If you’re one of those lucky people for whom Fridays bring a buzz of excitement because you will be at your idyllic weekend hideaway – I’m guessing you probably eat your tea on the way. If you are then a) I’m just a bit jealous and b) I would highly suggest you get one of these PACKiT bags.
It would also be very handy for replacing your tatty old traditional “requires ice blocks” cooler bag and for taking shopping for transporting chilled and frozen items, and for picnics and so on.
PACKiT is a US mom-preneur success story, these bags were developed from an idea for kids’ packed lunch bags and has now spawned a variety of different shapes and styles.
So whilst a hardcore outdoors bag this is not – I really do like the modern designs (my test version was a colourful chevron pattern, but stripes and a muted black are also available) and useful sized carry handles– and at 12.5 x 14.5 x 7.5 inches it’s taller and squarer than my current set up and thus fits in loads more, and because it’s also taller – items like wine bottles and flasks fit better too. When empty it packs down to pretty much the same size as my old school blue blocks in the freezer.
The bag works through a gel lining stitched in a series of squares, which then freezes. So you have a completely frozen bag – and a zip lock to keep air in. To use you just (remember!) to pop the bag into your freezer for 12 hours (i.e. overnight) before it’s ready for use.
The fabric scores some green points as it is PVC-, PBA-, phthalate- and lead-free, and made from food-safe non-toxic poly canvas and waterproof EVA.
I am somewhat attached to my current bags, blocks and tea towels set up, so gave this bag a thorough going over. On my first test it did keep the contents cool for several hours – in fact I’d say more than the advertised 6, but that may well be because on the day I was timing it, it was a typically British bank holiday in August and therefore rainy.
I did another all day test , this time on a warmer one whilst at a BBQ, and the bag did OK. I was concerned that as the bag defrosted the outside would get wet and leak and although it does slightly, it was nothing to really worry about.
Overall, it’s a nice piece of kit. Much better than the more traditional bag and blocks, but I won’t be throwing away my blue pals just yet, because if on a really, really hot day, or when I know I am camping without a fridge available, I would still use my freezy blocks along with this bag, just to make doubly sure my Sauvignon Blanc stayed as cool as possible, and my bacon for sarnies in the morning lasted through until Sunday.
I’d rate as worth a look – the extra wow for me would have been including extra gel packs for the inside that you could put around food/bottles.
More: Burton McCall