Do you want to keep your beer, or food, ice cold on a scorching hot day? How would you like your cooler of ice to last 30% longer? If you spend time outdoors then you know how important a nice cooler full of ice can be. Nothing beats having ice on a hot summer day. Actually one thing does; having ice when the hot summer day turns into a hot summer evening on the water. If keeping ice from turning to water too quickly is one of your pet peeves then I suggest getting a made in the USA KoolerCap!

Birth the KoolerCap

Vern McGarry invented the KoolerCap after a visit with a friend on a hot summer day. His buddy had tossed a piece of foam ontop of the ice and beer in his cooler in an effort to make the ice last longer. McGarry said he didn't think much of it right then but couldn't stop thinking about the foam. Eventually those thoughts turned into action when McGarry said he built his own version but knew that it could be improved.

"Several years ago I was visiting my friend, Kirk Baker, in Montana. We were getting ready to go to the Lost Prairie skydiving boogie. As Kirk was packing his ice chest I noticed that he put a piece of foam over the beer and ice in the cooler," McGarry said. "He told me that it made his ice last longer. I subsequently made one for myself. It worked fairly well, but didn't seal the cavity. I got to thinking that there had to be a better way to preserve ice in a cooler. After about a year of researching and testing different insulation materials I designed the KoolerCap you see on this website. I also filed a provisional patent on the KoolerCap."

McGarry soon settled upon his material after plenty of testing and cutting. The finished product was the KoolerCap which comes in two sizes. Each are designed to be slightly larger than the standard coolers that they are made to fit. This was done for custom fitting coolers from varied manufactures.

Why I Personally LOVE the KoolerCap

We have a houseboat and the fridge has a small freezer and large bags of ice won't fit. One thing I hate is not having ice if we return to the marina after the ships store closes. And, most of the time I'm too worn out to make the trip to a store for an overpriced bag. At the end of the day I want to sit at the marina and enjoy a cold beverage with my wife and dock neighbors.

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Here's why this is important. I don't drink while boating; but my guests do! Call it the old rescue squad and Coast Guard in me. OK, I admit it. I generally have one adult beverage, really; just one, while one the water. I have the same philosophy with motorcycle riding.

I generally have two or three bags of ice in a stand alone cooler for use as clean ice during the day and for later in the evening. By the time we get back to shore there's usually a large puddle of water under the thawing ice. There's still ice, but there's also water.

The cooler with beer and ice, which is opened countless times during the day usually only has cold water in it with beer labels floating in it and the occasional bottle cap. After not drinking all day, except for that one, the thought of making a drink out of dirty ice mortifies me! In fact, I won't do it... so off to the store I go!

Testing the KoolerCap in Real Life

What better way to test the KoolerCap than during a scorcher of a day on the lake with friends. In fact it was a friends birthday so we had several guests with plans of meeting others on the water. So I decided to do a simple test based on what I usually do. I put three bags of ice in an extra cooler first thing in the morning and topped them with the smaller version of the KoolerCap. For the record it was 93 degrees f with a heat index of 105 F.

I didn't really tell anyone I was testing a product. I just told them it keeps ice longer if asked. I wanted the cooler to be used just like it normally would. Sure enough; one of the bags was needed for use and opened then returned to the cooler. Later a fellow boater needed some ice so that bag was emptied. The KoolerCap was put back in place each time and we continued on with the day. To be honest, we were having so much fun I completley forgot about the KoolerCap. And that's fine. It's a product that should be so easy to use that you don't even notice it. And it is! I did remember to snap a couple of pictures.

When we returned to the marina we went through the process of getting hooked back up to shore power and water. Once everything was stowed I opened the cooler for my ice in order to make a cold beverage. I pulled back the KoolerCap and found one full bag of ice, one half bag of ice and only a small amount of water at the bottom. My wife Ally peaked over my shoulder and said she was heading to the ships store before it closed for a bag of ice. I said "But there's almost two bags." She said, "There's not enough for frozen drinks from the blender!" When she's right... she's right!

All in all the KoolerCap work beyond expectations during the day. The next morning I loaned a KoolerCap to a buddy going Bass Fishing and he reported back with a thumbs up! I'd call that a successful couple of tests!

Tips From KoolerCap

Here's some great information about KoolerCap from Vern McGarry about his super "Kool" KoolerCap products complete with contact info. But first, as a Culinary author, chef, and USCGA trained AUXFS (Food Service Specialist in military jargon) I have to mention that you should always have ice for consumption separated from ice used to keep drinks or food cold. That's another reason I always have two coolers - avoid cross contamination. Vern mentions this as well in his tips below

  • Pre-cool or freeze as many perishables and drinks as possible before loading your cooler.
  • Load your cooler with the desired amount of perishables and drinks first. Remember from you high school days that cold air travels down.   Put your ice on top of and around your perishables and drinks. Make the top of the ice and perishables as level and flat as possible.
  • Once your cooler is loaded, fold the KoolerCap like an upside-down taco in your hands. Place the KoolerCap into the ice chest cavity, placing the edges of the KoolerCap against the interior walls and corners of your cooler. Push the KoolerCap down until it just rests on top of your ice and perishables.   Re-position the edges and corners of the KoolerCap until it is sealed against the walls and corners of your cooler. Close the lid.
  • If your cooler is not full, the KoolerCap provides two temperature levels.  I place items like sandwiches I'm going to eat soon, chips, cookies, etc. on top of my KoolerCap.   The top level will be cool, but not nearly as cold as the lower level.
  • Keep your cooler in the shade, or coolest place possible. Your ice will last much longer.
  • Use a combination of crushed, cubed and block ice. Crushed or cubed ice will chill items faster and block ice will keep things cold longer.
  • Place items that shouldn't get wet in sealed containers. Do NOT drain the cold water from the cooler unless necessary.   Melted ice water keeps items cold better than air. Only drain your water when replacing ice.
  • If possible, use separate coolers for drinks and food. Most people open and close a cooler more often to retrieve drinks. Put the bulk of your food in a separate cooler that won't be opened as often.
  • After using your KoolerCap, always be sure that it is washed with a mild soap and warm water. Let it air dry before placing it on its side diagonally in your cooler for storage. This will stop mold from forming on your cooler and KoolerCap between uses.

Contact Info:

Vern McGarry
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Category: Outdoor Gear
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