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- The principle of operation of the cooler bag
- Types of cooler bags
- Which cooler bag to choose
- How to make a cooler bag
A homemade lunch and a road snack are, of course, things of a different order. However, the feeling of hunger overtakes us no matter where we are. And often taking food with you is much more convenient than looking for a suitable cafe. And if you go to relax in nature, food supplies become an obligatory attribute of the trip. How to store food on the road and on vacation, especially in summer, in the heat? The easiest way is with a cooler bag.
The principle of operation of the cooler bag
The most important thing to know about such devices is that, of course, they cannot replace an ordinary refrigerator. It is impossible to cool or freeze food with their help — you can only keep their original temperature for some time. Actually, this is just the effect, which is usually quite enough for a trip to the country or a picnic.
Preservation of the desired temperature in such a bag occurs due to thermal insulation. Outside, the walls of the cooler bag can be fabric (nylon or polyester) or plastic, inside there is a special gasket and a reflective layer. All this together forms a fairly dense wall, about a centimeter thick. In lower quality, cheaper models, it is usually thinner.
Batteries become a very important element in the design of a cooler bag. These are special plastic containers, usually rectangular and flat, filled with either a gel or a water-salt solution. Depending on the size of the bag, there may be several of them inside, from two to five pieces. Before use, the batteries are placed in the freezer for some time, then placed in a bag. In the same way, they retain heat in a thermal container bag: the batteries are kept in warm water before use.
Types of cooler bags
Where do we usually take food with us, be it sandwiches, fruit, drinks or a full meal? There are a lot of such situations: in the car or on the train, to the country house, for a long walk, to work, to school or university. Accordingly, there are different models of bags for these purposes.
1. Thermal bag. It can be just fabric or hard material. In the same way, the volume also varies, from a small lunchbox that can fit a couple of sandwiches, to bags of impressive size, with a volume of several tens of liters.
2. Another option is a thermal container bag. Such a device is already more like a small refrigerator than a bag. It is not so convenient in transportation and is more often used on trips. But the thermal container keeps the temperature of the cooled products longer and more reliably.
3. Cooler bag for the car. It is perhaps the most convenient and functional. However, it makes sense to purchase it specifically for use in the car. The battery of such a bag can be charged from the cigarette lighter. There are models equipped with additional functions: for example, food can not only be kept chilled, but, conversely, heated. For a person who spends a lot of time on the road, the thing is indispensable — isn’t it?
Which cooler bag to choose
If for motorists the answer is obvious, then the rest should pay attention to several basic parameters of the product. So, you have decided to purchase this wonderful thing for transporting and storing food. What do we pay attention to first of all?
Volume is the first thing to decide. Do you need a small bag or a large one? It depends on what kind of food supplies you intend to take with you. For two people, a cooler bag of 3-4 liters is quite suitable, but a large family needs a more impressive volume — 7-8 liters. There are also quite small bags on sale, ideal for schoolchildren or students who take a small snack to class.
Of course, the presence of cold accumulators, which have already been mentioned above, is very important. As a rule, they are sold complete with the bags themselves. Those bags for which no batteries are provided at all are hardly worth buying and using. They are not much different from thermal bags sold in ordinary supermarkets.
The quality of the walls of the bag is the next important point. First, the outer material itself. In high-quality models, this is a dense water-repellent synthetic fabric. Secondly, the wall thickness. As we have already said, in a good thermal bag, the walls cannot be thin. A quality cooler bag has walls about 8 mm thick.
It was also mentioned above that the inner surface of the cooler bag should have a reflective layer, like foil. Don’t forget to make sure it’s available when choosing. It is also important to check whether the bag closes hermetically: if not, the desired temperature level will be maintained much worse.
The convenience of using a cooler bag also depends on a good additional equipment. These are security locks, wheels, handles, additional pockets, bottle holders, etc. Many bags come with sets of dishes — for going out into the countryside, for example, this can be a very useful addition.
How to make a cooler bag
If you have golden hands and generally like hand-made, why not try it? A simple analogue of the finished product can be made independently. For the outside, you can use any durable bag with a zippered lid. For example, sports. The main thing is that it should not be soft, retain its shape.
It remains to make an internal heat-insulating box. The most suitable material for this is polyethylene foam covered with foil. From it you need to cut out all the necessary parts (bottom, sides, top), corresponding to the dimensions of the outer «cover».
Details can be sewn or glued with adhesive tape, and the resulting design will only have to be inserted inside the bag. Ready!
A homemade cooler bag will be a very suitable budget option if you can’t buy a ready-made one yet. It can keep food fresh for hours.