Dry ice VS Block ice VS Cubed ice - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-13-2008   #1
ecarlson972's Avatar
Summit, Colorado
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Dry ice VS Block ice VS Cubed ice

I am doing a four day trip on the Green River over memorial day weekend and I am trying to figure out the best method for keeping everything cold. I dont have a fancy yeti cooler just an igloo 95 quart cooler. I know some of the tricks to keeping ice like seperate cooler for the beer. Wet towel over the top and duct taping the lid seem.

I am curious on what type of ice to use? I know we will have to bring cubed ice for coctails at night. But I dont want to use the ice out of the food cooler just because there will be raw meats in there. Also is dry ice or blocked ice better in the food cooler. I also heard through the grape vine that you can freeze Budweiser in a can without it exploding? Any ideas to keeping cubed ice from thawing and keeping the food cold?


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Old 05-13-2008   #2
Golden, Colorado
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Consider using majority block ice. The key - absolute key - is to keep people from the in-and-out game. Opening, closing, opening, fishing around, deliberating....that's what kills yer ice. Go to the grocery store and pick up a "lunch size" soft cooler for each raft (<$10). Drop a sixer in each with some cubes - this will keep your daytime beverages cold and coolers closed as much as possible during the day. Also, organize your meals in the same place - maybe even with a list. This will keep the in-and-out game to a minimum, and your beer and food cold.

Hope this helps.
"It boats really easy - it's too shallow to flip"

-El Flaco describing OBJ
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Old 05-13-2008   #3
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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If you're on mellow enough water for any of the days use a drag bag to keep beer cold. Most water is nice and cold right now.
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Old 05-13-2008   #4
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Golden, Colorado
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My trick for food coolers is to take block ice and put each one in its own compactor bag (compactor bags are the shizz). That keeps your food from getting soggy, and keeps the ice colder longer. Buy a bunch of zip locks and pre-bag as much as you can, and throw out as much packaging as possible- it just takes up are space. I would also recommend that you get a small reflective tarp to cover your cooler, just to keep as much direct sunlight off the lid as possible. Dry ice works, but it can make your food taste funny (especially fruits and vegetables).

If you can borrow space in a walk-in or chest freezer, you can pour water into the compactor bags, tie them off, and out them in the cooler and freeze the whole thing solid. Take it out the day you leave and wrap it in that reflective tarp- that usually adds another day onto the longevity of your cooler ice.

One more trick- pre-assemble a lasagne dutch oven dish for one night's dinner, with the dutch lined with heavy foil, then wax paper on the foil. The build your pasta and cheese and sauce on top of the wax paper, and freeze it solid within the dutch. Then you can pop it out of the DO before the trip, and put the lasagne plug in the bottom of your food cooler. The DO can travel warm outside the cooler once that plug is solid. It acts as an additional cold source, and it's a quick-assembly on river; drop it back in the DO & slow cook it with your charcoal while you take a hike. Easy as pie- just don't wait til the last night when it's totally thawed and no longer holding the DO shape....
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Old 05-13-2008   #5
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Cube ice will not last, so just forget about it unless you absolutely want it. Anything next to dry ice will be frozen solid, so tough to cook a frozen block of meat. Here is what I used to do when I camped out in CB for a summer with just a run of the mill type of cooler. I would use a combination of dry ice and block ice to keep my food for a week at a time before I would hit Gunnison up for supplies. I would have the dry ice next to a block on the sides, with the food I was planning to use quickly in the middle. I would put stuff I was not planning to use immediately with the dry ice. The dry ice would keep the block ice from melting for a few days and also keep the stuff next to it frozen. By the time I ate through the supplies in the middle, the dry ice would be gone and I would start on the stuff that had previously been frozen. It takes some experimenting to get the right setup, so you will have to improvise on the go.
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Old 05-13-2008   #6
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
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Don't buy block ice from the store. All it is is crushed ice, frozen into a block. It doesn't last near as long as solid ice. Buy solid block ice from an ice company or froze your own in a plastic tub. Find a tub that is very near the size of the bottom of the cooler.
El Flaco's idea with the lasagne works great. I use a plastic slow cooker liner inside the dutch to froze it and it comes right out. I found a tupperware type container that is very near the same size as the dutch and put the frozen lasagne in that before it goes in the cooler. I think that helps it keep it's shape as it starts to thaw.
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Old 05-13-2008   #7
Cisco, Utah
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Dry Ice on top will freeze everything below. On Bottom to refidgerate it. (cold air goes down...) DO NOT CHOP IT UP AT ALL. If you do put a peice on your tongue. This will help remind you not to do it next time. You can freeze a couple of milk gallons full of water to put in there also. No mess and a bit of fresh water at the end of the trip. Dry ice will keep wet ice cold & Visa / Versa... For 5 days this is plenty of. Biggest problem with cubes and a proterty of all ice is cubes has more surface space to melt. Blocks have less. Keeping a wet towel is helpful but shouldn't really be a big issue for a 5 day trip, specially in the spring. If you use more than one cooler, organize them by day (s) and dont go into the later one till you need to. The less opening / closing the better. Cheers
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Old 05-13-2008   #8
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Another good trick is to buy the square, 2 gallon water jugs and freeze them. It keeps the water off your food and you can drink it after or if it melts. On a 4 day trip with any kind of cooler management, I can't believe you will run out of ice.
As Snowhere says, dry ice works good, but there is a bit of a learning curve to managing the cooler when you use it.
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Old 05-13-2008   #9
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Lots of good advice above. I always use frozen water bottles, instead of block ice. Be sure to let a little out so the bottle doesn't crack as it expands. If you can spare the space, a 2.5 gallon jug lasts for 3-4 days with good cooler management.

A few weeks ago on the Dolores, if you left your cooler open over night, the ice would reform all by itself. Needless to say we had lots of surplus ice on that trip.

I've not tried it with Budwieser, but if you freeze a Dales it will be flat when it thaws. Maybe it doesn't matter to some people or happen to all beers, but I expect my beer to be carbonated.

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Old 05-13-2008   #10
SMCanyon, Colorado
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I do what rwhyman sayz.Other tricks- buy blocks before the trip and put them in a freezer. They'll freeze harder and last longer. If you want cubes put them in zip lock bags, let them melt a little and then put them back in the freezer. They'll last at least a couple of days that way. Freeze bottles of oj, gatorade, margaritas and such. Drink 'em when they're thawed and cold. Anything that goes in the cooler should be cooled down first.
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