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Keeping Stuff Fresh On The Road


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Guest Kakugo

A weird question.

Sometimes when on the road I carry with me a small thermo bag to keep beverages and food at an acceptable temperature.

To keep it cool, I usually put one or two ice packs in it.

 

It works well if I am on the road just a couple of days, but problems start if I am on the road a third day.

Most hotels here haven't got in-room refrigerators hence recharging the ice pack is out of question. I've tried a few expedients, like buying ice bags at service stations and putting ice cold cans of fruit juice in the bag but the first turned out to be a disaster and the second doesn't work as well as the ice packs.

 

Is there any expedient/magical gadget I could use?

 

Thanks.

 

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I do not know if they are available there in Europe, but I have a small 12 volt cooler. It keeps the contents about 30-40°f cooler than the surrounding air which is refreshing but it needs to run a lot if not constantly to keep the contents cold and it has a large footprint for a bike considering the space of the actual box insides. I found it to be good for long trips in my truck but have not experimented the use of it for my bike. Perhaps the best solution for the third day is to use ice or outright buy a cold one at a gas stop.

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Michaelr11

Is "dry ice" available for sale there (frozen CO2)? It will keep contents very cold. Do not handle it with bare skin, you'll get frost burns.

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I can't offer a solution for the longer trips, but packing your cooler bag in the middle of your clothes might help by providing more insulation.

 

For trips of a few days, I'd suggest you freeze bottles of water, rather than chemical cold packs. They are cheaper, can provide cold drinking water as they thaw, and save weight and space as you use them up.

 

Most of the hotels here have small refrigerator/freezers so we can re-fill and re-freeze our bottles at night. Maybe the kitchen staff at your hotel or nearby restaurant could provide a little freezer space?

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Guest Kakugo

Thanks a lot to those who replied.

 

Yes, we have 12V refrigerators here. They aren't that expensive but I looked them up and the smallest one draws 50W. If I remember Physics II correctly, on a 12V circuit that means 4.16A draw... pretty close to the 5.0A limit the BMS-K will allow and I have enough assorted trash under the seat already to make me think twice about a direct battery piggytail. :dopeslap:

 

Is "dry ice" available for sale there (frozen CO2)? It will keep contents very cold. Do not handle it with bare skin, you'll get frost burns.

 

That's actually a damn good idea... last time I was at the sports shop I saw some "dry ice" packs to treat bruises and the like. Just hit them hard enough and they drop to around 0°C. No risk of frost burns. Given they are just 50c each, 10€ will buy enough for a few trips. :thumbsup:

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

If all else fails, moisture and airflow will chill anything. When camping, we'd sometimes find ourselves in 90 deg F weather. A wet towel over the ice chest prevents ice runs since the evaporation chills the exterior of the ice chest keeping the interior cooler.

I do the same thing when crossing that damnable desert buy keeping a shirt and microfiber neck towel wet.

A mesh bag with a wet towel containing your cold items should work fine. Question is, where to put it?

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Bill_Walker

I just fill Ziploc bags with ice from the hotel ice machine. But they do leak sometimes.

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Have you tried burying the cold packs in an ice bucket filled with ice from the hotel overnight? Should be pretty frozen in the morning.

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Guest Kakugo

Thanks for the suggestions, but 90% of the hotels here haven't got an ice machine nor other forms of refrigeration for the customers.

 

And they are bloody expensive as well, except for Spain. ;)

 

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Bill_Walker
Thanks for the suggestions, but 90% of the hotels here haven't got an ice machine nor other forms of refrigeration for the customers.

 

And they are bloody expensive as well, except for Spain. ;)

 

It's funny how different places are different. Even the cheapest motels in the US have an ice machine, and the ice is almost always free. Because you may want to put drinks on ice in your room.

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Freeze your drinks.

First day buy from store.

Over the next couple days the drinks will thaw but allow you to have another day or two.

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I came up with this a few years back, it works pretty good:

 

I use a soft sided cooler. Like an insulated lunch bag. Sometimes you can double bag these, and get better insulation. Some are better at holding water than others. If you get the leaky kind, find a place for it, like a rear rack, where it can drip without soaking the rest of your stuff. (personally, I like the leaky kind because it's easier to keep it from becoming a big wet hot-dog-juice-mess. The down side though is that I am letting go of cold water, so it doesn't last as long. Everything's a trade off.) Anyway, put your food and ice in as usual and strap it down.

 

Now: When it's time for a re-load, stop at any quickie mart or fast food joint. Buy the biggest fountain drink they sell. Fill it all the way up with ice. Dump the ice in your cooler.

 

If you're thirsty, fill it with your drink of choice, and suck it down, then chuck the ice in your bag. Be careful here, because dumping icy coke residue in your cooler is a sticky, stoopid idea. Select a non-sugary drink, or you may find a convenient way to quickly rinse your ice at a water faucet.

 

Another alternative, is to use a water tight tupperware or nalgene bottle and keep your ice in that, inside your cooler. I do this in the car, but I find it takes up too much space on the bike.

 

I also had a different idea one time. I bought a box of those frozen icy pops. What are they otter pops? I figured I'd just stuff the frozen pops in the cooler, use them as an ice pack, and re-freeze and eat them later, after the trip. Where my plan went to hell was that I happened to grab a box at the store that was recently restocked and hadn't frozen yet. (wonk! wonk! wonk!) But this, and other frozen foods, like vegetables, that you might eat that night for supper are viable options. Just make sure they really are frozen before you walk out of the store.

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Europe has a dearth of ice. Many of the ice-related suggestions won't work there.

 

I think there's some sort of ice-ban in effect. :(

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We just don't have anywhere that sells ice readily available.

To be honest, I don't even keep any at home.

We generally don't do ice in the same way as y'all do.

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Guest Kakugo
Europe has a dearth of ice. Many of the ice-related suggestions won't work there.

 

I think there's some sort of ice-ban in effect. :(

 

Supply and demand... two years ago I stopped at a service station somewhere between Zug and Zurich in sweltering heat to fill up and they had ice bags available so I picked up one without checking the price. It was ChF 8.50!!! :cry:

It would have been far cheaper to buy a bunch of iced soft drink.

 

Lesson learned. :rofl:

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szurszewski

I've never been to Switzerland, but from research I've done, 8X the price of ice from the Cstore on my block seems about in line with the rest of the prices I've seen in Switzerland. My wife has a good story about ending up on the wrong train and being stuck overnight in a mid-sized Swiss town - this was about 20 years ago and the cheapest room she could find was over $200 US - she sweet talked the train station guard (station closed for the night) into letting her back in to sleep on a bench...

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Guest Kakugo
I've never been to Switzerland, but from research I've done, 8X the price of ice from the Cstore on my block seems about in line with the rest of the prices I've seen in Switzerland. My wife has a good story about ending up on the wrong train and being stuck overnight in a mid-sized Swiss town - this was about 20 years ago and the cheapest room she could find was over $200 US - she sweet talked the train station guard (station closed for the night) into letting her back in to sleep on a bench...

 

The place has become far less expensive than in my youth but some things (hotels, for example) are still rabidly expensive by European standards. If you are in Geneve or Basel it's highly advisable to cross the border for the night and if you are in Zurich it's often cheaper to drive all the way to Schwyz for the night. Hotels are one third of the price (yes, you read that right) and fuel is cheap enough to make it all worthwhile.

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