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What's AIR ICE?
Air ice blocks are made of pieces or shreds of ice compressed into a block. Tons of air pockets. I bought some last year for a Corn to Heller trip and luckily realized my mistake with time to correct it. I put the blocks into rubber maid dish pans and filled with water to freeze over night in my freezer. The pans make sort of blocks that fit a prospector pretty well.
 

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Pre-cool the cooler with 10 lbs of cube ice. I bought "cooler shock" reusable Ice packs. I put 3 along the bottom and 1 on each side of our prospector 103. Fill with beer standing up vertically then and cube ice, block ice, then food. I make my own block ice using plastic salad containers (bigger is better) The cooler shocks weld the ice together and it can be difficult to get beers out. I have a piece of reflectix cut to the shape of the cooler and it helps insulate the air space that still needs to be kept cold as I have less food and beer in the cooler
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
So....let's say I take two big coolers and I pack them for half the trip each. So I use the first one then open the other. Does the produce and fruit and stuff like that last in the unopened one for 4 days? I've actually never packed a cooler for that long and my stupid kids are vegetarians basically and the little one really only eats raw vegetables and candy . I have to feed 5 and drink a beer a mile so 87 beers lol. No probably more like juice , seltzer and used up frozen water jugs cause I don't want to carry more than 20gls of fresh water. My coolers only a 90qt but was thinking of taking an extra instead of back drybox. Or do I need too? I have a 65qt artic but it's not that great and pretty big for what fits in it. I MIGHT just maybe buy a giant one cause my cooler now was a hand me down from the 14 ft boat and this 156r will fit a bigger one. I dunno?
 

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Echo all about the coolers said above. We also change what we eat on long desert trips compared to cold water trips. Instead of lunch stuff that’s got to come out of the cooler everyday, it’ll be PB & honey sandwiches with oranges. Stuff like that. Making a few changes like that makes cooler management a bit easier and is also some insurance that you won’t starve if your ice doesn’t last the full trip.
 

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I cut a piece of 1/2 closed cell foam to the inside dimension of the cooler. It sits on top of the ice/frozen drinks and acts as a platform on which everything else can sit works really well for 4 days then becomes a little bit of a management challenge but it’s still worth while for keeping stuff out of the water
 

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I'll come on your trip and carry the beer cooler for you.:p You just feed your kids veggies while I row over and hand you ice cold beverages every mile....deal?
Best check his Buzz name, Charlie…I can see an issue there!
So here’s a suggestion: no cooler. Onions and potatoes for the kids (those are veggies, right?), river cooled beer for Dad, everyone is happy.
 

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So....let's say I take two big coolers and I pack them for half the trip each. So I use the first one then open the other. Does the produce and fruit and stuff like that last in the unopened one for 4 days? I've actually never packed a cooler for that long and my stupid kids are vegetarians basically and the little one really only eats raw vegetables and candy . I have to feed 5 and drink a beer a mile so 87 beers lol. No probably more like juice , seltzer and used up frozen water jugs cause I don't want to carry more than 20gls of fresh water. My coolers only a 90qt but was thinking of taking an extra instead of back drybox. Or do I need too? I have a 65qt artic but it's not that great and pretty big for what fits in it. I MIGHT just maybe buy a giant one cause my cooler now was a hand me down from the 14 ft boat and this 156r will fit a bigger one. I dunno?
Think you said a 7 day trip with a 90qt cooler? Seams like you need at least two of those. I’d use this trip as rationale to go get a 150qt cooler. You won’t regret it.
 

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I just did a Grand trip. 18 days, and threw away ice when I got home. Do what the outfitters do. The cooler goes into the freezer, pour in 1-2 gallons of water per day, till it’s about half full, put 10 lbs of dry ice on it during the drive down to the launch. I had an Orion 65L. Plus I cut bubble wrap as a top gasket. I could have done 21 days that way, but I started to put lukewarm beers in it.
Outfitters don't free water in their coolers it weakens them and eventually they bust.
 

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In Flagstaff the outfitters buy blocks of ice that are 8x10x2. Thy line the bottom of the coller with these blocks vertical. Any space left over they break the blocks and fill in the holes. They then lay a pad of closed cell foam down that is cut to fit exactly on top of the ice. Then the food goes on top of that, any gaps in the meat cooker are filled in with ice chucks. On top of the food is another closed cell foam cut to fit perfectly.

This means that the cold air is not sucked out past the closed cell foam when the lid is opened. There is also no air movement between the ice at the bottom so it stays colder longer. At the end of a trip that bottom ice has frozen into one big chunk so it looks like it started out as a cooler with water frozen in it.

The coolers are not cold when packed, not kept in a cooler. Everything going in comes out of a freezer or cooler per health department regulations.

Each night the coolers are drained. You can see the results of some testing about draining in my book. I throw an old cotton blanket over my cooler so it hangs off the front but it tied under the straps in the back so it hangs down on to the floor of the self-bailing boat. That way even in the sun, the blanket has moisture moving upward on it. When I have a break I throw a bucket of water on the blanket. (Large beach towels work also dependent upon cooler size.) Of course I am for waves to I don't have to throw a lot of water buckes on the coolers.

I've posted already about dropping umbrellas on the cooler during hikes, lunch etc.

That is then the biggest issue the coolers & the cooler size. The coolers the oar trips use are 3.5' tall by 6' wide by 30" in depth. The are all canyon coolers, they work better than anything else. Mass also helps. That is a lot of ice and a lot of fozen food so there is a large frozen mass in the cooler. By day 8-10 we have 1 empty cooler that we throw boatman beer in.......
 

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i'd like to see the results of your cooler drainging tests. is there a way to do that wihout buying your book? draining makes sense if you're trying to have ice as long as possible (good for bragging rights) and also don't have a way to keep stuff out of the soup. not draining should maintain a lower temp for the food items in your cooler for longer overall though; your ice will be gone sooner but the cold water in the cooler will keep anything you have left in there cooler than if it were a small chunk of ice with no cold water. .
 

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i'd like to see the results of your cooler drainging tests. is there a way to do that wihout buying your book? draining makes sense if you're trying to have ice as long as possible (good for bragging rights) and also don't have a way to keep stuff out of the soup. not draining should maintain a lower temp for the food items in your cooler for longer overall though; your ice will be gone sooner but the cold water in the cooler will keep anything you have left in there cooler than if it were a small chunk of ice with no cold water. .
i'd like to see the results of your cooler drainging tests. is there a way to do that wihout buying your book? draining makes sense if you're trying to have ice as long as possible (good for bragging rights) and also don't have a way to keep stuff out of the soup. not draining should maintain a lower temp for the food items in your cooler for longer overall though; your ice will be gone sooner but the cold water in the cooler will keep anything you have left in there cooler than if it were a small chunk of ice with no cold water. .
i'd like to see the results of your cooler drainging tests. is there a way to do that wihout buying your book? draining makes sense if you're trying to have ice as long as possible (good for bragging rights) and also don't have a way to keep stuff out of the soup. not draining should maintain a lower temp for the food items in your cooler for longer overall though; your ice will be gone sooner but the cold water in the cooler will keep anything you have left in there cooler than if it were a small chunk of ice with no cold water. .
The first results of the test were posted in the Grand Canyon Private Boaters listserve several years ago. Might find it there.
 

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Lots of good strategies posted here. My approach would be 1) Buy good ice. Solid frozen water. In SLC I go to an ice distributor for this. It's weird how hard it is to find proper ice, and I do not possess a freezer to make my own, or else I would do that. I avoid grocery store pressed brick ice for anything over ~2 -3 days. Then all the other stuff mentioned here, freeze everything you can in advance, don't open the coolers except in cool morning or dinner time, drain the coolers fully each morning until about day 5-6 then leave the water. Etc.
Have a great trip, that is a nice run.
 

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In Flagstaff the outfitters buy blocks of ice that are 8x10x2. Thy line the bottom of the coller with these blocks vertical. Any space left over they break the blocks and fill in the holes. They then lay a pad of closed cell foam down that is cut to fit exactly on top of the ice. Then the food goes on top of that, any gaps in the meat cooker are filled in with ice chucks. On top of the food is another closed cell foam cut to fit perfectly.

This means that the cold air is not sucked out past the closed cell foam when the lid is opened. There is also no air movement between the ice at the bottom so it stays colder longer. At the end of a trip that bottom ice has frozen into one big chunk so it looks like it started out as a cooler with water frozen in it.

The coolers are not cold when packed, not kept in a cooler. Everything going in comes out of a freezer or cooler per health department regulations.

Each night the coolers are drained. You can see the results of some testing about draining in my book. I throw an old cotton blanket over my cooler so it hangs off the front but it tied under the straps in the back so it hangs down on to the floor of the self-bailing boat. That way even in the sun, the blanket has moisture moving upward on it. When I have a break I throw a bucket of water on the blanket. (Large beach towels work also dependent upon cooler size.) Of course I am for waves to I don't have to throw a lot of water buckes on the coolers.

I've posted already about dropping umbrellas on the cooler during hikes, lunch etc.

That is then the biggest issue the coolers & the cooler size. The coolers the oar trips use are 3.5' tall by 6' wide by 30" in depth. The are all canyon coolers, they work better than anything else. Mass also helps. That is a lot of ice and a lot of fozen food so there is a large frozen mass in the cooler. By day 8-10 we have 1 empty cooler that we throw boatman beer in.......
I stand corrected. I was going from what a longtime GC boater had told me.
 

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Nothing beats a good cooler, dry ice and good cooler maintenance. Keep lid closed, keep in shade, wet burlap top under a wet towel. And get you dry ice at the local welding supplier. It's way cheaper, and you can buy lots more of it. 30 bucks gets me enough for a 75 and 120 qt cooler. Dry ice melts at -80 no freezer I have access to can come close to that.
 

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I also keep nothing but ice in the 120qt. Use that ice to fill the soft coolers for beer. Beer gets drag bagged first. I also pack with those 1.5 gallon water jugs from the dollar store. Freeze them in the coffin freezer for a week, then line the bottom of the coolers with them. This way your ice never sits in water. Last summer this set up still had ice after 12 days. Best I've found yet.
 

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The first results of the test were posted in the Grand Canyon Private Boaters listserve several years ago. Might find it there.
The listserv was archived before yahoo killed it, it's not likely the new board would make it available, Ricardo Martin may have a copy, I'm not sure though.
 
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