Coleman 100-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler with Wheels, Blue
Why we love it?
Keeps ice up to 5 days at temps up to 90°F thanks to an insulated lid and extra insulation in walls Holds 160 cans and has molded cup holders on top of lid to keep drinks close and prevent spilling
Some comments about this we saw on the web:* /u/ShaggySkier on /r/BurningMan Don’t put anything in a dry ice cooler that actually needs to stay in a frozen state (like Ice Cream) for more than a day or two. If you do, it needs to be right against the dry ice block and away from the cooler walls. This is because there will be a temperature gradient inside your cooler, and stuff near the walls might not stay frozen - especially if it’s at the far end away from your dry ice.
Do not use a cheap Styrofoam box cooler, or a cheap weekend beer cooler either. I’m using this one.
On playa, your cooler absolutely needs to be stored somewhere that gets all-day shade. The taller your shade structure is, the more the shadow will move around. You don’t want to be wondering if your cooler is cooking in the sun while you are out on the far side of the Playa. In addition, I always put a mylar space blanket over top of mine, shiny side out, to help keep reflected or radiated heat (from nearby surfaces) at bay. Your cooler should also be raised off the playa ground with blocks or something, to create an air gap. An unshaded, or unvented tent, is a bad place for a cooler.
Also be mindful of how your cooler is stored in your car on the way in - the muffler in many vehicles is right below the trunk, and that heat will radiate upward and inwards while you are stuck on gate road. Mine is always burred in the middle of bedding, clothes bins, etc to create extra insulation.
Regularly check in on your cooler both on the way in and once at camp to make sure nothing is going wrong (i.e. exposed to direct heat). Remember that Artica closes at 6pm, so don’t wait until 7pm each day to check if your dry ice is gone.
Get a solid block of dry ice, not the thin slabs. (Check for wholesalers, retail outlets often only have slabs, which result in too much surface area). Place the dry ice block in the middle, and use corrugated cardboard or food to keep it separated from the walls of the cooler. I typically line the walls, and bottom of the cooler with cardboard. I then also put a piece of cardboard on top of everything before closing the lid.
Before departing, all of the food you are putting in the cooler should be kept in the freezer for a few days. If you put warm food (or beer!) in there, you will blow through the dry-ice really fast. This cooler should only contain food (no beer!), and should only be opened to get food out or to check the ice situation. Make sure your camp mates know not to put beer in there “for just a minute” to cool down.
As others have said, despite your best efforts something might go wrong and you could end up on regular ice much sooner than you’d like to be. I know my perishable foods can be kept safe for at least 5 days on regular ice, so I tend to bring about 4 days of dry foods as backup, just in case.
I usually put a 50lbs block of dry-ice in the cooler on Friday morning, and find myself transitioning to regular ice on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. However I tend to be very meticulous, so YMMV.
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