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Hi everyone! It’s me, your friendly MAKEcation camp counselor Matt. Have you started your cooler hacking project yet? If not, here are some ideas to help get you started. Be sure to post your own ideas in the comments. We’ll be giving away a Maker’s Notebook and The Best of MAKE or Best of Instructables to the one we think is the most interesting. If you have any questions about the challenge, don’t hesitate to send them to me at: [email protected].


Temperature Monitor: Add a temperature display to keep you informed about how cool your refreshments are. If you plan to store perishable foods inside, how about an alarm to alert you before they spoil?

Increased Efficiency: Or, avoid the whole problem of heating all together by making your cooler more efficient. Going somewhere without shade? Try building in an umbrella holder, to keep those hot sun rays away from your vittles.

Solar Cooling: Instead of diverting the sun’s rays, why not catch them with a solar panel and then use the energy to drive a thermoelectric cooling unit?

Mobility: Having trouble getting your cooler to your picnic location? Adding a motor so that you can drive it might be a bit extreme, but a simple set of wheels and a hitch would allow you to tow your cooler behind a bike. Don’t feel like getting up to fetch your next drink? Cannibalize a toy car and finally build that remote controlled cooler.

Ok, now I want to go camping so I have an excuse to try all these things out!

Here are some other possibilities:

  • Build a robotic cooler that comes when you command it
  • Add racing stripes for extra speed!
  • Built-in electronic drum kit for performing around the campfire
  • Add a secret compartment to hide your keys
  • Dry compartment for storing cake
  • Fingerprint reader lock to protect your juice boxes
  • Built-in floats to take it rafting
  • Dalek/remote control cooler mashup?
  • Build in a propane cooler
  • GPS logger to record your favorite hang-out places

And here are some previous hacks for inspiration:


Youth Family Films share their Cooler Kart

rfidbeerfridge Brainstorming cooler hacking ideas

David Calkins explains how to make an RFID-protected beer fridge

jetpoweredbeercooler Brainstorming cooler hacking ideas

Simon Jansen shares his jet powered beer cooler

Post your ideas in comments!


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