There are times in a person’s life when they must face change. Facing that change can be difficult, especially if that person happens to have collections…say like a cigar collection. There are a couple of options available to a person who has to move when it comes to cigars. One can easily pack all of their cigars into huge zip-lock bags with humidification products, but then there is the risk of the cigars being crushed. If moving and the owner already has a humidor or two, or three, one could possibly just leave the cigars in the box and transport them depending on how long of a journey they are taking. Or one could just smoke up all of their collection and/or share with friends. Or, maybe pass out a few good vintage never to find again sticks to people who won’t appreciate them…I think not!
The situation at hand is happening to me, and I happen to have a friend who turned me on to this idea of making an easy humidor out of a cooler -coolidor-. Now, there are many ways these are made. Some are more extravagant than others and you can make them as small as the best small sealing cooler, or as huge as you want, as long as it seals properly. The ideas with these are endless and even practical depending on where you live, and given possible emergencies that you need to leave with your goods really fast.
First, you want to start out with a brand new cooler, as having that brined turkey, fresh catch of the day, or crawfish seasoning isn’t quite what cigar smokers are looking for. So, go ahead and spend a few extra bucks on a new cooler. I was told by my friend, “bigger is better because you never know just how many cigars you might have”. I purchased a new 55 quart cooler for about $40. Now a cooler this size, depending on how you set it up, can fit over 300 cigars easily. You will just need to properly arrange the cigars.
Second, you’ll want to use some bleach and warm water to clean out the inside. Rinse it out really well with hot water and then air dry. Next, use some baking soda. Just open the box of baking soda and let it sit inside the cooler for about a week. The idea here is to soak up all the unwanted plastic smell. After a week or so the smell should be minimal, if at all present.
Third, get a hold of some good cedar boxes from your local cigar shop or from online. You will want enough to fill up the cooler, but still be able to shut the lid so it seals properly. This will help season the cooler, just like you would a table-top humidor. Let the cooler sit for approximately another week with the cedar boxes inside.
Once the coolidor is seasoned, it is time to add the humidity. There are many ways you can set up your humidification system. I chose humidification beads and two cedar boxes with holes. I used a box big enough to allow air to circulate around the beads and vent out of the box. I did this by using some panty hose, humidification beads, and distilled water. Unlike the instructions, I soaked the beads in distilled water instead of spraying the beads; it seemed to work well. I used about 8 oz. of beads per humidification sack (16oz. total for two sacks). I used two sacks to help evenly distribute the humidity sources.
I then used a drill bit about as big as my pinky and drilled holes in the lids, spacing them out about an inch in each direction. Once the humidification system is in place make sure to use a good hygrometer (preferably digital) to ensure you have the humidity set to your specifications.
Let the coolidor sit for approximately three days in order to allow it to stabilize. Once the preferred humidity is set, the coolidor is ready for cigars.
Now you are equipped to move your cigars anywhere you need to in a safe sealed coolidor. When you notice the humidity level dropping, just remove the bead bags and spray them with distilled water.
This is a project that any cigar lover can take on. There are many examples all over the internet on how to set up a coolidor to suit your needs. So give it a shot and have some fun while protecting your cigar collection.