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Thread: Ice Box/Cold Storage Ideas

  1. #1

    Default Ice Box/Cold Storage Ideas

    Hey Guys. My family and I are planning to spend a month next summer out at our property building our family cabin. We will be without refrigeration and we are looking for ideas for keeping our perishables cold. The soil on our property is permafrost. A couple inches down below the sod you hit solid ice. I know it seems like a pretty simple thing to keep your food cold with ice right underneath your feet, but how exactly do you think we should do it? It's not like you can just dig a big pit and throw a cooler box down in the pit. This is solid ice we are talking about. It will take a while to chip away at the ice to get a pit that big. Are there any other alternatives that we've overlooked? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    If you are dealing with permafrost you will want to put it in a area that you will not use in the future as it will start to melt once it is opened and exposed to the elements . You could remove the soil on the ice then use a chain saw to to cut a hole as big as your cooler then break out with a bar. after putting your cooler in use about a 4x4 peice of 2" blue or pink board to cover the area.

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    I don't know about a whole month but I can give this simple tip. When we do a two week river float we bring two separate cheapo Coleman coolers. One holds our dry goods. The other we fill with our fully frozen goods-- meats etc. We get a full week just out of our cheapo cooler. Since you'll be in a better situation to protect it from sun and weather, and with a quality (yeti) type cooler I would think you could double that.
    Beyond that, I would be bring a ice spud/bar and be chiseling me a hole in that permafrost. AND keeping that spot well insulated.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Do like the old time miners and build a fire to melt the permafrost, One you have a hole big enough, drop in a tote, backfill, then put a foam lid over the works.

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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Best idea I've seen is a small chest freezer from the transfer site buried in the ground.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I saw this somewhere and thought it would be an easy way to quickly access cold stuff. Could be dug in under a tree or something to attach a rope or crank winch to.

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    Wow, that's some fine handiwork. If that top cap it steel, I assume it's pretty bear proof as well. Very cool.

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    A galvanized trash can dug into the ground keeps perishables at 41F at my cabin site (Willow area). Not ideal temps but close. I buried the can and kept lid flush with ground then placed a plywood scrap over the lid to keep the sun from beating down on it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    If you are dealing with permafrost you will want to put it in a area that you will not use in the future as it will start to melt once it is opened and exposed to the elements . You could remove the soil on the ice then use a chain saw to to cut a hole as big as your cooler then break out with a bar. after putting your cooler in use about a 4x4 peice of 2" blue or pink board to cover the area.
    Not a bad idea. I am assuming the chain is toast after running through the permafrost, but how about the saw? Does this do any permanent damage to the chainsaw? Thanks for the idea Big Bend.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I saw this somewhere and thought it would be an easy way to quickly access cold stuff. Could be dug in under a tree or something to attach a rope or crank winch to.
    I was watching PBS once about living off the grid in AK. and a guy had one just like this in the floor of his basement. Except he didn't use culvert. It was a cylinder made out of some kind of plastic or something, and was a very clean application. Said the temp only fluctuated 2-3 degrees all year. High 30s to low 40s. Thought it was an excellent idea for sure.
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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Not a bad idea. I am assuming the chain is toast after running through the permafrost, but how about the saw? Does this do any permanent damage to the chainsaw? Thanks for the idea Big Bend.
    I wouldn't think it would hurt the saw at all, and I guess if a guy had access to a few old chains that might get you somewhere. But I think if it was me, and I'm assuming you have electricity, I'd try to locate a Hilti somewhere and go at it that way.....
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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Sayak has the method. We do this to dig holes for power poles. Build a big fire, stoke it a couple times. Leave ash in place to help hold overnight.Buy a bag of coal to take with you. No need to mess with. Light it and let it do it's thing.
    Usually a bit muddy, but good digging. We let them burn overnight.
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    Member akriverunner's Avatar
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    Default Ice Box/Cold Storage Ideas

    Could a guy just dig down to the ice and build an insulated box and set it over your food, do a hinged door maybe so you can access. Backfill the with the moss/dirt around the base to help insulate. Do it in a shaded place preferably. I've never had to deal with permafrost but might as well use it to your advantage if possible.


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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Interesting system concept for cooling food. However, if there is no wind then what?

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