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When offering to buy icecream and beverages for me and my friends at the beach, and then discovering that the shop is a little farther away then expected, how do you suggest transporting the icecream and beverages back to my friends without the icecream melting, and the beverages heating up.

Of course, you don't have a cooler to bring along, only normal beach stuff. Besides, it doesn't look cool to carry a cooler to buy icecream and beverages...

As a variation, what item could one bring along to the beach (except for a cooler) to ease the task at hand?

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I would definitely use as many towels as possible, as per @Peter Crotty's answer - but I wouldn't wet them. Water is a much better conductor than air. Wrapping them with as much material as possible is the key, preferably light coloured on the outside to reflect as much light/heat as possible.

We tend to think that insulating things makes them warm but it helps to think of it as keeping them the same.

A suggestion: you could take 2 towels, fold the darkest one into 2 or 3 and wrap the goodies, then drop that bundle into the centre of the lighter towel, gather the corners into a "bag" that you can hold with one hand. As you walk, keep the "bag" in the shade of your body as best you can - but try to stop it contacting your body because, at 37 degrees, you are probably the worst enemy. The bag will mean you can hold the payload without the need to hug it to your chest.

EDIT: Another important thing I've just thought of.... You don't want the towels to be warm before you wrap the ice creams in them. If they are warm at the start (likely) then you need to allow them to cool in the air as you walk to the shop - but without letting the sun warm them! You'll have to figure that out for yourself. If they are not too warm then wrap the darker one in the lighter one to keep it the coolest.

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Cooler bag is the obvious choice, but not cool enough for you, apparently (sorry, I just like the play on words)! Best take a large newspaper or several newspapers/magazines to read. Wrap your ice creams in those and they'll be insulated on the trip back. Bit more difficult to wrap it round canned drinks though.

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The non-hack way is cooler bags. These are bags that are like coolers only they are bags, they can be disguised in boxes or other bags or even buy one that you like. They come in many styles. As a extra these can be folded up so they are small or used like a regular bag to carry other items.


  • Take a container fill it with bags of ice and then place another container within it. Place your goods in this container and you should be ready to go. Keep this in the shade and wrap in a non-absorbing blanket. This may need the ice refilled every couple of hours. This probably would not work for transporting it.

  • You could place all items in a regular plastic bag and then cover it with a jacket. This way it is protected from sunlight and some heat.

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Wrap them in a wet towel and you have an evaporative cooler.

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    An evaporative cooler would not actually help cool a refrigerated drink. The towel may make an effective insulator, but wetting the towel would only increase the thermal conductivity, making it less effective than a dry towel (which has more insulative properties due to the trapped air). – Robert Cartaino May 19 '15 at 18:51
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You could bring a chunk of dry ice in an isolated shopping bag. Don't bring dry ice flakes, get a massive block. When on the beach, wrap in as many towels as possible and make sure there is no air draft to carry away the cold air. Dig a hole and put it at the bottom, then it will form a lake of cold air around it and will last hours.

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