What is your cooler set up for elk?

Ohboytimmy

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Jul 27, 2016
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Minneapolis
Wondering what size cooler you guys use for elk, best set up for ice (dry, bags, blocks) and any tips or tricks to making sure the meat gets home safe. Hoping to pack home a single bull or cow this year.

I know Mr. Randy uses an Orion with iced milk jugs. Not sure what size he runs.

I have a 150qt Coleman which would be sufficient but couldn't retain the the temp for 10 days in Sept. I would like to invest into a Yeti or any higher quality cooler (possibly 40 or 50) to hold blocks of ice until I need to fill the Coleman with meat.
 

IABoilermaker

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Aug 1, 2016
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Iowa
Interesting you bring this up I was just looking at different cooler set ups to incorporate into a truck bed camping set up for an antelope hunt but was also looking at the aspect of using it for elk as well. I found this link testing a bunch of the different roto-molded coolers. Looks like some good deals could be had on some larger ones of the top performing coolers, the Cabelas 100qt is pretty attractive if you are thinking of throwing down the money on a high end cooler. With a Cabelas coupon you could have one of those for a yeti of the same price and half the size. That would probably give you enough room and ice holding capacity without the room of 2 coolers.

http://www.fieldandstream.com/artic...owdown-12-top-end-coolers-ranked-and-reviewed
 
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WapitiBob

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2, 120qt coolers with bag ice will keep bone in elk qtrs, cut off at knees, till you get home provided you add ice and drain water. The inside temp will stabilize after a cpl days and ice melt will drop drastically.
 

1_pointer

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I use a 120 and 70qt Colemans. More than enough room for an elk or two. Let them cool/dry by hanging before putting them in the tent.
 

Chucknduck

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Montana
I use a 120qt Coleman and a 70qt igloo rotomold. The 70qt is full of frozen milk and water jugs. Once elk is down they both are filled with meat and frozen water. I don't use bag ice because I want the meat to be dry
 

LandDiver

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Well I thought I bought a 120qt and 80qt extreme 6 Coleman while they had their 25% off sale during the Memorial Holiday, but my PayPal declined it so I missed out on the sale. Didn't know till I got back home from the mountains.
 

Laelkhunter

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New Orleans, La.
I get my meat processed in Chama (or nearby Antonito, Co), then put it in 3 100 qt Coleman ice chests. Plenty of room for 30 lbs of dry ice in each, then 4 inch wide duct tape around the ice chest to seal. My 24 hour drive home results in the packaged meat frozen solid, and all I have to do is put it in my chest freezer in the garage. I always have several chunks of dry ice left in each ice chest. Been doing it like that for 26 years.
 

SFC B

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I run a 120 qt igloo (it was free ;) ) and a 65 RTIC and load the 65 with soda bottles frozen with water and frozen meals to be eaten during the week. I am really pleased with the RTIC (I also have the 1/2 gallon jug) quality and performance ESPECIALLY given the HUGE difference in price. You can get great performance without paying the premium. The wife got me the RTIC 65 at Christmas when it was on sale for +- 165 :)
 

nuevo_eph

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Socorro, NM
I run one 150 qt Coleman cooler per elk, half full of frozen jugs (or completely full if I have two coolers, leaving one empty or with gear). If I was hunting in September I might see the need for a premium cooler but these have worked fine for my 5 day hunts in November and December. I then make sure the meat is cooled off outside before putting in the cooler. I learned that one the hard way when I put a few rear legs straight into the cooler after a friend got a cow that we could drive up to later.
 

tom338

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May 7, 2015
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I use 4 coleman 70 extreme coolers. They fit snugly in front of the wheels in the back of my truck side by side, then I stack the other 2 right on top. I use 1/2 gallon milk jugs frozen. The don't have the wasted space of a gallon jug. Fill one up with frozen jugs and put in a couple yeti or arctic extreme ice packs. Cover with old sleeping bag or blanket. Ice will last a long time if you don't open it till needed. Don't check on it, leave it alone till needed. Cool your meat before putting in the cooler!!!
 

Wheezy1958

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Aug 10, 2012
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I know the question was about coolers- but I ended up going with the small chest freezer and a Honda 2000 generator. On long early season hunts keeping meat cool until the end of the trip was a pain. Trips to town for ice etc.
Now we can chill the meat down immediately and keep it that way. Sometimes we rotate to large coolers if there are more animals than freezer space- but a really cold quarter is easy to keep that way in a cooler vs packing with ice.
The freezer cost much less than a Yeti. Of course the generator is required- but that comes in handy for a number of things in any camp. I also have an adapter that can shut the freezer off at any temp if you don't want to freeze solid.
We keep our groceries cool and even make ice- something even the best cooler can't do.
Now we can go and hunt state to state with our meat safe until the trip back east.

...and when I get back home the freezer is used as a kegerator.
 

HunterDan

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Mar 3, 2017
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Southwest IN
My dad built his own cooler for a hunt we did 2 years ago. He built a wood chest about 36"x60"x30" lined it with a couple inches of blue board insulation and a thick sheet of plastic. On the way out we stored all of our food and misc camp supplies in the chest. When we killed an elk we we used multiple layers of plastic to separate the meat from the ice. A couple bags of ice was plenty to keep the meat cold for the day and a half trip home. I don't have any pics but it was pretty simple and worked great. Had plenty of room for at least 2 elk.
 

JohnCushman

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I know the question was about coolers- but I ended up going with the small chest freezer and a Honda 2000 generator. On long early season hunts keeping meat cool until the end of the trip was a pain. Trips to town for ice etc.
Now we can chill the meat down immediately and keep it that way. Sometimes we rotate to large coolers if there are more animals than freezer space- but a really cold quarter is easy to keep that way in a cooler vs packing with ice.
The freezer cost much less than a Yeti. Of course the generator is required- but that comes in handy for a number of things in any camp. I also have an adapter that can shut the freezer off at any temp if you don't want to freeze solid.
We keep our groceries cool and even make ice- something even the best cooler can't do.
Now we can go and hunt state to state with our meat safe until the trip back east.

...and when I get back home the freezer is used as a kegerator.

^^This

I bought a 7 cubic ft chest freezer for $150 and a small generator for $125 and carry it in a pickup bed trailer. Still cheaper than a Yeti. I can keep ice jugs frozen and cool down meat and fish during the trip. When camping an hour or so from town, it's a pain to have to keep running into town for ice. Yes, a good cooler will keep ice for a while, but it won't freeze meat for a long trip home. Usually I freeze the meat and then put it in a cooler with ice jugs and duct tape the cooler shut. I only run the freezer when I need it. I plug it in to temp before I leave home and then it's a quick re-freeze at camp. I shut it down at night. My little generator will run for 8 hours on a gallon of gas to keep the freezer running. Another plus to this set up is extra space for gear and coolers and whatnot with tie down straps or cargo net. I usually keep my coolers in the trailer since they are cumbersome and take up a lot of empty space.
 

perma

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May 31, 2022
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Midwest
I have a 110q drifts in. After 5 days, my milk jugs have thawed half way. And this is sitting in my dark basement. From those that have experience, is it normal
To have some jugs that thawed out slightly?
 

Duckdude10

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Aug 2, 2022
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Wondering what size cooler you guys use for elk, best set up for ice (dry, bags, blocks) and any tips or tricks to making sure the meat gets home safe. Hoping to pack home a single bull or cow this year.

I know Mr. Randy uses an Orion with iced milk jugs. Not sure what size he runs.

I have a 150qt Coleman which would be sufficient but couldn't retain the the temp for 10 days in Sept. I would like to invest into a Yeti or any higher quality cooler (possibly 40 or 50) to hold blocks of ice until I need to fill the Coleman with meat.
Find a place in town you can come off the mountain and pay to hang your meat. Will give you peace of mind knowing your elk won’t spoil.
 

Hirtlene

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Jun 22, 2018
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Nova Scotia
I have an inverter and a freezer I put in back of the truck. Run heavy gage wires from the battery to the rear of the truck. Use a two pron connector and plug in the inverter. Works great. If you don't want to freezer the meat you can get a temperature controller to go between the inverter and freezer off of Amazon the will turn your freezer into a fridge, also works great.
 

Hunt&FishCO

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Nov 5, 2020
Messages
206
My first elk season it was a Thule ski box packed full of snow; I know run 2 Coleman coolers and a 40qt Yeti
 

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