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

  • Kate Brown: Is there any real difference between the 2015 boot (purple) and the new 20...
  • Truax: Lou, thanks for the response. You are correct on the apples front. I just w...
  • See: Good tips. Thanks. Lately I’m trying to reduce “unsprung” weight-- skis, bo...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Truax, my feelings and opinions change over time, along with changes in tec...
  • Wookie197: Its enlightening (enheavining ?) to see what everybody is packing....I use ...
  • Mike: Hi Lou, I've decided to buy one of the new LiPo airbag backpacks. However,...
  • Bryan: Lou, Yeah, I did get replacement heels, which G3 was very good about rep...
  • Truax: "Me, I found Dahla to be fun both on the piste and in soft but forgiving co...
  • MikeW: Also I'm going to miss my hipbelt pocket and gear loop, off to the sewing m...
  • MikeW: Thinking light is right, I packed my Ultralight 3.0 with the following for ...
  • See: To expand a bit on earlier comments: I wish more boots had easily adjustabl...
  • John Baldwin: MT - check skimo.com...
  • MT Big Blue: Apologies for thread hijacking. My question is at least binding related. Lo...
  • Lou Dawson 2: John, indeed, the boot fitter race technicians will tell you that binding r...
  • John Baldwin: Thanks for discussing this confusing topic Lou. Its the most confusing part...
  • Sfotex: Do not try to outsmart danger. - My take is don't overestimate your ability...
  • Kristian: Yes of course. I treasure and still carry the classic (made by Stubai?) li...
  • Adam Osuchowski: I recently introduced my pup to the backcountry, and she loves it! But it a...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Jay, I see the problem of "visually seductive trees" occurring all the time...
  • See: Sure, there are plenty of ways to change the effective forward lean, but (i...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Kristian, if you're really chopping you're looking for a body. Avy shovels ...
  • nate porter: Hi Louie, Have you seen much wear on the darker grey plastic piece that ho...
  • Kristian: Based on what I have seen and read, Avalanches have tremendous kinetic ener...
  • Paddy: I particularly like the "play not to lose" rule. It will get you out of do...
  • Aaron: Thanks, I will try that progression focusing on reducing stack height first...
  • Joseph: Jeez, it's not like you can't test this stuff out before putting it in your...
  • Lou Dawson 2: My advice would be to first try the 6 mm toe riser as those Verticals have ...
  • Aaron: Looking for some advice on forward lean and stack height differential relat...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Totally agree with you Atfred. Even in the case of us skinny guys, a pound ...
  • atfred: And let's not forget the "organic" factor - body weight. My losing twenty ...

  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