There are many different types and sizes of coolers. For most of our campouts ones that plug into the car will be to small, and not practical for extended stays. I also find the cheap foam throw away ones not the best option for campout after campout. I also believe they are also harder on the environment. Most of us will use the standard plastic re-usable ice chests.
Obviously the primary function of a camp cooler is to keep perishable food from spoiling. The lower temperature inside the chest slows the growth of harmful bacteria, thus extending the length of time it takes food to spoil. Also it is worth noting that the higher the bacterial count, the higher the chance of someone getting sick. I can tell you from first hand experience food poisoning is no fun.
When picking out a cooler worry more about function then looks. Pay attention to the thermal ratings, some chests have better insulation then others, this mean they will keep food cooler longer without needing more ice. I prefer ones with a value to drain water out of them, when and if needed. However, a value like this is normally not available on small coolers. It should also be noted that most of the time you do not want to drain the water. This is because the water is almost as cold as the ice and will help extend the length that your ice will last. Also it is very important to make sure you pick one out which has a tight sealing lid.
A few last tips...
As much as possible, chill all food before putting it into an cooler. Also if you will be gone an extended time, say over a week, freezing fresh meat in water will allow it to keep longer and help keep the ice cold.
Keep your cooler in the shade, as much as possible. The hot sun will reduce the amount of time your as will last.
Lastly, I generally prefer to make my own ice in a appropriate size container, such as a half gallon milk jug filled almost to the top with water and then frozen. This makes a manageable block of ice. The larger the container you make your ice in the larger and heavier it will be, but also the longer it will last. I find a few of these half gallon blocks of ice, depending on the size of the cooler will last about 3-4 days in a medium size cooler – of course depending on the temperature.
What kind of coolers do you like to use? How do you keep your food cold while in camp? Please tell me by posting comments below.
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Take Multiple coolers / food containers
@ on 10/14/2009
I encourage my pack's families to use more than one cooler on a campout. One for Drinks, One for cold food, and one for dry goods. The container for dry goods does not have to be a cooler. Keeping drinks seperate from food reduces contamination from anything that may seep the food. It also reduces spoilage by limiting the number of times you open the food container to just at meal times. you also don't have to dig through all the food to find that last orange coke.
Kamp Kitchen - Ice Chests@Saima
When I was a (young) Pathfinder leader I asked the young women in my group to wear their urmnofis (with optional jeans) to meetings unless we were doing something messy. Why? It made us visible to the other people using the facility where we met, it increased the girls' pride in belonging, they became less embarrassed about belonging, when we went out in public they knew how to wear their uniform (and could find it), and the parents were willing to invest in the uniform pieces since they were worn every week. The main reason I began to have them wear urmnofis were parents who asked why they should spend so much money on a uniform that was only worn a few times a year. I told the girls that if I was wearing my uniform (coming right from work), they could too. And that it showed that we were proud to be members of guiding (that generated some healthy discussion about self esteem!). Some complained that girls in others groups didn't wear their urmnofis, and I asked them if they wanted to join those groups and there was always a resounding NO. Once the girls got over their embarassment (which was the main reason they didn't want to wear their dorky uniform) the feeling of pride in the group increased.We had 22 girls in our group and they attended every week. We often had 100% attendance at camps and activities even with busy urban girls who had many other choices. When we went out in public the girls wore their urmnofis with pride and without a fuss. Many of those young women are still involved in Guiding as adults.Every unit is different, but if girls have a uniform, why not wear it?
Kamp Kitchen - Ice Chests
@Michael on 06/26/2012
I've made a coozie for my ice chest out of Reflectix insulation from Home Depot. It's the foil backed bubble wrap looking stuff. We made a trip from GA. to AZ. with an ice chest in the back of a pickup with a black liner in the bed and to my suprise, that coozie covered ice chest kept ice simply unbelivebly. I've since started usng the coozie with it just camping as it takes less ice and keeps cold longer even if the sun sneeks over onto the chest when I'm not looking.
P.S. Great Site!
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