Help needed - Keeping Ice in an Evakool Esky

Submitted: Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 11:57
ThreadID: 75295 Views:12873 Replies:17 FollowUps:12
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Hi everyone,

We have just purchased a 65 litre Fibreglass Evakool Esky ( the new TIB one)
we bought it to keep milk and drinks etc cool as our waeco will be used for just meat and frozen things.

I have read that the fibreglass ones have excellent ice keeping ability and we were hoping to be able to get 5 to 7 days using block ice before needing to replace.

We have just returned from a week on the south coast and we only got 1-2 days max out of the blocks and the bag ice just melted really quickly....what are we doing wrong?

In the 65l we had 3x 2litre bottles frozen ( they were frozen for approx 2 days before hand) the rest of it was well packed with drinks, milk cheese etc

Can anyone offer advice as to where we are going wrong to only get such a short time out tof the ice, im worried we have made an expensive mistake if it wont keep the ice for at least 4 days.

The seal on it is really good as sometimes you cant open it and have to give the lid a good pull as it seems to sucction shut. We did have some hot weather and the esky was kept inside in the shade of the full annexe of the camper.

Any help would be really appreciated
Tony and Dawn
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Reply By: Rob! - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:11

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:11
Did you cool or freeze your drinks before you put them in thr esky?

Having said that I think you'll have an uphill battle keeping ice for seven days inhot weather.

At the end of the day it comes down to the thermal resistance of your esky. Unfortunately the manufacturers don't give esky an R-value like they do for home insulation so we reeally have no way of comparing.
AnswerID: 399987

Reply By: snoopy2 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:13

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:13
Hi Tony,

I don't have an Evakool but use a Waeco and Ice Box, can remember the brand. It seems to me that you do not have enough Ice in it. 6 Ltrs of ice in a 65 Ltr ice box is not enough. In my Ive Box I use about 50% ice to 50% drinks and it easily lasts 4 to 6 days depending on outside temp. 6 lts of ice, as you describe is really limited to 1-2 days. You could also try putting a wet towel over the ice box as that will also help.

Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 399988

Follow Up By: Mark Howlett - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:55

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:55
I'm with Tony,

I remember reading about having at least 1/3 of your ice box with ice and that's what I stuck to, and Tony has 1/2, so 20 to 30 litres of ice should do the trick.

Before I brought my Evakool fridges for touring, I used a big 150 litres Icekool ice box (made by Evakool) when static camping. It took 2 people to lift it out of the car with the ice, beer, milk, food etc and I covered it with a big tarp even though it was in the shade, and there would be plenty of ice in the containers after 4 days in 30+ degrees heat.


FollowupID: 669063

Reply By: Member - Porl - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:24

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:24
2 issues. Don't put hot things in and cool the walls down for a few days before you take it with you.

My only problem was that, in defying the laws of thermodynamics, the static Evakool actually froze things that were put in warm.

But that was when the percentage of frozen items was much greater than the bottles of tap water.

So just a bit of experimentation I think.

And maybe don't freeze things in the waeco, just get them vacuum sealed, then you can run the waeco as a fridge and use it also to cool things down for the evakool. Maybe then even just run the waeco during the day and not 24hrs.

My thoughts, and I reckon properly used an evakool and a waeco fridge will suit you for years to come.

Something also to remember is that the longer a water bottle is in your fridge at home the colder it gets. Test by freezing one bottle for a week and one bottle for a night, then take out next day and place in the kitchen sink, you'll probably see that the one frozen for one night is probably at -5C or so but the one frozen for a week is probably close to -20C or -30C even. So imagine that issue replicated in your evakool and you'll always put the frozen water bottles in the freezer for a couple weeks before you go.
AnswerID: 399991

Reply By: chisel - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:52

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 12:52
Use at least 5 x 2L blocks.
Freeze them for 4 or 5 days beforehand.
If you can, put all your stuff in the esky and fill up the entire remainder with bag ice. (Obviously this will melt so need to be careful about water getting into stuff)
Avoid putting in hot stuff, if possible.
You should be getting 3-4 days before most of the bag ice is melted and probably half the blocks. Depends on weather and usage though.
AnswerID: 399997

Reply By: Member - Brian (WA) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:10

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:10
Try using bigger blocks of ice. Like 5lt ice cream containers. And try not to keep
opening it too often,keep it in the shade.
They are a good esky, I had one before I got a 2nd Engel. We used to use it
the same as you are. Hope it helps Brian
AnswerID: 400005

Follow Up By: tagisthename - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:20

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:20
buy a 10 litre box of water (Square shape like a wine cooler) Freeze it for 7 days....
This is a large volume of ice and along with some 4 litre blocks will do the trip...
Like Brain said the bigger the ice the longer it lasts...Plus you have water you can drink..
FollowupID: 669071

Reply By: Tony - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:58

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 13:58
Thanks everyone for your input and ideas,
Lots of things for us to try.
Would you say to freeze for a minimum of 7 days before hand.
Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 400012

Follow Up By: Member - Porl - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 14:12

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 14:12
I think we'd all agree, 7 days makes a big difference.

THe more the better, though at a guess I'd expect more than a few weeks wouldn't make a difference but that said the best (ie least) operating freezer is the full one so don't hold back.
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Reply By: harry5 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 14:50

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 14:50
Fill your water bottles with salt water then freeze them they will last twice as long
AnswerID: 400019

Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:30

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:30
Wouldn't that make the ice melt faster?

Salt water freezes ( or melts) at about - 8 degrees. It if your esky is at say -5 degrees then your salt water bottles will have melted and the fresh water ones will be ice.
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Follow Up By: Rob! - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:33

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:33
That's not correct. Salt water will keep your esky cooler but it won't necessarily make the ice last longer. And becuase of the bigger temperature difference between the inside and the outside of the esky, your ice might actually melt faster.

You would only use salt water if you plan to keep things frozen in the esky.


p.s. Water with about a 20% salt content will freeze / melt at about -20 deg C
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Reply By: Member - A J- Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 15:17

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 15:17
Tony - last Monday or Tuesday it was 44 degrees at Batemans Bay and Bega - it was a very hot week. Hard to expect much to keep ice going with temps like that.

AnswerID: 400024

Follow Up By: Tony - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:24

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:24
Hi AJ,
we were on the South coast of WA, we had warm to hot days with one scorcher but the nights were quite cold, not as hot as those temps
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Follow Up By: Member - Porl - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:10

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:10
It was a 42C day at Woodford folk festival a few years ago, probably 55C in the tent where the Evakool was. In the mornging we put warm 600ml bottles in it to collect in the evening. Was closed all day. In the evening they were bloody well frozen.
FollowupID: 669149

Reply By: Karen & Geoff - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 15:24

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 15:24
Hi Tony, we has an Evakool and we used to freeze 4 litre ice cream containers of water, about 5 or 6 of them and keep them in the bottom of the chest freezer all the time. When we went away the ice we used to put on the bottom first, then everything else on top. The ice would always last for at least a week. Make sure everything is cold before you put it in, and open as little as possible. We also used to put a frozen bottle of water in Evakool the night before to try and get it cold before we put all the block ice in there.

We then had an esky with bag ice for drinks and milk that we wanted to open all the time. But this is only possible if near a town to but ice. The Evakool was virtually for cold storage.

AnswerID: 400026

Reply By: Steve63 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:19

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:19
We have one of their esky's and you should get 5 days.

1) Put 10l of ice in the esky the day before to cool it down. The air in it should feel cold when you open the lid.
2) Cool or freeze everything going into the esky
3) Pack ice and cool drinks etc ~1/3 of the volume needs to be block ice that is definitely frozen. If making at home leave the containers in the freezer for 4 -5 days. Cube shapes are better than long thin shapes. This is to last not good for packing though :-)
4) Keep it out of the sun while traveling and check you have not located the esky over the exhaust.
5) avoid long open times.

AnswerID: 400036

Follow Up By: Tony - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:27

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:27
thanks Steve,

we have the esky in the back of the ute which has a ARB canopy on. no A/C in there but tinted windows. Would it be best to insulate it in some way whilst travelling as the fan from the Waeco can kick out some heat.
FollowupID: 669129

Follow Up By: Steve63 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:42

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:42
Should be ok in the back of the ute as long as it is out of direct sun. The tinting reduces but does not eliminate the heat from the sun. The heat from the Waeco could be a problem. What you have is a temperature differential between inside and outside the esky. The walls of the esky are not perfect so the bigger the difference the faster the energy (heat) will move into the esky. If you go to a cold country they wear lots of thinish layers because it provides better insulation, so as you suggest adding another layer could be very helpful. When we had ours in the back of the wagon we used to put a pillow or two on top if the sun was coming in that side. Made quite a bit of difference.

FollowupID: 669136

Reply By: dieseltojo - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:28

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 16:28
Hi Tony,
We have the 60 ltr Orange coloured tropical ice chest.
To keep ice a while, the bigger the solid block the better.I buy the cheap rectangular plastic Buckets about 200 wide 300 long and 200 deep.Like others have said freeze them for at least a week.
In 40 degree heat it has lasted 6 days in the Land Cruiser with a blanket over the top of the ice chest at all times.We try to park in the shade as well.
Drain the water after a couple of days and check daily.I usually put two in and pre cool all the cans before we leave home.
AnswerID: 400037

Reply By: Atta Boy Luther - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:26

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 17:26
Having had an evakool ice box for over 5 years and camping for 3 to 5 days max i can tell you where you are going wrong . You must fill at least one third volume of the ice box with ice if you want it to last for 5 or more days . That means that your 65 lt ice box would need 11 x 2ltr frozen milk bottles or 7 x 3ltr frozen milk bottles . The evening before you leave put in a couple of frozen milk bottles of water to get the interior cold and then take them out and repack with the 7 x 3ltr or 11 x 2ltr frozen milk bottles . Appoint one person as the fridge lid opener and try to open as least amount of times as possible . The amount of times the lid is opened drastically shortens the life of the ice . cheers .
AnswerID: 400047

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 18:20

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 18:20
Hi Tony,

I have an Evakool 45l & 65l Iceboxes and also use block ice to prolong the cooling process.

I gave away the idea of using 2 litre containers as they just take up too much room.

I found and purchased a couple of plastic containers which when filled with water and frozen, will give me two blocks of ice 3 to 4 inches thick (75 to 100mm) which are placed on the bottom of the icebox side by side to completely cover the bottom. The icebox is loaded up with whatever and if I'm chilling drinks, I also add "crushed" ice.

I generally use one or two bags of crushed ice and the block ice keeps the crushed ice from melting too quickly. In fact for the first couple of days the crushed ice is usually frozen fairly well.

I get about 4-5 days out of the blocks, but the "crushed" ice has usually turned to water by then.

One tip with "crushed" ice. Try to avoid the type with holes through the middle. This is a cheap and quicker process in making ice and it just doesn't last long.

For longer periods, you can add dry ice to the block ice, but I generally don't use dry ice as it is hard to come by away from major cities.



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AnswerID: 400054

Follow Up By: Wilk0 - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:08

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:08
Hi Tony,

I 2nd the dry ice. I try to get a block about 30cm square. (ussually from a BOC outlet)
I put that in the bottom of my 55lt evakool and addblock ice on top. I had my chops frozen after 15 days in temps averaging 36c (with one day of 42c). I only open the lid 1 or twice a day.

1 word of warning is that dry ice will freeze anything it touchs, beer bottles etc, and wont do your hands a world of good either so if it doesnt come in a hessian bag or paper, wrap it in newspaper and ensure you use welders gloves whilst you do handle it.

Cheers Wilko
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Reply By: Holden4th - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 19:54

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 19:54
I own a 65L Evakool and it's the best esky I've ever used. This is how I keep my food cold in it, regardless of conditions.

Before I go anywhere I've put a plastic 10L and a 5L container of water which I've had frozen for months in the esky. This is important. The longer you freeze water the longer it will take to melt. I've found that it will take at least 10 days to totally melt the contents of both containers and even then the esky will still be cool.

After 4 days both containers will have melted 30% of their contents but still have a solid core of ice (70%) in them. At this point, if I'm in a place that has a freezer available, I remove one of the containers and refreeze it overnight. Two nights later I look to do the same thing with the other container. There are so many places that will let you put your ice containers in their freezer. I've travelled for months using this system making sure that the core of ice remains. The bigger the bigger the block, the longer it will take to melt.

Now I have used 15L of space in my esky but surely 50L of storage is enought.
AnswerID: 400068

Follow Up By: Tony - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:01

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:01

do you freeze in a normal fridge freezer or a chest freezer.
I note a few people said to use a chest freezer as its colder but we dont have access to one only the normal upright and the waeco run as a freezer at home.

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Reply By: Member - Robert R1 (SA) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:00

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:00
I use two litre long life milk cartons and always have four or five in the freezer. They still have ice in them five to six days later in my 75 litre esky and if you need to you can use the water that is in them.

AnswerID: 400108

Reply By: Member - Sigmund (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:40

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:40
IMO it's poor netiquette to post the same query in two forums.

Why waste the time of good-willed people?

Why not post in one and then follow up with more specific questions if you need to?
AnswerID: 400165

Follow Up By: Tony - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:53

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:53
You are entitled to your opinion. Why am i wasting peoples time. if you have answered already you dont answer again. Its only a waste of peoples time if im a fake poster which i can asure you I am not.

I wanted as much info and feedback as I can especially after forking out near $500 based on info from people on the said forums for what seemed on my trip a waste of money.
As it turns out i havent yet received any duplicate replies from people and there would be heaps of people that read one forum or the other and not both.

If you feel its a waste of your time then dont reply. I have had many wonderful replies from different forums to the same question that have been extremely helpful.
I find it best to get a wide and varied response

Apologies to you

Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 669300

Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 15:35

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 15:35
I agree with one of the above replies.
With our Evakool we froze water in "Kitty Litter" trays (new) & put in the bottom, after pre-chilling the ice box overnight, load it with cold food/drinks & then use good size cubed ice.
Best time we ever got was 11 days at Crooked River one Xmas.

I wish I still had it, now have a Waeco Ice Box (due to size constraints) & it goes through 2 bags of ice a day. I should have realised that their ice boxes would be no better than their fridges.

AnswerID: 400189

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