Originally Posted by curtis catman
All jokes aside. That is a good article and it is simple physics leave the water in your cooler. Plus it cools your beer faster with melt water.
Beer is one question. Food is another. If the ice is cooling your beer faster, it is melting faster. But on your 21-day Grand Canyon trip, you probably will be more concerned about preserving your food than cooling your beer.
And in fact, conserving your ice for its own sake is irrelevant. What matters is the food, not the ice. We drain coolers because the water in the cooler inevitably becomes contaminated, and the contamination spreads to all of the food sloshing around in that water. Pathogens from unwashed chicken end up on the lettuce, and next thing you know everybody is barfing all over your raft.
Okay, of course you make every effort to package your meats in waterproof containers--seal-a-meal or Ziploc bags, whatever. But no packaging is foolproof, and you probably don't package produce that way in any case. All I'm saying is that no matter what you do, you can't keep cooler melt sanitary.
Another thing to consider is that when you hammer your way through Lava Falls with a cooler half full of 32 degree water, everything is getting sloshed around, and your food is getting battered by that chunk of ice. The food ends up in the garbage. You still have a big chunk of ice, but what good does it do?
Sure, you can put your beer in it after you've thrown out your battered, contaminated food. Maybe you can get drunk enough to forget that you're hungry.