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Get the most out of your Ice Chest.
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Eastern Pennsylvania
3701 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 8:26 am
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I wanted to help and share info for you to get more out of your cooler.

Separate your drinks and food.  We use two ice chests while camping.  One for food (go into it 3 times a day) and one for drinks (go into it 20 times a day)  The food ice chest holds ice better since it is closed most of the time.

Condition your cooler!  Our food ice chest is a Coleman 6 Day Cooler and the first applied ice melts within a day and then it’s conditioned and the next ice applied last for several days.  Many people freeze 1/2 gallon water jugs about 80% full and put them in the cooler for a day or two before the trip to condition the cooler.  Cheaper than buying that first applied ice that doesn’t last long.

Out of the Sun.  Store the cooler in the shade or cover with reflextics or a blanket it insulate.

Hints for Using Your Cooler
For best performance, always pre-chill food and drinks.
Two six-packs or one gallon of liquid will use approximately 2.5 lbs. of ice just to cool from room temperature.  So plan ahead and cool off everything before you head out.  You can even empty a few trays of ice into the cooler to pre-chill its interior.

Put the ice in last.
Cold air travels down, so if you want your beverage well chilled, load cans and bottles first, then cover with ice.

Do not store coolers in hot location.
When storing coolers, avoid hot places such as the garage or the trunk of a car.  If this is unavoidable, bring the cooler inside at least 24 hours before use.

Keep cooler out of the sun.
Ice lasts up to twice as long when the cooler is in the shade.

Choose cube or block ice.
Use cube ice to quickly cool food and drink, block ice to keep it cold longer.

Don’t drain cold water.
Recently melted ice keeps food and drinks cold.  Melted ice water preserves ice better than empty airspace.

Close lid quickly after opening.
Do not leave the lid open longer than necessary.

Use separate coolers.
Use one for beverages you’ll want frequently, another for the bulk of the food.  The latter will keep ice longer because it will be open less frequently.

Protect perishable foods.
Place perishable foods like meat and dairy products directly on ice.  Sealed plastic containers will keep food dry.

Use dry ice to keep food frozen.
Place the dry ice on top of the food. Be sure that the dry ice is wrapped in heavy layers of newspaper.  Do not let dry ice come in direct contact with the interior liner or your hands.

Cleaning Your Cooler

Clean the inside and outside.
Clean the inside with a solution of mild soap and warm water, especially before first use.  To remove tough stains, use baking soda and water to clean the inside.

Remove odors with a diluted solution of chlorine bleach and water.
If odor persists, wipe the interior with a cloth saturated with vanilla extract, then leave the cloth in the cooler overnight.

Always air-dry the cooler with the lid open before storing.
Turn the cooler on its end and open the lid to allow it to air dry.  Avoid doing this in direct sunlight as the excessive heat can damage the cooler’s insulation.

JoeCamper, EwwwBugs, 4 kids, 2dogs and whatever else fits in my truck.
04 Dodge Ram 1500, 2010 Coleman Avalon

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1238 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 9:46 am
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A restaurant trick – if you’re using cubed ice and want it to last longer, sprinkle salt on it.  NOTE: NO DRINKING!

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Eastern Pennsylvania
3701 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 10:06 am
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Steve,
Don’t we sprinkle salt on the ice on our sidewalks to melt it?  ???  Not a chemist but how would it last longer?

JoeCamper, EwwwBugs, 4 kids, 2dogs and whatever else fits in my truck.
04 Dodge Ram 1500, 2010 Coleman Avalon

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1238 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 10:30 am
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This explains it better than I can, but basically salt lowers the melting rate.
http://antoine.frostburg.edu/c…..ater.shtml

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Eastern Pennsylvania
3701 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 1:06 pm
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very cool. watching ice melt is like watching grass grow but I might have to try this one.

JoeCamper, EwwwBugs, 4 kids, 2dogs and whatever else fits in my truck.
04 Dodge Ram 1500, 2010 Coleman Avalon

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1238 Posts
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February 16, 2011 – 4:15 pm
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All I can tell you is we used to sprinkle salt on the ice in the cold well troughs.  The water’d thaw then refreeze combining all the cubes together in a solid mass for an entire shift.  Considering the kitchen temps could get to and beyond 100F, 8 hrs of ice holding up like that was a good thing.

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3 Posts
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February 22, 2011 – 9:16 pm
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Nice tips… Thanks!

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Eastern Pennsylvania
3701 Posts
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January 6, 2012 – 8:51 pm
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I’ve decided to save a few OJ jugs over the off season to freeze water and condition my coolers before trips.  I now pack the coolers and add ice when leaving, the ice melts fast and conditions the cooler, I add again and it last for several days.  I’m hoping to condition the coolers the day before the trip with a few frozen jugs and add ice while packing only once for the full weekend.

http://media.shopwell.com/product/5360010196_full.jpg

JoeCamper, EwwwBugs, 4 kids, 2dogs and whatever else fits in my truck.
04 Dodge Ram 1500, 2010 Coleman Avalon

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756 Posts
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January 8, 2012 – 9:12 pm
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Friends of ours swear by the Coleman Extreme coolers.  They say, once conditioned, their ice lasts 5 days at the beach! 

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38 Posts
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January 9, 2012 – 6:59 pm
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I had never heard of "conditioning".  Thanks for the tip.

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517 Posts
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January 9, 2012 – 9:54 pm
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me too. will condition. 8)

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450 Posts
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January 12, 2012 – 2:34 pm
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For the past couple of years I keep a few 2 liter pop bottles that I keep frozen in the freezer.  I will put them in the coolers the day before we leave.  They do seem to keep ice longer.  Plus when they melt you have drinking water.

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200 Posts
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January 12, 2012 – 10:00 pm
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I do just the opposite and condition my coffee thermos overnight with water from the hot water pot.  Keeps that last cup toasty for the ride home.

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91 Posts
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January 13, 2012 – 10:00 am
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My ‘deep’ freezer is colder than my fridge’s freezer.
Every little bit helps.

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