Author Topic: Advice on a travel cooler.  (Read 2175 times)

EnjoyIt

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Advice on a travel cooler.
« on: December 07, 2017, 12:41:07 AM »
Mustachians,
Can anyone please offer some advice on a cooler that would be good for long road trip traveling? I figure this is the best place to ask since so many people here have had significant experience traveling by car or van.  I figure we need a place to store eggs, milk, cheese, fruits and veggies and sometimes leftovers.

justchristine

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 05:41:17 AM »
I'd check an army surplus store.  The 50yo army cooler that my dad acquired back in the day is the best cooler I have.  During a week long power outage, I never had to replenish the ice. It was amazing.

lizzzi

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 07:06:27 AM »
I just buy the cheap styrofoam kind. They are lightweight for carrying, easy enough to replace if become dirty or damaged, and just in general easier than those big, heavy plastic ones. I've tried different sizes of the plastic ones over the years, and find that I'm happier with the styrofoam. I travel a 450-mile road trip two or three times a year--just me and Small Dog.

SC93

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 07:51:04 AM »
I have 2 different types of coolers. I carry one of them with me every Friday & Saturday to the race track and I usually carry the small one when I go out and about doing things. I haven't bought myself a drink at a gas station in several years. I drink several Dr. Peppers each day so this has saved a ton of money. I have a cheap small green & white Coleman cooler and one of those big round orange coolers when we all go some place. I like the big round type because it takes up less floor space.

DumpTruck

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 08:40:35 AM »
cut out the Dr Pepper habit and you'll save some real money! long term especially.

Here is an idea... get two cheapo coolers. One that fits inside the other. Take the lid off the smaller one, fit it inside.

Now fill gaps between two coolers with foam insulation. You now have a budget friendly 'Yeti'

Anything disposable like styro... convenient. Did you remember the article on willing inconvenience? Depends on if you care about ocean life or not....

https://www.plasticoceans.org/



This is why no one likes me lol

LifeHappens

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 09:25:23 AM »
I have a Coleman cooler that is about the size of a dorm fridge. It is electric and runs on 12v or 110, so no need for ice.

Dee18

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 01:45:18 PM »
I had one of those green and white Coleman coolers.  It was great until a friend broke the handle off.  I should look for one on eBay.

PoutineLover

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 01:51:26 PM »
When my family went on a road trip across Canada we used one that plugged into the car. No ice to melt all over everything.

Nathaniel

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 03:40:26 PM »
Rtic coolers work well.

FINate

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 04:17:14 PM »
You haven't given us much info to go on. How many people are you traveling with? What style of road trip are you doing: hotels/B&Bs, camping, both? Will you be spending most of your time in the car, or will you go slow and take a few days at a time at each location? How much room do you have for a cooler after all other gear? Cool, mild, or hot climate?

In most cases any cheap (or used) cooler is fine. Just add ice every couple days.

If 'roadtrip' for you means mostly driving with a few short stops here and there, and the climate isn't hot, then a 12v plug in cooler may be a good choice. These typically cool 40F below ambient temperature so not a good choice for hotter climes. I wouldn't want to mess with these if spending much time camping.

If you have room (e.g. a van with sufficient cargo space) and you don't mind the weight, then the RTIC coolers are nice, essentially the same as a Yeti w/o the prestige pricing. Just checked and the 45 quart version is on sale for $150, and the 65 quart for $180. We took a 65 on a road trip this summer and it performed quite well in 110F-120F weather, with ice lasting 4-5 days with 4 people regularly accessing it. However, it is large and heavy (extra insulation).

GreenSheep

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2017, 07:13:01 PM »
I have no personal experience with Rtic coolers, but they have been recommended to me as a cheaper Yeti.

Just in case anyone clicked on this looking for a smaller soft-sided cooler that would work for a day trip, or maybe a couple of days for one person... I love the eBags Crew Cooler II

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004BNN0JU/ref=twister_B004C140ZO?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

I've taken it to places where I wouldn't ordinarily take a cooler; it looks like just a regular bag.

It holds a surprising amount of stuff and keeps it cold for a surprisingly long time. If it's not terribly hot outside, and if I pack it only with frozen stuff, it will all still be frozen when I arrive at my destination.

Despite having soft sides, it doesn't leak.

It fits under the seat of a plane and holds plenty of snacks so you can travel across the globe without ever paying airport prices for food. It's apparently popular with flight attendants.

Fireball

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2017, 08:11:14 PM »
Long roads trips - best choice is the 12v coolers. No need for ice or cleaning up the water after it melts. Heck of a lot cheaper than a Yeti, Rtix, etc too.

accolay

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2017, 11:12:15 PM »
We just use the ice-over-everything cooler. I just can't buy a cooler that costs as much as a Yeti et al.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2017, 10:29:26 PM »
You are correct. I have given very little info and will do so in red

You haven't given us much info to go on. How many people are you traveling with? 2 people and 2 large dogs
What style of road trip are you doing: hotels/B&Bs, camping, both? Hotel/B&B with no camping
Will you be spending most of your time in the car, or will you go slow and take a few days at a time at each location? Looking to slow travel about 3-5 hours a day at most with a few days hanging out in certain places.
How much room do you have for a cooler after all other gear? Not quite sure but believe we have plenty of space.  We have a roof rack with an XL Thule container on it. Back seat down in a medium sized SUV so some room in the back for a cooler
Cool, mild, or hot climate? Cool climate.  We are going this winter with plenty of stops in ski resorts but will also spend some time in the south where temps could get as high as 70-80 degrees

In most cases any cheap (or used) cooler is fine. Just add ice every couple days.

If 'roadtrip' for you means mostly driving with a few short stops here and there, and the climate isn't hot, then a 12v plug in cooler may be a good choice. These typically cool 40F below ambient temperature so not a good choice for hotter climes. I wouldn't want to mess with these if spending much time camping. Would be nice to have some kind of cooler with compartments to keep things dry if using ice. This plugin sounds like a good idea and I will research it

If you have room (e.g. a van with sufficient cargo space) and you don't mind the weight, then the RTIC coolers are nice, essentially the same as a Yeti w/o the prestige pricing. Just checked and the 45 quart version is on sale for $150, and the 65 quart for $180. We took a 65 on a road trip this summer and it performed quite well in 110F-120F weather, with ice lasting 4-5 days with 4 people regularly accessing it. However, it is large and heavy (extra insulation).

Thanks for the great advice.  This is very helpful
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 10:38:27 PM by EnjoyIt »

Cwadda

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2017, 11:11:50 PM »
Most Mustachian way IMO is buying one second hand. Less consumption, less money, less plastic.

Goldielocks

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2017, 12:05:54 AM »
I have a Coleman cooler that is about the size of a dorm fridge. It is electric and runs on 12v or 110, so no need for ice.
+1
We switched to an electric plug-in for car based trips, too.  (It plugs into the lighter socket)...  no ice needed.  Fits between the passengers in the back seat.  Great for lunch items and leftovers because no melting ice or need to refreeze water bottles.
Otherwise I have a Coleman Xtreme for camping and it holds cold with ice (or dry ice if you want longer temps) for many days.

DebtFreeinPhilly

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2017, 09:38:58 AM »
I bought an Rtic soft sided cooler. Travels well on 9+ hour road trips, beach days, and anything else on keeping everything cool with only one filling of ice. It its pricey but has held up to a bunch of abuse.

Slightly cheaper option is the Coleman coolers. I have found them to be very durable but I have to refill the ice several times a day.

For your scenario, I would consider a two cooler system. Small soft sided cooler for daily use that you can fill with hotel ice. 12v plug in for the trunk. this will keep the long term items cool until you get to the hotel each night and can place it into the mini fridge but still have access to useable items during the day.

big_slacker

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2017, 08:31:23 AM »
As with the above, RTIC is the cheaper version of the crazy $$ Yeti coolers. That said even the cheap coleman camping coolers should keep ice for 2-3 days. This is what I use for camping. I have a built in inverter in the back of my SUV and considered a plug in fridge but given things like the RTIC and that you're never more than a few days from some ice at a gas station?

mm1970

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2017, 01:04:46 PM »
Long roads trips - best choice is the 12v coolers. No need for ice or cleaning up the water after it melts. Heck of a lot cheaper than a Yeti, Rtix, etc too.
We have one of these and I've found that we've stopped using it.  So it depends on how you are going to use it?

Ours keeps the food about 30 degrees colder than ambient, which is useful some of the time but not for camping in the desert when it's 80+F in the daytime.

What we've been using now MOSTLY is just a regular cooler (but newer), and instead of using ice, we use ice packs. There are some newer ice packs that we've gotten in the mail that last a really long time.

So, how are you going to use it?  For a night or two camping, regular cooler plus the newer ice packs work great. We also tend to stay in hotels while camping, and we always get a hotel with a fridge now.  The 12v cooler was definitely useful in a hotel room without a fridge.  But with a fridge?  Not terribly useful.  If we are lucky, the fridge will have an ice box area to put the ice packs.

I almost decided to sell the 12v.  But haven't yet.  It's useful to us when we camp in the winter (in So Cal) where it gets down to the 40s at night and only up to 60s in the daytime.

Based on your update above, I think that a plug in would work well for you.  Combine it with ice packs that you can refreeze occasionally.

JoJo

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Re: Advice on a travel cooler.
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2017, 11:01:45 AM »
My trick for non-electric coolers is to refill an empty 2 liter soda bottle with water and freeze it.  I put 2 of these at the bottom of my plastic cooler and still have ice after 2 days with highs in the 90s.  If you are staying at a hotel, sometimes the freezer in the mini fridge is big enough to refreeze the bottles.  If not, I just put it in the fridge to maintain its coolness.  This works way better than those blue gel things you can freeze.