Seven Tips for Keeping Your Cool
June 25th, 2016 by Curtis Condon
The cooler wars rage on. Yeti’s dominance in the high-end cooler arena is being challenged by the likes of Rtic, Pelican and other worthy opponents. That is good news for consumers, as features and warranties improve and prices decline. For example, the 45-quart Rtic cooler is half the price of the 45-quart Yeti—$175 vs. $350—and the Rtic’s seven-year warranty is two years longer than the Yeti’s. Photo by iStock/Grafner

The cooler wars rage on. Yeti’s dominance in the high-end cooler arena is being challenged by the likes of Rtic, Pelican and other worthy opponents. That is good news for consumers, as features and warranties improve and prices decline. For example, the 45-quart Rtic cooler is half the price of the 45-quart Yeti—$175 vs. $350—and the Rtic’s seven-year warranty is two years longer than the Yeti’s.
Photo by iStock/Grafner

It’s hot out there, so keeping food and beverages cold on outings is more important than ever.

One of those fancy coolers from Yeti or Rtic would be nice, but it is hard for most of us to justify the expense. So we have to be content using the cooler we’ve got.

Not to worry. Here are seven tips that will maximize your cooler’s potential, whether it is a cheap one or a high-end, mega cooler.

  • Right-size your cooler. Keeping contents as cold as possible begins with the right size cooler. Don’t use a massive, 65-quart cooler when a 20-quart will do. Empty space means warmer internal temperatures and faster ice melt.
  • Pre-cool your cooler. That goes for contents, too, especially beverages. Avoid putting them in the cooler while they are warm. In the field, you can pre-cool the cooler or beverages by sinking them in the nearest stream or other water source before loading.
  • Load contents before adding ice. Then, let gravity and thermodynamics do the rest. For larger coolers, consider layering the ice, beginning with a layer in the midde and one on top.
  • Keep it in the shade. If shade is in short supply, wet a light-colored towel and drape it over the cooler. You will be amazed at the difference this makes.
  • Keep the lid closed. This is a no-brainer. It doesn’t matter if you have a $40 or a $400 cooler, the ice will melt much faster if you leave the lid open.
  • Use the right ice for the job. Block ice lasts longest, but it is not ideal for partial loads or when cooling warm, irregularly shaped items, such as bottled and canned beverages. Ice cubes work best for those items.
  • Retain melted ice water. The water you dump is colder than the air that will replace it. The only time you should consider draining a cooler is if contents are getting soggy and spoiled. A better solution is to repackage or reorganize items that might get soggy in a cooler.

Crank Up Your Summer Bass Fishing a Few Decibels
Bass fishing in summer requires a change of tactics. One option is to use lures that vibrate and make noise.

Bass get lethargic in hot weather and it sometimes takes something obnoxious to shake them out of their stupor. That’s why spinner bait and chatter bait should be included in your arsenal of warm-weather lures.

Outdoors 101: All Tent Pegs are Not Made Equal
Most tents come with general-purpose pegs that are adequate in most circumstances. However, camping on atypical terrain—such as sandy or rocky ground—requires pegs designed specificially for that use. A peg with lots of surface area so it stays in place even in loose soil works well on sandy ground, while a tough, hard peg that can take a lot of pounding is best on rocky ground.

What Day is It?
July 3: Stay Out of the
Sun Day
July 20: Ugly Truck Day
July 22: Hammock Day
July 28: Take Your Pants for a Walk Day

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24authMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the Gulf Coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.