No More Ice Bags or Blocks Needed on the Playa

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.
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CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX
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No More Ice Bags or Blocks Needed on the Playa

Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Sun Aug 16, 2009 10:36 am

I have an idea that I think will make some of our stays at Burning Man much easier from now on. It builds on the idea of using plastic water bottles as ice blocks inside of our coolers and assumes there is access to electricity. The bottles don’t leak and can be drunk when defrosted back to water. But what if we refreeze them. I found a relatively inexpensive small freezer unit that could be used for BRC camping.

Sunpentown 1.6 Cu.Ft. Upright Freezer (Stainless) Uf-160S runs about $200 each @ Walmart. Its sold other places online or maybe it can be found at retail. Other units could also work just make sure its only a freezer and not a refrigerator combo unit.

I estimate that one of these freezers could keep 3 to 4 ice chests cold with consistent rotation of water bottles freezing and refreezing.
Just imagine no more long waits in line for ice at Arctica, or running back to camp with melting ice, and dealing with slimy unhealthy cooler water or draining it into evaporation ponds.
If the unit breaks or the whole idea is a bust it could be returned and then something else could be tried.

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Post by Generic Anonymity » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:00 am

Makes sense to me. Only concern would be finding a place to plug in the fridge - which I assume would just require a generator.
Although, most refrigerators seem to have a different plug than many electronics. Would you need an adapter or do generators have multiple socket types?
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Post by phil » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:43 am

> Sunpentown 1.6 Cu.Ft. Upright Freezer (Stainless) Uf-160S runs
> about $200 each @ Walmart.

One of my friends had a propane fridge he ran at BM. Both the fridge section and freezer section worked.

The issue on electric freezers remains power. I'm guessing it's 120VAC, but I don't know what it draws - if you have to have a generator to run it, that's not on my list. If I can run it from an inverter, that's possible, but I expect I can't power it all week, and I'd only need it at the end when the ice I brought with me melted.

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Post by Elorrum » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:51 am

I don't think you've calculated how fast ice is melting in all those coolers relative to how fast and how little ice you are re-freezing in one little freezer. I took 3(qty) 5(volume) liter jugs to my sister's upright garage freezer last year the afternoon before I was leaving. The next morning, none had frozen solid. I had sloshy semi frozen water that stayed cold for a couple days. This year, I am going to put the containers in the freezer two days ahead. I will agree with you that freezing water in plastic jugs/bottles is the way to go. You can drink it when it thaws, and your coolers stay dry and relatively clean.

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Post by Playa Tom » Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:20 pm

Compare the cost of buying the freezer and the cost of running a generator or the cost of solar panels to the cost of a few blocks of ice at arctica. Think about how much work it is to run a generator and to drag a freezer out to the playa and you may decide it is easier to make some new friends in the line at Arctica.

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Post by ygmir » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:02 pm

good points........I wonder if there is a propane powered freezer, as such?
my old trailer has a propane fridge, that works pretty good.....but, certainly has limits, especially regarding recovery time.......

I'm heading out to the shop to build, hopefully, a super insulated box to put my ice chest in to hopefully get the ice/dry ice to last much longer.......
plywood, rigid insulation, plywood.......
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Post by vikb » Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:31 pm

I don't like having to use AC or DC power for my camp needs at BRC or any camping I do. I also didn't find getting ice at Burning Man was a chore. I'm not a fan of generators running as they can make it hard to sleep/camp if you are next to them.

I'll probably do one cooler with dry ice this year for all my frozen food. That won't need attention all week as long as I go inside once per day at night when it's cool.

I'll have another cooler just for beverages which we'll open all the time and I'll need ice for it every day. Gotta keep the beer cold!...=-)

The third cooler will be for unfrozen food which will likely only need ice every second day.

I've been to an event that traded frozen 2L pop bottles for unfrozen ones for $1 per bottle so you could essentially keep rotating through bottles without needing more water or getting stuff in your cooler wet.

cheers,

Vik

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Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:00 pm

ygmir wrote:good points........I wonder if there is a propane powered freezer, as such?
Having lived off the grid, I'm fairly confident that there is.
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Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:55 pm

The propane freezer mutation sounds like it has real potential btw. The power grid is really a challenge and I was thinking of some of the larger based camps that have the infrastructure to support +/- generation. Whatever we try as long as it refreezes the water maybe if solar can do it then use it. I purchased a sunpentown 3cu freezer today was almost $300 will run with regular 110. We will test it on the Nautilus this year since we have consistent moving electrons and we’ll try out the water refreezing bottle process.

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Post by ygmir » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:02 pm

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Post by bs bob » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:03 pm

i arrived on the playa wed last year with a cooler full of one liter water bottles i had in the freezer for at least 5 days before leaving(20 hour drive),on saturday i still had semi frozen water!!!freeze a couple gallons and you will have ice for 5 days or so-no freezer needed

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Post by bs bob » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:04 pm

i arrived on the playa wed last year with a cooler full of one liter water bottles i had in the freezer for at least 5 days before leaving(20 hour drive),on saturday i still had semi frozen water!!!freeze a couple gallons and you will have ice for 5 days or so-no freezer needed

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Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:20 pm

I’ll let you all know how it works out for us. For those that are interested stop by and check with me through out the burn week.

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Post by oleg8888 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:21 pm

Been freezing water bottles for 6 burns now. Works great.
Try freezing bigger containers, like a coke bottles - they last longer.
And I hope your fun experience will not depend on a freezer, unless it breaks down...........
Oh and btw, you shouldn't drink out of these plastic bottles after they been to a freezer. You have no idea what's being released in to water during freezing

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Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:27 pm

The only concern I have with the freezer is it isnt frost free so will need to be cleaned after each use.

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Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:28 pm

I tried that early on and the bottle broke so I thought it wasnt viable. I am not sure if I want to carry weight like water and not consume it but maybe you have an idea with the larger bottle will act like an ice block. Are there specific bottles you have used that maintain their structural integrity?

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Post by ygmir » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:42 pm

I've found most bottles I freeze hold up fine, I think it helps to freeze them slowly...........I use a chest type freezer.......

I'm not sure much leaches out of plastic upon freezing, I think most of that takes place at higher temps, and, with repeated cycling of hot/cold.....but, I'm no chemist.......

it's never hurt me, and, I still have good vision in all 3 of my eyes........
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Post by CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:51 pm

I've stopped drinking almost all water bottles now except when necessary in the default world. Now use a water filter and metal canteens at home.
For this to work at BRC it will need to be the actual freezer that needs to not split the bottles during refreezing. When I get the unit in I plan to try a variety of bottles to determine several solutions. I suppose carrying ice is wasted weight anyway and it can create an unhealthy mess. The larger bottle might work fine instead of just the smaller ones.

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Post by ZiggZagg » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:28 pm

We did something similar to this last year. We filled about 20(?) or so Gatorade bottles and froze them, and filled up 3 or 4 regular coolers. The ice stayed frozen for about 4 days or so. When it started to melt, we had ice cold drinking water! And when we ran out, we just picked up more ice from Center Camp.

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Post by trenton » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:01 am

Propane freezers are VERY expensive. a small one can run in the neighborhood of 1800 to 2200 dollars , not in my BM buget. You could buy a used RV with a working 3-way fridge for that, and get a shower as a bonus.

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Post by Elorrum » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:06 am

It's probably know, but I'll add it anyway. Don't fill the bottles all the way as water expands when it freezes.

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Post by Artemis » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:27 am

My family lives off the grid and has a propane fridge and freezer, but as other poster has indicated they are VERY expensive. Of course cost to run them is super cheap (<$75/year if I remember correctly) but initial outlay is pretty steep. They had to order theirs from somewhere in Scandinavia as most efficient ones weren't available in US at the time (late 90s).

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Post by ygmir » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:30 am

I think I'd also worry about hauling one made for stationary/home use around in a vehicle. Sometimes, stuff for home use isn't made to withstand lots of vibration and jolting.......just a minimum amount for delivery and installation......

just a thought.
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Post by Boijoy » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:40 am

why wouldn't you just put the food in the frig./freezer?
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:53 am

"Ice is civilization!"
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Post by Sail Man » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:09 pm

trenton wrote:Propane freezers are VERY expensive. a small one can run in the neighborhood of 1800 to 2200 dollars , not in my BM buget. You could buy a used RV with a working 3-way fridge for that, and get a shower as a bonus.
Heres a link for propane fridges and freezers....http://www.propanerefrigerator.us/index.htm

Def kinda pricey. We have an old one in our cabin in Ontario, works, but is becoming balky. Not looking forward to having to replace it :(

We freeze 1 gallon spring water bottles for the burn, as well as a few 2L's as well, def. works to help keep the cooler chill, but for the beer to get nice and frosty needs trips to Artica. I dont mind dropping the coinage there, another excuse to meet people.

Elevate the coolers off the ground also.
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ygmir
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Post by ygmir » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:31 pm

Sail Man wrote:
trenton wrote:Propane freezers are VERY expensive. a small one can run in the neighborhood of 1800 to 2200 dollars , not in my BM buget. You could buy a used RV with a working 3-way fridge for that, and get a shower as a bonus.
Heres a link for propane fridges and freezers....http://www.propanerefrigerator.us/index.htm

Def kinda pricey. We have an old one in our cabin in Ontario, works, but is becoming balky. Not looking forward to having to replace it :(

We freeze 1 gallon spring water bottles for the burn, as well as a few 2L's as well, def. works to help keep the cooler chill, but for the beer to get nice and frosty needs trips to Artica. I dont mind dropping the coinage there, another excuse to meet people.

Elevate the coolers off the ground also.
most old propane house fridges can be brought back by a good cleaning of the flue, heat transfer fins, and burner, and, bouncing it a little to get the scale out of the tubes........

I bet there's a youtube on how to roll a fridge to get it fixed.....I was told how, but, forgot........
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Post by Marscrumbs » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:03 pm

But I like camp artica. It is the coolest camp of all in more ways than one.

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Post by SonOfUgly » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:28 am

Boijoy wrote:why wouldn't you just put the food in the frig./freezer?
no shit.....keep the food cold and your good to go....why spend all that time fuckin around with wtter bottles when you can just put the food in there

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Re: No More Ice Bags or Blocks Needed on the Playa

Post by Absolut Jeenyus » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:30 am

CaptainNemoOfTheNautilusX wrote:Just imagine no more long waits in line for ice at Arctica, or running back to camp with melting ice, and dealing with slimy unhealthy cooler water or draining it into evaporation ponds.
I rather enjoy waiting in line and meeting people. And the lines aren't that long. I never ran back to camp with ice. Its nice strolling back to camp with some bags on my shoulders and arms. Striding with the mates. Also, dirty cooler water can be avoided by properly packing and sealing things. We don't have too many issues with that... Except last year.. But last year was an exception. Long story.

Keep up with the idea though. HaPpY bUrN...
-AJ )'(

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