Tag Archives: Yeti coolers

My Favorite Yeti (the 105)

It’s still the hottest part of the summer in the Texas Hill Country.  However, there’s plenty for hunters to do in the sweltering heat.  The feeders have to be filled. The overgrown roads need to be cleared.  In many cases, hunting camp trailers, cabins and ranch houses need to be cleaned up and prepared for the upcoming season.  This particular season, we have the additional work  of righting three of our blinds and removing dozens of downed trees after a big storm that blew through a few weeks ago.

It’s my job to bring enough food and cold beverages to keep my deerslayer up and running to get the job done.  I like to start with food from our fridge at home, using produce and perishables that would, um, perish if we left them at home.  My favorite cooler for packing food is the Yeti 105.  It’s large capacity (21.8 gallons) and tall interior (14 usable inches when closed) make it perfect for most of the chilled food that I need to take. It is tall enough to hold a gallon of milk (or juice) with room above it for the wire rack that comes with it.

I discovered that a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot or Lowe’s fits perfectly in one side of the cooler.  When fitted with a kitchen trash bag, I can fill the bucket with produce,  cheese, lunch meat, etc., anything that needs to be chilled but that I don’t want to become waterlogged as the ice melts.  Heaviest or less delicate items like cabbage or blocks of cheese can go on the bottom. Easily bruised produce and other delicate things can rest up top.


Once the cooler is full, pack ice around milk, other beverages, and between the bucket and the walls of the cooler but not into it. The items in the cooler should stay chilled for a number of hours.  Extra ice can be added as needed.

As much as I LOVE our Yeti coolers, one of the only issues that I have with them is that they are HEAVY.  Even empty, they weigh quite a bit.  A solution that I found for moving them around the house easily for packing is to set them on small moving dollies that we purchased from Harbor Freight.  The dollies allow me to roll the coolers freely around the kitchen and out to the truck for loading.  I purchased two extra ones to keep in our hunting cabin.  I can use the coolers when I need them and push them conveniently out of the way when I don’t.

Fix good meals, work efficiently, get stuff done!  Hunting season will be here before we know it! Embrace the Hunters’ Lifestyle!


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The Annual Camping Trip… Gone Awry

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Everybody who camps has experienced the mishaps and horror stories that make us rethink ever heading out again on the open road.  These are the stories that are told for years with chuckles, shudders, rolling of eyes and gentle cursing.

Here’s my story…. for this year.

Each summer, for as long as I can remember, my family has headed up to Glendo, Wyoming for a convergence of the Deerslayer clan and various assorted friends and kids for a two-week long camping trip that includes boating, swimming, eating, napping and more eating.  I always look forward to this trip with much anticipation.

People come from Nevada, Colorado, Texas, and as far away as Alabama. Families take turns feeding the whole group.  I enjoy this part the most.  I usually prepare meals at home, freeze them and transport them in our Yeti coolers with dry ice.

The preparation for the trip takes weeks.  It requires lots of lists.  I love lists because they are a way to document what I’ve accomplished.  There’s a check-list to get the camper ready to make the long journey from South Texas to Wyoming.  It’s a two-day trip.  The truck has to be checked out, dieseled up, and tires and pressures checked.  The camper has to be packed with food and beverages for the duration, clothing, and magazines for reading in the shade of the cottonwood trees.

This trip was planned down to the last detail. We hitched up the camper and headed back in the house for a final cool shower before we headed off. It was over 100 degrees out!  Everyone grabbed their small overnight bags and jumped in the truck for the first leg of our long journey.

Except me.  I was so proud of myself for doing everything on my all my lists.  I was freshly showered and ready to camp like a boss.  About an hour down the road, however, I discovered that I hadn’t grabbed MY overnight bag, the bag that had ALL my toiletries in it, my necessities!  My magazines and laptop! In my haste, I set the bag on the sofa to grab something else and walked out without it.   My eyes welled up.  I stammered, whimpering.  How could I forget my own bag when I spent so much time making sure that everything and everyone else was ready to go?  It threw me for a loop. I knew we couldn’t go back.


It took a while for me to regain my composure enough to get back in my camping frame of mind.  No sweat, I could swing into a WalMart to pick up whatever I needed to have an enjoyable trip.  And I did.  Bright and early the next morning, I scampered into the store and purchased my bare necessities.  $45 later, I had everything I needed, except for a nice cup of coffee.  I dashed into the conveniently located McDonald’s at the entrance of the WalMart.  Victoriously, I sauntered back to the truck and we headed off… WITHOUT MY CREDIT CARD.  Luckily we weren’t too far down the road when I realized it.  I called the credit card company, put a hold on my card, and called McDonald’s.  Yes, they had my card and would hold it until I got back to retrieve it, which I did.

All was well until we got about 20 miles south of Lubbock, TX.


A double blow out!  One rim was shot and the skirting was torn off the side of the camper.  It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and the next day was Sunday.  Most tire shops would be closed.  We unhitched the camper and Deerslayer headed for town.  He arrived at the tire shop as they were closing.  They stayed open to honor our warranty and sell him two new tires and rims.  He replaced the tires and we were on our way…

until the axle broke.  Deerslayer had to remove the tire (on the other side of the camper) and leave the axle dangling like a severed limb as we located a campground with a pull-thru opening and creep over at 20 mph.  It was difficult finding an RV park that wasn’t full up since it was the 4th of July weekend.  We spent the night in Lubbock until Monday when we were able to find someone who could replace the axle by 4:30 that afternoon.

Eternally grateful to the owner of the axle repair place for making us his last repair before closing for the holiday, we hitched up and prepared to finish the trip…

until I accidentally extended the legs on the camper instead of retracting them once we’d gotten the camper hitched up to the truck.  It appeared that the legs had frozen in place and there might have been damage to the hitch itself.  It became very quiet… except for the prayer that I uttered in sheer desperation.  Junior Deerslayer suggested we try retracting the legs one more time…. and it worked.  God was surely shaking his head and pitying me at that moment.  Many thanks were given.

We arrived at Glendo two days late and pretty haggard.  At least we made it in time to see the fireworks.  Well, as it turned out, the fireworks display had occurred on Sunday.  We missed it.

After four days visiting with friends and family, getting some much needed R & R, and preparing our designated dinners for the group, it was time to pack up and head back to Texas…

after we removed the screw that had lodged itself in the rear passenger-side tire of the truck.


We made it back to South Texas without any problems.  It was good to be home.  It’s entirely possible that God had a hand in this odyssey.  Perhaps by encountering one delay after another we narrowly  escaped a much worse fate.

It’s the eventful trips that make the longest-lasting memories!  Nobody ever sits around a campfire and talks about the trips when nothing exciting happened.

Next year, we’ll have something to talk about.

Have you ever had a camping trip from Hell?  Share.




Posted by on August 8, 2017 in camping, Uncategorized


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Too Many Coolers on a Camping Trip?

camping prep 004Welllllll… the Deerslayer’s wife would’ve said, “Yup!”  I would’ve drawn the line at the 6 other Igloo coolers that we already own.  But these are Yeti coolers!  And they’re made in TEXAS.  Talk to any hunter about coolers and a distinct reverence is suddenly detected.  Mention Yeti coolers and hunters begin to cast their eyes down and genuflect.

I’d heard the talk, detected the reverence so I knew what my Deerslayer would get for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I gotta tell ya, I really thought it would be just another cooler, a really upper-end cooler, but another cooler just the same.  I hate to admit that even I now share the respect for these coolers.  After years of melted ice, and lukewarm, waterlogged foods I was amazed by what the Yeti coolers can do.  They keep frozen foods frozen for days, all the way to Wyoming from South Texas and several days after that as a matter of fact!  Now, this entry was not intended to provide advertising for the Yeti company. However, when I find an amazing product that can so dramatically improve a hunting/camping experience, I’d be remiss not to share with my readers. While the Yeti coolers are pretty pricey, they really are worth a look at

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It’s already been definitively determined that there is no such thing as too much bacon for any camping and/or hunting trip.  And while I haven’t discussed the fact, neither can there be too many enchiladas, gallons of beans or pico de gallo, pounds of fajitas or brisket or potato salad, (or Prosecco or beer)!  Our recent trip to Wyoming was for 40+ people who were extremely appreciative of my cooking, availability and willingness to prepare fresh percolated coffee, and my willingness to make pancakes for the many teenaged family members in the mornings.

While most camping trips won’t need to accommodate this many people, over the years, the Deerslayer and I have honed the art of safe food transport. I have to admit that we used every one of the coolers in the picture. There are several tricks we’ve learned over the years that really make a difference when keeping packed food cold and/or frozen.  Before a camping trip, we fill gallon jugs with water and freeze them.  The frozen jugs are then used to “pre-chill” the coolers prior to packing.  Starting with a pre-chilled cooler is worth the extra time.  The jug can also be placed with refrigerated foods so that they don’t end up sitting in water.  It’s always important to plan which foods will be prepared first.  Those items should be packed together so that coolers aren’t opened unnecessarily.  This year, we tried something new; we labeled the coolers so that we knew what was where, which prevented unnecessary loss of cold while rummaging through coolers.  This worked really well.

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The frozen fajitas and brisket were prepacked and vacuum sealed. They weren’t needed during the first few days of the trip and so were packaged together. Once the dry ice was added, there was no need to open the cooler again except to check the contents once or twice before thawing.

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All of these items except the tortillas were needed for the first meal. Once they came out of the cooler, it could be used for ice (a couple of trips to the ice house were needed for the non-Yeti campers.

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It saved so much time knowing what was in each cooler.


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I’m sure you’re getting the idea by now.

Two of the middle coolers, called “105’s” held all the frozen food we needed for 4 meals for 40 people. In a previous post, I mentioned that I freeze foods like beans and carne guisada flattened in one-gallon zip bags so they stack easily.   I added one block of dry ice, wrapped in a paper sack and kitchen towel to each cooler.  The bottom cooler  (a 125) held a week’s worth of iced beverages for four people.  The others held all of our refrigerated foods.  We used every single one and they performed amazingly.

Just an added note on how strongly the hunters feel about their Yeti coolers:  The Deerslayer’s sister and her spouse were recently on a trip to Italy.  Spouse received a text message (in Italy) that he shared. “Mike got a Yeti!”

Deerslayer’s sister asked, “Who’s Mike Gottayetti?”

It’s just a Deerslayer thang!


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