50% sincere wonderment.

5 days with regular ice is pretty impressive.
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
 
Posts: 10525
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:09 pm

My big cooler gets 70 pounds of dry ice to keep 8 one gallon jugs and the frozen food frozen.

It's wrapped strategicly in a comforter and only opened once a day to get out a jug of ice for the daily cooler and the frozen food for that day.

By labor day there is no dry ice, but still enough chunks of ice to get to Fernly on tuesday. 8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me
User avatar
FIGJAM
 
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:39 am
Location: apache junction az.

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:10 pm

Savannah: they were both loaded pretty equally. In the chaos to get them loaded they both got equal parts booze, soda and water. We really didnt plan it that way - it just sorta happened. Is this scientific? Not a chance. Lots of room for variables. But they are results nonetheless. :) Give me another dozen burns and I promise to refine my results! :mrgreen: All in the interest of science, of course.
"Give me an underground laboratory, a half a dozen atom smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care NOT who writes this nations laws"!
User avatar
GreyCoyote
 
Posts: 713
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:24 am
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby geospyder » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:20 pm

My "ice" is frozen one gallon milk containers filled with water. The plan is to supplement the large cooler (100 qt) with dry ice. It will be opened as little as possible. The smaller cooler (40 qt) will be the one I would open the most. As the gallon containers in the smaller cooler melt into water, I will use them to drink, cook with, etc. When the smaller cooler's ice is close to being no longer ice, they will be replaced with an ice from the larger cooler. That is the plan. We'll see what happens. Each year I've come home with at least one or two gallon containers still with little ice in them. Using dry ice this year should even make it last longer (I hope). We'll see.

FIGJAM - just noticed your post. Sounds like we have basically the same plan.
Don't believe everything you think.
User avatar
geospyder
 
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: South of the Playa
Burning Since: 2009

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Bounce530 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:46 pm

From my own experience;
one year, cooler raised but exposed...no ice within three days
following year, cooler raised but covered with a parka jacket during the day ice lasted a few days longer
following year after that, cooler raised, covered with parka jacket during the day, plus the cooler wrapped with car windshield reflector bubble wrap, and under a monkey hut, the same block of ice that I put in there before the event lasted through the whole event and came back home.

The cooler was the dedicated food cooler (no warm drinks were put in it through the week, only food was taken out of it) and it's just a cheapy red coleman cooler.
TomServo wrote:Pickles are cucumbers soaked in EVIL!
User avatar
Bounce530
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:26 am
Location: H at about 4:25ish
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: BRC Guardian docking pad

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby BBadger » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:19 pm

geospyder wrote:After doing some reading I think I'm going to use the space blanket to line the inside of the cooler.


Silvering the insides of containers is what you do to trap radiant heat inside the container. Think of a silvered vacuum bottle. It does little good for keeping things cool on the interior as there is little radiant heat to trap inside (see the heating/cooling distinction GreyCoyote made).

GreyCoyote wrote:A disenting opinion: bbadger hit the nail on the head regarding conduction being the dominate heat transfer mechanism,but he didnt take it far enough. Conduction gets the heat into the cooler, but it has to be there in the first place. Block it from the surface of the cooler and there isnt anything to conduct. The paradigm is this: the "cold" doesnt "leak out". Instead, the heat leaks in. This is not a distinction without a difference.


The real problem I see here is that the coolers people buy are just not well-insulated in the first place. The day coolers you sit on around the camp fire are not going to keep your ice cold for very long because they're not designed for it. What this elevation and covering is really doing is just adding additional layers of insulation to the cooler -- layers that really should be unnecessary in a good cooler.

Most coolers found in stores are insulated with thin continuous air pockets between the two linings. The air does act as an insulator, but it's not a vacuum and still facilitates the transfer of heat. The air in such coolers is also free to move about; any surface touching anything, creating a conduction path, will warm the entire insulated air pocket.

The size of the coolers matter too. The greater the volume, the more the contents insulate each other in addition to less surface area exposed per unit volume. My friends and I brought just a single Igloo Maxcold 165-qt 7-day cooler I bought at Costco for like $90. It uses foam-based insulation and is white on the surface to help reflect heat. Sure, we bought ice mid-week, but that was also because we were using that as the primary cooler for drinks, food, etc. I think most people would have more ice at the end of the day if they just bought better -- insulated -- coolers rather than coolers that serve better as reinforced storage chests (forget those Rubbermaid bins, coolers are great for storage).

We did an experiment a few years ago. Two Coleman coolers placed next to each other. Both contained 80 lbs of ice and equal drinks. We put one under a silver tarp, and the other was exposed. Both were placed on a sheet of R-panel ala monkey hut materials. After 5 days, the one exposed was completely awash and devoid of ice. The one covered by the tarp still had quite a bit of ice. Identical coolers.


But there are key pieces of information missing here: What specific models of cooler? Was the exposed cooler accessed more than the other, or were both allowed to remain unused those whole five days?

In the end though, if putting a cooler under a tarp works, by all means go for it. A solution like that is cheap and easy. Buying a better cooler, however, may go a bit farther.
"The essence of tyranny is not iron law. It is capricious law." -- Christopher Hitchens

Hate reading my replies? Click here to add me to your plonk (foe) list.
User avatar
BBadger
 
Posts: 3966
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:37 am
Location: (near) Portland, OR, USA
Burning Since: I'm not sure

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby dragonpilot » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:09 pm

What's with all the scientific mumbo-jumbo? Just make more trips to Arctica...it's fun!

Dragon out.
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.
User avatar
dragonpilot
 
Posts: 1389
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 12:53 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Burning Since: 2005

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby MikeGyver » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:49 pm

I've got 2 Generic Coleman Xtreme coolers one for drinks and one for food. food one only gets opened once a day and the drink one as you can guess gets opened tons of times a day. Both use regular Ice and I haven't had any problems. I go to get Ice every 2nd or 3rd day on average. No special treatment, they sit in my tent off the ground and that's it. Last year I had a monkey hut and the first year I didn't, but it didn't seem to make any difference on the life of the ice.

Short end of it is don't open your coolers any more than you have to, if you are going to put anything back in your food cooler after dinner or something put it in your drink cooler first. Putting something hot/warm in your food cooler will make a difference in the ice life.
The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
User avatar
MikeGyver
 
Posts: 553
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:23 pm
Location: San Diego, California
Burning Since: 2011
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Elorrum » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:29 pm

I've never had to buy ice, had cool drinks all week. I freeze my drinking water, and have cool drinks from powder mixes, or concentrates that way. I like the square sided half gallon drinks, like juice, or lemonade, and freeze those, or buy some for the bottles to freeze water in. I take all my water bottles to my sister's chest freezer at least two days before I leave. I've brought two small coolers (a basic cheap rubbermaid 50qt , and a smaller igloo 32qt) instead of one large one. One I wrap up in reflectix, or a windshield shade, and don't open it until Wed, or Thurs. I keep them up off the ground and in the shade. This year, I'm bringing some perishable food so, I think I'll need to get ice. I'm going to try to do one small cooler with some dry ice persuasion, for some food that needs to stay frozen for several days. Anybody ever been to Schaub's meat market in Palo Alto, CA? I'm going to try to bring a Fred's marinade steak for my special dinner, the third or fourth night in. (I found out that somebody has guessed it is squid ink that makes it totally black on the outside. I don't think I wanted to know if that is correct.) I've seen some reverse engineered recipes, but I'm going for the real deal.
Image
What's the name of the act? The Aristocrats.
User avatar
Elorrum
 
Posts: 4476
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Canoe » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:45 am

There's a lot of good information provided above, both in why/how things work, and in some products or practices you can use.

But, I would strongly recommend adding a 'space blanket', or more accurately, another different Radiant Barrier around your cooler.

On playa, you're going to get heat from: sunlight, conducted heat and radiated heat. The more heat you keep away from your cooler (whatever cooler & "ice" setup you choose), the longer you'll have cool inside. As you've fully taken care of the sunlight issue, that leaves conducted heat and radiated heat. With no sun-heated spots immediately "within sight" of the cooler (line-of-sight for radiated heat), you haven't got the worst of the possible re-radiating heat sources to address, but hot air is a source of both conducted heat and radiated heat. This is why those that add a Radiant Barrier around their cooler see an improvement in their cooler performance, usually rather significant. And any hot air you can keep away from blowing on the cooler, means you haven't got a continued supply of hot air conducting its heat to the surface of the cooler.

The 'space blanket' aluminized Mylar has excellent heat reflectance (when new) but is a pain to deal with, be it wrapping, taping or gluing. There are lined ones that are bonded to those cheap plastic tarps, making it easier to deal with, but still a pain. Both types lose a lot of their heat reflecting properties as they get handled or blown in the wind, and the surface gets crinkled, or even starts to flake. At that point, it's still worth having in place, but there are better choices for a Radiant Barrier.

Foil-Sided Bubble Wrap is an excellent choice for a Radiant Barrier, and also provides some insulation at the same time. It has aluminized Mylar on both sides of bubble-wrap in the middle. With the foil bonded to the bubble wrap, it minimizes crinkling and hence better maintains its heat reflective properties. The outside foil with its high heat reflectance will reflect heat away. The bubble-wrap provides insulation, to reduce the rate that heat can conduct through to get at your cooler. The foil on the other side provides low emittance, so heat that gets through the bubble-wrap has a slow rate of being radiated at your cooler; but that doesn't provide much practical benefit as that foil is likely in contact with the cooler and will conduct that heat to its surface. Same issue with your idea of lining the inside of the cooler with a radiant barrier - low emittance means it slows down radiating heat that gets through the cooler walls to its contents, but on the practical side, both the air inside and those contents will be touching the bottom and sides and absorbing that heat through conduction - much more effective to keep that heat out to begin with. Price for FSBW can vary a lot, so check different sources.
Last edited by Canoe on Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Canoe » Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:45 am

Now the practical.
  • You can easily cut foil-sided bubble-wrap and tape the pieces to the cooler to fully cover it, or construct a "box" that fits your cooler's shape.
    • Either way, tape it together with aluminum foil tape, which can both strongly join and fully seal any seams to keep hot air out. This tape maintains the heat reflectance properties as that tape is also an excellent radiant barrier.
    • If you're wrapping the cooler with a blanket for added insulation, tape that blanket in place such that you can open the lid without having to unwrap the whole cooler, then tape your radiant barrier all around that blanket.
  • For further performance, the piece for covering the cooler's lid can be taped directly to the lid, and the sides of "box" that the cooler sits in can extend six or eight inches above the top of the cooler: when you open the cooler the extended sides help keep the cooled air within the cooler, to minimize the introduction of hot air into the cooler.
  • Which leads us too another good radiant barrier, that has excellent insulation. Foil-sided fibre-re-enforced foam sheets, like used for hexayurts. Build a box for your cooler, with the shiny or shiniest side facing outwards. Cut that board, use aluminum foil tape to seal the edges and then join the pieces to make your box. Size the sides to extend the sides well above the top of the cooler (keeping the cool air in), and you can build a foam-board lid that fits down inside that box to sit on top of the closed cooler lid.

Additionally,
  • Having the cooler up on 2x4s is very good, as it eliminates the ground as a heat source for conducting through the bottom of the cooler. As your cooler will be under a table, I'd guess you'll be sliding them out on the 2x4s to gain easy access. Sliding on the 2x4s will damage any radiant barrier, so get a cheap plastic tray from the dollar store and use the aluminum foil tape to secure the tray to the bottom of the cooler/radiant-barrier combo.
  • With any radiant barrier, dust sitting on it prevents the reflection of heat, and it will absorb heat and conduct that heat through the radiant barrier. Where the radiant barrier is on bubble-wrap or foam insulation, this is less of a concern, as there's insulation, but you'll still get better performance if you whipe the dust off regularly.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Mojojita » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:09 pm

One method that I have used over the years if packing space is an issue (and I don't want to bring big cooler-cozies) is to get good old all wool army blankets, wrap your cooler in them and get them wet - the evaporation from the wool really brings the temp down at the surface of the cooler and the wool holds a lot of water for a long time. This is a great use for used cooler water if there has not been food leakage into it.
Ut ballista es interdico, tantum interdico mos fui ballista.
User avatar
Mojojita
 
Posts: 1031
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Strata » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:33 pm

I have had good luck with putting a space blanket inside my small cooler as a liner with a flap to draw over the top. Ice seems to last an extra couple of days in there. I keep the cooler on the floor of my tent, in the shade, with a towel between the bottom of the cooler and the floor. I also use one in the soft-sided bag cooler that I use for drinks, and it seems to help a lot in that scenario. YMMV of course, and I think the ideas about foam board and 2x4s and such are going to be more help than a space blanket. Combining solutions can be a good thing though!
Engineer, Artist, Gardener, Slacker, Bodhisattva
BearHug * KF6NBZ * Comms9060
* 1995, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 *
User avatar
Strata
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:37 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Burning Since: 2006

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby lucky420 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:17 am

Bump
Oh my god, it's HUGE!
User avatar
lucky420
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:47 am
Location: Reno, NV
Burning Since: I'm not sure
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Canoe » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:15 am

Canoe wrote:[*] Having the cooler up on 2x4s is very good, as it eliminates the ground as a heat source for conducting through the bottom of the cooler. As your cooler will be under a table, I'd guess you'll be sliding them out on the 2x4s to gain easy access. Sliding on the 2x4s will damage any radiant barrier, so get a cheap plastic tray from the dollar store and use the aluminum foil tape to secure the tray to the bottom of the cooler/radiant-barrier combo.


NOTE: under the Burning Man Food Safety Requirement for the Temporary Food Establishment permit, it requires
Store all foods, beverages, serving containers, equipment and ice off the ground a minimum of 6 inches.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby BeeWeeDee » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:52 am

The key principle in the debate between conduction vs convection is the concept of maintaining a "stagnant" air film around the outside of the cooler. Anything that can restrict the movement of air around the cooler would be beneficial (tent, bubble wrap, blanket, etc.).
"If you embrace change you'll love it forever." - Ratty
User avatar
BeeWeeDee
 
Posts: 157
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:57 pm
Location: rural wyoming
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Ice chest and space blanket

Postby Canoe » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:06 am

Canoe wrote:Shade & blankets are the tried & true 'old school' for getting better performance from your cooler on-playa. But others are getting even more benefit.

For those coming for the first time or those looking for further improvement, the rough hierarchy of beneficial things includes:
  • not in your solar-oven vehicle
  • in the shade
  • make sure cooler seals when you close it
  • off the ground
    • (even in the shade or inside a hexayurt; yes the ground is cooler than the air, but it's hotter than the cooler's contents so its still a source of heat to conduct through to the inside)
    • preferably with insulation under it, to keep hot air from flowing under it
  • added insulation (blankets, cooler inside cooler, foam-board, bubble-wrap) to keep the hot air away
  • radiant barrier to reflect heat away

Then through the threads there's advice on how to manage cooler access through the week. As every time you open it, you're exposing the contents to hot air. So a single cooler, multiple coolers (food vs. drinks, etc.), how to package the food to keep the food clean/good and any ice-melt water uncontaminated, use only potable water for making ice-cubes, cooler-packs vs. ice vs. dry ice, etc.. As Trilobye said, search through the threads.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm


Return to Keeping Cool

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests