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OT - Has your high performance cooler left you impoverished? DIY ICE PACKS!

DIY Ice Packs

8 cups water
2 cups salt
3 cups corn starch
4 drops blue food colouring

Heat water while stirring in salt until dissolved. Gradually add in corn starch and food colouring while bringing to a boil. Remove from heat and cease adding corn starch when consistency becomes that of a thick pudding. Allow to cool and then bag in ziplocks or Food Saver bags (as I did) to your desired sizes. As you fill bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing. 

Cut or multiply recipe according to your target yield.

Final result of recipe as posted:
(2 large, 2 medium and 1 small pack)



For scale, here’s the large size bag relative to the opening of a Yeti Roadie 20. I cut them to size such that they could sit atop a layer of beverages. 



Not only are you not paying big bucks for ice packs, but these ones are flexible and can therefore be molded around the cooler’s contents.

Comments

  • I use the dry ice packs for mine (albeit store bought) instead of ice cubes more often than not. 
  • GregW
    GregW Posts: 2,674
    Looks like a very good idea.
    I plan to give it a try it soon.
  • @gregw: Seemed like fun without much cost, so I decided to give it a go. I plan to throw one of the large packs into the little Yeti and see how long it stays cold. 
  • GregW
    GregW Posts: 2,674
    @Great_EGGspectations The packs staying flexible will make packing a cooler a lot easier.
  • @GregW: I agree. They’re freezing cold right now but are still quite pliable. Looking forward to putting them through their paces.  :)
  • danv23
    danv23 Posts: 953
    Very "Walter White" of you.

    The DudeThis is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head. Luckily I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, limber.

    Walter SobchakNihilists! *uck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos. 

    Cumming, GA

    Eggs - XL, L, Small

    Gasser - Weber Summit 6 Burner

  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,759
    YukonRon said:
    I use packs of frozen bourbon slushies.
    Those tend to be “one way” ice packs though.

    I guess the key to those is to not have anything cold to take home?

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX

  • YukonRon
    YukonRon Posts: 16,974
    Foghorn said:
    YukonRon said:
    I use packs of frozen bourbon slushies.
    Those tend to be “one way” ice packs though.

    I guess the key to those is to not have anything cold to take home?
    @Foghorn
    True, the key is packing wisely. Lighter loads, heading back after consumption of said elixir, is an advantage.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • northGAcock
    northGAcock Posts: 15,160
    Dollar store....you guessed it..... $1.00 and you don’t get attached to them. 
    Ellijay GA with a Medium & MiniMax

    Well, I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life,
    Run me out in the cold rain and snow
  • How long do these DIY packs last?
  • GrateEggspectations
    GrateEggspectations Posts: 9,049
    edited January 2018
    Dollar store....you guessed it..... $1.00 and you don’t get attached to them. 
    Sure, you could go this route, but I like the ability to size them myself. Plus, the cost of this batch was likely equivalent to the cost of one small commercial ice pack. 

    Plus, I like craft/artisanal, small-batch ice packs.  ;)

  • canoebldr said:
    How long do these DIY packs last?
    Are you asking how long they stay cold? I am running a test right now and can report back if anyone is interested.
  • northGAcock
    northGAcock Posts: 15,160
    Dollar store....you guessed it..... $1.00 and you don’t get attached to them. 
    Sure, you could go this route, but I like the ability to size them myself. Plus, the cost of this batch was likely equivalent to the cost of one small commercial ice pack. 

    Plus, I like craft/artisanal, small-batch ice packs.  ;)
    Prolly sounded like i was poo pooing your solution. Sorry if it came off that way. Really at a $1.00 for reusable ice.....it is a sensible means for me. Tough enough to stand up to movement....and cheap enough that I don't worry about leaving them in someones freezer. 

    My hats off to you for your efforts and usability.  My apologies if my response indicated differently. 
    Ellijay GA with a Medium & MiniMax

    Well, I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life,
    Run me out in the cold rain and snow
  • GrateEggspectations
    GrateEggspectations Posts: 9,049
    edited January 2018
    Dollar store....you guessed it..... $1.00 and you don’t get attached to them. 
    Sure, you could go this route, but I like the ability to size them myself. Plus, the cost of this batch was likely equivalent to the cost of one small commercial ice pack. 

    Plus, I like craft/artisanal, small-batch ice packs.  ;)
    Prolly sounded like i was poo pooing your solution. Sorry if it came off that way. Really at a $1.00 for reusable ice.....it is a sensible means for me. Tough enough to stand up to movement....and cheap enough that I don't worry about leaving them in someones freezer. 

    My hats off to you for your efforts and usability.  My apologies if my response indicated differently. 
    No apologies needed in the least. But I nonetheless appreciate the message. Your implied point re: level of effort vs. cost of commercial packs is a very valid one. 

    I myself questioned whether it would be worth the effort. My wife did not understand why I was doing it when cheap alternatives were available. You are both right to raise, in that ice packs are both plentiful and (sometimes) cheap. 

    I was in a “crafty” mood and figured that the yield would be pretty big with a very small price tag. Time will tell whether they were worth making. 
  • I know someone who made some out of pvc pipe with a similar mix of salt and water. It works well, but the pipe takes up much more space than these.
    Thanks for the tip.
  • I know someone who made some out of pvc pipe with a similar mix of salt and water. It works well, but the pipe takes up much more space than these.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Saw some of those during my research but didn’t like the fact that they would not be pliable. Think I even saw one that was advertised as having been “supercharged”, but didn’t take the time to look into it. 
  • Shiff
    Shiff Posts: 1,835
    For those that shop at Restaurant Depot, the ones around here have free ice packs available during the hotter months.  They are small and easily pack well in the cooler.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • canoebldr said:
    How long do these DIY packs last?
    @canoebldr: Just checked on my ice pack. 15.5 hrs after the single large pack was placed into an empty, non-pre-chilled Roadie 20, the ice pack is still cool to the touch and registers 58 degrees Fahrenheit - much cooler than the ambient temperature of the room in which the cooler was housed. 

    Keep in mind, air is a cooler’s worst enemy, so running a test with an ice pack in an empty (and non-chilled) cooler will never provide you with glowing results. When packing coolers, you generally want to fill them to the brim with cold foodstuffs, drinks, ice packs and/or ice for this purpose. The less air inside, the more slowly they will warm up. I would therefore expect the ice packs to perform much better inside a full cooler. 

    I may may be taking a road trip in about a month’s time and would love to run a real-world test. 
  • Thanks for the feedback, when we take a cooler to the kids the ice packs usually end up in their freezer.
  • CtTOPGUN
    CtTOPGUN Posts: 612
     I usually freeze water bottles. Not flexible, but can use small sizes to fit wherever I want. I can then use them for hydration or cooking at the event.

       
    LBGE/Weber Kettle/Blackstone 36" Griddle/Turkey Fryer/Induction Burner/Royal Gourmet 24" Griddle/Cuisinart Twin Oaks/Pit Boss Tabletop pellet smoker/Instant Pot

     BBQ from the State of Connecticut!

       Jim
  • CtTOPGUN said:
     I usually freeze water bottles. Not flexible, but can use small sizes to fit wherever I want. I can then use them for hydration or cooking at the event.

       
    This is a good trick. I use this too. 
  • Foghorn
    Foghorn Posts: 9,759
    CtTOPGUN said:
     I usually freeze water bottles. Not flexible, but can use small sizes to fit wherever I want. I can then use them for hydration or cooking at the event.

       
    This is a good trick. I use this too. 
    +1

    XXL BGE, Karebecue, Klose BYC, Chargiller Akorn Kamado, Weber Smokey Mountain, Grand Turbo gasser, Weber Smoky Joe, and the wheelbarrow that my grandfather used to cook steaks from his cattle

    San Antonio, TX