Provisioning the Camper Ice Box? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-08-2018, 02:49 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post

Obviously it depends on the relative efficiency of the two appliances. It would be interesting to compare the specs on the ice maker versus a good 12V compressor fridge.
...for the ice maker...1.5a, add another .5a(x10 if using an inverter for 12vdc) when little motor for dumping/shoveling ice kicks in...so it runs at a constant 1.5a, kicking up to 2 when it is harvesting the freshly made ice...since I have seen some small (dorm)fridges drawing not much more, that may be a better option...however with 12/120v Engel's, Waecos, TruckFridges(usually 3-4a draw @ 12vdc...orso) selling for upwards of $600 to grand or more(some of them), I am quite happy with my little 78 dollar ice maker...of course, I rarely ever camp without hook ups and have a decently running absorption unit(knock on wood) these matters are pretty much non-starters for me...........
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p.s. since(probably) none of my posts in this thread helps the OP, I apologize to Jill-da..........mj
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Old 05-08-2018, 03:15 PM   #22
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So, 15A at 12VDC for the icemaker plus inverter losses, versus 3-4A for a 12V fridge with no inverter required.

You say you run the icemaker 10-12 hours a day to make 10-12# of ice. My chest cooler consumes about 5# of ice a day, so that's 5 hours @ 15A or 75 A-hrs of battery capacity. Adding 20% for the end-of-cycle bump and inverter losses makes it 90A-hrs. Assuming a 12V fridge is running 50% of the time (WAG, based on reports I've read), that's 12 hours @ 4A, or 48 A-hrs of battery capacity required.

That's what I meant when I said cooling directly is probably more efficient. I'd love to have some feedback on my math, since high school physics was a long time ago... Mike, thanks for reminding me about the energy involved in the phase change- I'd forgotten that.

I agree that efficiency is only one factor in the decision. If you're plugged in, efficiency really doesn't matter and the cost of the appliances becomes paramount. However, having an electric hook-up generally adds around $10/day to the cost of a campground.

Off grid, on the other hand, efficiency is critical. The issue then becomes what solution gives the most improvement in efficiency for the least cost. For me, Costco ice at $4 (2@$2@20#) for a week's vacation combined with a $45 chest cooler gives an improvement over the OEM icebox at very minimal cost. The cost can be as much as $10/wk for ice if we have to resort to campground or convenience store ice.

I agree that having lots of pre-frozen food and drinks improves efficiency no matter how you cool your perishable foods. Until it runs out, of course, but I'm guessing that most of us who rely on ice boxes and ice chests take shorter trips.
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:49 PM   #23
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Jon, your math and assumptions are correct maybe even a little lean...I would never, ever consider using the icemaker while boondocking. However, mostly we camp with hookups and in that case, I don't care, I paid for the power, I am going to use it...if doing a lot of boondocking, I would consider an Engel or???????
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:56 PM   #24
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When iceboxes were more common, so were big, solid blocks of real ice (not compressed ice cubes). When I lived in Fresno I could go to a local shop and put $4.50 in quarters into the side of the shop and get a 25lb block of real, solid ice. This easily lasted 3-4 days even in hot weather. Mostly, though, I froze bottles of drinking water, and for longer trips than a couple of days, I used a cooler as well. Packing: frozen stuff went on the ice directly. Had to be used sooner since it would thaw. I also put meats on the ice and sometimes milk. Everything else was pretty tightly packed below. It worked pretty well. But the key to real efficiency was that huge block of ice, and it is very difficult to find block ice now, much less real blocks. (Maybe at a place that provides ice for sculptures?)
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:16 PM   #25
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I see most have gone the way of trying to keep perishables cool or cold. I went the other way and don't carry perishables. Learned to prepare and eat nice tasty meals without the need for refrigeration. In my earlier camping day I found difficult to pack an ice chest on my back along with clothes, stove, tent, etc. and freeze dried was just not good to eat and expensive. With cursing the stores we figured out how to manage. That mostly carried over to the trailer.
I seem to remember that earlier I took a cooler when car camping.
This in only a suggestion that there's more than one way to manage things.


The question sill is valid, do you camp to eat or eat to camp?
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Old 05-09-2018, 01:23 AM   #26
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This may not work at all with an ice box and haven't seen anyone mention it but what about using dry ice? A buddy of mine has been using dry ice in one of his huge (2 people to move) ice chests for years. Most of his trips are 1 to 2 weeks long. He explained to me once how he packs it to make it last and uses the stores from the top down. He is a cook like a few of the members here. For full discloser, he does keep the chest inside an enclosed cargo trailer. Anybody here ever try that?
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:55 AM   #27
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Using Dry Ice in an icebox in an enclosed space is not a good idea. I did the calculations once (somewhere back in the archives) and in a 6x10x6 space (without considering stuff using the space) a large block of solid CO2 would sublime to get the atmosphere inside the trailer to a toxic level of CO2. Since it will displace air due to weight, unless you vent from the bottom of the trailer, that would be dangerous. (Might be okay if you added a vent to outside from the bottom of the icebox or freezer.) If someone does it and gets away with it it doesn't mean that would be your experience- it all depends on rate of sublimation and ventilation of the trailer. (Such as, opening the door would allow it to escape from the floor of the trailer; opening a window would not.)
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Old 05-09-2018, 05:05 PM   #28
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Good points Bobbie for using it in a living space, I'm glad you posted that. We used to use dry ice at work and I should have remembered that info from safety meetings. My buds cargo trailer is used for buggies, bikes and storage so it's never been a problem.
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Old 05-09-2018, 07:16 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
We used to use dry ice at work and I should have remembered that info from safety meetings.
Yeah, that's exactly why we keep having to go to those safety meetings.

At least those of us who are still going to the salt mines every day.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:57 AM   #30
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Yeah, that's exactly why we keep having to go to those safety meetings..
Safety committees... I remember a staff meeting at my high school in which we were sternly warned not to climb on chairs to reach high objects. They issued every one of us our very own step stool. Except the top step was 4" lower than a chair seat.

I will say, though, the step stools made it easier to climb onto a desk.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:56 PM   #31
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Thanks to everyone for your great responses to the question as to how to provision an icebox. We just got back from a 3 day trip using one bag of ice. Everything stayed cool, but we were on the California coast where it was cold and blustery for the most part (and incredibly beautiful when the sun came out!) As for our style of camping, a few responses...
  • We do like to have some fresh foods. We were avid backpackers, in the day, and consider trailer camping quite a few "steps above". Salad, chicken mole, almond milk, hummus and guacamole make eating more pleasurable.
  • We do pre-freeze many of our home-made items thereby keeping the icebox cool.
  • Having containers rattling around the wide-open space below the ice shelf doesn't seem to bother my DH but it does me. I tried to get him to use plastic "shoe boxes" as improvised drawers, but he doesn't like that solution. Hey, he's the chef so we need to please him.
  • I'm thinking of using more of our Rubbermaid "Easy Find Lid" plastic food containers for easy organization. Because there are only two of us, the smaller containers, 1/2 cup - 2 cup work best. These things seal well, stack and lock, as well as nest when empty. When containers are standardized they store better.
  • Sorry, we are not interested in replacing the icebox with a fridge.
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:53 PM   #32
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Wait, we aren't finished. To keep containers in your ice box, cooler, or fridge from rattling, buy a beach ball at the dollar store. Inflate it, then place it in the cooler squeezing just enough air out so it holds everything in place. Then put the plug in the air hole and close the lid/door.

I saw this in a YouTube video. If your dear husband doesn't read this, tell him you thought of it.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:14 AM   #33
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Ha, Ha! My DH will totally believe that this is my original idea as I carry a 20" beach ball on every airplane trip. I inflate it most of the way and place it on the tray in front of me and lean over it on long trips. I've even been known to sleep in this position.
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:47 AM   #34
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Just thought I'd post my Blue Apron hack that I came up with last week. We used it during a camping trip and it worked very well to conserve ice in our Yeti cooler.

Background; Our daughter subscribes to weekly deliveries of a box of fresh veggies from Blue Apron to her apartment in San Francisco. Unfortunately, she winds up with all of these cardboard boxes, ice packs and reflective bubble wrap bags. She has no car, other than the cardboard box, none are recylable. I go by her place from time to time to help her with her disposal problem.

Because I can't stand sending stuff to the landfill and if they insulate veggies inside a box, maybe they might be usable over a larger box such as our Yeti. So I cut up the reflective bubble wrap bags and reconfigure them into a larger custom sized bag to fit over the Yeti using nothing but packing tape and scissors to reassemble the reflective material into the needed size. Here are the results.





This bag worked quite well in preserving ice in our Yeti as it traveled down the road in the the back of our solar heated Subaru Forester. My next step is to make some bags for some of our smaller, less insulated Coleman ice chests to see how much the hack might improve their efficiency.
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