Dry Ice? Or Regular Ice for camping? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 05/30/11, 12:41 PM
 
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Dry Ice? Or Regular Ice for camping?

We are beginners at Camping long term. What works best for use in an Ice Chest? Dry ice or regular ice? And is there a certain type cooler that works better for long term cold?

Thank you.

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  #2  
Old 05/30/11, 12:45 PM
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Dry ice will freeze your food. We find that freezing ice in half gallon juice containers works best - much better than crushed.

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Old 05/30/11, 01:09 PM
 
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We also take jugs of frozen water, frozen drinking water. So nice on a HOT day in the woods (or desert)
Dry ice is so expensive.

How long a camping trip?

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Old 05/30/11, 01:16 PM
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We freeze as much of the food as possible, and then use milk jugs frozen (and use as drinking water). Freeze your water bottles, meat, even milk. We use a coleman xtreme, and it really does last longer than other brands of cooler. I've had the ice stay frozen for 5 days in hot hot weather (keep the cooler out of the sun).

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Old 05/30/11, 02:03 PM
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I went camping for a week in a place where there was no ice available so I took a second cooler full of frozen food and dry ice as well as my regular cooler. This worked out well except that mosquitos home in on the CO2 that you exhale to find a meal. When dry ice sublimates it goes straight to CO2 gas. There was a cloud of mosquitos arround the coolers that would nail you every time you went to get something out of one. LOL

Coleman extreme coolers do last longer.

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Old 05/30/11, 02:28 PM
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Second vote for Coleman Extreme coolers, a very noticeable difference in how long they keep stuff cold.

Think about a second cooler for snacks and drinks. Keep the main food cooler closed. Let the snack cooler handle the most often needed items. The food cooler will stay much colder without little hands in and out.

Kathie

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  #7  
Old 05/30/11, 02:51 PM
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Dry ice is some good stuff... however, it'll freezer burn any food it comes into contact with, including your skin.

You can't have too much insulation for your cooler. If you go with a portable cooler, keep it in the coolest place available, in the shade of course. Placing blankets or anything insulative over it will make your ice in the cooler last even longer.

If your really doing long term 'car camping', look into a small freezer. When in elk camp, one of the old timers brings an extra freezer, full of frozen jugs of water, and frozen foods. As long as the lid isn't left open long, food stays frozen for many days. They plug it up to the genny in three or four days for an hour or two, while using the genny for camp lights and other 'chores'. If an elk or three is taken, they're quartered and hung out at night to freeze, then thrown into the freezer... for the full day/night drive back home. Beats the snot out of regular/heavy duty portable coolers.

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  #8  
Old 05/30/11, 03:16 PM
 
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Thanks everyone -
We will be camping for a month and maybe five weeks in August. Going from Western NC to Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, over to Wyoming, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, then back this way.

We are practicing now. Going on short trips to learn what we need and who likes to sleep in a tent or who prefers a hammock. Also, we are gathering up gear - just found some old plastic plates and cups today.

I did not know dry ice would burn things. Thank you for that tip. We will look at the Coleman Extreme cooler too.

I saw some instructions on the internet where they said to take a cooler and place it inside a larger cooler and then spray the "great stuff" type stuff all around it for more insulation. But, it seems to me that would use up a lot of space?

Would it help to glue solid blue insulation over the outside of a cooler?

Thank you.

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Old 05/30/11, 03:41 PM
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Traveled and camped of and on for seven years averaging six months a year over the summer. Never had or used ice. Rough it just a little bit.

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  #10  
Old 05/30/11, 04:08 PM
 
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How about freezer packs? When I worked at the hospital, I took the ones that came with our drugs home, along with the Styrofoam coolers they were packed in. They were designed for one-time use for drug shipping, and we were just throwing them away. I gave them away on Freecycle, and also passed some on to a couple in our town who do CSA. Because of this, they didn't have to buy a second commercial ice freezer.

I'm talking about coolers that were designed to keep drugs cool that cost $20,000 a dose, that kind of thing. Insulin too - it will cook if it gets too hot. I know a lady who takes Enbrel and has it shipped to her house, and she once put some frozen cookie dough in one of these packs, placed it in the trunk of her car while going to visit her grandchildren in the summer, and it was still frozen solid 3 days later.

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Old 05/30/11, 05:01 PM
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Thanks everyone -
We will be camping for a month and maybe five weeks in August. Going from Western NC to Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, over to Wyoming, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, then back this way.

We are practicing now. Going on short trips to learn what we need and who likes to sleep in a tent or who prefers a hammock. Also, we are gathering up gear - just found some old plastic plates and cups today.

I did not know dry ice would burn things. Thank you for that tip. We will look at the Coleman Extreme cooler too.

I saw some instructions on the internet where they said to take a cooler and place it inside a larger cooler and then spray the "great stuff" type stuff all around it for more insulation. But, it seems to me that would use up a lot of space?

Would it help to glue solid blue insulation over the outside of a cooler?

Thank you.
Beefing up coolers is a waste of time, unless you're in a permanent type of camp and you have LOTS of room to transport stuff.

Several smaller coolers are better than giant ones, you can seprate things out that can get by with different cooling needs like people have said--drink cooler, fresh fruit/veggie/eggs/cheese cooler(more to just keep these from getting smashed up, they dont' need much cooling), meat(try to freeze as much as you can, or buy frozen stuff).

Although, we've gotten by fine submerging stuff like beer and soda and milk jugs in cool running streams or springs. Disclaimer on giardia though--you are traveling to foreign lands as far as your body goes. I've never had a problem in my native land. You might want to have some bleach wipes to wipe off the part that goes in your mouth. Walk upstream aways to see if there is anything dead in the water too.

Coolers are one thing where you def get what you pay for!

Get lots of wipes!

It really helps to spend some time thinking about how to pack your vehicle so that you dont' have to unload the whole thing before you start setting up camp. IE, tent comes out first, set that up, then fill it with the bags and clothes. Have a small duffle bag or backpack for each person. Put the snack stuff so it's easy to hand when you're driving, also the soap a jug of water to wash hands with, wipes.

Dog leashes(!!!!!), and take a spare.
Make sure you have a way to tie up your dog(if you're taking one) because just about all campgrounds require dogs be tied up 24/7. If you're sleeping in a tent and you can't trust your dog to stay in it(my heeler can unzip, even if the zippers are tied together) take a crate for them to sleep in. A crate is really nice for traveling too, again my heeler is a very "bouncy" dog and it's a lot better for everyone if she's not flying around the truck while driving.

Take some ice packs anyways--you'll probably make friends in the campgrounds and can ask some rv-er folks to freeze a pack overnight for you. Just remember to fetch it!

I'm just blabbering here, what kind of vehicle are you taking? tent? for car camping I always say buy as big a tent as you can get, you'll always appreciate the extra space! If you have teenagers get them their own tent, it will be a godsend

Take the cast iron fry pans and a dutch oven--those teflon fry pans are worthless on a coleman stove.
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  #12  
Old 05/30/11, 05:04 PM
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or instead of wipes you can put damp washcloths in a wipe box. just washthem out a lot or they'll get funky FAST

and have your own toilet paper. campground bathrooms aren't always stocked johnny on the spot. or on the road you might have to stop and go in the woods.

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  #13  
Old 05/30/11, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wyld thang View Post
Beefing up coolers is a waste of time, unless you're in a permanent type of camp and you have LOTS of room to transport stuff. Several smaller coolers are better than giant ones
We transport fresh and frozen meat every week as part of our delivery route. It is a 2 AM to 8 PM trip - long day. Every week. It's like a camping trip and the meat has to stay at just the right temperature for the stores and restaurants so it doesn't lose quality. As such we've gotten this down to a science. Our extensive experience of years of doing this is the exact opposite of what you say above.

We have a big beefed up chest cooler in our van. We pack it with product and ice. It is far better than the smaller coolers although we use those too when we don't have enough room in the big cooler. Generally we just use the smaller coolers for carrying the orders into the customers premises.

For testing I've done five days in the big cooler before there is more than a few degrees F of temperature rise. The secret is it is a chest cooler and it has extra insulation.

Big coolers. Well organized. Lots of insulation. We have the butcher freeze the bones and extra back fat to act as cold packs. Works great, ever week, year after year.

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-Walter
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
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  #14  
Old 05/30/11, 08:15 PM
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Question for you people who know about dry ice. If dry ice will freezer burn whatever it touches...like the fish I'm going to catch!!!...what do I do to make sure that my fish WON'T get freezer burned?? I'll be fishing Fri and Sat and coming home with them on Sunday (7 hour drive).

The fish will be in bags...can I just put newspaper over the dry ice to protect my fish?

Mon

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Old 05/30/11, 08:32 PM
 
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A newspaper "barrier" between the dry ice and what ever

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  #16  
Old 05/31/11, 12:19 AM
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Theres some keys to making those Colmen Extreme Coolers work thier best. You need to precool them for about twenty-four hours before you pack them and put only hard frozen food in them.
We pack mules into the primitive areas. Going in for up to 12 days at a time, everything has to be well planned.
For 10 people it takes 6 of the large extremes. Each one is reverse packed according to the order that the food will be used in. That way you don't disturb anything. The dry ice is tightly wrapped and taped in several layers of newspaper and put on top of the frozen food. The first 4 have 10lbs. And the last 2 carry 15 lbs. (Less food, more dry ice.)
Back in country we have rocked up a spring so we have a dependable source of water. We made a place to put things like canned drinks, where the water can cool them. By not having to pack in large amounts of water we can carry items like dry rice and dehydrated potatoes. That cuts down on weight also.
At night we put the coolers up in the trees to keep the bears out of them. Early in the morning they're put on the north side of the tent and wrapped in blankets.
By the end of the nineth day we are down to the last cooler. On the twelfth day, the last of the food is just starting to thaw and is ready to use that day.
The empty coolers are repacked with garbage and other items to consolidate the packs on the way out.
With the changes in peoples food needs changing toward more fresh foods, we have had to do things like making an underground cool box for fruits and vegetables.
If you are going to use ice made from water keep it in the center of the cooler and in as big a chunk as possible.

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  #17  
Old 05/31/11, 12:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by frogmammy View Post
what do I do to make sure that my fish WON'T get freezer burned?? I'll be fishing Fri and Sat and coming home with them on Sunday (7 hour drive).

The fish will be in bags...can I just put newspaper over the dry ice to protect my fish?
Freezer burn is just a very VERY poor grade of freeze-dried - so much so that the protein becomes dry and leathery.

An air-tight plastic bag will just about protect things, since they can't dry if the moisture can't get out. Just about, although moisture can move around inside the bag. The flesh freezes, ice crystals form by sucking moisture from their surroundings (the flesh), and if that goes too far and the ice then sublimes taking the moisture away ... well, leathery freezer burn.

As others have said, a layer of newspaper insulation to slow the freezing down will help prevent freezer burn. Don't be scared of it though - freezer-burned meat is less palatable, but it's not in any way bad for you. It's actually just better-preserved (freeze-dried, as I said) than plain frozen meat. Chop it, mince it fine, stew it, maybe chilli or garlic or mushrooms to replace the flavour that went with the ice, and you can eat it just fine.
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Old 05/31/11, 07:48 AM
 
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Thank you so much everyone. I am printing all the ideas to save with our camping checklist. Good ideas. I like the idea about putting newspaper around the dry ice. I have read several places that the dry ice will last longer than water ice. But, I have also read about freezing the drinking water in jugs and that would help too.

We may be able to buy a used trailer or the present idea is to buy a small cargo trailer and fix it up for our needs. We might build a box with thick insulation to set the cooler down in the box, with an insulated lid and it will be kept in the cargo trailer........but that is just an idea so far....

I am surely not taking any Dogs with us! My dogs would try to eat everyone up along the way! The Dogs will stay here with my sister and her husband! We have friends staying long term at one of our Cabin's here at home and they are going to help with Dogs too. I need a break from them.

I will be traveling with a mix of people - at first just me and my 13 year old son / then we add my 19 year old son / next my 23 year old son arrives to meet us in Minnesota / then we fetch my husband in Wyoming (he will finish up a school thing there) / and then people will fly back now and then / and relatives are added along the way / so........it is hard to say who will be where at any time........just a mix! And yes, Teenagers and others will have their own tents.......the older boys like to roam out in the deep woods and hide in the trees to sleep........the rest of us stay near the car or campground where we can build a fire.......

Thanks!

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Old 05/31/11, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by frogmammy View Post
Question for you people who know about dry ice. If dry ice will freezer burn whatever it touches...like the fish I'm going to catch!!!...what do I do to make sure that my fish WON'T get freezer burned?? I'll be fishing Fri and Sat and coming home with them on Sunday (7 hour drive).

The fish will be in bags...can I just put newspaper over the dry ice to protect my fish?

Mon
Whenever I go fishing I do my best to leave the fish in the lake. They seem to like that system better and so do I, no fish to clean, and they dont end up on my plate!
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  #20  
Old 05/31/11, 10:43 AM
 
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When the kids were young we took car camping road trips nearly every summer. Just from my experience, dry ice doesn't last longer than water ice; it just maintains a lower temperature (frozen) while it is around. Although we have a dry ice plant just down the road, we never used it for camping. We just used a chest cooler with jugs of ice frozen at home. We started out with frozen foods for the first few days, then shopped at local stores or farm markets for food and bought more ice as needed. For drinking, we used a 5-gallon jug of water, replenished with bagged ice cubes. We each kept a small bottle to drink in the car & refilled it when we stopped.
One other thing- have you hauled a trailer before?
We always used a tent or tents, since we often traveled away from tourist areas. Finding a place to park with a trailer can be a PITA, even to just run into a store. On the other hand, having a take-along potty would be very very nice!
Hope you all have a great time!

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Last edited by stickinthemud; 05/31/11 at 10:44 AM. Reason: clarify
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