Originally Posted by semievolved
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 true....at 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.
...so, 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*