The milk carton thing is great. That would be good at the beginning of the trip. And maybe at the start of the trip back as long as my daughter could freeze them at her home!
We took blue freezer block thingys last summer, knowing we would have a refrigerator/freezer in most of our lodging. Unfortunately, most of the freezers wouldn’t solidly refreeze the blue ice blocks.
Thats what I did before the 2004 hurricanes hit my area of Florida.
We had a seperate upright freezer, and I saved all the 1/2 gallon plastic milk jugs and had gone down to the ice company and filled that freezer (what space was left) with jugs of water soon to be ice, and about 40 pounds of bagged ice and I tell you what..
When we didnt have power for 2 days, (until a neighbor loaned us a generator), it was a life saver for the food in our main fridge and freezer.
I had bought a couple huge coleman ice chests, and took everything out of the fridge and transferred it to the cooler…
Those milk jugs helped immensely…while the bags of ice soon melted.
Thanks for all of the suggestions.
We found we had to replenish the ice daily, which was no big deal. Tupperware is a great idea. I think I’ll start collecting it now. Last year we brought back cured meats from Salumi in Seattle, Basque cheeses from Boise, and various other things from anywhere that looked interesting. My husband suggested we have a separate cooler for those items and a daily food cooler.
We definitely are going to check out a higher efficiency cooler, the one we have is old. Last summer was the first really long road trip we’d taken. Most of our trips in the last 10 years have been from KC to the Twin Cities or St. Louis. We’d bring things back in a cooler with one small bag of ice with no problem. The trek to Seattle and back is a whole different thing[:)]
Most places you can buy bag-ice will also sell "Block" Ice also. We have one of the High efficent Coleman Coolers in the back of the truck for "long-term" cooling and a 12-packer on the floor in the back seat for during "today’s Ride" beverages and sometimes fruit. The big cooler will stay cold for a week if we only open it briefly morning and evening to restock the 12-packer. We use plastic/rubbermaid racks to keep food(not soda) off the ice-melt. We too start a long trip with home-made Block ice in 1/2 gallon milk or juice containers..Then dump them when they do thaw. We then replace them with a couple of BLOCKS of Ice from convenience stores along the way.
Example..When we buy sausage at a meat market in Texas it remains ‘cooled’ for the several day trip home.
When we bought 25 lbs of Shrimp and Scallops at Joe-Patti’s in Pensacola they iced it for us in one of their foam coolers…and duct-taped it tightly. The ice was still very evident 14 hours later when we arrived in Louisville.
Dry ice is good if you want to freeze food. It is not so good if all you want is cooling. You could end up with exploding pop cans. We made that mistake once at Rocky Mountain National Park. Dry ice is very difficult to find on the road. It is very easy to find in resort centers especially those that focusing on fishing but little elsewhere unless you plan well ahead.
I was thinking the same thing,
You are starting to find more and more places that carry dry ice.
I buy a couple lbs to put in my freezer when I bring fish back from FL, I get home the fish is harder than when I left and the dry ice just dissolves into vapor
Over 5,000 miles you just have to plan on replenishing ice along the way just about every day. Even those so called up to 5 days or 3 days coolers only means up to if you never open them. Blue Ice packs only work on short trips because there is no way to re-freeze them. The coolers that work plugged into the 12V outlet can extend your ice. They don’t freeze and you probably would not want to leave it plugged in while the engine is off. You can plug them into the 110V in a motel room if you like. But still they are marginal for cooling without ice unless they run continuously. Get a good cooler and try to match it up with a shallow plastic storage box with lid that you can put in the bottom of the cooler and fill with ice for that long of a trip. That will keep your food dry and make it easy to to dump and refill.
My solution? I now travel in an RV B Class motorhome van that has a refrigerator/freezer that runs 12V on battery while driving, 110V plugged into shore power or propane when stopped and not plugged into shore power. We will probably put in an excess of 15,000 miles on the road this year with four major trips planned so far.
I freeze water in milk containers, preferably 1/2 gal. because you can arrange them better inside your cooler. Frozen solid for about a week they last sometimes up to 2 to 3 days in a Coleman latch type icechest if I only open it once or twice a day. I have a small collapsible icechest for drinks and things I need to get into often.
I use the old ice method, because ice is free at most hotels – or a bag of ice is only $1.50. I keep all my food in tupperware, where the water can’t get in. I’d recommend the ones that plug into the cigarette lighter, but for myself, who uses said cigarette lighter for my sadelite radio, that wouldn’t work for me. Tupperware has always been my mode of packing coolers. IMO, the blue ice things don’t work as well as ice.
Yes, Coleman and Rubbermaid make coolers that will keep things cold for up to 5 days in 90 degree weather (and these are not plug-ins either). Wal Mart sells them for as cheap as $29. http://tiny.cc/0zvkL
And Jimeats’ frozen bottles of water (like plastic milk cartons) or roossy’s blue ice will remove the leaking problem
Let me add one warning. My son has one of these coolers, it works as advertised and he loves it, but to keep things cold the maximum amount of time you cannot have the cooler open for more than a minute or two at any given time.
What about those "blue Ice" packs?….of course, then you need a freezer to re=freeze them once they "melt"….
Heck, they sell coolers now that you plug into your acces. ports, formally known as cigarette lighters. In the past I’ve taken frozen bottles of water and use them along with some bagged ice.
Bagged ice on the bottom of cooler, layer of newsepaper on top of the bags then the food and frozen bottles of water. Chow Jim
To the traveling roadfooders:
We’re planning another 5000 mile roadtrip this summer. One of the challenges of last summer’s trip was keeping food items cold. We loaded up the cooler with bags of ice that we put in large, heavy duty ziplock bags, but when the ice would melt, it still leaked out of the bag. Things remained cold, but we had to make sure everything was wrapped very well so as not to get water logged.
Any tips on the best way to transport all the food we bring back from the PNW? Are there hi-tech coolers out there I should know about? Or better ways to ice things down?
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