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Old 11-07-2014, 07:43 PM   #15
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My husband and I have a longer-trip predicament in that we occasionally wish to carry more food than the Interstate was designed to accommodate, particularly because it has been our tradition to meet extended family in somewhat remote wilderness locations that are poorly served by g-stores and eateries. We have one workaround for this in mind, but we are interested to know how other folks have addressed this scenario.

We successfully dealt with this challenge last summer by buying a Yeti 50 cooler, super-cooling it prior to departure (well below freezing), packing it full of our frozen home-made meals and ice, and loading it into the back of our minivan. Because the Yeti is so remarkably efficient, the food remained frozen for about the first week of our 3,000 mile (one way) travel (we replenished the ice every few days but really did not start losing ice until about 6 days into it). On Day 8 we arrived at our cottage and transferred the food into a very cold refrigerator, where it lasted unspoiled for the second week.

This was one of the smartest things I've ever done!!!! I fed five adults main meals for seven consecutive days using food I had dragged cross-continent. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I was actually ON VACATION because I wasn't spending a few hours every day struggling to feed everyone in an area with limited resources (I am the family's chief cook and bottle-washer).

My husband and I knew that the Interstate (a) had a fridge way, way too small for any such workaround and (b) doesn't have the interior space to accommodate a large Yeti or similar device. We figured that, worst case scenario, maybe we could get one of those small grate-style hitch platforms and security netting and carry the Yeti that way.

Having the Yeti OUTside the Interstate would also present another option: I could use dry ice instead of water ice, which means I could keep the entire stock frozen for a couple of weeks if not longer. I wasn't comfortable using dry ice inside a minivan that was crammed to the ceiling with luggage, three adults and a large dog, with the A/C on Recirc 100% of the time because it was mid-summer. I was worried about dry ice sublimating and displacing oxygen in the tightly-enclosed small space.

However, I've already had several folks muse that perhaps I don't want that much weight on the AI hitch. The Yeti 50 containing sixteen four-quart Pyrex storage dishes plus ice comes to at least a hundred pounds. Plus the weight of the hitch platform itself, cables, locks, etc. The initial feedback we have received is suggesting that the Interstate does not respond well to that kind of load (this would be dead weight, not tongue weight, and it makes a difference). Some folks are speculating that it would adversely affect the handling in a conspicuous way (we have not yet experimented).

I know of an owner in the northwest who had a micro-trailer made for his AI (not sure if he reads this forum). This is another option but we would rather avoid a trailer unless there was no other workaround.

Any additional ideas here?

Thanks!
Alison and Lawrence
League City TX
THE INTERSTATE BLOG
Alison-

Dan here. The cargo carrier weighs about 80 Lbs. We used it on our 2nd Houston-Alaska trip in 2013 and had it loaded with: our tent, our inflatable 12 ft boat, motor, 2 bikes and some other accessories. It does not exceed the AI width nor did we have a handling problem. Later
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:11 PM   #16
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If it makes you feel any better, I believe your loaded cooler would weigh considerably less than the trophy buck that those hitch haulers were first designed to portage.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:04 AM   #17
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You'd like south Louisiana then. Especially when it comes to seafood, you can buy it so fresh that it looks up at you all teary-eyed and begs you to reconsider!
I'm on the upper Texas coast, which is not much different. We like to watch our dog chase crawfish across the kitchen floor as the pot is coming to a boil. Double the fun for our investment.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:36 AM   #18
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Could you in some way ship it in the dry ice, so it gets to you just as you arrive or r u too remote? I get dry ice shipments of food all the time, no issue.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:38 AM   #19
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Of course, that makes sense.

Or....just forget about freezing in glass and just freeze in vacuum seal bags!

Just thinking of ways to reduce the weight of all that glass.

Maggie
Would work if travel were my main objective, but our freezer is a 22-cubic-foot upright. Pyrex is the only thing that can stack efficiently and stack high under its own weight. Following spring harvest, I have about one hundred and twenty 2-, 4-, and 8-cup Pyrex rounds in the freezer. The month of May typically has a reduced quality of life for me as I spend a lot of my free time cooking, but then I don't have to do very much more work until September.

Yeah, we live in the subtropics - the idea of the biggest harvest coming in May will be a head-scratcher for some folks. We have to get most stuff grown before the mean season (the heat) descends upon us. Summer is only good for hot-weather crops such as melons, okra, certain pea and bean cultivars, and sweet potatoes, although I did have superb Japanese eggplant yields this year. But we never hit 100 degrees, which is rare.

The idea of removing from Pyrex prior to travel is attractive because it means that the resulting void space in the cooler could be used for other things on the return trip.
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Old 11-09-2014, 05:02 AM   #20
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Could you in some way ship it in the dry ice, so it gets to you just as you arrive or r u too remote? I get dry ice shipments of food all the time, no issue.
An interesting idea, but too remote. For laughs, I ran a quote... it would take a similar-sized package 6 days to get to a location about 80 miles south of there (nobody would deliver to the place itself) and would cost about $350 to ship. Plus duty. So we would precede its arrival by 2 or 3 days.
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Old 11-09-2014, 11:07 AM   #21
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Sorry to veer a bit into thready hijack territory.....but....I just thought of something and want to confirm.

Are you good people saying that these Yetti type coolers can leave your house with frozen contents, and dry ice, and travel over several days, say in the back of a pickup bed in the heat of summer, and then arrive at a destination with the contents still frozen, and the dry ice somewhat still usable? And that they would be insulated enough to then maintain the contents in a between frozen and refrigerated state of food safety over several more days with the addition of standard water ice? Is that the deal???? If so, please tell me more.

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Old 11-09-2014, 01:41 PM   #22
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Are you good people saying that these Yetti type coolers can leave your house with frozen contents, and dry ice, and travel over several days, say in the back of a pickup bed in the heat of summer, and then arrive at a destination with the contents still frozen, and the dry ice somewhat still usable? And that they would be insulated enough to then maintain the contents in a between frozen and refrigerated state of food safety over several more days with the addition of standard water ice? Is that the deal???? If so, please tell me more.
The freezing point of carbon dioxide (dry ice) is -108F, a full 140 degrees colder than water ice. As long as you keep the cooler tightly shut, it's entirely possible for the food inside to stay frozen for a week or more, even in mid-summer in Texas.
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Old 11-09-2014, 01:54 PM   #23
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The freezing point of carbon dioxide (dry ice) is -108F, a full 140 degrees colder than water ice. As long as you keep the cooler tightly shut, it's entirely possible for the food inside to stay frozen for a week or more, even in mid-summer in Texas.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:23 AM   #24
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Sorry to veer a bit into thready hijack territory.....but....I just thought of something and want to confirm.

Are you good people saying that these Yetti type coolers can leave your house with frozen contents, and dry ice, and travel over several days, say in the back of a pickup bed in the heat of summer, and then arrive at a destination with the contents still frozen, and the dry ice somewhat still usable? And that they would be insulated enough to then maintain the contents in a between frozen and refrigerated state of food safety over several more days with the addition of standard water ice? Is that the deal???? If so, please tell me more.

Thanks
Julie
Who wants to buy a 16 Bambi but is concerned about the small storage space in it.
Short answer: Yup.

Longer answer: Yeti itself is very careful about not warranting any performance for which they might be liable. So they make all kinds of statements about how different environmental conditions will affect performance, but you SHOULD get long-duration frozen conditions if you manage their coolers properly (or words to that effect).

A few months ago, to constrain the reality of what actually happens, I started reading sportsman forums, where guys were taking these coolers out to their electricity-less hunting shacks and whatnot. They were working hard to constrain the actual performance because they need to maintain ice for their catches (fish and game). There was a consensus that, under most conditions, if you pre-cool (very important) the Yeti, pack it full, and minimize your use (opening) of it, you should have ice remaining up to a week after you first packed it.

Let me give you a little backstory for perspective. I initially bought my Yeti NOT for normal travel but rather for a hurricane evacuation scenario. We are in a coastal county (Galveston) so evacuations are mandatory. Having participated in the largest evacuation in American history (Rita) and having lived through the third costliest natural disaster in American history (Ike), I know from experience what might be required in the future. It is entirely possible that the day will come where I will need to feed a dozen people (I'm skipping the underlying long story) for an extended period of a week or more with no electricity and no operable public infrastructure. Therefore, I figured that, if I could disgorge the contents of my carefully-curated freezer into a Yeti prior to evacuation and then have that Yeti perform as well as anecdotally reported, then in an emergency we would be in soooo much better shape than we would otherwise be.

So that's why I initially coughed up the four hundred bucks for the thing (Yeti 50 - they come in different sizes, different prices - Yeti 50 was closest to square, minimum surface area per volume, so I speculated that it would stay coldest). What I proceeded to do this summer, which was to transport food three thousand miles from home to a remote cottage in far northeastern Canada, was an experimental afterthought of sorts. We figured, "Well, we have the Yeti anyway, we don't know if this will work, but let's give it a try."

And it worked superbly. We set our behemoth freezer to its lowest achievable temperature (-16 degrees F), and put several bags of ice in the freezer so that they would lower to this temperature, same as the food. We packed the empty Yeti full of ice to pre-cool it. On the morning of departure, we dumped out the pre-cooling ice and quickly stuffed the Yeti with sixteen individual 4-cup Pyrex dishes containing a variety of meals, and packed in the -16 degrees F ice as tightly as possible around it. Because the Yeti has a good drain plug, you can check your ice status without having to lift the lid which lets warm air in. We left Houston Texas and we were in Roanoke Virginia before we saw any melt water whatsoever. And there was still plenty of ice in the cooler and the food was still frozen when we retrieved our minivan after it sat unattended and unreplenished for three more days in a Manhattan hotel parking garage.

Sometimes, low tech is the best way to go. This is why I am now leaning in the direction of Yeti use on long RV trips, unless someone comes up with better ideas. We did everything this summer with water ice. We have not yet experimented with dry ice, but theoretically, careful use of dry ice should result in even better long-term performance.

You should remember that Yetis are high-theft targets. People know how valuable and expensive they are. In our subtropical area with its emphasis on staying cool, they also appear to be becoming status symbols of sorts, which further intensifies their theft potential. If we do decide to hook a shallow platform to the rear hitch of our Airstream and begin carrying the Yeti on it, I will be devising the mother of all security systems for it, and I'll post about that later.

Alison and Lawrence
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Old 11-11-2014, 05:11 AM   #25
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Interblog, thanks so much for the detailed info.

We want to do a lot of national park camping, and as you know if you have ever been to them, the available food is very limited.

But the other factor is the bear security thing. I liked a lot the factor that the Yeti was rated as an approved food container for bear country when locked.

Agree with you that leaving a nice looking $400 toy laying around is not a good idea, and security will be important. As there are only the 2 of us, I believe I could store it in the backseat of the Tundra/locked up/in the shade, and have the excess food transport and storage capacity needed for a 7-10 day trip.

Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:33 AM   #26
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I'd be interested in hearing all ideas. I am constantly seeing new things on this forum that I hadn't thought of.

I might add that my husband and I grow a lot of our own food and this is part of our motivation. Seasonal harvests either have to be canned or frozen. Freezing is a lot less work, especially when the stuff can be fashioned into meals instead of frozen as raw stock that needs to be cooked later.
1) do at least some of your freezing in bags rather than pyrex to reduce weight bulk fragility and the hassle and expense of collecting the empties and bringing them home. You can box the bags to make them stack in your upright, either by filling a shoebox (or similar) with multiple bags, or by putting the filled but unfrozen bags in a suitable size take-out box:

1/2 Pint White Chinese Take-out Boxes S-8564W - Uline

2) Can some of your produce, particularly fruit. We've had good results canning peaches, apple sauce, jams, and jellies. Some vegetables can OK, particularly tomatoes, and there are usda approved recipes for sauces and salsas, and other condiments like ketchup and corn relish if you make those. Pickles and sauerkraut of course can well. Cans work better than jars for travel but equipment and supplies for home canning with cans have become difficult to find.

3) Many people consider local food an inseparable part of the travel experience. Find and patronize organic producers and retailers along your route of travel.

4) Consider that some items dry as well as or better than they freeze, like apple slices

5) For long journeys without resupply opportunities, basing the menu for the later stage of the trip on foods that dry well works best. Ask any long-distance hiker or the people who live aboard their boats. This would include flour, rice, legumes, and cereal grains.

Combine some of those strategies and you could end up needing much less weight and space for your frozen food, which will reduce the size and weight of the cooler and also the amount of dry ice you would need if you go that route.

You can use frozen brine packs as an inexpensive alternative to dry ice.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:05 AM   #27
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1) do at least some of your freezing in bags rather than pyrex to reduce weight bulk fragility and the hassle and expense of collecting the empties and bringing them home. You can box the bags to make them stack in your upright, either by filling a shoebox (or similar) with multiple bags, or by putting the filled but unfrozen bags in a suitable size take-out box:

1/2 Pint White Chinese Take-out Boxes S-8564W - Uline

2) Can some of your produce, particularly fruit. We've had good results canning peaches, apple sauce, jams, and jellies. Some vegetables can OK, particularly tomatoes, and there are usda approved recipes for sauces and salsas, and other condiments like ketchup and corn relish if you make those. Pickles and sauerkraut of course can well. Cans work better than jars for travel but equipment and supplies for home canning with cans have become difficult to find.

3) Many people consider local food an inseparable part of the travel experience. Find and patronize organic producers and retailers along your route of travel.

4) Consider that some items dry as well as or better than they freeze, like apple slices

5) For long journeys without resupply opportunities, basing the menu for the later stage of the trip on foods that dry well works best. Ask any long-distance hiker or the people who live aboard their boats. This would include flour, rice, legumes, and cereal grains.

Combine some of those strategies and you could end up needing much less weight and space for your frozen food, which will reduce the size and weight of the cooler and also the amount of dry ice you would need if you go that route.

You can use frozen brine packs as an inexpensive alternative to dry ice.
Good suggestions. I liked Maggie's suggestion of freezing the meals in the Pyrex but then bagging them once frozen. That way they retain their shape and stack-ability, at least until they thaw.

The local food idea is great - where it exists. Have you ever been to London? The food is unspeakably awful over much of it. The same is largely true of rural Canada. I don't know how the British Commonwealth prospered for as long as it did with the crap that they eat. It's slowly improving but still has a ways to go.

Most of our menus combine a frozen component with a cooked component (the easiest example is frozen spaghetti sauce with fresh-cooked pasta). So we are leveraging the dried goods idea to an extent.

I have not yet gotten into canning. My husband and I are still employed and will be for some years to come, plus we still have a child at home, so my food prep time is pretty much maxed out with the freezing regime.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:32 AM   #28
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My thought about freezing in glass, then removing and transferring to vacuum sealed bags for travel, included lining the glass pan with something, for ease of removal. The question is......what to line with?

Waxed paper will disintegrate some in freezing and any defrosting, perhaps leaving bits in your food to be discovered later,

Parchment paper? Press n Seal? Both of these hold up well in the freezer.

Freezing directly in glass and then removing to a bag would work, but would require a small bit of defrosting to get it to release.

May take some practice to get it right for you.


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