When travelling on business, professionals will not only need to keep their food fresh, but they will also need to consider weight, ease of packing, and whether you can get them through security without being confiscated.
So which ice-packs are suitable when you need to take food on business trips?
We tested Polar Gear mini icepacks for safety, reliability, durability and how long they can keep food fresh when travelling, along with likelihood of passing through security, weight and ease of use.
Polar Gear mini ice packs are advertised as ideal for lunch boxes to keep food chilled and fresh. Our tests indicate that their virtue is their compact, slim and flexible design which enables them to wrap around a food item or to fit snugly into a tight fit food container. They are extremely lightweight and the contents are indicated clearly as non-toxic in nature.
Polar Gear mini ice packs are available as a set of three. They receive good general consumer reviews from online retail outlets, although they might not keep food chilled as long as other ice packs, they do offer a good option for the travelling business person on a short journey to keep food chilled and are not as likely as other ice packs/blocks to be confiscated with respect to their liquid volume.
Are they safe, reliable and will they stand the test of time?
Polar Gear ice packs come in a packet of three. The packs are made out of a reflective foil comprised of two ‘sauce’ size sachets joined together. The join between the two sachets allow each pack when frozen to be bent and placed around food. The sealed edges are around 3 mms wide. Generally consumers report they are handy and versatile. The contents are non toxic, consisting only of treated water, and conform to safety standards as stated on the packet and ice pack itself.
Polar Gear ice packs are designed to be re-usable. They are made out of strong foil. However, they are reportedly more likely to burst than other hard plastic ice block styles as commented by some consumer upon use.
Are they lightweight and easy to use?
The Polar Gear mini ice packs are only 55 grams per pack, comprised of two separate sachets. They are extremely lightweight and their compact size allows them to accommodate a snug fit in a small space needed for hand luggage. Their true virtue is in their size and flexibility. They are small and slim which enables them to be slipped into a lunch box or small food container to keep food fresh for several hours. Their flexible two sachet design allows them to be wrapped around foods providing more direct contact with the food for chilling purposes.
Unfortunately, they take around 7 hours to freeze, which is indicated by the manufacturer’s advice on the packet to freeze them overnight. However, they are easy to wipe clean and can be kept near food as they relatively hygienic in design and content.
How well do they keep food chilled?
We used all three Polar Gear mini ice packs, as supplied, in one insulated lunch bag to test thawing and chilling times. Together they kept food chilled for approximately 3 hours. This was the shortest time for keeping food fresh out of all the ice packs/blocks we tested, yet considering their size and extremely light weight nature of the pack in comparison to other ice packs/blocks, they performed remarkably well. Food began to warm up around 3 hours when used in a lunch insulated cool bag. Packaging information suggests placing the Polar Gear mini ice packs on top the food as cold travels downwards. The one advantage of this theory is that the Polar Gear mini ice packs are so light that they are less likely to squash food than other ice blocks/packs.
Are they likely to be confiscated at security?
While these sachet like packs do not have their actual weight marked on the ice pack itself, they are clearly less than 100 mls per pack and conform to the liquid restrictions. The packs are not transparent, however, based solely on their obvious weight/fluid capacity they appear to be the least likely to be confiscated going through security than other ice blocks/packs.
Part A: Test information
Product Name: Polar Gear Mini Ice Packs
Product Model: 032 640
Brand: Polar Gear
Test date: 16 June 2014 and 6 July for freezing,
6 and 18 July 2014 for thawing
Target Market: Will it suit the executive travel market? Yes for short trips
Part B: Specification
Type: flexible small ice pack
Weight: 53 – 56 g per pack (approximately 25 g per ‘sachet’)
Height: 9 cm
Width: 1 cm
Length: 9.5 cm
Shape: two longitudinal packs joined together
Colour: silver, non transparent
Volume: 20 – 22.5 ml per sachet or 50 – 55 g per ice pack (twin sachet)
Boxed: Comes in a box with 3 mini packs
RRP Price: £2.49 www.polargear.com
Manufactured in England
Regulatory compliance: Conforms to BS EN 12546 3