Instructables
Wouldn't it be nice if you could go backpacking for a week and be able to have an ice cold soda on that last day? Or to keep sausage and eggs cold for longer? Well for the total cost of less than 10 bucks you can! This is a cheap and effective DIY. The whole thing weighs barely anything even with 3 ice packs, you'll definitely be carrying more weight from the food you'll be keeping cold rather than the cooler and cooling packs themselves. This project will take you an hour or so and the payoff would still be worth it even if it took 10 hours.
 
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Step 1: Materials

The materials in the picture are:
2 Thermal bags that I found at the dollar store, you can also find them at Costco and just about any supermarkets though.
Mylar emergency blanket, you can get 4 for $5 online or get them at Sport Chalet or any other camping supply store.
Cold packs, You can get the particular ones that I use from doctors offices who have medication delivered that needs to keep cool, or you can probably buy them at Costco or any supermarket, I like these ones because they keep cool longer than the plastic ones and they can be shaped by freezing them in whatever position.
Duct tape
Scissors
Schmidty161 year ago
yes u do have t get a life sorry but u do i alot of research but i like that
OK, now here is my final comment...I placed a plastic zip bag with 2 cups of water that I froze and a cold pack in the bag. Air temp was 70, the ice was 32, the cold pack was 30. I sealed the bag, placed it into the 2nd bag and placed that into the mylar bag and sealed it as well. 24 hours later, each was around 53. A week? I think not, baby puppy. Tonight I will place some organically active fruit and veggies, add cold packs and test the temp. after 24 hours at 70...I got to get a life!
AND ANOTHER THING!!! A nice finish to the mylar bag is to cover the duct tape with mylar duct tape, found at home centers. As a carpenter, I use the tape to cover over the gap between a new entrance door jamb and the sheet rock (after I insulate the space) and then attach the interior casing over the tape. It gives the "cooler" project a nice finished look!
I am a "lite" backpacker, so soda and beer will stay in a cooler in the car waiting for my return! Eggs stay home as well, however, a cold drink of H2O or a powdered drink are welcome after a long hike and some fresh soft cheese (hard cheese stays fresh without too much worry) and veggies work great in this bag. I have a small, soft sided insulated zippered case for keeping food cold, but this is lighter and a much better insulator. Another for my H2O bladder? Good idea!
Nice job! Just a suggestion, instead of Ice packs, I use a few "Platypus" brand soft water bottles and freeze them. At the end of the hike I can drink any melted H2O left over!
mad doctor2 years ago
could you use it for keeping stuff hot? I go on short hikes and bring my lunch with me, but when its time for lunch, it's not hot anymore... Does it work the same way?
RobbySkateboard (author)  mad doctor2 years ago
I imagine you could but I don't know what you could put in it to maintain hot temperature though. I mean for cold you just add some ice packs or a frozen water bottle. In theory it will keep your food warm too because if something can maintain one temperature it can maintain another, give it a shot and let me know.
My first inclination for keeping things warm would be to replace the ice packs with sodium acetate packs.
It may be the same thing because I am not sure what the scientific name is but the Grabber Ultra Warmers last for 24 hours. They heat up to about 120 degrees so I am not sure "hot" would be the right work but surely warm.

They run about $1 per pack so they are cheap and you could add more as required.

Nice Instructable...
120 degrees F is a prefect temperature for growing bacteria. One would not want to keep any perishable food at this heat.

Easy John
Sodium acetate releases heat when it crystallises out of solution. You can then reheat it and use it again. One can occasionally find heat packs made with it. They're the ones you boil for a while and then have a button to push to set them off.
Thank you - I had not heard of them before
HoldOnTight2 years ago
Great Idea. Will it really last for days or even a week or is that fluff, a line...?
RobbySkateboard (author)  HoldOnTight2 years ago
it won't be like a refrigerator or a cooler that's been filled with a LOT of ice, but yes, it will be noticeably colder. Especially if you let it sit in a creek or lake.
kcorcoran2 years ago
Hmm, Inception might call this infringement...
RobbySkateboard (author)  kcorcoran2 years ago
I haven't gotten around to seeing Inception yet, so I don't get what you're saying, sorry.
BtheBike2 years ago
that would go great to insulate a camel pak . Keep my body heat from heating up my icy electrolytes .
RobbySkateboard (author)  BtheBike2 years ago
yeah, I haven't put a camel back in it because I'm usually always camping next to water, but if you were to put a camel back in it you might want to make it slightly bigger, I don't know if a big camel back bladder would fit. It might, but just buy those bags and make sure it only takes up half the width of the bag and then you'll be set, if it's bigger than half the width you'll obviously need to alter my instruct able slightly and make it wider.
LOVE this, would be great for shorter hikes too!
yeah, I like it for just a 2-3 day hike especially when the weight isn't as big of a deal and I load it up with soda's for me and my friends.
foobear2 years ago
Does it really keep things cold an entire week?
RobbySkateboard (author)  foobear2 years ago
if you put in a few frozen water bottles and put it in a river or creek it will keep cold for a week, not refrigerator cold of course, but you'll be impressed.
Big_D_2 years ago
Obviously you're not a "Backpacking Lite" person.
RobbySkateboard (author)  Big_D_2 years ago
if I was going to do a long trip like 50+ miles I'd definitely go light, but for just a small backpacking trip like 20 miles over the course of a week (keep in mind it's not all about covering ground, I like to hike in 5-10 miles and then just camp out for a week and do different day hikes) but for 20 miles with a backpack, I'll suck up an extra few pounds for a few cold sodas and stuff.
tcrowley22 years ago
Obviously you are.
James__D2 years ago
Guess who is going to have cold beer at the end of his next backpacking trip?

I'll give you a clue. It starts with me.
zazenergy2 years ago
I love this project! I've always wanted something like that and now I know how to make it. Thanks! Great instructable.
RobbySkateboard (author)  zazenergy2 years ago
No problem, I've been wanting to make this into an instructable for a while but finally felt the urge thanks to this Coleman camping contest, haha.
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