Draining the cooler of melted ice water

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Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby Jim Edgerly » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:52 am

Cooler Ice: We start out with 3-4 frozen half-gallon juice bottles for the ice, but on longer trips we have to augment that with 10 pound block ice. In my tenting days we used to keep the cooler in the car, then wrestle with it to get it out and use the spigot to drain out the melted ice water. With the larger cooler in the new camper galley it would be difficult to lift the cooler out to drain, so I now carry a 6 foot long plastic tube and when the water needs removing I just siphon it out. Quick, easy, and my wife can do it without me there to do the heavy lifting.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:48 pm

That works!

I keep tall, skinny 1 gallon tupperware-type containers in the freezer, full of frozen water (ice) for my cooler. When the ice turns back to water (usually in 4 to 5 days), I pour out the water and re-fill the containers with purchased ice cubes...easy to empty and refill. On a typical week-end trip, I don't have to empty the melted ice water until the camping trip is over and, sometimes, there is still ice in the containers.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby pmowers » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:08 pm

One of the things people don't think about is if you still have ice in the melt water, then the temperature of the water is very close to 32 degrees. If you can handle the "wet" by having your stuff in sealed bags, then things will stay a lot cooler, longer. It takes a lot of energy to convert water from one phase to another.

Have you thought about permanently piping the cooler drain out, so no lifting at all is required?

It is very hard to get block ice around here, and I don't have a big enough freezer to make my own. I rarely go boondocking anymore, so electricity is not a problem. I have a undercounter refrig in my CT that I fill the freezer compartment with recycled Fiji water bottles since they are square and just the right size. When the refrig is plugged in, they freeze, then keep the refrig cold when the power is off when traveling.

One thing that we do carry for extended camping is a little ice-maker that only pulls 120 W, making it usable with an inverter. While small, it will make 35 lbs/day. We use it to supply ice for icing down drinks, bait, etc. when fishing. We have cut out buying ice almost entirely.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby Treeview » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:49 pm

Mowers,

Is that a typo?

35 pounds of ice/day or 3.5???

Tom
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby KCStudly » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:21 pm

Yes, please do tell. How do you make ice in the boondocks?

Okay, that's not what you said, but please tell us more about your ice maker set up.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby pmowers » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:18 pm

Treeview wrote:Mowers,

Is that a typo?

35 pounds of ice/day or 3.5???

Tom

Not a typo, 35 lbs./day It holds about 2.5 lbs at a time, we just keep emptying it into a bag and put it in the cooler. It takes about 1 hour to fill a gallon bag with cubes.
I bought mine from Menards for $100. Here is a link to one similar to mine. When the basket is full, the maker shuts off. As the machine is not insulated, the ice melt returns to the reservoir to make more ice. The actual machine smaller than a dorm cube refrig. The manual with mine says that it has a 120W power draw.

http://www.wayfair.com/SPT-Portable-Ice-Maker-IM-100-SPT1101.html
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby GuitarPhotog » Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:50 pm

I can buy a lot of ice for the price of that one.

On my 3-week Tour of the Great Northwet, I was able to find block ice more than half the time.

I don't drain the cooler unless it's getting too full of water because the water helps keep the interior cold also.

I float my food on top of the ice/water in small basins, one of which sits on the lip of the cooler and the other (a disposable hospital basin) sits on/in the ice water.

The original 1948 ice box built into the trailer wants blocks of ice, and automatically drains the melt water onto the ground under the trailer, which if you are on a concrete pad soon soaks the kitchen rug :(

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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby eamarquardt » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 pm

Some interesting discussions: http://outdoors.stackexchange.com/quest ... or-leaving

Who ya gonna believe?

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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby Jim Edgerly » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:08 am

I feel the cold water keeps the food colder longer...However. My biggest concern with everything soaking in water is cross-contamination. If I have any kind of meat in the cooler, especially chicken, I am scared to death of cross-contamination since I know the cooler temperature is not cold enough to prevent bacterial growth. Last thing I want is to pick up something like a mustard jar to make a sandwich and not know I have salmonella all over the outside. With water that salmonella spreads to EVERYTHING in the cooler.
*When doing anything, if there exists no possibility of failure, then any feeling of success is diminished.
**The glass is neither half full nor half empty...it is simply twice as big as it needs to be.
***If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.
****When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby bobhenry » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:44 am

Jim Edgerly wrote:I feel the cold water keeps the food colder longer...However. My biggest concern with everything soaking in water is cross-contamination. If I have any kind of meat in the cooler, especially chicken, I am scared to death of cross-contamination since I know the cooler temperature is not cold enough to prevent bacterial growth. Last thing I want is to pick up something like a mustard jar to make a sandwich and not know I have salmonella all over the outside. With water that salmonella spreads to EVERYTHING in the cooler.


As soon as I got my Kube igloo coolers I made a shelf for them like the old kamp cold cooler mom and dad had.

The shelf rests on the 1/2 gal of milk, a jug of orange juice, a jug of tomato juice, and a 1/2 jug of frozen water.

I double bag the meat in plastic and twist tie them shut. The water tolerant items that are sealed can remain in the ice/water while the meats rest on the shelf above the water. I also dedicate a cooler to keep pure ice generally letting the bag rest on the beer and pop below.

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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby Jim Edgerly » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:32 pm

I've come up with a new plan to try. We like to take 2 week camping trips. I normally freeze 3-4 half-gallon juice bottles and put those in the cooler. Once the ice melts we take those out and replace them with a 10 lb. block of ice, which is where the melt water becomes a problem.

I just bough a 2.5 gallon spring water jug at the store. Once we drink the water I am going to cut one end off and stand it upright in the cooler. I'll just slip the 10 lb. block of ice inside the empty water jug, and the jug will catch all the melt water. I'll continue to add the block ice to the jug and drain off the melt water only when it becomes in danger of overflowing the jug. This should keep everything cold without any melt water run off.

As a back up, I bought a box of 10 Hefty 2.5 gallon freezer bags for $3, that are big enough to hold a block of ice.

UPDATE: The jug was wide enough for block ice at the top, but I neglected to notice that there were "indents" on the sides to make the jug rigid. You guessed it...not wide enough for the block ice in the middle. Dah...should have seen that on the shelf :crazy:
Last edited by Jim Edgerly on Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
*When doing anything, if there exists no possibility of failure, then any feeling of success is diminished.
**The glass is neither half full nor half empty...it is simply twice as big as it needs to be.
***If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.
****When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water

Postby jstrubberg » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:13 pm

That will work, but you will have to use more ice to maintain food temperature than you would with melt water present. Your ice won't be in contact with the food directly, so you won't get quite as efficient a transfer of heat/cold to your food items.
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Re: Draining the cooler of melted ice water-tested solution

Postby Jim Edgerly » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:28 pm

I finally found what works for me in my cooler (your mileage may vary)...tested it in Acadia National Park for 2 weeks in August...works really good.

I found a stainless steel stock pot at a discount place called Ocean State Job Lots...for $5. They gave me a 50% discount (down from $10) because they thought it had some rust on the outside...after I pointed out the "rust" to them. I didn't think it was rust since the pot was "stainless steel", and sure enough it washed off at home quite easily...I think it was old dried up ketchup.

Anyway, the pot is 10" in dia. and 9" tall. I put it right in the middle of the cooler, the stainless steel transferred the "cold" outside the pot really well, and the pot caught all the melt water and kept the pot really cold. I used 10lb block ice, and when it came time to add more ice I drained the really cold ice water off into 1/2 gal jugs and stored the jugs in the cooler. I already had 4 half gallon jugs because I start off with 4 1/2 gallon frozen jugs from home and usually on the 5th day I need to add block ice. The pot also had a stainless steel cover so once the ice melted down about a inch I could put the cover on and set things on top of the pot also.

I like this solution because I hate having everything floating in water in the cooler because I always have something that leaks, and once you have a leak everything gets messy.
*When doing anything, if there exists no possibility of failure, then any feeling of success is diminished.
**The glass is neither half full nor half empty...it is simply twice as big as it needs to be.
***If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.
****When I die, I want to die like my grandfather, who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.
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