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Thread: Meat/fish care and transport...

  1. #1
    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Default Meat/fish care and transport...

    OK, question for you guys Im planning on a trip to AK next summer (July and August) and am trying to figure out how to manage any fish and game Im lucky enough to get when Im there. Im driving up with the truck and camper and the wife and kid are flying into and out of Fairbanks. Ill have the truck and the ability to carry the stuff back with me, I wont ship. Im not looking to load up on massive amounts of fish and game, but a couple Halibut, few nice salmon and a caribou would be awesome. We are going to base for much of the time in Seward where we have good friends, but also will be doing a float in the Brooks towards the end of the trip for caribou, we have friends in Fairbanks where would could plug a freezer in too.

    So, do we bring/buy a freezer in the truck and plug it in in Seward and then take it up to Fairbanks before the float and plug it in there? We have a nice little Yamaha generator that I can run while on the road on the way back in the truck. There are some downsides of this approach, one is just managing the freezer, which would have to be loaded on the tailgate and pushed under the topper, since there wouldnt be clearance under the topper to open the lid. We have 5 and 15 cubic foot freezers now and they would both fit (neither seem ideal size, but we could get one of an in between size). The other downside is that the freezer would take up a lot of gear room, but I think we would have space. Positive would be that we could manage the freezer on our own terms not worry about renting space or borrowing space, I'd rather be fishing then looking for freezer space.

    The other option would be a big cooler or two. We would have to borrow or rent space in Seward and Fairbanks. Im not sure what the bumming space option would be until we get there since who knows how full their freezer would be. Id assume that we could rent space somewhere in Seward in July and Fairbanks somewhere in August. I have no idea of the costs, either. Id then want to transport the whole works on dry ice, which Id assume would be available, but I dont have a sense for cost or a guess how much Id need. Total time on the road would be 7 days to get home, I assume if going the dry ice route, Id need to reload somewhere along the way. The benefit would be that a couple large coolers would be easier to manage in the truck and probably take up less space, but the downside is the hassle of renting or borrowing space.

    Anyone have suggestions??? I have a general sense that there are places to keep stuff frozen where you can rent space, but I have no idea how that would work in practice or the cost. I wouldnt be thrilled with the idea of renting space if the price really added up, Id rather deal with a freezer.

    T

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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    If you have the means to bring and maintain your own storage I would do just that. It takes all the stress out of real life throwing curve balls in your direction (late night arrival, early departure, sundays etc) A freezer completely full of frozen product will only need to be plugged in for an hour or two every day to maintain the integrity and you're not at the mercy of needing semi exotic ingredients like dry ice. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacific-23 View Post
    If you have the means to bring and maintain your own storage I would do just that. It takes all the stress out of real life throwing curve balls in your direction (late night arrival, early departure, sundays etc) A freezer completely full of frozen product will only need to be plugged in for an hour or two every day to maintain the integrity and you're not at the mercy of needing semi exotic ingredients like dry ice. Good luck!
    That is what my gut was saying. If anyone has serious con to the freezer that I didn't think or or express, I'd like to hear it. I know it will be a PITA, but I'd rather a PITA that I'm in contol of.

    T

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    Tod, I would also recommend that you bring your small freezer. I travel many miles pulling a small enclosed trailer with a small chest freezer and Honda generator. I simply run the generator at night while parked and sleeping and everything stays frozen during the day while driving. This has worked for me for many years.

    I have also carried frozen game and fish in coolers. If you ask nicely, many butchers will put your coolers in their freezer overnight. On a long drive, if you plan your stops at population centers, you will usually find a couple of grocery stores in any town. I have only been refused one time, by a young butcher in Ft. Nelson, BC who did not have the authority to open his freezer to me. I went to his competitor across town and they took my two coolers right in for the night. The only problem I have had with this strategy was one time in Minot, ND when the grocer put my coolers in the cold room instead of the freezer and things partially thawed. That is when I started traveling with the freezer.

    As Pac-23 says, managing your own storage gives you freedom you would never have depending on other people's schedule.

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    Go with the 15 cube freezer. 5 is too small. It will only take up gear room on the way home, you can fill it with crap on the way there.
    How hard is it to remove topper? Be ready to do it. Also, every parking lot in Fairbanks has plug ins - many of them even work.

    I've done the freezer routine in several variations over the years.

    The first time was prior to moving to AK. We did a moose/waterfowl/fishing trip from Wisconsin to Saskatchewan. WAY easier to get the moose in the freezer if you remove the topper, load it and put the topper on over it. Once it's full, it's pretty tough to slide around and impossible to lift without a forklift. Under the topper, you can probably still crack it open enough to get single packs of fish inside. We ran it on a generator for the first 5 days after killng the moose and then just plugged it in at night for a week while waterfowl hunting.
    Best part of that trip was getting torn down at the boarder by USFW. Nothing like taking your topper off and pulling out a moose, 70+ waterfowl, and a bunch of fish and then accounting for everything by species. No problems other than Canada customs didn't do our CITES permits for our cranes correctly on the way out. After a couple trips walking back and forth to Canada, all was well - only about 2 hours of my life lost. Be prepared to take topper on and off.

    I also do the freezer routine for antelope in WY. I fly down and my partners drive out with a truck, freezer and vac-packer. We get everything fully processed and frozen before I head to the airport. He hauls his back in the freezer. Pretty easy. Done it a couple times fishing in AK too. Pretty much same routine.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tod osier View Post
    That is what my gut was saying. If anyone has serious con to the freezer that I didn't think or or express, I'd like to hear it. I know it will be a PITA, but I'd rather a PITA that I'm in contol of.

    T
    No Cons in my experience.

    One more thing, bring extra extension cords. I thought my freezer died on me on a halibut / goat trip to Kodiak. Turned out the cord just went bad!

    Which brings another throught - cost. In Lower 48 you can find nice garage sale freezers for around $100. A comparable amount of coolers will cost you way more than that. If the freezer ****s out on the trip - you still have a really big cooler.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

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    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Dan, thanks for the confirmation that both methods will work and info on how you have one it. I appreciate it!

    T

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    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    No Cons in my experience.

    One more thing, bring extra extension cords. I thought my freezer died on me on a halibut / goat trip to Kodiak. Turned out the cord just went bad!

    Which brings another throught - cost. In Lower 48 you can find nice garage sale freezers for around $100. A comparable amount of coolers will cost you way more than that. If the freezer ****s out on the trip - you still have a really big cooler.
    Milo, thanks for the advice and suggestions. I'll have to think about the topper and getting it off. I did think about the potential for chaos at the border. I'll be alone for that part of the trip and I've muscled toppers on and off myself before, but usually there was something to help and the bed was always empty. I'll have to see - the bed liner that I have on the tailgate is slippery high density plastic and I may be able to slide it in and out when full. I may need some sort of small frame to extend to the tailgate, maybe put UHMW plastic skids on the thing? Again, thanks.

    I have to figgure out the border crossing with fish and game thing too. I don't think I'll ahve any waterfowl - timing won't work out. Just hopefully fish, a few ptarmigan and a caribou.

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    Two 45-50 pound fish boxes could accompany the wife and son on their flight home. The thicker halibut and caribou would fare better then thin salmon cuts for the flight, therefore a smaller freezer 5 or 7 cu ft may work.

    Possible option, I might have room in my toyhauler garage in December when I travel to Michigan for Christmas. I'll have my freezer (full-I hope) and could plug yours in next to it. Power from MI to CT wouldn't be much of a concern in December/early January in your pickup.

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    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuskovich View Post
    Two 45-50 pound fish boxes could accompany the wife and son on their flight home. The thicker halibut and caribou would fare better then thin salmon cuts for the flight, therefore a smaller freezer 5 or 7 cu ft may work.

    Possible option, I might have room in my toyhauler garage in December when I travel to Michigan for Christmas. I'll have my freezer (full-I hope) and could plug yours in next to it. Power from MI to CT wouldn't be much of a concern in December/early January in your pickup.
    Thanks for the offer for transport, I'm for sure going to want to bring that stuff with me to get working eating and processing the caribou if I get one. Where in MI? My wife grew up in Richland (near Kalazamoo) and inlaws are now in Delton (S of Grand Rapids).

  11. #11
    Member Milo's Avatar
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    Default Meat/fish care and transport...

    The topper alone is a problem.
    As far as border crossing try contacting 379peterbuilt on this forum. He has been hauling meat for guys back to the midwest for the last couple years. Im sure he has all of it nailed down.
    Its been a long time since I did it, but it will definitely be easier without waterfowl.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  12. #12
    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milo View Post
    The topper alone is a problem.
    As far as border crossing try contacting 379peterbuilt on this forum. He has been hauling meat for guys back to the midwest for the last couple years. Im sure he has all of it nailed down.
    Its been a long time since I did it, but it will definitely be easier without waterfowl.
    Thanks, I need to get it figgured out. For as much as I've done it over the years, I really dislike crossing borders. I usually have my wife drive through .

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Default Meat/fish care and transport...

    Also on the road you can run the freezer off of an inverter.

    Is there space in the travel trailer for a chest freezer? Some spot that it would work for a table or other storage?

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    [QUOTE=AK Ray;1237698]Also on the road you can run the freezer off of an inverter.

    QUOTE]

    True, if the inverter you have will handle the surge (start up) current and you have enough battery power to run everything.

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    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Ray View Post
    Also on the road you can run the freezer off of an inverter.

    Is there space in the travel trailer for a chest freezer? Some spot that it would work for a table or other storage?
    That is a good idea, but the TT door is only 24" - pretty limiting there. I think of the options, the generator is better, an inverter would destroy the TT house battery charge and then they woudl just need to be recharged and I don't think the truck 12V system would be enought to run an inverter to power a freezer (but that is just a guess, I don't have and inverter that big). We will for sure have the generator with us, so that won't be that much of a biggie.

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    Member tod osier's Avatar
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    Doing some looking it looks like there are inverters that will probably do it, but I don't know what 12V input they need. Worth doing some more looking - it would give some nice flexibility.

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    Member DanC's Avatar
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    I thought about running a freezer off an inverter while driving but I worry about grounding. Is this a concern?

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    Grounding should not be a problem. Location of the inverter, proper wire size, will the vehicle charging circuit handle the inverter, are you going to using the inverter when the engine is not running are a few thing you will need to look at.

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Default Inverters Get warm

    Quote Originally Posted by tod osier View Post
    Doing some looking it looks like there are inverters that will probably do it, but I don't know what 12V input they need. Worth doing some more looking - it would give some nice flexibility.
    I've done this once and only once on a road trip from Fairbanks to Seward with this 800W inverter. The little thing got mighty warm so I opted to leave the freezer at my buddy's house on his deck in Anchorage when I went on to Seward for a week long halibut trip.

    The 7 cu ft. freezer had blocks/milk jugs of ice in it so it wasn't needing to work real hard, but it was July and with the 75-80 deg weather in Fairbanks it must have been pulling power more often than not.

    I would opt for the Generator
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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