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 Thermos Weekend Mini ice blocks 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.
Overall the Thermos Weekend Mini ice blocks performed well. They are advertised as mini ice packs, providing a reasonable expectation that they will perform as mini ice blocks and won’t last as long as the standard 200g size. The value is made clear in their lighter weight/size, freezing, thaw and chilling time. Constructed well, they are very easy and safe to use.
Thermos Weekend Mini ice blocks are available as a set, with two, three or four per pack. Thermos icepacks receive good general consumer reviews from online retail outlets. We tested two ice blocks together, as supplied in the pack, for performance in thawing and keeping foods chilled.
Are they safe, reliable and will they stand the test of time?
Thermos Weekend Mini ice blocks are a robust shape and design, making them generally safe to use. They are a square shape overall with a heat sealed leak proof cap in an indented section, flanked by two protruding tips so the cap is offered some protection. The container is made out of sturdy tough polypropylene plastic making it more difficult to piece or burst compared to some ice pack varieties. Generally consumers report good quality in design and construction, and that they have stood the test of time with their longevity of use.
As they are of a sturdy nature they can be kept with food in the same container as the risk of bursting appears unlikely. What’s more, the contents are reportedly non toxic and conform to safety standards, as stated on their pack information. Due to their polypropylene plastic exterior these can be easily cleaned and placed into a food container alongside food with a probable low risk of contamination.
Are they lightweight and easy to use?
Each mini ice block is approximately 100 grams in weight, which is half the weight and size of a standard Thermos (200g) ice block making them more convenient to use together for a short business trip.
They freeze easily at around 4½ hours to be frozen solid, and around 2 hours to a semi-solid state. Due to this relatively quick freeze time, they can be frozen solid with only a half a day notice or semi-solid within a few hours prior to travel. Although the less frozen state will reduce the time blocks can keep food chilled.
Their size is handy and they fit easily into an insulated lunch bag or lunch box. While they might not be as ‘flexible’ as other ice pack varieties due to their more rigid design, they do not take up a lot of room due to their mini size and are subsequently easier to carry or place into a lunch pack compared to the standard size.
How well do they keep food chilled?
We used two Thermos ice blocks together, as they come as a set, in one insulated bag to test thawing and chilling times. Together these ice blocks took around 6 ½ hours to thaw in an insulated bag by themselves, and keep food fresh for around 5 hours.
In comparison to other mini ice blocks/packs we tested, these took the longest to thaw and kept food chilled for the longest duration.
Are they likely to be confiscated at security?
Thermos Weekend Mini ice blocks are advertised with a capacity of 100 grams, confirmed by our weight test. The plastic container is transparent and you can clearly see it is filled with blue liquid.
However, while it fits within the airline guidelines of 100 mls or less, the actual capacity is not labelled on the outside of the block so it would be difficult for airport security to ascertain whether it complies with being 100 mls of liquid or less.
Part A: Test information
Product Name: Thermos Weekend Mini Ice Blocks
Product Model: no data
Item model number: not located
Test dates: 22 June 2014 and 6 July 2014 for freezing, 13 and 16 July 2014 for thawing
Target Market: Will it suit the executive travel market? Yes
Part B: Specification
Type: Mini ice pack
Weight: 100 gram capacity
Size: small, described as mini
Height: 2.5 cm when frozen
Width: 7.3 cm when frozen
Length: 8.2 cm when frozen
Shape: Square shape
Colour: Transparent with blue liquid inside.
Material: Polypropylene plastic with non toxic liquid inside.
Design: Heat sealed leaked proof cap, tough polypropylene exterior. The cap is indented in the square design offering some protection from damage.
Volume: less than 100 ml per pack
Boxed: Comes in a box with 2, 3 or 4 packs depending on the retailer.
RRP Price: £2.99 www.amazon.co.uk for 2 pack, £4.95 for four pack from www.thermosonline.co.uk
Manufactured in: Ireland
Regulatory compliance: meets and exceeds EN 12564-3:2000
Part C: Test results