Green Your Cooler: cool tips from the Ice Queen!


-photos courtesy the lovely and talented Camera Girl

The xool and xollected Xandra, the Ice Queen who runs Arctica, passed along these helpful tips for greening your cooler. And since she *is* the Ice Queen, I’d reckon she knows what she’s talking about.


Helpful tip for greening your cooler from the Ice Queen

We all know how difficult cooler management can be on the playa. Between the dust, the heat and your food and drinks co-mingling with the ice we’ve all experience the dreaded, smelly Swamp Cooler. Eeeww!

Many years ago I discovered a way to beat back Swamp Cooler and this is the perfect year to pass that trick onto you. Here’s what you do:

  1. Purchase a 2.5 gallon water container (the ones with the handy spout at the bottom)
  2. Make sure that you can fit this water container in your cooler and still have plenty of room for your food and/or drinks. If your cooler isn’t large enough try using a gallon sized water jug instead.
  3. Drink the water during your travel to Black Rock City.
  4. Cut a nice sized hole in the top of the container leaving one side attached to act as a hinge.
  5. Pour your bag of crushed ice into the water container and place it inside your cooler.
  6. When the ice has melted, pull out the container, open the spout and pour the chilled, clean drinking water into your water bottle or bladder.
  7. Repeat steps 5 through 6 as many times as needed.

This method of cooler care will ensure that your food and drinks never touch melted ice water which leads to the breeding of happy little bacteria. As long as you refill the ice frequently enough throughout the week your cooler will smell as clean as it did when you packed it at home. Its also a great way to avoid the urge to pour your cooler water on the playa – a definite no in the Leave No Trace ethos. Cheers!

About the author: Tom Price

Tom Price

Tom Price is the former Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day three remains intact.