Recycle your Coffee Traveler...For your cooler!

Winter may seem like a strange time to discuss the ice we use for our summer camping trips. However, it is the time of year we visit our local coffee shop on our way to play in the snow. Starbucks Coffee Travelers have become a popular way of transporting Starbucks Coffee to winter activities. We discovered, on,  a great way to reuse those old Coffee Travelers as water and ice bladders while camping.

We started by disassembling the cardboard surrounding the internal Mylar bladder. Care must be taken when removing the bladder as it is glued to the cardboard. After a quick rinse the bladder is ready for use.

The bladder can easily be turned into an ice block by holding it vertically in a sink basin, with the opening facing up, and filling with water approximately 2/3 full. Next lower the bladder to rest on the bottom of the sink basin, remove as much air as possible, and secure the bladders cap. Place the bladder horizontally on a freezer shelf, and allow a minimum of 24hrs to freeze. A portion of the remaining volume will be taken up by the expanding ice. We typically prepare the ice a couple of days in advance to ensure the bladder is thoroughly frozen.

There are a couple of benefits to using the Coffee Traveler bladder as an ice block. The larger single volume of the ice block allows the cooler to stay cold for a longer duration when compared to bags of cubed ice. The sealed bladder prevents water from leaking into, and subsequently the need to drain, the cooler.

As with any camping trip, the best way to ensure your cooler stays cold is to store it in a shady place.