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Old 09-29-2014   #51
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
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Originally Posted by lhowemt View Post
You could always add some foil bubblewrap to the inside of your cooler. Do you use a topsheet of that stuff inside your cooler too?

120 cooler is nice, so much room but then we just fill it anyways......

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I've done the foil bubble wrap stuff and I always use a foam pad. I also freeze any food that I can. It's more a matter of real estate than cooling I think. It's hard to get enough ice in a 105 cooler with that much food. More ice or more food....but hard to have both. Two full days for 6-8 people plus my drinks would be ideal, but we usually run a smallish group, so not as many coolers. A 120 would be nice. Or perhaps I should read that "no cooler" cookbook that was referenced in the UL catarafting thread? Not that I have a ton of extra dry box space for food either.

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
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Old 09-30-2014   #52
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
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Originally Posted by goldcamp View Post
So you don't really need two of the same coolers to devise an experiment to truly figure this out.
1.) Take two identical tupper wares with lids
2.) Place a thermometer strip in each (like those you would find in an aquarium, if you can't find those with the correct temp range, a meat thermometer would work too)
3.) Measure and add the equal amounts of water (1/2 full will do)
4.)Freeze the same amount of time
5.) Poke a hole in one and place both on cookie sheet (to allow draining and maintain the same conditions otherwise)
6.) Check and record temps every 10 minutes
7.) When both temps are same the experiment is completed
8.) Take pictures and share your results on Mtn Buzz

I have wanted to do this for awhile but never got around to it. Anyone?
So what you'd be testing here is: Does drained ice last longer than non drained ice? A valuable experiment but not the same as: Does draining water from your cooler keep food in your cooler longer than draining it?

Also the design is flawed: In your case the two experiments will be affecting each other to some degree. They will be "sharing" each others thermal mass. i.e. both are affecting the temp inside the cooler and are therefore not isolated - an important factor in experiment design.

As noted somewhere upthread a key to the second question is the difference in thermal mass at the end of the experiment.

So the melting of ice is a positive feed back loop; that is the more ice that melts the less resistant the remaining block becomes to loss of heat and the faster it melts. Is this agreed? The idea with keeping the water is that the near freezing water retains a lot more thermal mass, making it more resistant to change than just the ice portion of the system. So when undrained you have the ice itself + the cold water. When drained you simply have the ice. The drained ice may last longer as ice (due to conductivity of water vs air) but it's slowly loosing it's thermal mass and therefore has less potential to "absorb heat". The same system undrained may not have solid ice for as long, but it will have a greater potential (thermal mass) to absorb incoming heat.

To determine which system would cool longer (keep the temp under some number, say 40 F) you would need two identical coolers, packed similarly, in identical environments (but not influenced by the other).

I would wager a box of beer that the drained cooler would warm beyond 40 degrees faster than the undrained cooler.

Unfortunately this still won't answer the question of to drain or not to drain for most folks, cause some manage their cooler for solid ice, not cold retention. Especially on mid length trips where keeping food cool isn't a particular challenge but having margarita's on the last night might be.

Again, a no-win argument so we should all just keep on keepin' on!

Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 09-30-2014   #53
goldcamp's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
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I think the experiment would provide a definitive answer.

I agree the tubs should be isolated enough that they are not effecting each other. Also I meant to say cookie cooling rack so that the tupperware wouldn't be sitting in its own melted water.

Maybe I didn't spell it out that well, but you would continue take temp reading until the both "coolers" reached room temp. This would allow you to see how long the cooling effects of the water lasted and whether of not draining was beneficial.

Although intuitively, I think Zbaird has it right. An oft opened drink cooler, never drain --- for the purposes of longevity, drain.
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Old 09-30-2014   #54
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
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so your saying use two coolers, roughly the same size and quality but just scale down the test ice to say a pound? That would be better but my feeling is that it's really not scalable. The mass is the key. I think scaling it would be interesting but if you set up different experiments at different scales I think there would be a tipping point where they would flip... My guess is small scale drained would last longer and large scale, like a semi trailer sized cooler undrained would last longer but where does the mass vs conductor efficiency flip over...

Anyways, I'm very happy with my cooler management practices, as are others that do it differently, so my guess is it really doesn't make that much of a difference. I'm just thankful I haven't been drug to the dark side (no cooler trips) I just hear fingernails on a coolers...ahhhh, stop it.
Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 09-30-2014   #55
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
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Originally Posted by semievolved View Post
in answer to one poster though, the cool (haha) thing is that as long as there is any ice at all, the water will be pretty much right at the freezing temp. as soon as the last ice is gone, the water temp will rise.
I'm glad you pointed this ^^out....I remember as a kid doing science experiments on thermal energy etc and water (in as close to a closed system as we can get) that still has ice in it is indeed approaching freezing temp. (of course large bodies of water cannot follow this rule-but that is mainly because they are not a closed system).

Because of that^ and personal experience, I have always felt that NOT draining does prolong the "coldness" of my cooler....

The fact of the matter is that water increases the ice's ability to transfer cold to the food/drinks, therefore melting the ice quicker but keeping the food colder. (same goes for salt-which is why rock salt is used in making home made icecream) but that same water insulates the food and water from the energy transference from the air...which is warmer. If the food is initially cooled to lower temps before it is then insulated from heat transference to air, then it makes sense that not draining keeps things cooler longer.

but zbaird's notion of no drain= colder food and draining = longer ice duration may have it's merits and fits in with some of my personal observations. I also feel like there may be a tipping point of an ice to water ratio where my thought does not stand the same time I often am just barely hanging on to my last pieces of ice when I get off the water...and if I drained, then I would have nothing keeping my food cold., what I'm getting at is while I was a hard set "no drainer", zbaird has me re-thinking that possibly that since we ARE NOT existing in closed system environments, that there may be, in practicality, a fine balance somewhere in between.... but still favoring it leaning toward the no drain end.

NOW in practice, I mainly stick to freezing 1/2 gal juice jugs like elkhaven does...typically 1 jug per day out works well for me in the food cooler, and usually an extra jug in my drink cooler to melt off quicker for drinking water. If I jam ice cubes into all the voids in between, items it stays cold enough to have to pull jugs out before the end of the trip to melt if I want cold drinking water.

*I love cooler draining threads*
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Old 09-30-2014   #56
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
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Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
That would be better but my feeling is that it's really not scalable. The mass is the key. I think scaling it would be interesting but if you set up different experiments at different scales I think there would be a tipping point where they would flip...
and you should be right, mass in a roundabout way...or more specifically exposed surface area is the key.

Volume increases exponentially with an increase of surface area. Logically leading one to believe that melt would not happen at the same rate for different sized ice blocks.

Shape would have a bearing as well.
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Old 09-30-2014   #57
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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I home freeze blocks in 1.6gal waterbricks, put them in above my shrinkwrap frozen food, throw in some dry ice to super cool, cover with 1/4" white ethafoam, and then use the melt water as my reserve water supply, draining only towards the end. Last week my experimental design yielded still reasonably frozen bricks after 10 days, with 7 of them in +95F Utah sun. The ice water tasted really good. Yeti Tundra 105.
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Old 09-30-2014   #58
Medford, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1984
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I will give my experience to this endless debate. We did a 10 trip on the Chilcotin I usually drain but decided to give the no drain a try. At the end of the 10 days I was the only person on the trip with no ice. I did not take a thermometer to the cooler so I don't know who's cooler was colder but I wasn't happy with no ice. Nice that no one has jumped in to tell us how stupid we are to discuss this topic again.
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Old 09-30-2014   #59
pojoaque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1972
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quick comment on the tupperware experiment. i like it but the one thing that would potentially be a factor not included is the air replacement. what i mean is every time a cooler is opened up, some of the cold air is replaced by ambient, presumably warmer, air. if the cold water has been drained, the air volume will be greater in that cooler than in the undrained cooler. if you assume the fraction of air exchange is the same for each cooler (i.e. 50% of the cold air is replaced), it stands to reason that the cooler with greater air space will require more recooling to make up for it.
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Old 09-30-2014   #60
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Posts: 2,909
Holy crap I can't believe we're discussing this topic again

Cooler management tip #245:

One benefit to draining the cooler is to catch the water in a bucket full of beverages from the drag bag and take it up to your companions lounging around. They'll be nice and cold in no time and you haven't wasted any more ice cooling them down. You can also pre-chill beverages this way before loading them into the cooler.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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