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Accessories Review

Techni Ice, the next generation ice and heat pack

Date: 6/1/04
Tackle type: Accessories
Manufacturer: Techni Ice
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.2

Introduction: Tired of a soggy cooler after the ice melts, or need a quick heat pack of a certain size? Techni-Ice, an innovative product that comes in paper-thin sheets and expands when hydrated, allows anglers to either freeze or heat up depending on what their application requires.

Techni Ice HDR Specifications

Type Ice/Heat pack
Size 11" X 15.5" sheet
Cells 24 per sheet
Price $6.99

About Techni-Ice: Designed in Australia, Techni Ice has become a big hit with outdoor enthusiasts. Through its initial success, Techni Ice Australia has expanded their product line of Ice by making variations of this unique package and have produced cooler boxes and bags. Today you can find Techni Ice throughout the world and all over the internet.


Introducing Techni Ice, a paper thin sheet that expands when hydrated


Impressions: The first time we saw this innovative product was at the 2003 International Sportsmen's Exposition with crowds trying to get a closer look at the sheets inside the coolers. Sheets they are, but only when new. The Techni Ice Heavy Duty Reusable (HDR) sheets are extremely thin and my first impressions were that these will make a very portable ice pack when traveling far since you can easily transport them while taking up very little space before they are hydrated. When taking a closer look, each sheet contains 24 cells making it possible to cut the sheet into half or whatever size is needed for a customized fit. In the cells, before initial use, you can actually feel a powder-like material inside, and there are also tiny holes in the plastic used for hydration purposes.


Construction: Techni Ice HDR consists of a 4 layer construction.  The two outer layers are of heavy duty plastic while the two inner plies are made to resist puncture and holds the main ingredient to Techni Ice, a refrigerant polymer. The puncture resistant material is actually a cross-linked polyacrylate polyalcohol co-polymer refrigerant that's combined with a proprietary secret formula.  Even if the plastic rips, the inside layer will hold the Ice in. We threw many fish on the sheets, sharp fins all over the place and didn't have any Techni Ice polymers burst open on us.


4-plies securely hold the polymer gel crystals inside


I remember during this past year's ISE fishing show, someone mentioned that the powdery stuff inside is also used in baby diapers. Upon further investigation, I've concluded that the material used inside are actually polymer gel crystals. Polymer crystals will absorb many times their size in the polymeric gel that forms. Studies say that 1 pound of these crystals can hold about 50 gallons of water. A block was cut open and we found that these crystals are odorless and non-toxic.  Aside from use in disposable diapers, they are also being used in cloths, by paper textile plants, florists, water sewage treatment plants, and much more.

Real World Tests:
An ice or heat pack that's not messy and long lasting, we couldn't wait to put it to use. The Techni Ice was tested in a basic Igloo 100qt. cooler and small portable cooler bags.


In the previous picture, that showed all the crystals inside one cell.  [Left] Beginning of hydration. [Right] One cell worth of hydrated gel material


Hydrating: When new, the Techni Ice comes in extremely thin sheets that require hydrating before freezing or heating. To activate the cells, simply fill a bucket or sink with warm water; cold water will work as well, but warm works best from what we've experienced.  Immerse the sheet in the warm water for about 90 seconds while scrunching the Techni Ice.  You will know when they are done and the Techni Ice recommends that you leave a thumb indentation in each cell during the swelling to allow room for expansion during freezing.  When we hydrated 10 sheets, we found that having all cells submerged during the procedure is important, and even so, when crunching the cells, not all of them will expand at the same rate which required more work to get them to the desired size.


Usage: Techni Ice is a high-tech multi-purpose product that can be used as either a sheet of ice or a heat pack.  And even though you've already frozen your sheets, simply defrost them and soon you will be able to use the Techni Ice as heat packs.  With Techni Ice, you can reuse it over and over again.  We'll look closer into the two methods of usage in more detail and see how they perform during our fishing outings.


Line the entire cooler with Techni Ice, even on top and bottom, will provide the best performance in keeping your catch, drinks, and food cold


After the Techni Ice sheets have been hydrated, it's time to freeze them if having sheets of ice is desired for your fishing trips.  Techni Ice recommends that you turn your freezer to the coldest setting to freeze these sheets for best results, but for our test we used the setting that was already being used in the kitchen freezer, a more standard temperature for every household.  Since the Techni Ice are non-toxic, the sheets were placed in the freezer with meats, ice cream, and other foods during the night.  In the morning about 3AM before our salmon run, they were already frozen.  We used the Techni Ice to keep the food and beverages cold, for cooling down the water in the livewell or bait tank, and also kept our catch fresh throughout the day while on the water.  With the sheets, we were able to lay the sheets on the bottom, the walls, and on top to get the most effective use out of the cold ice sheets.  Also, since each sheet contains 24 cells, cutting them up to cube size or desired dimensions to fit into smaller containers such as lunch boxes and thermo bags to keep your drinks or bait cold.


Aside from keeping your stuff cold, Techni Ice can also be heated and used as a heat pack for sore muscles, to keep your morning coffee hot, and much more.  To heat the already hydrated Techni Ice, non-frozen, microwave one full sheet for 1 minute and then check to see if it's hot enough.  If not, we recommend heating for another 30 second increments.  Be sure to carefully check the heated Techni Ice before touching it, applying the sheet to your body, or placing it onto anything that might be damaged from extremely heat.  Even though it provided good warmth to a cup of beverage, we found that because the cells are large, it was harder to wrap around a cup to maximize surface contact between the object and the Techni Ice HDR.


Freeze the non-toxic sheets in your household kitchen freezer along with your foods


Duration: Instead of using a very efficient marine type of cooler, we opted for a white Igloo cooler bought at a local Walmart for our field tests.  The 100qt cooler creates a decent seal, but still allows much lose of cold due to the design of the cooler and having a hatch at the top of the lid didn't help the insulation much.  So how long did our Techni Ice sheets last in there during our fishing adventures?  The Techni Ice sheets were frozen in a standard kitchen freezer set a little past the B mark; A being the coldest.  It had about 6 hours of freezing time the night before our salmon trip in the morning.  Straight out of freezer and into the 100qt cooler in the early morning, we loaded the Montauk and were off to the harbor way before daylight.  The day started out foggy but then burned out to some 80 degree heat.  The cooler that held 8 sheets of Techni Ice, some food and cold drink, was placed on the deck where it received direct sun.  Throughout the day we opened and closed the cooler to get drinks and to store our catch, which allowed warmer air to enter, but at the end we were very satisfied with this innovative Ice.  Nine hours on the water and about 3 hours for transportation, at the end of the day after washing the boat and gear, the Techni Ice cells on our 8 test sheets were still frozen and kept our drinks and salmon nice and cold.  Furthermore, we were very glad to see no soggy food and no ice melted water ruining a nice salmon fillet.  There will be moisture and will feel somewhat wet, but you don't get a cooler full of ice water at the end of the trip.  We also tested the Techni Ice in a well sealed cooler without much opening and closing, and the cells remained frozen for a couple days, making it a great candidate to be used for long range trips or when traveling on the road to those camping & fishing outings.


Techni Ice can be used as an ice or heat pack.  The package is microwave safe


A heated sheet of Techni Ice will serve well as a heat pack to keep your morning coffee hot, a pack to loosen those muscles after a long day of fishing, and much more.  A sheet of Techni Ice was heated in the microwave for 1 minute, and at first touch, it was burning hot.  Please be careful after heating and make sure you don't get burned.  After the Ice sheet has been heated, put to use where desired.  We've found that after it was microwaved, letting it sit at a temperature of 64degrees, it still burned my hands after 5 minutes.  After 10 minutes, I still couldn't keep my hands on the sheet for more than 1 minute.  Thirty minutes later it remains slightly warm but needs to be reheated to be most effective.


Cleaning: Techni Ice is fully washable and nothing permanently adheres to the plastic outer plies.  We found it extremely easy to wash off dirt, food stains, and fish slim and blood.  Most of the time just blast the sheets with a garden hose in the yard will do the job, or

in a kitchen sink, use a sponge will make cleaning quick and easy.


Storage: When not in use, the Techni Ice can be stored at room temperature or in the freezer.  We do recommend that if you store the sheets in your kitchen cabinet or such, put them in a plastic bag but leave it open.  When you need the Ice sheets, check to see if they need to be hydrated, then either heat or freeze.


Techni-Ice HDR Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good outer construction, but the inside layer is even more tough.  The layers does a great job at holding the Ice in 8
Performance Performs better than standard ice, it remains cold for an extremely long time.  Effective in keeping food, drinks, and fish nice and cold.  It won't leave a puddle of water in the cooler and make everything soggy.  When heated for one minute, the sheet remains hot for about 30 minutes. 8.5
Price More expensive than a bag of ice and plastic-shelled ice packs, but this Ice is reusable and can be heated or frozen 8
Features N/A N/A
Design (Ergonomics) A well thought out design that's multi-functional.  The sheets are versatile and flexible 8
Application These sheets are great for Anglers that need an ice or heat pack.  They can be used anywhere and anytime.  Just cut to size, freeze or heat, and put it to use.  Anglers will benefit from the long hours of coldness, easy to clean off fish slim, and the ability to use it over and over again 8.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Hot or Cold L Not all cells hydrate at the same rate
J Won't make your food and other items soggy L Cells can be sometimes too large to wrap around objects for maximum surface to surface thermal conductance
J Re-usable  
J Easy to clean  
J Long lasting ice  

Conclusion: Hot or cold, that's the choice you have with this unique pack from Techni Ice, an Australian made product that has now surfaced throughout the world. Techni Ice comes in a paper-thin sheet and requires only water to hydrate before either freezing or heating. When frozen in a normal household refrigerator, this ice pack is extremely effective at keeping your food, drinks, and fish cold.  And the best part is that it won't make everything in your cooler soggy at the end of your outing. Aside from being an ice pack, the Techni Ice sheets can also be heated to keep your food warm, used as a heat pack to loosen your muscles, and much more. This durable package is reusable and easy to maintain and clean. The next time you consider getting some ice, think Techni Ice, the non-soggy alternative.









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