VW Camper Family

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We don't have a solar set up yet and our stock fridge does not run on propane at the moment (too expensive to fix). When driving, we run the stock refrigerator off our auxiliary (yellow top) battery. However, that would only run for so long in an off grid situation. We also have a small 12v cooler that works great and I think since we only camp for say 2-3 days at a time we should be able to get by with a regular Coleman "5 day" cooler plus the 12v one for just Jonathan, myself and the dog's raw meat diet, which needs to be refrigerated. Can anybody else offer suggestions?

Mary

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I've never had 'fridge' just an Ice box or Ice chest. if you are only gone for 3 nights at max, Bock Ice in an good ice chest should be fine.

+1 to what Adam said. But I would be careful with "raw meats" stored that long though. The temperature don't really get as low as a real fridge, atleast here in Texas this time of year. I would only bring precooked items, like smoked sausage, smoked bacon, or others that have had some sort of process added to make it last longer.

If you do go with an ice chest, make sure to drain (continously) the melted ice (water) as that makes it perform better. No need to waste cooling to try freeze melted water again.

If you are trying to cool something (beer?), leave the water in. If you are just trying to conserve your ice, and your stuff is already cold, drain it.

The raw meat is for the dog, who could eaten raw, rotting road kill without getting ill (stray dogs dog this frequently). I typically only bring for us perhaps smoked bacon, eggs, smoked ham lunchmeat, etc. I use the stock Westy fridge for the dog's raw meat, then the coolers for our stuff. The stock fridge definitely does NOT get as cold as a "real" one and eventually we may opt for something else, but I like the simplicity of the cooler idea and it worked well for us in S. Florida during hurricanes for up to 5 days (constant;y draining water and adding ice perhaps 1-2 times a day)

A good-sized chunk of dry ice will keep for 2-3 days easy in a decent cooler, or in the existing fridge. In fact, it'll work so well that it will likely keep the stuff closest to it frozen. And the best part: no clean up.

Where do you get dry ice?

Most any big chain supermarket will have it.

Barring that:
http://www.yellowpages.com/fremont-ca/dry-ice

i like to freeze gallon jugs of water~ they'll stay icy for around 3 days and as it melts you have fresh, cool drinking water.

I've kept raw tri-tips and such for more than a week at Burning Man in an ice chest with no problem.
The cooler stays in the bus where temps are over 100 during the day. (Coleman steel cooler)
The trick is to bring all meat out frozen, and keep it in an air/water-tight plastic container, at the bottom of your cooler.
I use block ice, usually 2 or 3 blocks, and keep the cold melt-water to 7 or 8 inches. Don't drain all your water... I only drain enough to prevent flooding and ice chest disasters. The cold water is part of the cold thermal mass in the cooler.... Anything below the water line will stay well below 40 degrees. My steaks are still red after 7 days.
You need to add additional blocks before the old ones melt completely, or you will lose your cool :)
Jugs of frozen drinking water in there is a great idea too... More thermal mass.
Crushed ice is a waste of money..... It melts too fast. I keep some in a seperate bag to put in drinks.

I also keep a second cooler just for beer. Then the lid isn't up on the food cooler every 15 minutes :)

I'm a fan of dry ice- but caution as dry ice can fill a small room very fast overnight. Keep the van vented well on the bottom 1/3 of the van (CO2 is heavier than air)

whc03grady said:

A good-sized chunk of dry ice will keep for 2-3 days easy in a decent cooler, or in the existing fridge. In fact, it'll work so well that it will likely keep the stuff closest to it frozen. And the best part: no clean up.

One pound of dry ice sublimates to 8.5 cubic feet of CO2 (I've never used more than two pounds), and it doesn't do so all at once. The mathematics pertaining to the danger of its indoor use  are left as an exercise for the reader.

Dharma Van said:

I'm a fan of dry ice- but caution as dry ice can fill a small room very fast overnight. Keep the van vented well on the bottom 1/3 of the van (CO2 is heavier than air)

Agree-

whc03grady said:

One pound of dry ice sublimates to 8.5 cubic feet of CO2 (I've never used more than two pounds), and it doesn't do so all at once. The mathematics pertaining to the danger of its indoor use  are left as an exercise for the reader.

Dharma Van said:

I'm a fan of dry ice- but caution as dry ice can fill a small room very fast overnight. Keep the van vented well on the bottom 1/3 of the van (CO2 is heavier than air)

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