Pre-cooling, pre-chilling and pre-loading your cooler. High end rotomolded coolers such as Yeti’, Pelican and Canyon benefit greatly from this. Why?
Should you pre-cool your cooler? The better the cooler, the better off you are pre-cooling your cooler. Pre-cooling is also known as pre-loading or, pre-chilling a cooler. Most of the better coolers are made of denser material and therefore have greater mass (weight for its size). The insulation in your cooler insulates but it can also be and anchor for heat or cold. This can be more intense in a high end cooler due to insulation density (weight). Without pre-cooling, you will get better results with a low-end cooler then with a high-end cooler if both coolers start out warm. This is because the cheaper cooler has less mass, making it easier to change the temperature of the cooler.
What’s happening when you pre-cool or pre-chill a cooler?
When you pre-cool a cooler, you bring its temperature closer to the intended food temperature goal, thereby not wasting energy cooling the cooler. When the better coolers are pre-cooled, they will substantially outperform a pre-cooled low-end cooler.
How do you pre-cool your cooler?
Many people use sacrificial ice to pre-cool a cooler. This is ice that you use only for this purpose and then toss. A better way is to use a Cooler Shock ice pack out of the freezer and put it in your cooler 4-8 hours before use. When it’s time to use the cooler, put that ice pack back in the freezer and break out your fresh ones for your trip. Your Cooler Shock ice packs will now expend their cooling power on your food items.
A great example of the need to pre-cool a cooler
Cooler Shock is based in Phoenix Arizona. When we pull a cooler out of storage and it’s not in an airconditioned space, it needs much more pre-cooling then if it was sitting inside the house. The cooler can easily be 110 degrees or higher coming out of the garage. When we park a hot car in our garage in the summer, the garage can get up to 120 degrees, no problem. In cases like this, I will pre-cool for at least 4 hours inside the house. In a 45-quart cooler I will use 3 large ice packs to get the job done. If you don’t have two sets of large packs, use your fridge ice or some other pre-frozen water container. Check the outside temperature of the cooler with your hand after a few hours to see if the job is getting done. The alternative is to pull it out of the garage and get it into the air conditioned space the night before. This gives you a great head start.