Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

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Strata
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Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Strata » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:59 am

I decided to spring for one of the rotomolded coolers, a Yeti clone. With regular coolers, I have wrapped them in a blanket to help preserve the cold, and have lined them with a mylar space blanket. Is that necessary with a rotomolded cooler? I am sure it wouldn't hurt, but it's kind of a pain, so I'm wondering if the cooler will do ok without that.

We won't be trying to keep frozen food past the first day on playa (our camp setup meal). Just safe cooling for milk, cheese, yogurt. We ice daily and take out what we are going to use that day to the day cooler.
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Token » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:39 pm

Mylar in the cooler is a total waste of effort.

Invest instead in covering it with insulating material and invest in a plan where it is not opened often.

Open lid time will negate all your efforts with a marginal and fractional compared to the extra open-close cycles.

This is why the salty vets have multiple coolers for different type of access.

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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Canoe » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:53 pm

If it's the blanket that will be lined, that helps. But not much if the shiny is towards the cooler.
Could be easier to throw the blanket over the cooler, and throw one of the tarps with a mylar side over the blanket and secured. No messing with lining a blanket.

Some insulation from the ground helps too, particularly if the ground beside it will be in the sun. It will be come heated and present a higher temperature to the bottom of the cooler, which will then transfer heat inside faster.

And large camp kitchen area required that their coolers be x inches from the ground, to get them up and away from the playa soil and it's various biology contents. I know there's blown soil, but they somehow determined that makes a difference. So that's not a bad idea either. It's also higher so it takes less time to reach down and get you're after.
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:41 am

that bubble wrap insulation stuff with reflective material on one side makes a great cooler wrap/covering, shiny side out.

Elevate your coolers like mentioned. Use separate coolers for long term cold storage that get opened only once or twice daily. Use block ice in your long term cooler. If you can, chill your fancy cooler before loading, if you have access to a walk-in or if it gets cold at night outside. Starting with a cooled cooler will go a long way. I use my big fancy yeti for long term cold storage. I have a couple of cheapos that I use for beverages that get opened several times a day, if the cooler is being opened a dozen or more times a day it really doesn't matter how well its insulated.

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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Canoe » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:51 am

A-RockLeFrench wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:41 am
that bubble wrap insulation stuff with reflective material on one side makes a great cooler wrap/covering, shiny side out. ...
It's a lot more expensive than the one-sided-mylar-tarp, but Reflectix is a lot less noisy. I tape it to the bottom and sides of my cooler, then make a "tray" that sits inverted over the lid. Not as good as more insulation, like the blanket then a radiant barrier, but easier.
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by motskyroonmatick » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:07 pm

I put a 5 day cooler inside a box made of 2" styrofoam insulating board with foil on the outside. Worked like a charm. Taped all the edges with foil tape and used the same tape to make the structural connections. The lid was the trickiest part to fit. Nice thing was there was extra room so I could put bread outside the cooler and it held up better than normal. The box ends up kind of bulky to transport if you don't break it down but it weighs near nothing. This cut my ice use in half and I used it until I realized I could fit everything I needed for 2 weeks in to a pantry and RV fridge.
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by lucky420 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:43 pm

Strata wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:59 am
I decided to spring for one of the rotomolded coolers, a Yeti clone. With regular coolers, I have wrapped them in a blanket to help preserve the cold, and have lined them with a mylar space blanket. Is that necessary with a rotomolded cooler? I am sure it wouldn't hurt, but it's kind of a pain, so I'm wondering if the cooler will do ok without that.

We won't be trying to keep frozen food past the first day on playa (our camp setup meal). Just safe cooling for milk, cheese, yogurt. We ice daily and take out what we are going to use that day to the day cooler.
I’ve got 2 RTIC’s and a YETI. I used to yurt, but now I Kodiak. So I’ve cut to size a lot of my old RMAX yurt panels and use them under my coolers and have cut peices for the sides and top too. Then I cover those with furniture blankets. To me it’s worth it, I don’t want to ice every day if I don’t have to. I out there for 13-14 days
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Strata » Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:59 pm

Thanks for all the good replies. I am camping in a converted shuttle bus, and my cooler sits on the passenger seat. The windows are all covered with reflectix so it is out of the sun and off the ground.

I guess I will continue my habit of wrapping it with a moving blanket, but it sounds like putting the space blanket inside is more of a voodoo approach than a scientific one. Which is fine, because the RTIC 45 cooler has less interior space then the big Coleman cooler I was using. So not messing with a space blanket in there will be a good thing.
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Re: Rotomolded coolers: any special tips?

Post by Canoe » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:08 am

Strata wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 12:59 pm
... sounds like putting the space blanket inside is more of a voodoo approach than a scientific one. ...
Technically, it would help. But only a tiny bit.
  • Insulation only delays the transfer of heat into the cooler interior of the cooler.
  • The more insulation, the more the rate of transfer is reduced, hence the longer the delay. Stays cooler longer.
  • As heat energy gets through the insulation of the cooler, it then has to transfer through the cooler's inside surface.
  • From that surface, it both radiates and conducts.
A space blanket reflects, but it also radiates. As good as it is at reflecting, it's equally bad at radiating. Space blanket best is around 94% reflective, so 1 - .94, 6% is absorbed. Installed on the outside, that works well to reduce heat energy radiated at it.

When heat is trying to conduct through a space blanket, that becomes 6% radiated, 94% retained. So if the cooler's inside surface was lined with space blanket, the radiating part of heat transfer to the interior from the surface would be reduced. So far so good. BUT, that heat that isn't radiated raises the temperature of the space blanket, resulting in a greater temperature differential between that surface and the interior air, ice & ice-melt-water, resulting in a greater conductive heat transfer rate. I haven't done the math, but I wouldn't bother.

The Reflectix on the windows is a good example, as it's got the radiant barrier on both sides of its insulating bubble wrap. It does a better job if it's installed on the outside of the windows, and covering over the frames too. The red stucco tape seems to be the best for that.

But with Reflectix on the inside of the windows, it also does a good job, just not as good as on the outside. As the sun (or radiated heat from sun-baked ground or hot air) hits the glass and hence the Reflectix inside, it reflects back ~94%, absorbs 6%, and it absorbs heat from the glass baking in the sun (why it works better on the outside; only hot air conducting; and if you've got dark frames exposed, huge heat intake from that). That heat transfers from the shiny surface through the bubble wrap and into its shiny inside surface. There it will conduct to the interior air, but its radiating into the interior is reduced to that 6% rate. If you hold your hand a couple of feet away from the Reflectix, you can feel minimal heat radiating from that surface, but if that window is in the sun, touching that surface shows how hot it is, and can even result in a burn. With that 6% rate, it's heating of objects inside is greatly slowed. As you are an object, you stay cooler longer than you would without that inside shiny surface.

In a cooler, technically the same as the inside surface of the Reflectix, but with ice and ice-melt-water touching that surface, it absorbs that heat a lot faster; don't bother. On the outside, bother. If you're wrapping in a blanket, don't bother as the radiant barrier needs an air gap to work. Radiant barrier on the outside of the blanket, bother. But in your case it's already inside a protected space, and largely dealing with conducted heat not radiated heat, so minimal benefit, if any discernible benefit.
(If the ice inside the cooler is contained, so it's ice-melt-water doesn't flow loose inside the cooler, that water won't aid in the transfer of heat into the interior. That ice made with potable water also remains clean and hence usable for drinking/cooking.)

In practice, as the space-blanket/Reflectix surface gets damaged (or dirty/dusty), the reflectance of the radiant barrier gets reduced, so that 94% can drop to 90%, or even lower. Which means the absorption and radiating rises.
4.669
.
That's one word I regret googling during breakfast.
.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
, but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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