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Is there an easy and cheap way to make a portable freezer? Answered

I'm in need of a portable freezer to freeze ice in an ice vest to allow usage when I don't have access to a conventional freezer. 

I know that there are retail portable freezer that run up to the hundreds. I had the thought of using dry ice in some manner. However, I'm not familiar enough with freezers or dry ice to even know where to start on this kind of thing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! 


Since you are not a techy type I would suggest a 12 volt cooler that suites your needs.

You can get one for as little as $44.00


Actually, I'm a more techy then I am chemical! I have no issues doing wiring if it will serve my needs. I just though dry ice would work for this, what with the tag line of "five times colder then wet ice!" i see on packs.

As for the coolers, do they get cold enough to freeze the icepacks your talking about?

The advantage of the Chemical Ice Pack no hydro you just need a styrofoam cooler and the Instant Cold Pack.

A chemical Ice Pack or an Instant Cold Pack is a device that consists of two bags; one bag containing water, inside a bag containing Ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate or urea. When the inner bag of water is broken by squeezing the package, it is allowed to dissolve the solid in an endothermic reaction. This reaction absorbs heat from the surroundings, quickly lowering the pack's temperature.

The chemical Ice packs and the coolers are the same in that it depends on which one you get and how you use them as to whether they will freeze or just cool.


Oh! Those kind of ice packs! Thats actually a genius solution to this! I thought you were talking about the ice pack sheets for some reason...anyways, this should work! Thanks!


3 years ago

Move to northern Canada anytime except July and August. Place cardboard box outside at night. Frozen with no moving parts. ---- Might need to line it with metal to keep the bears out of it.

/me slow clap

I actually live in south Canada (Better known as Montana). I did give this a thought, but, sadly, the ice vest would be used for conventions, and none of them take place in the winter. Go figure...

I live in NE Montana, otherwise known as NEMONT which is what one of the phone companies named itself. Hence I have first hand knowledge of the freezing capacity. One of the first things new people learn --- Don't leave groceries in the car unless you actually want them frozen.

What kind of conventions?

Nemont, eh? Small world! I work at VisionNet in Great Falls, which is partial owned by the Nemont telco. And I think everyone makes that mistake [leaving groceries in the car]. Once.

And mostly cosplay-related conventions. Comi-Con, sakura-con, a few gaming conventions.

By the way, an idea I once kicked around was to set up an underground storage tank with heat exchanger tubing running through it. Fill it with water and open it up in the winter and let it freeze solid. In the spring, close it up and insulate it. In the summer run fluid through the exchange tubing and get all the air conditioning you could ever want. Probably be able to make and run a refrigerator for it also.

I just thought of another one chemical Ice packs you can get them for as little as $0.25


The latent heat of sublimation of dry ice is lower than that of water ice. I would assume that means you'd need a lot of it to cool the vest enough.

Question: How much power can you throw at this ? How much water are you trying to freeze ?

Power *may* be iffy. I'd like to keep it something I can keep in a cooler, but if need be, I can wire it up. It'd be used mainly in a hotel room.

Water would be only a few cups. The plan for the vest is to use the ice sheets that have pockets of fluid and cut those to size for pockets on the vest.

The plans for the vest can change, as right now it relies on a freezer.

I did look into this. Both for cooling on my person (which I do plan to do via the Wristify) and by making a freezer.

I do have some, so I might have to look into making test box of sorts to try maknig them into a freezer.

I did at first, but I'm a touch more believing of it now. I found some cheap peltiers and did a Jimmy rigged test of sorts, that, shockingly, worked.

I'm still a touch hesatant that it will work well enough for my purposes, but since it'll take me no more then an hour to rig one up for portable uses, it's worth a shot.

A human emits about 60W at rest, far more when working. For the cell to beat your body's own ability to cool it would have to shift the same kind of power levels.