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Old 29 Sep 2010
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How to keep cool important (vital) drugs? refrigerator on a bike??


I wanna make a longer bike trip with a friend (next year 4 weeks Morrocco, then in 2 years RTW).

The problem is, that he has to take his medicine - it's indispensable to his life. This medicine always must be between +5°C and max. +20°C.
So we need a refrigerator box / cooler. Has anyone experience with cool boxes on an motorbike?

My research on that:
- a compressor cooling is unsuitable (sensitive to gradient)
- a adsorption cooler would be suitable (12V/230V/gas), BUT:
- current consumption too high for a standard alternator / battery?
- gas availibility? (need approx. 200-300 g/24 hours)
- standard gas bottles are heavy and too big..
- maybe a combination: current when driving, gas when standing/at night?
I don't konw...any practicable ideas?

Thank you!!

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Old 29 Sep 2010
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Hey Mike,

Sounds like quite an adventure. Not sure that would be an acceptable level of risk for many, but if he feels that a solution can be found that works for him, then power to him.

Initial thoughts would be that riding in the more remote places would be better served by having a support vehicle which could carry better coolers and importantly more batteries to keep the medicine refridgerated in case of breakdowns, delays, etc. For the typical routes, there is usually enought traffic (even if sparse) on the same route that you could explore the possibility of them acting as your carrier in exchange for payment or if you get along, for just being part of a larger group of travellers.

As for the general concept of strapping a big box to a bike and needing enough power to keep the temperature at a level different that the outside air temperature, you may want to chat with the guys that carried their pizzas from SA to London. The dvd is described here on this site and then it links to another site to purchase. There were keeping their cargo warm though, so not directly applicable but probably interesting to talk to to see how often in reality were they able to maintain any semblance of a steady temperature.


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Old 30 Sep 2010
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I could suggest to drive a bike + sidecar with room for extended battery /gas capacity.

Within marine equipment it should be possible to find refrigerators capable of a "rough ride".

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Old 30 Sep 2010
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Just as a wild suggestion,
have you investigated the possibilty of carrying some sort of vacuum flask as which keep cold drinks cold for long periods and filling it with ice and have your medicines in watertight containers in among the ice? Then if you store this flask in a well insulated area of your luggage such as in a rolled up sleeping bag , the temp would stay in range easily, for even on a hot day the innermost part of a sleeping bag feels cool to te touch when unrolled.
There are even vendors who sell small amounts of dry ice = solid carbon dioxide. This is much colder than water ice , but if packed properly ,with water ice, in such a flask it could keep the temperature range you seek for a long time.
The flask size would not impede much on your luggage and with no worries about power consumption.Finding replacement ice might be a problem in very remote areas though.
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Old 30 Sep 2010
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How to keep drugs cool

Milan, you didn't mention the size of cooler you required but I came across the following website that has a small drug cooler. Diabetic supplies Might be worth a look.

Cheers Phil
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Old 30 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by Phil53 View Post
Milan, you didn't mention the size of cooler you required but I came across the following website that has a small drug cooler. Diabetic supplies Might be worth a look.

Cheers Phil
That's cool (sorry) and only needs 25 watts.
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Old 30 Sep 2010
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May I suggest you have a chat with Chris from Florida ( No Boundaries)

I travelled with him and he had a small insulin box, powered by battery, with cooling fans and kept his/her drugs cool with no big issues. He designed the box himself and it could be removed and plugged into the wall as well, very useful but not a big box, so it would depend on quantity and size of what you need to carry.

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Old 30 Sep 2010
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HotRef - New Connections 6-Can Collapsible Cooler $6.69 - Coolers - Business Gifts

I used something like this strapped to the bike to keep drinking water / food cool and it worked. If you freeze the pouch that comes with it, it keeps cold for quite a while. They're collapsible too so don't take up much room.

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Old 30 Sep 2010
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Hey guys...this is amazing! One day and so interesting answers
I'll analyse all of them, but the drug cooler Phil mentioned is at the first sight a good alternative. And maybe 2 of these drug coolers have enough capacity for 3 or 4 weeks. I'll check it.

Thank you all!
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Old 1 Oct 2010
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USB Fridge.

Hi, search in ebay.co.uk for "USB Fridge" or ebay.de under "USB Kuhlschrank". I got one, removed the element from the base and slid it into a cut I made in a plastic Tupperware box. Wrapped in four layers of bubble wrap and then foil it is very effective. In UK I got a "little black thing" to convert the small USB voltage to 12 V and it then plugs into the bike's battery. It would be quite easy to cool a complete pannier. This little cooler is very effective. In the open, on the kitchen table it was chilled after a few seconds. Lindsay.
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Old 1 Oct 2010
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I would recommend a very well insulated box, kept in another cooler and possible a supply of dry ice in a small gas cannister. You could add a bit of dry ice to the larger box every morning...

However, you'd need to know how much CO2 to use to keep it cool and how long it would stay before subliming at different ambient temperatures....

Then there's the problem of re-fills in remote areas.

A thought to consider.
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Old 1 Oct 2010
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I also may suggest you have a chat with other Hubber: Road Hog http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/members/road-hog
he was here resuming his trip whit his wife and also had to keep some drugs for her in an small fridge plugged to the 12v. I remember he told me that they need to stop every night in a hotel or at last in place where they can keep the drugs cold during nights because his Buell battery will not support to start in the morning… So I will suggest forgetting wild camp.
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Old 7 Oct 2010
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I have been on the road for 15 months plus and needed a fridge for my wifes enbrel and couldnt find anything that would do from Canada to Ushuaia, so I gave up and made one. I installed a separate circuit with a lithium battery that only charges when the bike is running and the relay closes the circuit when stopping for lunch. It is tri-volt, 12v, 110v, 240v so it can be used in all hotels. We have since improved tremendousely on the design, we are now able to maintain any temparature regardles of outside temp, using a thermostat. The size is 6" x 6" x 10" exterior and the interior will hold a can of , or 4" x 4" x 5". As for camping with no power point, we have not tested what size lithium battery will do the job for 8 hours, but give us time. For those of you that are interrested, email to bikecooler@gmail.com
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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Hey, my ex and I rode to Cape town, she is a diabetic and we used something called a 'friopack.'

If you google them, it is a small bag that you have to immerse in water every few days, and it stays cool in any temperature. In sudan temperatures got up above 50, and they kept her insulin cool. We stored the friopacks inside a cool bag to further help the temperature.

It's a good cheap alternative to a fridge, and doesn't drain your bike.

Hope this is of help.

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Old 1 Jan 2011
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Why not experiment with a small stainles steel thermos flask.
So long as it's kept in the shade I'm sure the temp inside would remain considerably lower. As a test keep a small temp guage inside and check it every hour or so.
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