The destination was Yellowstone National Park. Driving from the far western
side of Washington state. Having been to Yellowstone on many occasions,
we (my husband Castwell and I) knew food becomes a problem. Meals are
available at the major centers, but for the average fisherman not exactly
convenient. Especially if meal time happens to collide with a hatch!
Plus the weather was already hot. Answer, take a
cooler. We had a choice of three already on hand. But the problem of
getting ice, or keeping the blue things you buy at the store and
freeze at home frozen can be difficult. Castwell solved the
problem by showing up one afternoon with a Coleman Thermoelectric
Cooler. That wasn't without difficulty however. The store where he
bought the cooler, Fred Meyers in Bremerton WA did not carry the
"optional power supply." After several stops he did find the power
supply at Big 3 in Silverdale Wa.
A suggestion here, stores who carry an item that
has to be plugged in to work correctly should also carry the same
quanity of "optional power supply" units. It seems unlikely a person
would pay the price difference for a thermoelectric cooler and not
use the electric fuction.
The particular model we used is #5640B807 and is called
the Vertical/Horizontal. We plugged it in a day or so before we took off
on the trip, just to make sure it worked. Castwell's other name is "Doctor
Spock" - nothing left to chance or the last minute. The cooler got cold.
We unplugged it. It stayed cold overnite.
The cooler can be plugged into the wall with the
adaptor, or into a car lighter outlet (12-volt). That worked especially
well on the road, where the outside temperatures were 100 degrees or
more. A cold soda and lunch on the road in the air-conditioned comfort
of the car was great.
Each night when we returned to our motel we grabbed
a luggage cart, loaded the cooler on it, took it to the room and plugged
in back in.
In all honesty, we asked more of the Coleman Vertical/
Horizonal than I suspect it's designers planned. Eight to ten-hour days
fishing on the Upper Yellowstone in 100 degree weather did deplete the cold.
We chickened out and unplugged the car lighter outlet fearing the combination
of high heat and drain on the car battery and leave us stranded. So the
'drill' was to unplug the cooler at lunch, keep the door closed as much
as possible, and plug it back in once we were on the road again.
If we had been able to find some of the blue things
that were already frozen, it may have been a good idea - and taken away
some of the worry about killing the car battery. The manufacturer does
include a warning not to use ice which could melt and possibly short
out the unit.
The cooler will hold an amazing amount of stuff.
Cans of pop, loads of lunch and snack meats, cheeses, prepared
sandwiches, fruit, veggies and two half gallon jugs of water. Room to spare.
The manufacturer says it has a 40 quart capacity. In went the mix
and a bottle or two of wine. It really worked like it was supposed
to - which in today's world is especially neat.
You can use the Coleman Vertical/Horizonal in the
same way you would any chest, or in a vertical position. It opens
without taking up hardly any room, and has a magnetic door latch.
It has a plastic shelf divider, which I laid on top since we used the
cooler in the chest position. The divider became a catch-all for
small items like a good knife, salt and pepper and such. The cooler
full of goodies is heavy, and most times required two people to
tote it about outdoors.
I mentioned how neat the cooler was to a neighbor,
who informed me he had installed one, as a refrigerator in an older-type
camper unit some time ago.
One other neat thing. This Thermoelectric Cooler has
another feature that would be great for family gatherings or parties. It
also heats! You reverse the color-coded power cord link (blue for cold, red
for heat) and it will warm to 100 degrees above ambient temperature. It
cools to 40 degrees below ambient temperature.
We are delighted with the Coleman Vertical/Horizonal Cooler.
It made our trip much more pleasant, and was well worth the price to have
cold drinks and safe food in conditions that could have easily resulted
in spoilage in the heat. And to have it as convenient as in the back
seat of the car.
The recommended retail price on the cooler is $114.
We paid $99 at Fred Meyers, with the optional power pac costing another
$75.00. The dimensions of the cooler are 21.88 x 15 x 16.75 (inches), and
the weight, (empty) is 19.5 pounds.
We expect to use this one for some years to come.