Freeze The Knees, Homemade Cold Packs


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | July 16, 2013      

ice

Homemade ice gel pack made with a common kitchen item.


C7
My latest shopping spree on Amazon was for gel cold packs. I wanted some large ones that I could wrap around my knees. The ones I found were pricey and not quite big enough. So, after a bit of research online, I decided to make my own.

There are various ways to make cold packs: frozen bags of rice, peas, or ice cubes in water. The commercial kind I like is a flexible gel pack so that model was my goal.

I found a recipe using rubbing alcohol and water. Water freezes, alcohol does not, so mixing the two will produce a flexible ice pack. How flexible depends on the ratio of each. I tried 1/3 rubbing alcohol mixed with 2/3 water, double bagged in a large Ziploc bag. It froze stiff but became softer as it melted.

The method I like best uses regular liquid dish soap. I bought the cheapest I could find, $1 per bottle. Two large bottles were enough for a 2 gallon Ziploc bag, double bagged to prevent leakage. When frozen, it was more flexible than the alcohol/water mixture and seemed to melt at a slower pace, maintaining a flexible consistency longer.

Both of these methods produce a very cold pack, so I wrapped them in a pillow case to prevent frost nip. Hurrah, now I can freeze my knees with ease and our budget won’t feel the squeeze.

Comments

15 Responses to “Freeze The Knees, Homemade Cold Packs”

  1. Bill July 16th, 2013 12:56 pm

    super info.

    Thanks

  2. Rob July 16th, 2013 1:15 pm

    Another good DIY tip from you guys. But can it be modified?

  3. SR July 16th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Great stuff, thanks!

  4. Zippy the Pinhead July 16th, 2013 2:33 pm

    Seems like one of those seal-a-meal type of things would be great for your home-made gel packs. Less danger of leakage, unless you managed to puncture the bag.

    You could also use the gel-packs to keep your food bag cool. That way your strudel wouldn’t spoil on the trail!

    Zippy

  5. Bar Barrique July 16th, 2013 10:17 pm

    Looks like a good way to keep your beer cool. I guess I’m lucky, but my knees have survived the “sit back” skiing style of the 70’s, and, everything since. They complain a bit now, and, then but nothing serious.

  6. Mykhaylo July 17th, 2013 7:34 am

    Excuse me, but what is the point of freezing one’s knees?
    Personally I’ve found that warming them up by using knee pads (namely BD TeleKneesis) works much better for my activity…

  7. Lou Dawson July 17th, 2013 7:53 am

    Common therapy after exercise, to reduce or prevent inflammation. Yes, joints need to be warm during use!!

  8. XXX_er July 17th, 2013 9:44 am

    yes a sports physio bud told me he would immerse an entire rugby player in ice/water after a big game for as long as they could stand it and recommended the same for my feet which I had over stressed in an all night ski, so I used beer coolers 1/2 full of snow & water, he didn’t recommend any heat

  9. milt July 17th, 2013 12:13 pm

    i wonder how the heat of fusion with the various recipies compares with plain water.
    a test would be how much will a bag of frozen gel vs ice lower the temperature of a gallon of water.

  10. Jake K July 20th, 2013 8:44 pm

    This is so simple, not sure why I never thought to look into this before.

    I made some bigger packs so ice my hamstring.

    The “formula” I used was ~30oz dish soap + 2-3oz rubbing alcohol in a gallon sized bag. You can mold it and wrap it right around the hammy with an ace bandage. Works great.

  11. Mike July 21st, 2013 3:38 pm

    I didn’t even know you could make your own. They are quite expensive and I’ve also had trouble finding ones that are big enough. Thanks for the insight.

  12. Jake K July 21st, 2013 3:45 pm

    Here’s a post I did on what I came up with. Thanks for the inspiration, Lou!

    http://www.wasatchandbeyond.com/2013/07/flexible-homemade-ice-packs.html

  13. Buddy November 26th, 2013 4:38 pm

    “..freeze my knees with ease and our budget won’t feel the squeeze.”

    Hey, you’re a poet and don’t know it. Bet a dime you’ll make a rhyme every time.

  14. MB January 20th, 2014 9:20 am

    I am making both types of ice packs now. Thanks for the info.

  15. LLD March 14th, 2014 10:57 pm

    I was wondering what are the measurements for the materials you used to make your ice packs… Thanks!

Got something to say? Please do so.





Anti-Spam Quiz:

You can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box to left, but you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
  
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments

  • Jim Milstein: Lou, I was referring to the threaded thingies glued into the skis into whic...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Jim, I just count the boot inserts as part of the boot weight, since most b...
  • Jim Milstein: My black Vipecs (from last year) weigh about 500g each, brakeless, screwles...
  • See: Aside from being an ounce lighter per binding(?), being easier to click int...
  • See: Tecton claimed weight is 550g per pair, no brakes? I’m guessing that’s supp...
  • Tom Gos: So, I purchased the new Mirage walk mode kit to replace the older style one...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Jim, yeah, I noticed on the Vipec we've got here that you can "cheat...
  • Jim Milstein: Actually, you can adjust further if you don't mind going past the "stop" ma...
  • Jim Milstein: My Black Vipecs have 25mm adjustment for bsl....
  • Lou Dawson 2: I'm working hard on the FAQs, but yeah, some of this info is hard to find. ...
  • Jeff: I am sure I am missing it somewhere do to poor search skills....does anyone...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Shannon, thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed Aaron's post. There ar...
  • Atfred: Was in the valley Blanche two days ago, skied up to point heilbrunner, then...
  • Shane: I just read that this was previously covered . Thanks...
  • Katie: It was epic, I was there. Craving more.......
  • Julia Dubinina: Hey Kyle, Just found your comment - it is April, so not sure if you hav...
  • Jim: thanks, subscribed...
  • Eli: Just a last width point, I find the "98mm" of the Atomic Backland to be ple...
  • Trevor: Hey Lou, how would you compare the Helio 95 to the Blizzard Zero G 95? I h...
  • Allan: Lou, Do you have a full spread sheet/ chart you could link to us via googl...
  • Julian: It looks like you have the Onyx and the Ion crampons using the same base pl...
  • Miro: It's never happend to me unless -as Tom wrote- the red lifter wasnt stuck b...
  • Tom: ^^^Only a couple times on the non-magnetic side if I forget to "squish" the...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Working on adding more data to reviews today. Just got the ATKs back from a...
  • Shane: I have used this ski for 2 seasons (average about 10 days resort and 20 day...
  • John Baldwin: Louie, have you got a rough idea how many liters of water you could melt wi...
  • Al: Some of the more sober realists in climate scientists think we may be at or...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Old news. And...?...
  • Al: Closer to home, some estimates are that glacier park won't have any by as e...
  • Bob Berwyn: And it's not just the glaciers. Lou, I know you travel to the Alps frequent...

  Recent Posts


Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version