Making a DIY Portable Wine Cooler for Camping

portableReuniting with the nature like camping is an exciting adventure. Spending some time with the great outdoors is a refreshing way to unwind and take a break from the noise, pollution and stress from our everyday lives.

And while majority of the camping public choose to stock up some beer and Gatorade, wine enthusiasts like us are different by opting for a little ‘winey’ camping experience.

By that said, it will be sad if we are just going to toss some warm glass of wine because we haven’t thought of bringing some wine cooler. That would really stress up what’s supposed to be a ‘stress-free’ adventure. Now, these DIY tricks for having your wine served at the right temperature.

Step 1 Choose an Icebox

Bringing simple plastic coolers are not so ideal in a camping because of their solid lids and thin foam lining are not capable of keeping your drinks cold for quite a while. The most reliable and practical to bring is a simple icebox and you can even use it for different purposes.

First, we want to add some few features to our box to add more insulation to it. We have to consider that the more insulative the box is, the longer it will take for the ice to melt. Second, the thicker the walls of the cooler will be, the slower the heat transfer is thus, keeping the inside of the cooler much colder for long.

You also have to consider the size of the cooler to fit at the back of your car so you need to find the proper size that’s suitable for different arrangements of the ice and beverage containers. For me, I chose a box with 7” X 10.6” internal size and 10 inches in height. However, this tutorial is also applicable for different box sizes.

For the materials, I used a 1.5” EPS to achieve a 3” thickness of the walls although you can choose other thickness if you want thinner or thicker walls.

Step 2 Assembling

Cut the panel sizes with a hot wire cutter or the circular saw with your desired measurements and assemble it using polyurethane glue or anything similar in the market. They have an excellent bond strength and fill the gaps in between the edges as it expands.

Clamps are also necessary to hold the box intact while the glue is not completely dry. If you don’t have clamps, tapes would be equally helpful to hold the sheets tight.

Step 3 Final Touches

Since your cooler is intended to sit in the car or outdoors during camping, it is necessary that we minimized the heat absorbed by the box through giving it a reflective surface. The cheapest way to do this is to cover the entire surface of the box with an aluminized mylar sheet also known as emergency or space blanket. This material is only very cheap and is very effective if you can’t put your cooler in the shade.

To properly attach it, you will have to spray some adhesives like 3M Spra-Ment. Remember that not all spray adhesives are applicable for foam boards. Once all the films cover your improvised cooler, you can secure all the edges with a clear adhesive tape to reinforce all the corners.

Step 4 Ready to Use!

Once everything has been assembled, it is important to let the box air out before using it. Then your specially made wine cooler is now ready for testing. There are also some really nice wine coolers at winecoolerlab.com

There could also be some ways you can keep your wine or other beverages cold. One natural and easy way is to dip the wine bottle in a nearby river for some time to let it cool before drinking it. But you have to make sure to never let the mouth of the bottle touch the water to prevent it from getting contaminated. Tying it off on a nearby tree could do the trick to keep the bottle steady and spout up.

While for those who can’t find some stream or river nearby, letting it rest under the shade for some hour would also be applicable. What’s important is you enjoy this entire camping escapade with someone even more important than sipping a nice cold wine.


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