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 Smash gel ice packs 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.
Smash gel ice packs are relatively new on the market. They are a fitting alternative to the traditional ice block, mini or otherwise.
When compared to other ice packs/blocks the Smash gel ice packs performed relatively well. They are advertising as gel ice packs, providing a reasonable expectation that they were an alternative to the traditional ice block. The virtue is made clear in their lighter weight/size, with comparative freezer and thaw time. Constructed well, they are easy and relatively safe to use.
Smash Gel icepacks come in a ‘neon’ colour with a choice of red, blue or yellow. Each packet contains three of one colour. We tested the set of three packs together for performance in thawing and keeping foods chilled.
Are they safe, reliable and will they stand the test of time?
Smash gel ice packs are non traditional in design. They are made with a thin transparent plastic which allows some flexibility when not frozen solid. The liquid is reportedly non toxic and can be clearly seen through the plastic. There is no statement as to the nature of the content nor is any compliance with safety standards listed.
While the pack states ‘no leakage’ it doesn’t appear as resistant to piercing and damage as some other ice blocks.
When tested for freezing, Smash gel packs froze quicker against other ice packs, although slightly slower than ice block varieties. They begun to freeze around 2 hours and were completely frozen at 41/2 hours.
When tested for thawing performance (in cool bag without food), these gel packs (3) stayed frozen solid for approximately 2 ½ hours and thawed in approximately five hours. This compared better than some other ice blocks.
Are they lightweight and easy to use?
Each ice pack is approximately 75 grams in weight. By using three packs spaced between food, they may offer a more even chill factor whilst only being a combined total of approximately 225 grams
They freeze easily at approximately around 4 ½ hours to be frozen solid, and around 2 hours to be semi-solid. Due to this relatively quick freeze time, they can be frozen solid with only a half a days notice or semi-solid within a few hours prior to travel.
Their size is handy and they fit easily into an insulated lunch bag or lunch box. They do not take up a lot of room and are subsequently easier to carry or place into a lunch pack compared to the standard block.
How well do they keep food chilled?
We used three ice packs together as supplied, in one insulted bag to test thawing and chilling times. Overall they keep food chilled well. As a three pack they took around 5 hours to thaw in an insulated bag (without food) and kept food fresh around 4 hours.
In comparison to other ice blocks we tested, these took the second longest time to thaw and keep food chilled for only a slightly less time than the larger ice blocks.
Are they likely to be confiscated at security?
Smash gel ice packs are only 75 grams. The plastic outer is transparent and you can clearly see it is filled with a ‘neon’ coloured liquid.
Unfortunately, even though it fits within the airline guidelines of less than 100 mls, the actual capacity is not labelled on pack so it would be difficult for airport security to ascertain its exact weight under 100 mls of liquid.
Out of all the ice packs/blocks tested, this offered one of the best chances to get through security, with a good performance of keeping food chilled.
Part A: Test information
Product Name: Smash Global gel ice packs
Product Model: Gel ice pack of 3
Item model number: 16671
22 June and 6 July 2014 for freezing
13 July and 17 July 2014 for thawing
Target Market: Executive users flying or travelling
Part B: Specification
Type: gel ice pack, small
Weight: 75 g
Size: 9 x 1.5 x 12.5
Height: 9.3 cm
Width: 1.5 cm
Length: 12.5 cm
Colour: red, blue or yellow
Material: clear plastic with non toxic liquid inside.
Volume: 75 ml per pack
Boxed: as a pack of three, colour may vary but usually only one colour per pack
Manufactured: China (Australian company, distributed in the UK)
Regulatory compliance: non stated
RRP Price £3.49 Amazon.co.uk plus postage