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Beer Coolers

01 October 2013

Dan's tale of using his wet Double Happys to chill the end-of-ride be caused me to recall similar antics on multi day canoeing and hiking trips when I too was in Canada...

Put a six-pack of beer (cans - not bottles) in a small soft sided esky. Take X number of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and place each in their own individual ziplock bag, along with your favourite marinade. Wrap the chicken breasts around the beer, and put the whole esky in the freezer for a few days. Load the esky in the trunk when you head out to base camp. At the end of the day, place a beer and chicken breast on a sun-warmed rock to thaw. Set up camp or whatever other chores you need to do (like washing your Double Happys).

Now for the important part. Tip the now thawed chicken breast in the frying pan. Drink the ice cold beer as you cook dinner. Relax, watch the sunset, and relive the day's epic adventures. The crushed beer can fits neatly back in the ziplock bag, keeping both the environment and your gear clean and tidy. I found that I could eat safe (salmonella-free) chicken, and drink chilled beer, for up to four days.

Back in New Zealand, some mates and I did a 26 day trip in the Dart and Rees valleys some years ago. Beer was too heavy so we packed Southern Comfort instead. There’s nothing quite like sipping whisky poured over ice chipped from the Dart Glacier. I learned this trick in Newfoundland, where the locals would pour rum over ice chipped from a Greenland iceberg that had grounded itself in the harbour of the village I was living in. Glacier ice is fun. As it warms, the air bubbles trapped inside expand and from time to time the ice explodes. Best to drink with your sunglasses on.

Marcus Perry, Auckland.