« Nick's Notes

Nick’s Tip – Cool Down

by Nick Vitrano

Take off the storms, crack the windows, open that patio door...the weather has finally broken (at least for the next ten days)! It's long overdue. And as our thoughts turn to the outdoors, you will be sure to find a use for these when your deliberations turn reality. From treating aches and pains to packing the cooler for your weekend camping trip, today's tip has you covered.

Nicks Tip for Tuesday, May 20, 2014: Homemade Gel Packs.

If you've got some painin' in your joints and muscles, there's no better treatment than plain old ice. But if you've ever tried to ice down your knees or ankles or shoulders, you know how difficult it can be to keep the ice where you need it to be. The solution comes in the form of gel packs - they're fantastic - but the hit to your wallet can be more painful than the ailment itself, and if you want to know panic, just try to find the list of "ingredients" on a commercial gel pack once you realize she's compromised. I don't know what's in that thing, but when the side of the bag says to flush with water immediately, I can't imagine it's good.

On to the cooler: if youre camping or heading to the T-Rats game or hitting up the park for a picnic, keeping things chilled is a must. Again, ice is great, but aside from simply pouring it loosely over your items, it can be difficult to maximize the storage capacity of your cooler while keeping things frigid. Gel packs, again, are awesome for working into the small voids of your portable coolers and keeping things free from the resulting water of melting cubes.

So lets make some homemade gel packs with stuff you have sittin' around your house already:

First off - I recommend double bagging with a good freezer bag just to be sure you don't get leakage, but none of these homemade packs will be hazardous to your health should they become compromised, so rest easily.

#1 - Water and rubbing alcohol. Go with a 2-1 ratio of water to rubbing alcohol and you're good to go.

#2 - Corn syrup. Just fill the bag with corn syrup. Done.

#3 - Dish soap. See #2.

So there you go. Fill your freezer with homemade gel packs and never want again for chill on the go.