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Old 06-07-2014   #11
Sembob's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 484
Is there any concern about damaging your cooler with dry ice? I read a review somewhere for the Igloo Ultra Marine and one said they loved the cooler but it cracked after using dry ice. I have not heard anyone else say anything about this. I would like to try dry ice but don't want to damage my cooler. Any thoughts?


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Old 06-07-2014   #12
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vancouver, Washington
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Buildup co2 in your blood triggers your body to breathe. Air is only 16% oxygen and 78% nitrogen. I would think excess co2 would increase your breathing rate. At some point you would roll down the windows and the excess co2 would escape with the inrush of fresh air. CO (monoxide) however is a killer but its a product of incomplete combustion and not a product of the sublimation of dry ice.

Dry ice is helpful especially if you want to start the trip with a deeply frozen cooler. Adding fresh ice and rock salt I have been told is a way to deep freeze the remaining ice after the brine is added. The freezing point of the brine is lower so the remaining ice has to get colder for the energy to be conserved.
If you want to maximize your cooler ice retention do not open it often, do not drain it, and keep it out of the sun and covered at all times with a wet towel. This will chill the outside surface and reduce rate of heat transfer into the cooler.

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Old 06-07-2014   #13
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vancouver, Washington
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Evaporation requires 540 cal per gram of water. Ice melting only requires 80. Evaporation is free when you have water. When the ice melts you cant make more of it. So the evaporation effect is a free method of improving the life of your chilled food.
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Old 06-07-2014   #14
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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I have used dry ice for years without any damage. However it does get really cold, much colder than regular ice.

(reg ice = 32 degree F vs. dry ice = -109.3 F)

So I could see how some types of plastic could become brittle in the extreme cold. My Coleman is the stainless steel variety, but I have used it in plastic coolers.
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Old 06-07-2014   #15
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carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
Plan on having gloves handy as it will 'burn' your skin on contact.

I have used several times when getting to the rio takes a couple of days. For normal trips it hasn't been necessary.

I have also used to extend my freezer space at home during pre-rig.
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Old 06-07-2014   #16
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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The cracked coolers may be from letting the dry ice freeze free water into a very expanded block in the bottom of cooler.

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Old 06-07-2014   #17
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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Most molded plastic coolers have a radius edge and slightly sloping sides. This seems to be enough to make the expansion force the ice up rather than out. I would want to keep the block thinner than about 4". But your mileage may vary.
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Old 06-07-2014   #18
Boston Mountains, Arkansas
Paddling Since: 2002
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Thanks, all. This is the kind of feedback that is helpful. Especially using dry ice to freeze water in the cooler.
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Old 06-07-2014   #19
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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Posts: 4,345
Co2 will displace oxygen and you will get light headed in closed tifgt quarters. I have seen it happen in trandport so keep it outside. Freeze the shit ouy of an already frozen cooler for travel and it will take days for anything frozen in the ice to become accessible. I have filled the bottom of our cooler with blocks of ice then 2-3 inches of water and frozen it with dry ice. This could easily be done twice or 3x as long as you can keep the cooler out of the heat.

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Old 06-10-2014   #20
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Cle Elum, Washington
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The cold will go right out of the bottom of the cooler and freeze what the cooler is sitting on. Don't leave it on something that can't take it overnight.

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