I have a small, soft-sided cooler that I am thinking of bringing in. I have read several post where folks have steak their first night in. That sounds awesome to me and now my imagination is running wild. Here is what I am thinking:
Put in Wednesday morning, refreshing pack with ice and potentially dry ice just prior to putting in. (Is dry ice available in Ely?)
I use a small soft sided cooling bag for my perishables. The key is to fill the empty space with news papers or something like that. I freeze the steaks and they are usually thawed by the second day out. I use pre-cooked bacon (does not need refrigeration) There are several strings on eggs. I don't keep them more than a day or two.
"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit."
On a trip in June I used two of my daughters insulated lunch bags. In each one I had two bottles of frozen water. Froze everything prior to trip. Worked out nice as each of my girls had a portage bag and a little lunch bag to carry-and we had steaks on the first night, pork souvlaki kabobs (with peppers and onions) the second and penne with fresh pesto the third (after that we roughed it!). We also had eggs and bacon for two mornings, blueberries for 2 pancake breakfasts as well as sausage and cheese all week for lunch snacks (and cold spring water when the ice melted). I agree with the posts on using egg beaters (also easy to freeze), and the bacon I brought was a smoked product (kind of like Canadian bacon) from a local butcher. I also have brought fresh eggs in; they will easily last given your menu. You can see the lunch bags on either side of my daughter Greta in the photo below.
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious." Yogi Berra
A small cooler is fine. Are you staying in an outfitter's bunkhouse? If you are they will put your steaks in their freezer for you overnight. Don't forget them in the morning.
Don't use dry ice. Your stuff you be rock hard when you want it.
When I have steaks, I wrap the frozen steak(s) in some newspaper (they are either in ziplocks or vaccume sealed). No cooler. They are thawed by supper time.
For your potatoes on Wed, I suggest box potatoes (or instant mashed). Real potatoes are a pain. They are hard to cook, and time (and fuel) consuming.
Eggs and bacon do not need refrigeration. Eggs will last a week or more. Bacon as you buy it in the suppermarket will last a couple days without refrigeration as long as it is vaccumed sealed.
The turkey breast should be OK if you take the cooler. However, consider taking the foil pack chicken instead. One of my favorites is stove top stuffing with the foil chicken added. It's a one-pot meal. Adding the gravy to the top of it would make it great. Also, if you did that, you could probably get away without taking the cooler.
We usually take a small cooler with one solid block of ice. The main reason we do this is so we can clean our fish anytime and place them in the cooler. Since we like to have dinner early and the walleye bite is usually best late in the evening, this has worked out great. This also allows us to take some perishables and I will keep the leeches and crawlers in there on the way in.
quote thefourofus: "We usually take a small cooler with one solid block of ice. The main reason we do this is so we can clean our fish anytime and place them in the cooler. Since we like to have dinner early and the walleye bite is usually best late in the evening, this has worked out great. This also allows us to take some perishables and I will keep the leeches and crawlers in there on the way in."
We take a full size cooler base camping. We use frozen water bottles so stuff doesn't get wet, and gives us nice cold drinking water at the end of the trip if we want. We find it will stay cold for 4 days, if you're good about getting in and out quickly and not leaving the lid open. We also keep our leeches cold in there. Steaks, eggs, bacon, butter, burgers, brats, spag sauce, etc. all keep 4 days nicely. And exactly as the4ofus said, we can clean our walleyes whenever, stick em in the cooler, and have them ready when we need them. I bring a cooler with handles so I can tie her up, and hoist it right up the tree. Some have said that many of those large coolers, have hollow lids, and actually work better if you drill a hole and fill them with foam insulation. I haven't done ours yet, or even checked to see if it's hollow, but it was 80 degrees all trip, we packed it Sunday morning, and stuff was still cold wed afternoon.
Some guys that want steaks, will just freeze them, and roll em up in their sleeping bags, and screw the cooler. The steaks will keep fine just like that. It all depends on how much portaging you're doing and what your weight/single or dbl portaging concerns are.
I guess if you want your question answered accurately, you might want to give us an idea of how far in you're going/portages, if you're trying to single/dbl etc. If you're going to bring a cooler, you may as well bring some leeches. I highly recommend it.
I bought a small soft side that has a poly box insert, fits in the bottom of the food pack. Our steaks had to thaw the first night and everything else (eggs, bacon, cheese) kept well for the first three days. Instead of water we froze bloody mary mix in bottles. I have also cracked the eggs before the trip in to an empty peanut butter jar, not sure how much that depletes their shelf life by though.
If you go with the potatoes in the box make sure you don't make the mistake I did and buy the ones that require milk. That was a bit of a buzz kill when I read the directions at the camp fire that night.
Simply Potatoes work great. We used the diced reds with onion and pepper for both breakfast burritos and dinner side (steak). I used the larger REI softside on my last trip. Froze everything that can freeze and stored the packed cooler in the deep freeze until we left (Wed.) Threw the refrigerated items in right before we left. Refreshed ice in Grand Marais and everything stayed cold til Saturday eve. Keep the cooler in the shade and only open when needed.
analyzer....we are putting in at Moose and base camping on Ensign. So there is a 40 rod portage from Newfound Lake to Splash Lake and, depending upon water conditions, there is a pull through from Splash into Ensign. Keeping it pretty simple for my boys first trip. Also, some nostalgia as this is where my dad first took me. Dad is going with us as well so it will be a 3 generation trip. Good stuff. :-)
Not sure about wrapping a steak up in my sleeping bag going into bear country. :-)
I brought a small cooler used it for cold stuff the first couple of days and then it got used to store the days's lunch. That way my food barrels could stay packed away and secure throughout the day. Lunch and snacks were easily accesible and safe from crushing.
I also used pykrete (sawdust mixed with water) vacum sealed as my ice packs. It seemed to little longer than standard ice packs, stayed dry and then when defrosted I just put the contents in the fire and packed out the empty bags.
I have a collapsable soft round cooler that fits in the bottom of my blue barrel. I have used it with dry ice and had to take things out and thaw them on day 4 & 5. Dry ice would not be required if using frozen water. Our eggs got frozen & we had to throw them out & they were on the outside & on top of the cooler with several things in between & still froze solid. Dry ice is very cold.
With only the 40 rod to deal with I would take any cooler I wanted. There will be no pull over into Ensign with high water. Unless the beavers damed it since I was there last.
A road is a dagger placed in the heart of a wilderness.
-William O. Douglas, in Ghost Grizzlies
I bring a small, soft-sided cooler for perishables. It fits nicely inside my blue barrel with lots of room to spare. We put frozen steaks in the cooler for the first night in. The steaks keep everything else cool for awhile. By the time we get to camp the first night, the steaks are either thawed or close to it.
Bannock brings up some good points, like the boxed potatoes. You can try some of those out at home first to see which ones you like best and how you best like them cooked.