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Summer epitomizes blissful escapades under the sun. As a seasoned outdoor aficionado with countless escapades to my name, I understand the sheer delight a chilled drink can bring to an arduous trek. It’s a game changer between battling exhaustion and revitalizing your spirit.
With years of hands-on experience, I am thrilled to share insider knowledge on how to keep drinks cold in a backpack during your summer adventures. Through a blend of science and practical wisdom, you’ll master the craft of maintaining that frosty indulgence, even amidst blazing temperatures.
So, tighten those backpack straps, and let’s embark on a journey to quench your thirst in the most refreshing way possible!
The Science Behind Staying Hydrated: Your Adventure’s Lifeline
Scorching heat means your body is losing water at an unprecedented rate. Chilled drinks are not just refreshing, but they’re also more enticing, which means you’re likely to drink more and keep dehydration at bay. Here’s a dive into the science that makes this possible.
For your drinks to stay cold, it’s essential to grasp why hot drinks cool down and cold drinks warm up. The second law of thermodynamics reveals that heat flows from a hotter object to a colder one. In our case, we want to minimize the heat transfer to our drinks by limiting the temperature difference between the drink and its surroundings.
Lay the Groundwork: Prep Like a Pro
Chilling the Drinks
The first step is to ensure your drinks are as cold as possible. If at home, freeze your drinks. Be cautious with water as it expands when frozen, so don’t fill bottles to the brim! If you are on the road, purchase the coldest drinks from a local store, preferably from the back of the cooler.
Don’t forget ice packs! Place them in the freezer if you can. Disposable thin plastic ice packs are usually available in stores’ chiller sections and are highly effective.
The Shield: Insulation
What is Insulation?
In simple terms, insulation involves creating a barrier around your drink with materials that limit the loss or gain of heat. This ensures that the cold interior of the insulated container stays cold longer, while the warmth of the outside air stays out.
Packing Cold Drinks in Your Backpack
Place cold drinks in a plastic bag along with an ice pack. An insulated thermal bag is ideal. Wrap this in insulating items like a sleeping bag or clothing, and place it at the bottom of your backpack. Pro tip: I like to freeze a plastic water bottle or two, then wrap them in plastic to maintain coolness.
Know Your Materials: Polystyrene Foam
One insulator stands supreme for preserving the temperatures of your beverages – Polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam. It’s lightweight, moisture-resistant, and excellent at maintaining temperature.
The Manufacturing Process
Polystyrene foam is produced through a three-step process involving steam, heating, and molding. It’s mainly comprised of air, making it an excellent insulator.
More Cool Tips and Tricks
Utilize Natural Water Sources
If your hike takes you near creeks, use the cold water to your advantage. Place your drinks in the water for at least 30 minutes before you leave.
Shade is Your Friend
Keep your drinks at the bottom of your backpack, away from sunlight.
Aluminum Foil Trick
Aluminum foil can reflect heat, so wrapping your chilled drinks in aluminum foil before putting them in an insulated bag can further preserve the cold.
Use a Lifestraw
You could sip the cool water directly from the creek if you have a Lifestraw or something similar. If you know there will be water in the creek at that time of year, you may be able to reduce your pack weight by carrying less water. Remember to always verify ahead of time if the water is safe to drink, even if it has been filtered.
If your hike route takes you through any small towns or villages, check ahead to see if there are any local convenience stores that won’t need too much of a detour. This can also assist in reducing pack weight because you won’t need to bring as much water at the outset. You will expend less effort and perspire less if you carry less weight.
Double Wall Vacuum Bottles
Invest in double-wall vacuum bottles. These bottles have a vacuum layer between the inside and outside walls, which virtually eliminates heat transfer by conduction or convection.
Get Crafty with DIY Solutions
Custom Insulated Pouch
Create a custom insulated pouch with materials at home. Use bubble wrap, old clothing, or any insulating material. Place your cold drink inside the material and secure it with a rubber band or tape. This pouch can then go into your backpack.
The Sock Trick
Believe it or not, a sock can be an excellent insulator. Slide your drink into a thick woolen sock. This might not be the most effective method, but it’s handy in a pinch.
Choose the Right Backpack
Selecting the right backpack can also play a significant role in keeping your drinks cold. Opt for a backpack with insulated compartments or pockets. Additionally, a backpack with good padding will also provide some degree of insulation.
The Reality Check: Don’t Expect Miracles
Remember that while these methods are effective in keeping your drinks cold, they are not foolproof. As the day goes on, the drinks will eventually warm up. Plan your consumption so that you have enough cold drinks for the duration of your adventure.
Packing Your Backpack Effectively
Distribute the weight evenly, placing the heaviest items close to your back. Keeping the cold drinks at the bottom can help in keeping them cooler, as heat rises.
A Word on Sustainability
While enjoying your cold drinks, be mindful of the environment. Avoid single-use plastics and opt for reusable bottles. Also, don’t leave any waste behind.
My SENDESTAR stainless steel sports water bottle, depicted below, has been a summer staple for me. If you’re looking for a quick method to grab a cold drink and get out the door, this is hard to top.
I use it for the first few hours of my day treks, and it’s great for keeping a cool drink on hand without having to open and warm up the rest of my drinks.
It has a lock feature and a flip top, so you don’t have to worry about the rest of your gear getting wet. It’s also great for keeping your drinks warm in the cold, so you can use it all year.
The HYDRO CELL Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle is also a very good option. If I had to pick one feature to distinguish this bottle from others on the market, it would be that it is the king of variety. HYDRO CELL comes in seven different colors and four different sizes: 40, 32, 24, and 18 oz.
Keep in mind that only the 18 and 24 oz models fit in conventional cup holders. Another intriguing aspect is the addition of a powder-coated anti-slip layer, which is a great touch. It also includes a second lid for more sporty circumstances.
If you require a little more storage than Coleman provides, this could be the solution. Lifewit’s 24-Can Insulated Soft Cooler is a wonderful alternative to the Coleman. With a higher capacity, as you might expect, this is slightly larger than the previous entry, but it still allows for shoulder carry.
The Lifewit’s dimensions aren’t out of the ordinary; at 11.8″x9.1″x9.1″, it will readily fit in the bottom of most backpacks. The Lifewit claims to be 100% leakproof due to its apparent hot press manufacture.
It also has a more fashionable aspect, virtually making it a fashion statement. Finally, the Lifewit cooler costs a little under $20, making it a complete steal.
Yeti’s Hopper BackFlip applies the brand’s hallmark “make it to last forever” mentality to the next outdoor must-have. Daisy chains on the front and sides for connecting accessories, a handle on the top and sides for easy carrying, and, of course, comfortable backpack straps with sternum and waist belts complete the straightforward design.
Twenty cans fit into the 24-liter main compartment (30 cans without ice), which has enough ice to last two days. The large waterproof zipper and DryHide shell keep ice cold and water in a while, keeping out the elements. The Backflip is also available in 18- and 30-liter capacities.
Wrapping It Up
As you gear up for your summer escapades, equip yourself with these expert tips to relish in refreshing, cold drinks. Remember, staying hydrated is paramount, and a cold drink can be the difference between a dragging journey and an invigorating adventure. Happy trails!