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An insulated cooler is a portable container with a layer of insulation to ensure that it keeps cold foods truly cold. There are a number of different styles of insulated coolers, ranging from reinforced styrofoam versions which are designed for one or two uses to plug-in coolers which draw on the electricity of a car or generator to increase their refrigeration abilities. Many markets sell insulated coolers, especially during the summer, when people desire coolers for camping and picnics.
Humans have been trying to keep food cool for centuries, both because heat increases the rate of decomposition and because many foods taste more pleasant when they are cool. Coolers appear to have been developed in Australia, which has a notoriously hot climate and a fun-loving population. A typical cooler has at least two layers of material, which may be spaced with air. Air serves as a decent insulator, keeping the contents of the cooler at a fixed temperature. A cooler is usually advertised as “insulated” when extra insulation has been added.
An extra layer of insulation may be designed from a variety of materials. Generally, an insulated cooler has a layer of nonconductive material which prevents the transfer of heat from the outside of the cooler to the inside. Many insulated coolers are made from soft, flexible materials, which makes them easy to carry and handle. In some cases, a cooler bag may be designed for the freezer, so that the cooler can be brought down to a low temperature before the food is even put inside.
An insulated cooler is great for drink storage, since cold drinks are often at a premium in hot weather. Beer, wine, and soft drinks all tend to suffer in extreme temperatures, and if they are kept in an insulated cooler, they will be kept cold and refreshing. Such coolers can also be used for fruits, cheese, and meats on picnics, ensuring that they stay wholesome.
When selecting an insulated cooler, you should think about how you plan to use it. Insulated coolers come in a range of sizes, from slip-on bags designed to cool a single wine bottle to large totes intended for packing a beach picnic. A hard cooler may keep foods cold more effectively, with a dense layer of heavy insulation, but it will be bulky and hard to handle. Some coolers also come with ice packs which are designed to fit into them, increasing their capacity to keep foods cool.