I live in South Florida, the bulls-eye for many hurricanes and tropical storms.  Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was our worst.  I managed to survive without too much difficulty for two reasons:  a) I had prepared beforehand and b) my wife and infant child were overseas (visiting family) when the the hurricane hit.  I didn't have to worry about them and really only had to look after myself (and my elderly mother).  That made life a lot easier.

Hurricanes are late summer/early Fall events....which means it will be hot....really hot when the storm knocks out your electricity and a/c.  The most sought after commodity after Hurricane Andrew was ice.  Ice to cool your parched throat.  Ice to keep food from spoiling until you can cook it up on your portable BBQ.  We couldn't get enough of it and fights broke out whenever people converged on a site that had some on sale or where it was being distributed for free. 

Ice may not be an issue if you have a generator and tons of fuel to keep your refrigerator going indefinitely.  But when you're without power for an extended period of time (our neighborhood was out for 2 weeks) obtaining and transporting fuel to run your generator can get difficult.

IMHO the best thing you can do when facing an epic storm is to get the hell out of Dodge.  If however you want to stay behind to protect your property then at least get you family out of your way.  It will make life a lot easier.  Send the wife and kids to the in-laws or elsewhere.

That being said, I would then make sure to have a large marine-grade or professional outdoor guide cooler with as much ice in it as it can hold.  Something like this:  https://siberiancoolers.com/sh...a-series-85qt-cooler      


Obviously a huge cooler won't do you much good when you have rising floodwaters in your house. In which case you can hopefully throw it in the back of your truck or in your automobile trunk and flee (if that is still possible).

If you have enough ice and cold drinks to last you at least a week it will make an enormous difference in your physical and emotional well-being.  You can put up with a lot of misery so long as you can cool down and hydrate.

25 years after Hurricane Andrew I still remember the search for ice as being the most sought-after commodity after the storm (with generators being a strong second and commanding outrageous prices).  A good cooler stocked with plenty of ice (that can last you several days and provide cool water as it melts) is worth its weight in gold.  

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Original Post

Try RTIC Coolers:


I have the SoftPak20 and it can hold ice for at least 48 hours before it's completely melted. Last week, I drove from Maryland to Ocean Isle Beach, NC with the soft-sided cooler in the bed of my truck. We stayed the night halfway (little kids). It was in the low 90's and sunny. I kept food and Monsters in that cooler and I kept the same amount of ice in it the whole two days. When we got to the beach on day 2, everything was still cold and about half the ice had melted.

My buddy has the RTIC 65 and he's kept an entire buck on ice in it for 7 days without having to change out the ice. That was in 80 degree weather in Pennsylvania.

Plus, they're half the cost of the comparable YETI coolers.

Does somebody make an efficient, super-insulated chest freezer that would double as an un-powered cooler? Could you just pack something like that with block ice for a bad day?

Maskirovka posted:

Does somebody make an efficient, super-insulated chest freezer that would double as an un-powered cooler? Could you just pack something like that with block ice for a bad day?

If I understand your question, yes, since every refrigerator and freezer is insulated to keep from having to constantly run the compressor. Large ice blocks would certainly fair better than cubed ice too.

So when you realize that the hurricane is going to make landfall, but you haven't yet decided to evacuate, the plan is to fill the Yeti up with ice in hopes that it lasts long enough? Not trying to argue (you guys know me better than that), but I do see some holes in that plan.

krax posted:

So when you realize that the hurricane is going to make landfall, but you haven't yet decided to evacuate, the plan is to fill the Yeti up with ice in hopes that it lasts long enough? Not trying to argue (you guys know me better than that), but I do see some holes in that plan.

If you re-read my original post you'll see that I am a big advocate of getting out of town if you know a serious storm is coming your way.

That being said, some people will want to stay put for a variety of different reasons. If you take that route, at least get as many family members out of harm's way first.  It will make life easier for them and for you too.  It is easier to look after 1 or 2 than 4 or 6.

In my case with Andrew in 1992 my wife and little girl were outside the country---and they stayed outside--- so luckily I didn't have to worry about them.  However I did have a frail, elderly mother suffering from Alzheimer's.  She lived nearby with a full time caretaker.  I drove the caretaker home to her house and brought my Mom home with me to ride out the storm.  I lived inland so I foolishly thought it wouldn't be so bad.   I was mistaken.  At the time I lived near the National Hurricane Center HQ.  Andrew blew away their wind meter....it was that powerful.

If and when you make that commitment to stay (as I did) then you absolutely should be ready for a very rough ride.  I thought I had plenty of supplies including canned goods, water, a camping stove, a small generator and fuel, plenty of flashlights, first aid equipment, a chainsaw, and even a small cooler filled with ice and soda.   My house was shuttered shut and the trees had been trimmed.

I thought I had done enough.  I hadn't.

I had expected being out of electricity for a few days....not two weeks.  No one has a crystal ball in these matters.  Some folks in South Dade county didn't have their power restored for two months....or longer.   That is assuming they still had a house.  A great many didn't.  It was total devastation in some areas.  Some places looked like a scene out of Hiroshima post-explosion.   Homes and businesses completely flattened and all the street signs blown away.....concrete electrical poles snapped like matchsticks for as far as the eye could see. 

On the other hand, Broward County (the Fort Lauderdale area) north of us was spared any serious damage or inconvenience.  It many respects, Andrew's impact was very localized or specific to where exactly you were on the map.

Looking back on the experience (and the fact that I stayed) I absolutely would have liked to have had a much bigger cooler than I did....and filled with as much ice as possible.  It would have made things a little more bearable given the oppressive heat that followed the storm. 

That's what this Hard Times and Bad Days forum is about right?  Specific lessons learned.

The specific lesson learned that I am trying to pass along here is simple: you can never have enough ice when the lights go out in the summer and in a hot, humid place like Miami.

So yes have a big ass, ice-filled cooler if you decide to ride out a storm.

If you have a better solution in the form of a solar powered 'fridge with a lithium battery power pack and/ or dry ice, blocks of ice, or something fancier then by all means go that route.

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I lived in Pasco county when Andrew hit. We got off easy. I remember (I was 10 at the time) hearing about the price gouging going on in affected areas. I didn't know there was another big Air Force base in Florida (we went to the air show at MacDill every year) until Homestead AFB was almost wiped off the map.

I thought I prefaced my question properly, but I really wasn't trying to shit on your plan or experiences.

Evacuation is probably the smart idea for most people, but I can only say that so strongly because I haven't had to do it yet. 

A trick to keep in mind with chest freezers is that they always run much more efficiently when full.   I always keep a lot of frozen water bottles in mine to fill up any space not taken up by food.   I recycle 2 liter bottles filled with fresh tap water (after cleaning) and then use a couple of cases of smaller (12 or 16 oz) bottles to fill voids.    In the event that I loose power for an extended period of time, it takes MUCH longer for the freezer to start thawing out.   In addition, you have ice to put in coolers if necessary, and you have increased your potable water storage.  If you make a big run to costco and need the space, remove frozen water bottles as necessary.  Keep in mind that your freezer will stay cooler with minimum openings.   If you do loose power, tossing a heavy quilt over it will add insulation.

Also, it is a good idea to keep a regular ice cube in a zip lock bag somewhere in your freezer.   If you notice your cube has changed shapes or is just a frozen puddle, then you know that your freezer lost power sometime and your food thawed out (and refroze).   

Lastly, I will agree with previous posters regarding Rtic coolers.   Half the price of a Yeti and every bit as good.  

I lost most of a elk in my freezer about 15 years ago when a wildland fire several miles from my house caused me to loose power for a week.   Since then I did a lot of reading on the subject.   Not to say that all of these things would have saved it, but it would have been nice to try.  

krax posted:

Alternatively, something like this:


Attached to something like this: http://www.goalzero.com/p/423/...rtable-power-station

Powering something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Dometic...8-1&keywords=cfx

More expensive than even the best cooler? Yes, but more versatile and when you evac, your vehicle can charge the battery or run the fridge/freezer. I pretty much leave mine in the truck all summer.

So this set up will keep your 12 VDC car fridge going pretty much by itself?

A battery pack that size should keep it going for a couple days without a charge. The better 12V fridges are really efficient.

I can't vouch for that specific solar panel yet though since my truck provides the charge right now for me and I haven't perfected a solar setup. You can build a battery setup for a lot less than the Goal Zero power packs with your own battery, box, and inverter. I will say that I like that the Goal Zero power packs have built-in charge controllers for solar.

I've got a propane generator at the house now so it's not a huge priority. That said, I like the idea of having power without the noise of the generator. I think that for those that live in the city or in subdivisions, a gas/propane generator could attract unwanted attention.

Just wanted to add on the ice. During Katrina, half the stupidity went away when the A/C and ice came back. Before that, we had a dude strangle his sister to death over a bag of ice. Those " I survived the gas/food/ice supply lines of Hurricane Katrina" shirts that you see may be for humor, but it's dead serious. Take a minimum of 4 to a supply line, two to load and two to provide security. If the local cops or NG running it are smart, they will not allow anyone outside of their vehicle. Simply pull up and pop the trunk and let the NG guys load it, prevents a lot of fights.

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