What is better an isothermal container or cooler bag

Choice of automobile refrigerator: thermo-bag, container or electrical model?

better, isothermal, container, cooler

To go for a long-distance trip and pamper yourself with refreshing drinks during the whole trip. Have a picnic and take ice cream for the whole company. Bringing in a trophy pike fresh from hundreds of miles away. It all becomes possible thanks to the automobile refrigerator. To choose the optimal device, you need to understand the types and types of car refrigerators. In fact, there are not many of them:

  • Thermal bag. A light and compact heat-insulating bag is the easiest and cheapest option. Can keep frozen food at temperatures up to 12 hours (depends on ambient temperature).
  • Container. Thanks to its thick walls, the thermowell retains its temperature well. If you fill the container with ice and refrigeration, you can keep cold for up to 1-2 days or more.
  • Electric car cooler. Active cooling unit consumes a lot of energy, but allows you to lower the temperature by about 20 degrees compared to the environment.
  • Portable compressor refrigerator. Equipment with a full compressor and freon tubes can freeze food up to.20°C. Conserves electricity.

The most affordable version of a car cooler is a soft synthetic bag with a thermal insulating layer. Pre-cooled or frozen foods are put into the thermal bag. To keep the temperature longer, they add a cold storage battery, frozen in the home refrigerator. Usually keep soft drinks, assorted sandwiches and salads, and medicine in thermosacks. An isothermal bag can be recommended for these situations:

  • Picnic. A roomy bag will help keep meat and fish, salads, and other foods fresh.
  • Beach. Taking a trip to the sea with a thermal bag can allow you to relax on the beach all day long.
  • Fishing. In summer, fishermen can keep their catch fresh. In winter, the thermal bag will help keep snack foods warm.

Just like a bag, a thermo-bag does not have active cooling, but thanks to thick walls and full thermal insulation holds temperature much better. Containers come in different sizes. A small cooler for 25 liters will accommodate 10 bottles of water for a family vacation in nature, and, for example, a 52-liter thermobox will “cover” the need for soft drinks for a large friendly company.

If you fill the container with ice or ice packs, it can keep a low temperature for up to 72 hours. A large and roomy car fridge will definitely come in handy:

  • At the cottage. People who spend in the country only at weekends can buy a thermocontainer and easily do without the usual fridge.
  • On the road. The family can leave for the trip having taken care of all the issues with food in advance. No need to stop at roadside cafes or look for where to buy food on the road.
  • Outdoors. Connoisseurs of outdoor activities can use the thermocontainer not only in the car but also in the boat. Holidays out of town will become much more comfortable with a roomy selfcontained fridge.

In fact, the refrigerator is a thermobox with an active cooling unit. The device is powered from the cigarette lighter or from a regular 220 V outlet. It is suitable for use in the car, on the boat or indoors.

Unit maintains temperature about 20-30 degrees below ambient temperature. But it should be remembered that such equipment is very demanding to the electricity. To avoid discharging the battery, you do not need to leave the refrigerator for a long time in the car when it is not working

thermoelectric appliances can operate at both cooling and heating. Auto fridge thermostat is capable of heating food up to 60.65°C. Such devices will be indispensable:

  • On auto tours and business trips. Keeping food fresh during a long trip is a possibility to save money and eat well at the same time.
  • Out of town. Friendly company can go to the countryside for several days without denying themselves the comfort.

This is essentially a complete portable refrigerator with refrigerant. The most popular volume of compressor models is from 18 to 75 liters, but there are solutions with larger capacity. The equipment is capable of maintaining temperatures up to.20°C.

Compressor auto fridge consumes minimum energy. On average, the unit can run on an idle car battery for 1-2 days. The equipment is perfect for transporting ice cream, semi-finished products and other foods that require maintaining a sub-zero temperature.

Thermoelectric devices can work for both cooling and heating. The thermostat of the car fridge is able to heat the food up to 60.65°C. Such devices will be indispensable:

  • On road trips and business trips. Keeping food fresh during a long trip is a way to save money and eat well at the same time.
  • Out of town. A friendly company can go to the countryside for several days without denying themselves the comfort.

Compressor refrigerators and thermoelectric containers will undoubtedly be useful for people who spend a lot of time on the road. Buying a reliable device will help you save on food and do not have to worry about the freshness of food.

For occasional trips to the countryside or cottages, you can take an inexpensive car fridge without active cooling. Thermo bags and containers will keep your drinks cool and allow you to deliver your fishing catch safely and valuably.

cooler bags (isothermal containers)

Advantages of a cooler bag

Cooler bags can be used almost anywhere: outdoors, in the car or for shopping. Convenience is there.

Pros: handles and wheels. Larger models have retractable handles and wheels. Lightweight: the weight of these bags. 300 g to 1.5 kg. Most models can be folded and take up very little space when folded. There are also bags. backpacks and bags with waterproof s for documents and special compartments for keys and bottles.

What are they made of

Cooler bags are made of nylon and polyester. Their surface is easy to clean, waterproof and painted with durable paint. The interwall space is filled with dense foam, which gives strength and hardness to the structure.


Bags keep cold for 5 to 13 hours. If less than 5 hours. Most likely, low-quality materials were used.

Significantly increase the storage time of food in the freezer bag (up to several days!) can help accumulate cold. Plastic bags or small boxes filled with warm saline solution. Before you put such batteries in a cooler bag, you should keep them in the freezer for a while.

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Bags range from the smallest. 2L sandwich bag and up to 40L bags. You can go shopping and have a picnic with it. There are models with a set of necessary picnic utensils and tableware

What to keep in the cooler bag

In the cooler bag you can put the meat and fish (preferably in a bag), as well as fruits and vegetables, drinks. In general, any foods. And in any heat the food will stay fresh, and drinks. cool. For convenience, some models have special plastic containers.

What to look for when choosing a cooler bag

Variety. There are two kinds: thermal bags and thermal containers. They differ in preserving the desired temperature conditions, volume, and thus size. Refrigerator bags are more mobile and easy to transport, while containers are more suitable for transportation in a vehicle, but hold a significant amount of food, while keeping cold/heat longer.

  • Weight and volume. The greater these parameters, the more difficult it is to transport the fridge bag by yourself. Decide how you would like the thermo-bag to be transported to its destination. Models up to 30 liters are good for hand luggage and 40 liters or more for cars.
  • The outer material of manufacture. Choose a fridge bag made of impact-resistant plastic, or in the case of the fridge bag, a durable synthetic fabric with water-repellent properties. It can be polyester, polyvinylchloride, nylon, etc. д. These types of fabrics are easy to clean and dry quickly.
  • Internal Fabrication Material. Some companies save money by not using a high quality material with reflective properties, but rather making the inner layer from plain polyethylene. If the thermo bag is made of PVC then the food will stay fresh in it for 12 hours, but if it is equipped with a rechargeable battery for 24 hours. If polyethylene was used, the storage time is reduced to 2-3 hours.
  • wall thickness. Feel the insulated bag before you buy it. If the walls are thin and do not feel the layer of thermal insulation, the product will not be able to provide long-term cooling. Ideally the polyurethane foam between the walls should be at least 3-5 cm thick.
  • Handles, shoulder straps, castors. The small volume of the cooler bag makes it easy to carry in your hands or on your shoulder. This product is equipped with comfortable handles or a padded belt. For larger sizes, the models have rows of casters for easy rolling and a telescopic (extendable) handle similar to what we’re used to seeing in suitcases, for example.
  • Locks. They are built in to protect the contents from raids by dogs, cats and other animals. The most common locks are located in the handles of the product. Check if they close securely when you make your choice.
  • Ice packs. It is considered optimal to have 4-5 batteries for a medium-sized isothermal bag. This amount allows them to be placed in the lid and walls. Do not forget that the greater the volume of the refrigerator bag, the more batteries are needed.

How to use a fridge bag correctly, depending on the type

When you want to preserve usual comfort and freshness of favorite foods on the road, the thermo bag will help you. Such devices are not tied to the electrical outlet and are much lighter than their kitchen counterparts, which is why they are unreliable and capricious. Before you load your perishables in there, it’s helpful to figure out how to use a cooler bag so that the inside is actually noticeably colder than the outside. It is important to find out how your refrigerator works so that you can use it properly and avoid disappointment.

Comparative table of represented models

Our table contains all of the above information in a more compact form.

Model Volume (l) Weight (kg) Dimensions (cm) Country
ARCTICA 2000-20 20 2.2 52x26x28 Russia
Tiger Trunki 18 1.7 46х31х20 UK
Ezetil Keep Cool Extreme 6 6 0.29 21x25x18 China
MOBICOOL Sail 17 17 0.71 36x16x46 China
World Rider WR6516 22 2.1 44x40x42 China
Thermos Collapsible Party Chest 48 40 3.5 44x29x34 UK
ARCTICA 3000-10 10 0.55 31x17x24.5 Russia


There are such varieties of cooler bags as:

A thermo bag resembles an ordinary travel accessory. It is made of soft fabrics, can have a rigid frame. The difference between a cooler bag and a thermo-bag is that the latter can be used not only to maintain a cold temperature, but also to keep heat inside it by acting as a thermos.

Containers have a more rigid construction and shape. For such devices, cold batteries are used, which are placed inside the bag in the s provided for this purpose. Thermocontainers can keep food and beverages cold for up to 12 hours.

Car coolers can be connected to the car battery. They have a large capacity (about 50 kg) and can be used at home, since they also work on the mains. Car isothermal containers are usually represented by plastic thermo-boxes, which can be conveniently placed on the back seats or in the trunk of the car.

Refrigerator bags: is it useful??

Unlike car refrigerators, which really cool the food stored in them, thermal bags (or fridge bags) do not. Their thick walls, airtight clasps and reflective surfaces only diligently prevent the heat exchange of the contents with the external environment. And if the bottle you bought was originally warm, even in the best cooler bag, the drink will only get hotter. Refrigerators, or so-called storage coolers, placed in the case (see photo) can help to cool the food and keep it cool. photo).

The test of nine cooler bags: the theory of heat transfer

Even someone who is not familiar with physics knows perfectly well: it is much easier to heat something than to cool it. Man learned how to make fire a long time ago, but it took him thousands of years to get to a refrigeration unit. All because heating is essentially the same as chaos, but cooling is akin to cleaning. And cleaning and repairing is much harder than littering and breaking. Let’s check this postulate within the limits of our test of nine refrigerator bags.

The marsupial family

For our next test review we have chosen relatively inexpensive (by today’s standards) refrigerator bags, which are designed to maintain a microclimate while on the road. Of course, 2400 is not cheap at all, but we took these bags, so to speak, for comparison. Otherwise how can we evaluate the difference between cheap and expensive?

It is clear that such bags can not cool anything: their task is to prevent the heat exchange of products stored in them with the environment. The thicker the walls and the tighter the clasps, the slower will be the heating of the contents. Of course, if the bottle of juice you bought was warm, it will stay that way even in the most expensive cooler bag. The situation can be remedied by the so-called accumulators of cold. plastic containers with different kinds of fillers. Such a box should be pre-frozen in a household refrigerator, and then placed with the products that you intend to take on the road. You have to sacrifice space, but art requires sacrifice. The food itself is also highly desirable to put chilled.

Speaking of cooling. There are a number of simple rules that allow you to use cooler bags in the best way possible. For example, one liter bottle is better than two half-liter bottles, because the smaller the surface, the less heat loss! For the same reason a big bag is, generally speaking, worse than a small one! It’s only worth it if it’s full. When you travel, keep your coolbag in the coolest place possible: it would look very bad in the trunk of a sedan. Finally, the more often you climb into such a bag for drinks and chocolates, the faster all its contents will heat up.

How we measure

Our inspection of the bags was standard. In a domestic freezer we cooled one cold battery each to a temperature of minus 25 0 C. Then in each of the bags we loaded a couple of bottles of “Shishkin forest” chilled to 4 0 C. It remains to check the temperature of the water in each of the bags every hour.

Manufacturers on average promise cold storage for 6-10 hours, without specifying exact degrees. This is generally true. Our tests showed that at an ambient temperature of 28 0 C (it was very hot outside!) we can calculate that every hour the temperature inside the bag rises by one degree on average. The most expensive bag in the sample, the Igloo PM Gripper 22, performed best, as you might expect. During the first four hours, the water in it remained quite cold, about 7 0 C, while the temperature of the easier products rose to about 10 0 C. “Equalization” in all bags came after 24 hours.

We did not aim to choose the best or worst of the bags described below: what matters is the general approach to choosing a product. We propose the following algorithm. without referring to the instances in our research:

Part 5. OUR refrigerators and about car refrigerators in general

I was not going to write separately about auto refrigerators, like with them everything is more or less clear, but after reading the blogs of other forum members on our site, I realized that this topic is not covered completely, everyone tells only about a particular refrigerator model, which he uses personally and there is no general understanding of what they are and how they differ.

I have briefly mentioned one of them in Part 4. OUR camping field kitchen. dedicated to setting up our outdoor kitchen.

So, in this part I will tell you:1. what are the portable refrigerators and what is their difference2. What specific models we have and how we use them outdoors, at the cottage, and even in the office.

Let’s begin, the theory of refrigerator building 🙂When we are going on a long trip and it does not matter if we are traveling by car, vacationing by the sea or just a picnic or a weekend getaway, we always take food and (or) drinks with us.And in order for the food not to spoil and for our drinks to be cool, we need a portable fridge.

First we need to choose a fridge that best suits our needs.For this you need to ask yourself a few questions:

How long is your trip or vacation??Going out for one day, putting food in a cooler bag is enough. It is lightweight, does not take up much space, and when it is not needed, it can be compactly folded up and put away.Cooler bag a fridge made of insulating material and able to keep a reasonable temperature for 12 hours.A more expensive option for maintaining the original temperature insulated container. It can hold heat or cold for 12 to 72 hours.If a long trip is planned, you need a a cooler that runs on a car battery. If on arrival at the place it will be possible to connect to the electric network, then it is possible to consider the fridges powered from 220 volt. There are also gas-powered refrigerators. On frequent trips over long distances, it is worth looking at devices with the ability to power from different energy sources.When choosing a refrigerator must also be guided by the climatic conditions of the region. Residents of southern latitudes should prefer more powerful devices in terms of cooling, which include models of compressor type. They can maintain the correct temperature for a long time.If the temperature is very high and the food is very sensitive to overheating, then the best option compressor refrigerator.

Working conditions?Compressor and absorption refrigerators should not be suitable for off-road travel. They hardly withstand severe vibration and jolting. There is a high probability that in a short time they will simply fail. In this case it is better to choose a thermoelectric refrigerator. However there are exceptions to the rules, there are models of compressor refrigerators intended for work in difficult conditions (installation on a boat or an SUV).

Number of products?One person is enough volume of 3-5 liters. A family of three would need about 30 to 40 liters. of course these figures are approximate, but for me personally so, the more the better, the main thing that fits in the car.

Price?The price depends on the volume of refrigerator and the temperature difference it can provide between the internal volume and the ambient air.

Portable refrigerators are divided into types based on cooling principles:– bag refrigerators and isothermal containers-thermoelectric-absorption (electro-gas)-compressor

Bags-refrigerators and isothermal containers.This name comes from the fact that they cannot produce cold or heat. They only maintain an initial temperature, they may have added cold accumulators (they can also be heat accumulators when heated). Such devices are autonomous, that is, they do not require electricity to work.Food should be placed inside the refrigerator cold or warmed.Makes sense to buy a cooler bag (isothermal container) if you do not need to keep food for long

Pros:low priceDisadvantagesShort shelf life of the food

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Thermoelectric refrigerators.Peltier effect is created by passing current through the semiconductor plates. The air around one plate heats and cools around the other. When reversing the polarity of the current the plates change their mode.Therefore, there are fridges with both cooling and dual-mode cooling-heating. Can have a wide variety of capacities, which usually range from 0.5 to 50 liters. Even cooler warmers in the shape of car mugs can be found. These refrigerators work from a car cigarette lighter. When connected via a special mains adapter can be powered from the 220V domestic mainsIt is recommended to put food inside cold or warmed.

Pros:– minimal sensitivity to shocks and vibrations (ideal for off-road trips). reliability and durability (no moving parts and coolant). possibility of heating the content (not all models). low noise level. light weight

Cons:– Slow heating (cooling). Very high power consumption

Absorption (electro-gas) refrigerators.The role of the refrigerant in them is an aqueous solution of ammonia, the circulation of which is provided by heating the device from the mains or gas equipment. This principle of operation does not allow for models with a capacity of less than 20 liters. But such devices can run on gas cylinders, which is particularly convenient in places where there is no access to electricity.

Pros:– Reliability and durability (no moving parts). economy (when using gas). fast cooling (when powered from 220 volt or gas). quiet operationDisadvantages:– sensitive to strong car rolls (If the car leans on about 30 degrees then the liquid circulation in the device will be broken and the cooler will shut off). there are no coolers of small volume (minimum 20 liters)- high cost. small selection of models/i/b

Compressor refrigerators.In essence, these are regular household refrigerators, only smaller in size Compressor refrigerators work from the cigarette lighter or from the usual 220 V mains. The units use safe refrigerants like Freon.

Pros:– Fast cooling (some models have freezing)-large capacity. possibility of setting a certain temperature (not in all models)Cons:– sensitive to shock, vibration (there are models for use on boats, SUVs)- high price- large size- heavy weight- noise at work_

Now that I’ve covered the theoretical part, so to speak, let’s get down to the practical.

Our first refrigerator was a thermoelectric auto cooler Igloo Plentikool

Specifications:Dimensions 516h372h295vv total useful volume of 20.9 liters weight 6.2kg

Here’s a quote from the manufacturer’s website ad: “The first model for the most comfortable use on a trip or journey. Built-in hinged removable table.”

What can I say about itno complaints during use. The advertised folding table was useless, I took it off at once. The pros and cons of this type of device known, but it did not save us 2-3 times the battery on the car, he sat down, good that there were friends and helped to start the car.

I want to remind you that a good idea to put food and drink cool, if you put it lukewarm, it will cool, but it will take a very long time.

On a particular train there were a lot of people and our refrigerator did not hold everything, as it was discovered on the eve of departure, then was quickly bought Termos QA24Can C 163565 cooler bag.

Technical specifications: Total net volume 24 liters material nylon body folding

Basically, there’s nothing more to say. We cool the products, we put there, if it is not hot outdoors, it keeps cold up to 12 hours, that is, 12 hours is probably the limit.And that’s how we were constantly tormented on outings.

OR it is necessary to make sure that the car fridge does not land the battery on the car, OR it is necessary to eat food out of the fridge bag quickly.

At some point my brother told me that he had seen gas-powered refrigerators on the Internet. At first I thought it was a joke, but it was hard to comprehend the gas, fire, heat and the fridge.I went on the Internet and found that there were not many models of such fridges on the market.And of the decent ones, only one company makes. They have several models, I chose the one with the maximum cooling relative to ambient temperature.I chose, went and bought.

Our third refrigerator was Dometic RC2200EGR absorption(electric gas) refrigerator

Specifications:The sizes 500h487h444mmb total useful volume of 40 liters weight 14kgPower 12 V post. current / 230 VAC. current / LPG

Most interesting is the power of the refrigerator on the gas, the gas consumption is very small” in the instructions says. 256 g / day maximum, minimum 187 g / day.”per DAY, not per hour.

From the description on the site of the manufacturer:– maximum up to 30 °C below ambient temperature- elegant aluminum housing- absolutely quiet operation- 3-step flame control for gas operation, piezo ignition, thermostatic control at 230 V supply voltage- vertical compartment for 1.5- and 2-liter bottles- includes ice cube making capacity

What is the beauty of this apparatus??It is possible to turn it on before the trip to 220 volts, load food into it and let it lie, then move it to the car, turn it on at 12 volts, or turn it on at 220 volts when you arrive at the place of rest or start it in the work of the gas.

There are, of course, disadvantages, it is not the freezer, that is, a meat and all that for a long time to take it will not work, well, in general all as in a house refrigerator.

At last a pair of photos of office use

To sum it up.We currently use two of these fridges: regularly out and about, at a friend’s cottage or at workDometic RC2200EGR absorption (electric gas) refrigerator

Sometimes, when the main is not enough or we just go out for a picnic, tosumka-refrigerator Termos QA24Can C 163565

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