Such problems as spoiled food wasted money and bad mood await us with the onset of a hot summer. Moving food and drinks to the cottage, a picnic, etc. at this time of year becomes a big problem for many of us. But there is such a thing as a portable refrigerator.
A cooling bag is also called a thermal bag or a thermal container. By the principle of action, it resembles a thermos: it retains heat and cold inside.
Many mistakenly attribute the cooling bag to refrigeration equipment, believing that this is a regular portable mini-refrigerator. But unlike a cooler bag, the mini-refrigerator has a cooling unit in its device, which allows storing food for a long time in a refrigerated and frozen state, and in a thermal bag, the temperature inside will be equal to the surrounding temperature after a few hours due to the lack of cooling equipment. The purpose of a portable cooling bag is to keep foods hot, frozen, or chilled, but not for too long.
Typically, cooler bags and thermal bags are used when traveling and in nature to keep food hot or cold. It is an irreplaceable thing in the summer! When you go on a picnic, a thermal bag will help you bring fresh meat for the barbecue.
A thermal bag holds up to 50 liters, its weight varies from 400 grams to 6 kilograms. Small bags weighing 400 g are capable of carrying several jars of soda, and large bags weighing 4.5 kg can hold up to 17 kg of food.
At a moderate ambient temperature, the thermal bag keeps food cool for 4-5 hours. And if you use cold accumulators, the time of effective work will increase to 12 hours. The average lifetime of such a bag is 5 years.
Thermal containers differ from thermal bags in larger capacity: from 1 to 180 liters.
The time of keeping food cold in the thermal container can be up to 12 hours and up to 24 hours (if cold accumulators are used).
Another way to provide relatively mobile coolness is a car refrigerator. However, it itself is divided into three subspecies: there are thermoelectric, absorption and compressor devices.
Let’s start with thermoelectric ones. In fact, these are not really refrigerators in their classical understanding. The design does not provide for a compressor or even refrigerant, without which it is difficult to imagine a modern refrigerator. Bilateral thermoelectric plates are in charge of cooling. When an electric current flows through them, the inner side of the plate cools and then cools the chamber. If you reverse the voltage polarity, the inside of the plate will heat up, while the outside will cool. Therefore, as most have already guessed, these devices can not only cool but even heat products (up to 65º C / 149º F). Incredibly convenient. First, you can cool the drinks, and then slightly warm up your breakfast, lunch or dinner. All this in one device.
Another advantage of a thermoelectric car refrigerator is unlimited operating time. Of course, only with a power source. In a car, the device is able to function from the cigarette lighter, and in other conditions – from a stationary network (a current converter is needed). However, this advantage is the main con – the volatility: thermo-refrigerators are tied to the car or the outlet.
Also, the thermo-refrigerator works quite slowly. Such devices slowly reach the required temperature (cool or warm). Products that require low temperatures should preferably be cooled before being refrigerated. Or you can use the cold accumulators mentioned above (they are sold separately). But with the warming up the food nothing can be done to make the process go faster, you will just have to wait.
The form factors in which thermoelectric car refrigerators are manufactured are quite diverse. The device can be made in the form of a small box built into a special niche in a car. Or it can look like a small cabinet. There are some very small refrigerators used just for cooling or heating cans with a drink.
For car refrigerators, cold storage accumulators are optional. Just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter.
Cold accumulators are special plastic bags or boxes – briquettes filled with saline.
Cold accumulators increase the cooling time of products in the refrigerator bag by several hours. They often come with a bag and are tailored to its design.
How to choose your portable refrigerator?
The range of applications for portable refrigerators is large, but we will mention the most common one: transportation of food and drinks within 10-12 hours. Isothermal containers are preferred if you carry breakable or soft products, you can even sit on such a container (for example, while waiting for your train). An insulated container is very useful. It doesn’t need the power to function and the food in it can be kept fresh for up to 24 hours. Car refrigerators are for those who highly appreciate the degree of freedom and do not want any time limits for keeping their food fresh while on the road. There are many options available, just choose the one that meets all of your preferences.