Coolers and Mylar, how to?

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creativecstasy
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Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby creativecstasy » Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:38 pm

Hi,

I'd like to do something with mylar and my cooler to help insulate. I'm finding conflicting information. Should I line the EXTERIOR of my cooler or my INTERIOR of my cooler with mylar? What do YOU do, and what works in your experience?

Of course I already have plans to lift it off the grounded in a shaded location.

Thanks!

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otakup0pe
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby otakup0pe » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:35 pm

What we have done is lined the interior with mylar. We make sure there is enough left over material on the top to wrap around things. Net effect is everything is wrapped in mylar. For the drive up we seal the cooler with tape.

We keep two coolers - one as a deep freeze and one as a fridge. The deep freeze only gets opened late at night. Both coolers live on elevated platforms inside our hexayurt. The deep freeze generally remained nice and frozen from the dry ice we pack it with for about seven (out of our total of twelve) days on playa.

I also nerd out and keep temperature probes in them.

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby creativecstasy » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:07 pm

otakup0pe wrote:What we have done is lined the interior with mylar. We make sure there is enough left over material on the top to wrap around things. Net effect is everything is wrapped in mylar. For the drive up we seal the cooler with tape.


this is what I want to do, and basically wanted a few folks to say it was a successful experience!

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Ratty
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Ratty » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:15 pm

I have a piece of a 'movers' blanket that I keep around it. The ice lasts DAYS longer than when I forget to wrap it. (It may be an old comforter). Keep your cooler in the shade and raise it off the ground. I think the effects of mylar are mainly for direct sun reflecting off of it. I have that padded mylar on my van windows and it works great.

If you put a piece of mylar between your finger and a hot object does it protect you? Is it any better at insulation than a sheet of paper? You wouldn't put mylar in your attic and expect it to cool the house would you? HEY. I'm asking. Not being a wise ass. Anyway. My blanket system works.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby AntiM » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:25 am

I made cooler cozies (fitted covers) for my coolers using quilted fabric. Works very well. Some of the covers are 14 years old now.

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Joeln » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:23 am

Mylar helps mainly with radiated heat.
That is the heat you feel from a fire when you are far enough away that any warming of the air isn't getting to you.
Using it inside helps when there is a temperature difference between the objects inside the cooler and the inside surface of the cooler walls.
Using it outside probably helps more because of the greater temperature difference between the cooler walls and the surrounding environment.
Face the reflective side towards the warm objects whose heat you do not want to get to the cool objects.

I think I will use my moving blanket to make a cozy (great idea!), probably will do more than mylar.
Even better, a cozy with a mylar outer surface.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby geospyder » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:11 am

My coolers are raised off the ground on 1x1 pieces of wood. They are under a table that is covered with a silver tarp. All that is under a monkey hut. My ice are one gallon frozen milk containers. I'll still have ice in the containers after a full seven days.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Popeye » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:34 pm

Ratty wrote: I think the effects of mylar are mainly for direct sun reflecting off of it. I have that padded mylar on my van windows and it works great.

Exactly right Ratty, heat (infrared radiation) is reflected away frm a polished surface. About 90% reflectance for polished silver and about 60-70% for fresh snow. Wipe the dust off once a day and it will work better.
If you put a piece of mylar between your finger and a hot object does it protect you? Is it any better at insulation than a sheet of paper? You wouldn't put mylar in your attic and expect it to cool the house would you? HEY. I'm asking. Not being a wise ass. Anyway. My blanket system works.

It won't cool the house but if you are in an area where you use an air conditioner and not a heater it will help keep the house from gaining heat.
It is not an insulator so if there is an airspace between the mylar and the hot object it will protect your hand. No airspace (using it like a potholder) and heat will conduct right through. google or wickipedia "Radiant Barrier". From memory manufacturers want minimum of 4 to 6 inches between the reflective side of a radiant barrier and wall, ceiling, etc.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby BBadger » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:05 pm

You shouldn't bother with mylar. It's very fragile, and usually used for keeping heat in things than out. Get a blanket, as suggested above, and do what you can to reduce the amount of convection around your coolers.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby DerbyDave 18 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:35 pm

First timer here so I always start with I know nothing about anything but I'm wondering. The silver reflector things you put in your car window to keep out of the heay. Would it work to put around a cooler to keep the heat out? Maybe cutting and taping one or more together to fit around it. If it does I've also been wondering if I could get a bunch from the 99 cent store and tape them together to make a shade over my tent. Dumb idea or might it work?

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Canoe » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:12 pm

By Mylar I assume we're talking about aluminized Mylar.
Used to line a cooler inside, shiny side facing the interior of the cooler, it helps some as the shiny side, in addition to having high reflectance, also has low emmitance (if 94% reflective, it's typically 6% emittive). The heat conducting in slowly through the cooler's insulation will eventually provide some heat energy to the mylar, but the alumininized mylar with low emmitance will resist radiating that at the objects in the cooler, reducing the bulk of the heat transfer to where it has direct contact with objects, and at the lower transfer rate of mylar surface to air. Wrap objects in it, where there's air it will both reflect heat and resist radiating.

To turbo-charge your cooler, more insulation and a radiant barrier. Blankets on the outside, or rigid foam boxes, plus a radiant barrier on the outside of that. Tons of ways to implement that. The foil-sided bubble-wrap is a lot easier to work with than the Al-Mylar, has shiny on both sides already, has insulation, and you can build a box for your cooler with it using aluminum foil tape. That radiant barrier "box" can extend way high, folding down when closed, folding up for access to the cooler, so it stops the cool air from falling out as the air is agitated when you access the items in the cooler.
There are threads that cover this, and tons of variations.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Token » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:13 pm

Ddave, sure reflective stuff will help a tiny bit but won't do what you expect.

You can go all fancy with reflective stuff or just put the cooler in the shade. Same thing. Why bother.

Just bring a few short boards to raise it off the floor, scrap 2 x 4 works fine.

Cover cooler with old blanket, bed spread, movers pads, anything thick and insulative. Simple, easy.

The reflective thing on the tent is a waste of time. Will blow off right-quick no matter how badass of a attachment job you think you did. Tent has to be 100% in shade. If even a small corner gets sun, makes an oven.

You are better off throwing a blackout curtain over the tent and tucking it in all around with the zipper facing North.

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Canoe » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:17 pm

Token wrote:... You can go all fancy with reflective stuff or just put the cooler in the shade. Same thing. Why bother...

I'm with you on the insulation, but the reflective stuff reflects all radiant heat way, not just direct sun. As in, heat radiating from hot ground, hot air and any nearby shelters with radiant barriers...
If one understands how and where to use it, it can be a great aid.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Token » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:42 pm

Canoe wrote:
Token wrote:... You can go all fancy with reflective stuff or just put the cooler in the shade. Same thing. Why bother...

I'm with you on the insulation, but the reflective stuff reflects all radiant heat way, not just direct sun. As in, heat radiating from hot ground, hot air and any nearby shelters with radiant barriers...
If one understands how and where to use it, it can be a great aid.



Agree but in the context of how a cooler is used, diminishing returns is the problem.

It's allot easier to learn how to slam cold beer two at a time and not open the cooler as much.

A couple of open-close events fewer mid day more or less does the same thing.

Now, there is no denying the massive fun of playing with the laws of thermodynamics. Mosquito Coast forever!

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Canoe » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:54 pm

In the old days on the playa, heaped with blankets was the tried and true. It even covered the playa to prevent solar heating of the ground right next to the cooler...

Yeah, there's no easy way to teach many people how to properly use one. The more people with access to the cooler, the lazier they seem to be on cooler-discipline.
Which is why I like the high-extended box (be it foil-sided-bubble-wrap or rigid foam - not the white crumbly stuff ). They have to reach down, so there's way less mixing of hot outside air with cool cooler air. You don't have to teach anyone, that's the way it works.

I guess we should remind those who will be part of a larger camp or serving the public, that there are rules for a minimum height that a cooler has to be clear above the ground, to keep it away from the playa-resident bacteria/viruses. I haven't checked to see what that clearance height is this year.
If you're a small camp and not serving the public, in recent years you'd be exempt from that rule. But you may wish to follow it anyway, as the reason they let you put your own cooler on the ground is that you're only exposing yourself, not others, so it's no big deal (public health wise) if you make yourself sick, just don't do that to others.
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creativecstasy
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby creativecstasy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:15 pm

I started this thread last year. Let me just say, it was not worth it to do any extra insulating/reflective mylar work on my small cooler. It's better to just start out with a larger, heavy duty cooler.

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Aze » Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:24 am

I found mylar outside useful my first couple of burns because I was a dumbass and left the cooler out in the sun. The reflectance is useful, but the more important aspect is that it keeps the wind from convecting the cool away if you keep it snugged tight. I still had to get ice most every day.

But I wised up and started keeping the cooler in my tent out of the sun and wrapped in a spare sleeping bag instead. That worked much better and I could go about 2 days between Artica trips. Again, it's not just about reflecting the heat away but keeping the air around the cooler still.

For this year I did lots of research and realized that the cooler I had been using for a decade, from a thrift store, was woefully underinsulated compared with newer/better models. I got a white Marine cooler with 2" thick walls that I expect will cut my ice trips much further. Coleman Ultra Extreme costs around $100, but performs about the same as the $350+ coolers in tests.

I'm not convinced that raising a well insulated cooler off the ground helps much; the playa is relatively insulating and less heat conductive than most surfaces, and raising it off the ground on blocks or 2x4s exposes the bottom to convective air currents that take away the cool, and makes it harder to wrap a sleeping bag around it. I might try putting furniture pads underneath tho.

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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby Canoe » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:45 am

There's enough large camps with multiple copies of coolers in use to know that yes, raising it off the ground helps. If that's all you're doing, then not much. Better be in the shade too. If the nearby ground is in the sun, it will heat up and conduct that heat to your cooler. Don't be on that hot ground.

In prior years, for large camps, BRC Health Rules have required that coolers be raised up off the playa - this is likely the case this year too (go check): the coolers are required to be raised due to the various bacteria and pieces of micro-fauna in/on the playa soil, including waterfoul droppings (with bacteria) and Coliform, including E. coli.. (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6580&p=1042607&hilit=soil#p1042607)
If you're a small camp, or not gifting to the public: then you're small enough that your food/drink getting contaminated shouldn't affect many people, so you're allowed to keep your cooler on the ground - your call.

Starting with a larger and/or better quality cooler is a huge step up.

Mylar is a good step too, but reflectix with its insulation is an even better step.

Sleeping bags & comforters are the playa old-school way of getting extra insulation.

Foil-sided foam boards make a great cooler box...

Lots of ways to set a cooler up. Search for other threads. Believe me, this has been covered.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby BBadger » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:27 pm

If you buy a better, insulated, cooler you won't have to bother with all this raising stuff off the ground, mylar, etc. so long as you leave the cooler in the shade. There are nice coolers designed for 7-8 days of ice, with nice seals, and sometimes even doors to access the contents without opening the whole thing. You don't need to bother raising them off the ground because they're actually insulated on the bottom and it may encourage convection anyway.

Sure, that red and white cooler with just air between the walls, that you got in the department store camping section, is going to benefit from lifting stuff off the ground, or putting in mylar, or adding styrofoam, or blankets -- essentially adding the insulation that didn't come with the cooler in the first place. That's because the cooler is already shit. Just buy something better!

Of course, you may be spending $40-80 for a better cooler, which might be offset with the cheaper one with all these furnishings. I'd still rather buy something better and be done with it.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby mojo » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:25 pm

After 18 years on the playa, I have recently learned a new trick. If you use a cooler with a connector for a hose on the drain - like the big white Igloos - you can collect the melt under it if you work to keep it clean. Last year I collected as much shower water as I brought in.
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Re: Coolers and Mylar, how to?

Postby BBadger » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:02 am

Huh... that's a pretty good idea. I can't screw anything on mine, but maybe I can hose clamp something on there. Kind of solves two problems.
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