Cooler freezer - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-25-2012   #1
 
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loveland, Colorado
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Cooler freezer

Has anyone used parts from an old freezer to prepare and freeze their cooler? On a recent trip we started talking about rigging a 'freezing lid' from an old freezer. I've heard people prepare their coolers in walk in freezers, has anyone ever rigged a freezer to their cooler???

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Old 07-25-2012   #2
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Looking forward to this thread. Wish I had something to add.
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Old 07-26-2012   #3
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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Not having access to a big walk-in freezer I used dry ice to freeze a large block of ice at the bottom of my cooler.

I started with block ice, cut in half length wise and pieced together for a layer of ice approx. 3" deep. I then used crushed ice (left over from cutting) to fill in all the gaps. I added some ice cold water to fill in any voids or air pockets. I then placed a 2 lb chunk of dry ice on top and let it sit overnight.

By morning I had a solid chunk of ice about 4" thick that filled the cooler side to side with zero voids or air gaps. This big block of ice lasted for 7+ days in 100 degree heat on my last San Juan trip. Cost of the dry ice was around $20.

Dry ice at -109 degrees F is going to freeze water a heck of a lot faster than the typical house hold freezer temperature of 0 degrees F.

By the way, a power saw (circular or saw's-all) cuts thru ice like butter...
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Old 07-26-2012   #4
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kengore, how do you deal with draining the water from the cooler? Did you block off the drain before freezing?

Also, did the melt water in the cooler melt off the 4" base quick? How often did you drain the cooler during the trip?
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Old 07-26-2012   #5
 
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We had a friend freeze water in the bottom of our coolers for the grand last fall. The block melts away from the sides so that the drain plug still works and you can let the water out.
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Old 07-26-2012   #6
 
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loveland, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kengore
Not having access to a big walk-in freezer I used dry ice to freeze a large block of ice at the bottom of my cooler.

I started with block ice, cut in half length wise and pieced together for a layer of ice approx. 3" deep. I then used crushed ice (left over from cutting) to fill in all the gaps. I added some ice cold water to fill in any voids or air pockets. I then placed a 2 lb chunk of dry ice on top and let it sit overnight.

By morning I had a solid chunk of ice about 4" thick that filled the cooler side to side with zero voids or air gaps. This big block of ice lasted for 7+ days in 100 degree heat on my last San Juan trip. Cost of the dry ice was around $20.

Dry ice at -109 degrees F is going to freeze water a heck of a lot faster than the typical house hold freezer temperature of 0 degrees F.

By the way, a power saw (circular or saw's-all) cuts thru ice like butter...
Sounds like that worked well. I was thinking of using plywood and foam to make a platform that would set on the top of an open cooler. The working components of an old freezer could be mounted to the platform so the cooler would become the freezer and the platform the lid. Plug it in and add water to make the same clear block of ice. Prepare the cooler as appropriate and when it's time to go, unplug and remove the freezer lid and close up your cooler. Not sure if the cost of running the freezer lid for a couple of days would be less than dry ice. Actually, I'm not even sure it would work at all, but I wouldn't be surprised if a buzzard had tried. Anyone?
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Old 07-26-2012   #7
 
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I like the idea and think you are on to something. You could also use it to freeze after it is packed with food, fill in the voids with cube ice and deep freeze it all with block on the bottom. Pro-packed in your garage. I have never taken apart a freezer but there are lots of parts and the big heat exchanger on the back would suck to deal with.
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Old 07-26-2012   #8
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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I'm on the 'don't drain' side of the cooler equation, so I wasn't concernced with keeping the drain hole clear. However, as Coloradopaddler suggested the ice melts at the edges first, so I could have drained as needed.
I only drain to prevent water from sloshing or when the ice is finished. On a 7 day trip I might open the drain a bit on day 4 to get the water level below the ice level, then drain completly at day 7 when the ice is gone.

I'm am an admitted cooler nazi. No one goes into my coler except me, and I don't go into the cooler unless I absolutely have to. Even then I try to minimize the open time and coordinate my access for late in the evening or early mornings. If I'm not cooking that day the cooler stays shut, period.

I also made an insulating jacket for the cooler out of bubble wrap style insulation and duct tape. I figure the reflective surface helps fight the sun and adds about 50% more insulation. Plus the hassle of removing the jacket reduces casual cooler use.

bubble wrap insulation
24 in. x 25 ft. Staple Tab Insulation-ST24025 at The Home Depot
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Old 07-26-2012   #9
 
Bozeman, Montucky
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This doesn't really apply to the freezer aspect, but I really like the idea of freezing recycled juice jugs (with a screw lid). Then you get ice cold water, and draining is a non issue. If you layer your cooler with the jugs and put some sort of foam/ensolite pads between layers it doesn't melt all the jugs at the same time. Beginning days at top, end of the trip at bottom (obviously).

There's some really good suggestions at this funny site I found for guide tips and tricks. Stole some aspects of what they recommended. I spent way too much time all over this site, but this is the cooler discussion.

Ice Cooler Problems and Cures for River Runners
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Old 07-26-2012   #10
 
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
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I just picked up a few of these flat jugs to try out as ice packs, I will let folks know how they work...

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