Best cooler option

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Best cooler option

Postby Nick.Bed » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:26 pm

So what's a good setup for cold food storage... That isn't a $1500 powered cooler or a $300 Yeti. I will be putting power in my trailer, but just starting the build in the next couple of weeks and don't want to drop big money on a expensive cooler quite yet.
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby friz » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:00 pm

I use a large coleman extreme for beverages an less perishables and a small RTIC for more perishable items.

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Re: Best cooler option

Postby tony.latham » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:06 pm

We like the Coleman 54 qt Steel cooler.

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Prices vary considerably for them. So shop around if that's what you're looking for.

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Re: Best cooler option

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:51 pm

How long do you plan to camp, and how much space do you have?
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby Squigie » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:33 pm

I use what I've got, which are certainly not the best: A Coleman Xtreme 50-60 qt (not certain what the exact capacity is, but it's in that range). An Igloo 100 qt. And a handful of Coleman beverage "stackers".
There have been many more over the years, but they weren't worth keeping, or died horrible deaths.

The Stackers are terrible. You're doing very well to get ice to last a day. I rarely use them any more, except when I need to try to keep things from freezing.
The large Igloo is primarily a meat transport cooler. But I use it for whatever is necessary, whenever it's necessary.
The Coleman Xtreme is my go-to, do-all cooler. The 5-day claim is pretty fair for ice and use by adults. In cooler weather, with responsible use and placement, I've still had remnants of the original ice after 9 days. No matter the weather, if children are always sticking their grubby little hands in the cooler and leaving the lid open, 2 days is pretty optimistic for ice.

You can always stack the deck in your favor, however, no matter what you use:
Pre-chill your cooler before you load it. I usually add 20-40 lbs of ice to my cooler(s) the day or night before I intend to load them. (The water will be drained, and the ice will stay on for the ride when food is loaded.)
Use frozen bottles of water, instead of ice cubes. No water, and less surface area to melt.
If you know you'll be gone 3+ days, freeze the food that you won't be getting to for a few days. Freeze your meat. Take smaller containers of milk and freeze all but the first one you'll be using. Etc...
Keep them in cool places, and shaded. Throw blankets or other insulation over them, when possible.
If I know I'm going somewhere I won't want to come back out of until the trip is over (meaning no ice runs), or I'll be battling heat for some or all of a moderate-length trip (5-9 days), I pre-chill with dry ice and add 5-10 lbs on top of the food after loading.
(Just don't over-do it. I've frozen the entire contents of my cooler before, by using too much ice on the bottom and dry ice on top. We still had ice at the end of an eleven-day trip, in the high desert, in early September, though... :roll:)
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby PCO6 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:40 am

I have a Coleman Extreme that I like. I bought an Ozark Trail 25 litre cooler at Walmart ($110 CDN) and have used it on my last 3 trips. It's been good too. It's a roto-molded cooler much like a Yeti. It's lockable and certified bear proof (when locked). It's probably not as good as a Yeti but it can be purchased for a lot less money. What I don't like is that it's fairly heavy (most of this type are) and it doesn't have a drain (larger ones do). My wife also isn't crazy about the rubber latches. I found them a bit hard to use at first but I got used to them.

https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ozark-trai ... lsrc=aw.ds
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby working on it » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:30 pm

* I also have a Coleman Extreme (and a smaller Igloo MaxCold) I like, but they're old-school (I've had them for 15 years) and not as efficient as newer tech coolers, since they only last for two days in Texas heat. I recently bought an injection-molded 24-qt Igloo IMX ($80 USD at Sam's Club), that compares with the Ozark Trail (but it does have a drain), and it works well, up to 4.5 days. But, for my deep-frozen meat storage, I made a cooler-in-a-cooler http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=68543&hilit=failed+experiment (putting a 14-qt Igloo Ice Cube inside a larger 48-qt Igloo Ice Cube, with pink foam, Great Stuff, and extra bulb seals under the larger lid), which works for 5 days, if I only open it once a day.

* Since I'm not a rabid camper, only going 3 or less times a year, I couldn't justify getting a Yeti or such, or re-configuring my galley area to squeeze in a modified dorm fridge (with extra battery, dedicated inverter, and associated wiring), or a Dometic/ARB type 12-volt fridge/freezer (usually $500 and up). So, I'll just have to limit trip length to 4 days, and make do with what I have. Freezing as much as you can beforehand, and just using items as they thaw, seems to work the best for me...I no longer have warm drinks on my return trip home from camp.
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby wildcatphotography » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:46 pm

I've got a 50 Quart Xtreme on the front of the trailer. It just fits where I need it to be. I freeze a couple gallons of water and put them in the bottom. Put in the food, and if there's room, a ten pound bag of ice chunks. Sometimes freeze small water bottles also because I take lots of water. Usually lasts three or four days. I have a 70 Quart I prefer, but no room for it. If I'm in the sun at all, I drape a wet towel over it when parked. Some people use Reflectix, but I don't have room for extra stuff.

People holler about wet, soggy food, but I put stuff in Zip-loc bags and plastic storage boxes and don't have soggy stuff.
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby swoody126 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:01 am

"The Best Cooler Option" is 2 coolers

A. one for more valuable perishable foods(precious meats and foods needing longer term refrigeration)

B. one for items that will be used that day(drinks n stuff like lunch meat n condiments requiring moderate refrigeration)

unit A is precooled(precool both) as mentioned above as well as in the instructions that come with many of the coolers and once stocked only gets accessed 1x/day moving the day's menu items into unit B which is the goto unit for drinks and daily needs

freezing meats to be kept in unit A turns them into refrigeration aids as they get transferred into unit B

using frozen water bottles in unit A can be systematically transferred into unit B for refrigeration in unit B while thawing out for drinking at the same time

the key to being able to have steak or pork chops for the last evening's meal is not opening unit A where they're kept more than 1x/day

as mentioned above it is quite important to keep all coolers in the shade and covered w/ blankies...

if your cooler doesn't have a really good latch that seals the lid/box seam an insulating band around the seam will help keep the air from getting in/out

all that being said buy the nicest cooler you can afford that has a lid that seals well w/ the box and that is kept in place w/ heavy duty rubber latches

a way to know if your cooler lid is sealing is that the lid will be difficult to open because the air inside is super-cooled and as it shrinks it will suck the lid down instead of sucking warm air in...

for those of you who have coolers that suck the lid closed simply open the drain a crack to allow you to open the lid and close the drain back quickly

"The Best Cooler Option" are the ones you HAVE that keeps your stuff cold ;-)

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Re: Best cooler option

Postby gudmund » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:45 pm

my vote is for the "Lifetime" 55 gt cooler from W-M for $97 - have had it a over a year now and is rated as a 7 day cooler and has been doing just !!great!! Also have one of their newer 28 qt models now also (5 day rated $78 W-M) and it is a good one, also! Wish I had room for their newest one, a 77 qt ($154 - 9 day rated) but it just won't fit (so I than tried putting a second 55qt one along side the first one but - again, so close - but just short of a 1/2 inch to wide - which is why I ended up buying their 28qt version) :cry: I do NOT use a cooler in the back of the tear any longer - as I had in my first one, after leaving too much ice in and having it melt, and ending up with just to much water damage - today with this second tear, the coolers are stored just inside the tailgate of the canopy covered PU bed - Much easier access now for loading/unloading and open tailgate 'ice water' draining :thumbsup: I love these coolers!!! Yeti's maybe good. but these 'Lifetime's' are almost as good at about a 1/4 of the cost $$$$.........and the other feature they have that I really like is the 'clamp lever style' locking latch's - no rubber band's being used here!! I'm good :applause: PS; these are certified as being 'Bear' rated - also..................

suggestion- something I having been using for years now is a (about $10 at W-M in the home improvement dept.) 'radio' "inside/outside thermometer",' putting the 'outside' probe inside a sealed freezer baggy, than storing it in the cooler with the food, I than carry the 'inside' temp gauge reader up front with me in the PU cab console. At any time now, I can monitor the cooler temps as I travel - works good......

also as far as Coleman "Stacker's go - they work great for certain uses - but not as an 'ice' cooler. Great for serving ice from when mixing drinks - good for salad/food mixing and just keeping something 'coo'l for later - the double tall version works good for storing bread in (thus keeping the heat away from it) but my "favorite" use is for "washing dishes" when camping !!!! keeps the water warm and is big/deep enough to hold 'all' the dishes when washing along with the lid being handy for 'a quick' cover-up if need be........... :applause:

and Yes- when not camping, there is one deep version in each of my vehicles (yes, I have 2 of them - Coleman Outlet store for less than $20 each) for keeping frozen items cold for the trip home from the grocery store ....... :applause:
Last edited by gudmund on Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby bdosborn » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:29 pm

I like my refrigerooler, I haven't bought ice since 2011:

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Re: Best cooler option

Postby gudmund » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:29 pm

haven't got to see one up close yet but Ryobi is suppose to have a battery powered 50 qt cooler now using their 18 volt battery system. The 9amp battery's they have now are suppose to be able to power it for at least 24 hours. The $$$ for one I saw was around $250 + the battery $$$ and them 9 amp'ers are not cheap!! One of these days I will have to do some more research on one.................. :roll:
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby dmb90260 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:32 am

When I had my teardrop it had a semi-refrigerator. Semi because it kept food 20 deg below the ambient temperature which means it worked well when it was cold but not wo well when it was really hot. I kept my important stuff in my Coleman.
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Re: Best cooler option

Postby KTM_Guy » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:20 pm

We used an Rtic cooler (watch for sales), Yeti knockoff. It worked fine. But we switched to a Snomaster fridge freezer and it is great. It lives in the back of the Jeep, I didn’t want to take up space in the teardrop for it and we use it for day trips or other times. It took awhile to figure out powering it because it does take a fair amount of juice. I have it figured out now and I done even think about power. The thing we missed was having ice for drinks, we got some ice cube trays and can make ice cubes overnight. Not to mention ice cream bars. :thumbsup:

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Re: Best cooler option

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:09 am

gudmund wrote:haven't got to see one up close yet but Ryobi is suppose to have a battery powered 50 qt cooler now using their 18 volt battery system. The 9amp battery's they have now are suppose to be able to power it for at least 24 hours. The $$$ for one I saw was around $250 + the battery $$$ and them 9 amp'ers are not cheap!! One of these days I will have to do some more research on one.................. :roll:

It appears that this is just a regular ice chest, the battery powers a fan to blow cold air on people sitting in front of it. Which would use up the ice faster. Probably ok for a picnic or a softball game, but not a camp cooler
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-18-Vo ... lsrc=aw.ds
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