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Bob

Dry Ice For Camping - Don't Waste Your Money!

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This topic has been updated, so read the next post for a full review of camping with dry ice in your cooler.

We have decided to use Dry Ice in our cooler for camping this year. We are bringing some frozen meats with us for an extended camping trip and will be having one cooler for frozen foods and another cooler for items that do not need to be frozen. This is the first time we have used Dry Ice, so we will update our experience with the Dry Ice and update this thread periodically.

If you are going to use Dry Ice in your cooler for camping, please remember that it WILL freeze everything in the cooler, and you do NOT want to touch it with your bare hands or it WILL burn you. Use thick gloves to handle the dry ice, and wrap it up in newspaper in order to keep it dry and from burning your food (frost bite). We purchased 30 lbs today and will see how long it lasts.

Here are some tips we read about online on how to make the Dry Ice last. First, make sure it does not get wet. Second, make sure to wrap it up in newspaper. Third, fill up all the extra space in the cooler with newspaper. Fourth, do not put the Dry Ice directly on the cooler as we have heard of coolers cracking from the Dry Ice. Finally, do not open the cooler unless you have to. You still want to keep the cooler in a shaded area, and if you want, you can cover it up to keep it insulated. I will update this topic every few days.

You can see how we wrapped our dry ice here:

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Alright, here is our update on camping with dry ice. It's been 3 days, we have spend over $35 for 30lbs of dry ice, and it's all completely gone! Now, we have read others say they were able to keep their dry ice for over 7 days, and I really have no idea how they did this. We kept our dry ice in a coleman max 5 cooler, which is supposed to keep ice for 5 days. We kept our cooler closed and only opened it 3 times since arriving. In addition, we kept our cooler in the shade. We also filled up the entire area with newspaper in order to prevent any voids. At this point I feel the dry ice is far overrated, but if I wanted to keep stuff frozen for the first few days and then let the stuff thaw, dry ice might be a good choice, but right now I say dry ice is overrated and simply isn't cost effective.

When we bought the dry ice, the guy selling it to use said 5 lbs would last a day, so we figured we had enough for 6 days, but it didn't even last half that time.

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One of the things I do is to get a gallon of bottled water in the plastic milk type galon container. Make sure it's no more than 3/4 or so full, then freeze it. Keeping it in the cooler will keep things cold and provide cold water as it melts. Anyone ever try this?

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That's a great idea. Usually we will freeze some of our meat when we go camping for more than a few days.

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Frozen bottles of water - in all sizes - is what I've practiced for years. On my longest trips, I've augmented my bottled water with bags of ice picked up wherever I've come across a store.

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That was an old trick we did when I worked underground, (had to pack in water) so we all emptied out our milk bottles at home and filled it with water and froze it. That's not recommended but they didn't have bottled water in those days. Each guy had ice cold water all day. The nearest soda machine was in the dry, hundreds of feet above, at ground level.

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I use blocks or bags of ice on the bottom with crushed ice as a filler. If possible, don't drain the melted ice water as it helps keep everything cold longer and helps save ice from melting. I make ice block bags with those Foodsaver vacuum bags. It takes a little practice to learn how much room to save for expansion, but it's worth it as they lay flat and can hold a lot of water to make re-usable ice bags. You also have clean water in case of emergency when they melt. Also, wrap them in the silver bubble wrap insulation if possible, especially when your out camping. It's helped me make ice last for days on end sometimes, which is handy when you're half a day from civilization.

I freeze everything I can, and keep everything else in the fridge until I'm ready to pack so eeverythingis ready cold. Put your coolers in the house a day or two before hand so they cool off if you store them outside during the warmer months. The foam insulation gets hot and will hold heat, basically melting your first batch of ice in no time until it's cooled off. We travel to Cedar City or St. George, Ut to shop in bulk and I keep our coolers inside year around and use frozen gel packs or the before mentioned vacuum bags. There's time where we unload and the food is more frozen than when we bought it.

Dry ice also melts quick if it comes in contact with water, like from melted ice, which is why I don't bother with it.

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Yeah, the dry ice was a bid disappointment as we were hoping it would keep all our food frozen for our extended camping trip. We put it in a cooler with other frozen goods and rarely opened the cooler. They company that sold us the dry ice said it should last a 7 days, but only lasted us 3 days.

The food saver vacuum bags sounds interesting and I have been thinking of getting a food saver since I am going to be buying my beef from a local rancher and freezing it. Do you use the food saver for long term freezer storage?

Now we have a Travel Trailer with a fridge, but I still plan on using my cooler, and there are a lot of great ideas in this thread. :)

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Freezing bottled water is an everyday event for me. Space is always tight so frozen drinking water provides no wasted space, cold for everything in the cooler and cold drinking water. The larger square gallons provide cold for days and the shape saves space.

I even use that plastic silver insulating sheet from home depot and made a sleeve in my cooler and a secondary lid where you flip either side and never open the whole top.

All keys to keeping yer stuff cold.

I have 4 different water bottles frozen in my freezer as we speak .....all for different coolers and lengths of trips.

Kenny s.

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Gary's useful tips are ones i use as well..........keep the cooler indoors the nighr before andi throw a few blue gel packs in there to pre cool the cooler ..... Takes a second....land saves lots of cooling energy when you pack.

Even in az.......insane heat and all.........a few cold packs in my 4runner cooler the night before has it chilled and prime for

Packing the next morning.

All of this gives you more cool time.

Tried the dry ice thing........too much work.....$$$$$....... Takes up too much space.

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Thought i'd mention this recent water related observation. Be very aware of the flimsy gallons of water you buy from supermarkets..

The plastic jugs are thinner and barely last a trip or two......,so heres how your day goes south.

Plastic jug develops a small hole usually near a angle in the plastic.....you'll never know.

Your on a trip and that jug is buried in the back of your 4runner...... Leaking water into your rear carpeting.

Its hot out......and after a few days the moisture in your carpeting stagnates and the stench is overwhelming.

No ammount of scrubbing will remedy the situation. Only a removal of the carpet, full shampoo and thorough

Dry out of the vehicle will eliminate the odor.

Those convenience store, supermarket jugs are not to be trusted. Buy a blue jug from walmart with a spigot and fill to your hearts content!!

Kenny s

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Great suggestions, since we have our new (new to us, but old) travel trailer, we plan on using the plastic bottle method. We do have a fridge on board the Travel Trailer, but we have a big family, so we need to be able to store more food as we plan on getting out there in the middle of no where. We plan on freezing the bottle water before we go and then put a few in our trailers freezer too, and then swap them out as we go. We will use them for our drinking water too, as others in the thread suggested, so it works out excellent for us, or so we hope.

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Bass pro shops sell some pretty insane 200-500 dollar coolers!! Crazy!!!

What's your temp today

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Bout the same here, at least those higher triple digits knocks the birds off the desert, huh

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Bass pro shops sell some pretty insane 200-500 dollar coolers!! Crazy!!!

Yeah, sounds like the same ones they have at Cabelas and Scheels here, they are outrageous.

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Do you use the food saver for long term freezer storage?

Yep. I also have the little hand held one for fridge use only. Comes in handy and since it's rechargeable you can take it along if you like. I have the containers too which are nice, and they have a quick marinator that works great. I usually add marinade to meat then freeze it in a bag for camping trips, so by the time it's thawed, it's ready to go. I've had friends that mix up eggs and meat, veggies, etc for boil in bag omelettes. They're really handy all around.

All I can say is that if you buy one and plan to use it often, get a decently heavy duty one. Mine is a lighter duty and I have to wait for the heating element to cool if I seal lots of stuff. Plus Costco usually has good deals on packages.

Yeah, sounds like the same ones they have at Cabelas and Scheels here, they are outrageous.

A guy I work with has a couple of them and he says they work great. But I can buy a lot of ice for the price they are asking. He got his from a client IIRC so he didn't buy them.

I've collected a bunch of the old school Coleman steel belted coolers, from the 70's and later. Nothing I have bought has ever touched them.

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Yeah, the old school coolers were built so much better than these cheap plastic ones they have today. My grandparents use to have an old steel Coleman that worked great. I am going to price one of those foodsavers from Costco the next time I am there. :)

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I use food saver bags for soups and sloppy joe style foods. Boil water .....in the bag goes and just squeeze it out like toothpaste on a roll.....no need for cleaning serving spoons or pots!

Washing nasty pots when camping is not fun!

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That's another great idea Sharrack, never thought of using that method to heat up certain foods.

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Imo....space in a cooler is job one. The foodsaver bags and iced bottled drinking water save precious space while cooling.

So...chili, beans, sloppy joe and any other canned or container foods get heated and served with no dirty pots or stinky cans.

Dual purpose in a space that small is essential!

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I am sold and am going to get one of those foodsavers asap. Sounds like they really come in handy.

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