Recently we work looking for some of the medical gel ice packs that your can form to your ankle when you trip over a railroad tie in the campground. They work great for a small cooler to pack on an ATV, to take fishing, to take on the boat, to take on a road trip and to have handy in the motor home freezer in case one of those pesky railroad ties tries to attack you again. The only ice packs we could find were around $30 per icepack! We didn't want to pay that much for an icepack that was going to get abused and possibly lost. Then, my husband said we needed to buy a big bottle of rubbing alcohol because he wanted to experiment with making our own ice packs. At first I didn't understand what he was going to do and I quickly remembered alcohol doesn't freeze!
We did a test icepack and it worked really well so we just finished a large batch last night. Here is what we did:
Step 1: Gather your "ingredients." The ratio we used was 3 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol. We also used blue food coloring just like the ones you buy in the store. You also need your Food Saver and a large mixing bowl (not pictured).
Step 4: Stir everything together.
Step 6: It might take a few days for a large batch to freeze so you will need to stir the mixture at least once a day to make sure the alcohol stays mixed with the water.
Step 7: Stir up the mix again before packaging. When I talk about scoops in the next step, this is the size I'm talking about. You also need to work kind of fast in the next few steps because once the mixture starts melting, the Food Saver doesn't seal very well.
Step 9: Use your Food Saver to suck out the air and seal the pack. If you don't work fast enough some of the water will start to suck out of the pack and then it won't seal. If this starts to happen, put the bowl back in the freezer for awhile.
Step 11: Flatten the ice to fill the pack. This is how the shape you want them anyway for your coolers (or injured body parts) and it also tests your inside seals.
Step 12: Admire your work so far. Wish they were a little bluer but very proud of our work.
Step 13: Trim the longer edges so they look nice.
Step 14: Use them! The dark blue pack is the test pack. We'll know for next time to not leave them in the freezer for so long so the color doesn't evaporate. They work just like the $30 gel packs and we don't have to worry about damaging them or losing them.