Updated: Jun 19, 2022
Hey everybody, although 12v compressor cool boxes are amazing and are the perfect solution for a lot of people they are very expensive and very much overkill for most people.
If you are a weekend warrior, go away for a week at a time or even just know somebody that will give you access to their freezer (if you are a full time Van Lifer) there is a good chance you can just get away with a decent cool box.
There are some really good ones on the market to suit all budgets and will keep your food cold for anything up to about 10 days with the good ones. Some can even keep your food frozen for 2 days.
Here are some good ones...
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The Coleman Xtreme cool boxes come in a few different sizes and will keep your food cool for up to 120 hours thats 5 days. As with all no powered cool boxes you need to put ice packs in these to keep it cool, I will post links to to good ones at the bottom of the post.
Coleman Xtreme Marine
Another amazing brand for cool boxes is IGLOO, these come in various shapes and sizes and also like the Coleman Xtreme cool boxes above will keep your food cold for up to 5 days.
Here are a few of them.
IGLOO Camping BMX 52 Cool Box, 49 Liter, Gray/Carbonite Blue, 26.6 x 16.9 x 16.9 inches
IGLOO Camping Polar 120 Cool Box, White, 114 Litre
IGLOO Marine Ultra Cooler
And whilst we are still on the IGLOO brand I would Like to mention this too. If any of you would like to get creative with a submersible pump you can have ice cold water coming from your kitchen tap, it's also a cool little stool. This will keep your drinks on ice for 3 days with at an ambient temp of 30℃
IGLOO Outdoor Seat Top Water Jug, Orange-Orange, 18.9 Litre
The next brand of cool box I want to recommend is the Dometic Cool - Ice CI. Not only will this amazing cool box keep your food cold for up to 10 days in the right conditions it also looks cool. It wouldn't look out of place in a Landrover, expedition or ex military vehicle.
Dometic Cool - Ice CI
If you want to keep your food cold for up to 10 days then these are another good option. They keep food frozen 2 days or cold for 10. They come in lots of different sizes and even more colours. Some of the colours are very bright but there are also some less bright colours if you prefer. You can choose the colour before you purchase them...
56L LONG https://amzn.to/37F8jJS
70L LONG https://amzn.to/37BfK4Q
This colour would look awesome in an expedition vehicle too.
And finally if you are a weekend warrior then I would like to suggest this little set to you. you can use the big cool box as fridge for your van and the small cool box for picnics and days out. The cool boxes will keep your food cold for 3 days and the drink container will keep your drink cold for 24 hours.
Coleman Cool Box Combo, 3 x high-performance cooler boxes, capacities 46 L, 4.7 L and 2 L Jug
So thats it for my cool box suggestions, now you need something to keep them cold.
You could always just fill some empty bottles with water, freeze then and then use them as your ice blocks. This is obviously the cheapest option available to you but bottles take up lots of space in the cool box.
All of these cool boxes come with a draining hole on the side so if you were just wanting to use it to cool cans or bottles you can just tip bags on ice in when needed and drain through the hole when it's all melted.
The best option it to just buy some of the reusable ice blocks, they are relatively cheap to buy and once you have them they will last you years. If you are a full time van lifer don't forget you will at least two sets one to use and one frozen ready for when they have melted. Obviously the bigger the cool box the more ice packs you will need.
Campingaz freez' M - 10 Pack
TOURIT Long Lasting Ice Pack 13 x 10 x 1.25 inches - 2 pack
Icey-Tek (like the cool boxes above) Ultimate Large Gel Ice Pack Freezer Block. Commercial. Camping - 4 pack
Thermos Cool Bag Ice Pack Freeze Board 800G PACK OF 2
2 x Thermos Freeze Board Ice Pack Small Ice Block Flat Travel Ice Box Pack 200g
Set of 3 Mini Freezer Blocks, Green, Orange, Blue or Pink
Long and thin
TOURIT Reusable Ice Packs Long Lasting Freezer Cool Packs - 8 pack
Kleager Can Beer Ice Pack for Lunch Box 2 Piece Double Sided
For your drinks cooler
Invero 60x Pack of Reusable Fast Freeze Water Filled Ice Cubes
So that should be everything you need to keep your food cold for up to 10 days at a time, I do have some tips though to help you make the most of your cool box.
Try and keep your cool box in a cool or shaded area as much as possible. The cooler the ambient temp on the outside of the cool box the longer the contents will stay cool.
These are better at keeping things cool than cooling them down so it s a good idea to make sure everything is nice and cold before you put it in.
The more you open it the quicker the ice blocks will melt.
It is best to fill these boxes right up the fuller they are the more efficient they are.
The ice blocks take roughly 24 hours to freeze, so plan ahead.
These things can be heavy once fully loaded. Just be aware of that.
Ok so thats about it from me for now, I hope you all enjoyed it and found it useful
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