Super Coolers

Portable coolers have been around for generations. When I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s the cooler would keep things cold for a day and perhaps two if you were lucky. Sometime around 2006 or so we saw the birth of the super coolers. These coolers had some serious insulation and seals that were so tight that they could get vapor-locked when moving from a high altitude to a lower altitude. These coolers can easily keep the contents frozen for 1-2 weeks under the right conditions. These coolers will keep the contents frozen even on the hottest days.

Along with impressive performance these cooler also come with an equally impressive price tag. You can purchase a normal Coleman 48-quart cooler for around $20. A super cooler that is slightly smaller might sell for $300. The super cooler is also more bulkier and much heavier. Are these cooler worth the extra expense and weight? If you need to keep things cold for a day trip or a picnic then they are probably not worth the extra expense. However, if you need to keep food cold for long periods of time then they are definitely worth the added cost.

These coolers also have their place for emergency preparedness. For example, if you lose power for an extended period of time you could store frozen food in the cooler and use it as a deep freeze. This could preserve a fair bit of food while you eat the food in your refrigerator and freezer. When using the cooler for an emergency you want to absolutely minimize the number of times the cooler is opened and closed.

Pre-Cool the Cooler

If you planning a longer trip you may want to pre-chill the cooler. Save some containers, fill them water, freeze them, and place them in the cooler 2-3 days before you want to use the cooler. This will pre-cool the cooler and will add a few more days of coolness.

Open/Close Cooler as Little as Possible

Each time the cooler is opened some of the cold escapes and warmth can enter. Only open the cooler when necessary and keep it open for as little time as possible. Repeatedly opening and closing the cooler significantly reduces the amount of time that it will stay cold.

Insulation Works Both Ways

Sometime you want the cooler to not keep things cold. For example, if you are hunting in sub-freezing temperatures you might want your daily food to stay cold but not frozen. In this case you can use the cooler to keep food cold but NOT frozen. The insulation will maintain an even temperature inside the cooler while insulating food from the frozen temperatures outside.