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Does anyone out there have a cooler that works well and is on wheels? We had a small fabric cooler with a plastic interior that just did not do the job.  I got tired of drinking warm water by mid afternoon on a hot day so we ditched it for a Bison cooler.  It was supposed to keep ice for 12 hours at 120 degree temps.  Basically the ice melted by 2pm in 90 degree temps and it leaked.  We sent it back and need a replacement before Ann Arbor next week. Really do not want to spend the money on a Yeti or similar product.  Anyone have a mid price range cooler that works?  Thanks.

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RTIC coolers are very good and reasonably priced when compared to a yeti. They have both fabric and hard shell coolers. I have learned that cheaper coolers are just that...cheaper and just don't get the job done. For me it is worth it to get a better one.

From years of playing I found, freeze 1/2 to 3/4 Styrofoam or plastic cups of water, for several days. Empty the ice ( intact) Put in zip lock bags and use in a decent quality cooler. Not a real expensive one. You will be amazed how long it will keep things cold.
It has more to do with the density and temperature if the ice. Also some newspa po er or similar barrier at the top /inside of the cooler, will add a lot of insulation. I get several days of uce, doing this with a cheap, fabric, soft cooler.

That's interesting, Larry.

I freeze several bottles of water and use them along with some ice to keep things cold. It takes longer for the bottles to thaw, and when we want to drink that water, we have to let them sit out of the cooler.

Anything else in bottles I will freeze for a shorter while, too, to drink later.

Also keep the cooler out of the sun.

I have two playmate igloos, no complaints.

We have never used an expensive cooler.  We have used the suggestions provided like ice but also frozen bottles of water, keeping it out of the sun, etc.  Our water, etc stays chilled during the day.  Expensive does not always = a better cooling experience.

I have a cheap cooler, a small one, with an ice container in its lid. Keeps cool (ice not melted) for over 20 hours, in 90 degree weather. The key is the amount of ice per cooler volume. In my case, it's a huge ratio. So, if you have room, try a cheap cooler, but fill about 1/3 of the volume with ice. I think some of the responses above were along these lines.

Hey everyone thanks for the info.  Our problem with the frozen water bottle and similar approaches is that we are mostly filling the cooler with ice from motel ice machines.  We normally do not have a freezer available to produce our own dense ice which is so much better than machine ice.  

This was a great discussion on how to keep coolers cool. After reading through it a couple times, a theme I picked up on was... "Add more ice" and that seemed to solve the problem. Great work everyone.
I'm a women by myself so can't leave my booth much. I take a regular medium sized hard shell cooler. I take one regular water and one frozen water and one big bottle of frozen Gatorade ...when it's hot and sweaty those frozen Gatorade goes down really well! I also always , i mean always have watermelon with me in the summer. It's really importent to stay hydrated well at summer shows, I'm sure you know the heat really takes it out of you! Good luck, stay cool..yes learned a lot about bags or any bag if your desperate are also good to fill up For xtra ice from hotels...there can never be too much ice in the summer lol
Without a fridge to freeze water bottles overnight, I have filled the bottles with motel ice.

Depending on the drive time/ distance / travel time to the shows... freeze the blocks of ice at home. If they are thick enough, and cold enough, they will outlast the motel ice.

I've done the Styrofoam or plastic cups, ice trick at home. Put in a soft shell cooler. Left on Friday morning and still had ice on Sunday.

If you must buy ice while on the road. Don't buy cubed ice. Instead buy a block of ice. You will need an ice pick. Break it up in as large pieces as you can manage, in your cooler. It will keep much longer.

Motel ice is barely below 32 Fahrenheit. 

I often feel the bagged ice at vending places is also kept just, barely below freezing. For two reasons.

1) So it will melt quickly and cause more sales.

2) Cost savings on energy used to freeze.


Avoid being seen walking around the motel with an ice pick in your hand, you might invite an incident :-)


You might also look into a Solar powered cooler.

A lot of money for a good one. However a lesser one that lowers the degrees a lot while not freezing, will still add a lot of time to your ice.

Some of them can be pre-charged with batteries.

I have another cooler that can be plugged in. It runs off AC or 12VDC. I can run it from a separate solar panel also. Draws 60W @ 12VDC.

The plug in coolers (Active), unfortunately do not have the insulation value of the passive coolers. Therefore, when not powered up, they will not hold the temperature as well.

I bought a 28 Quart Igloo cooler from Walmart for under 30 dollars. I take two of those clear plastic shoe boxes they sell everywhere (like a buck each) and fill them with water ( a week ahead) and I have these two huge Ice cubes.

The cooler is so big and sturdy if I have to dolly in I have used it to strap other things to as I roll it in. Twice this year I have left on Friday with drinks, food and such, and when I get home Sunday I still have ice! I pour off a little water in the morning and put a small bag (not as big as a real ice bag, about 1/4th that) of ice from the hotel so I have some small cubes. So once I park it I don't move it all weekend.

This is one of those things that I can't believe it took me so long to think of!



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