It’s time to share my best hot weather tips. Recently we saw the hottest sustained weather we’ve ever seen in our cruising. Every day the heat index has been over 105⁰F. And there is no end in sight!
Hot Weather Cruising Locales
Now, we’ve always cruised in places where it is hot in the summer – the Sea of Cortez, Bahamas, Florida Keys. But neither Dave nor I remember such an unrelenting streak of hot weather – and I know that Texas is getting it even worse than we are!
We’re on a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida (US) with no air conditioning.
With this heat, we’ve added one more trick to our hot-weather arsenal: a 5-gallon insulated water jug, filled with ice water. You know, the type of jug that you see on the sideline at football games and other sporting events.
Honestly, our refrigerator just couldn’t keep up with the amount of cold water that we were drinking. We’d rotate water bottles into the freezer to try to have something to drink that was even slightly cool. But that meant that we were constantly not just in the refrigerator (letting cold air out) – we were constantly putting warm things into the freezer and causing it to quickly frost up. I needed to defrost every 7 days!
My first thought was to get an 18-can cooler and keep our water bottles in there, on ice. But when I got to Home Depot (the only place in town that sells decent coolers), I saw the 5-gallon water jugs that have a spigot and got one instead.
Using a Water Jug
It has been almost perfect. Each day, I add a 7 to 10 pound bag of ice. I use a well-insulated Gecko cooler bag (Amazon) to get it back to the boat without melting. Usually it melts about as fast as we drink. Maybe once a day I’ll add 1 to 2 quarts of water to supplement the melting ice.
Even as hot as it is here, a bag of ice lasts over 24 hours. To be honest, for two of us, I think a 3-gallon container would be sufficient and wouldn’t take as much space. They’re available on Amazon.
We have a bunch of 12-ounce Gatorade bottles that we’ve used for years as our water bottles – they’re a thicker plastic than water usually comes in, and fit nicely into our can cozies. We just keep refilling them. At 12 ounces, they’re small enough that we usually drink it all before the water gets warm.
Benefits of a Water Jug
We have already seen two key benefits to having a large water jug onboard.
- Much colder drinks
- Getting in the refrigerator/freezer a lot less. Consequently, it’s running less, the batteries are happier, and I’m not defrosting nearly as much.
The only con is that we’re spending $2 a day on a bag of ice – but we’d be spending more than that on cold drinks from the vending machine otherwise!
Seriously, if you are cruising anywhere that you can buy ice, a water jug really helps with having cold drinks, using less power for your refrigerator/freezer, and defrosting less. Even if you can only periodically get ice, it’s worthwhile on those days!