Alternative to Coleman 48 Can Stacker?

I have a good container for my “day to day” sous vide needs but am looking to do some longer sous vide with bigger cuts of meat and for longer periods.

If I was in the USA, I would just pick up a Coleman 48 Can Stacker and go that route as it seems to be very effective and fit for purpose.

But I am in the UK and you cannot get the above unless you want to pay a fortune in shipping and import duty.

I was thinking about using the Cambro “Go Box” as I can get them here in the UK and if I got an extra lid, I could use it both for the actual sous vide cook as well as for “holding” meat when needed.

Any thoughts on the above? I would modify one of the top loaders lids so my Anova SV would slot in. And I like that they offer a variety of lids including a split “flip lid”.

They are not cheap but the cost is the same as the Coleman here in the UK (once you factor in shipping and taxes). I would get something I could use for multiple use cases and with the ability to get a split lid and normal lid.

My next question is whether to get something in a 35L, 46L or 53L…

The Coleman is about 31L.

How far do people push the Anova with an INSULATED container? Could it hand 46L?


Hey Texas, you might want to consider using Anova’s Professional model or something stronger if you plan to cook commercial volumes.

Anova used to rate the 1,000 watt units at 16 to 20 litres capacity, but that specification has long disappeared from their site. Too many critical variables, i suspect.

Cambro has excellent and durable products. Vollrath is another superior commercial brand. For the best value, i’d check out what insulated transport containers your local caterers use. Out of necessity they often know best from experience.
Coleman is a largely retail product or light duty brand.

Fellow UK based early adopter Anova sous vide user here.
I have just run back to check my two coleman units one is the “xtreme” range (more insulation but same critical fault in design as ever)“52 quarts” so around 46 litre capacity if I recall, & a smaller one around 26 litres capacity.

The better the insulation the less “cycles” to maintain a temperature so room temp acclimatisation may help by putting in cold 2/3 fill cold tap the day before cooking to get beyond pipe temp & to room temp.

If doing any qty I tend to utilise a few litres of near boiling thermos flask water to bring mine up to speed for immediate use, not straight onto plastic, but mixed with acclimatised water & with the Anova turned on.
Insulation is the key, wood table / counter is thermally better than stone (typically) & metal.
As i’ve recently put elsewhere make a “coffin” of cheap generic PIR foam foil sandwich insulation, or at he very least have it on the base & the top, the more the better, minimum 50mm 100mm great, this changes “reaction” & stability times greatly.

Even a silicone lid on a pan with 5-6 litres of room temp water (instantpot inner) will result in a much, much faster heat up & cool down time …& obviously temperature “hold” recovery from popping the lid is exceptionally fast too & negates the obvious evaporation you incur with an open pot!

Basically the bigger you go the more insulation you should use & allow set up time to get “over the hill” accounting for seasonal variation via partial warm fill (kettle) as above.

As a result both my units are fine for all season cooking, if you buy anything with a “can seat” on the lid thats the thermal weak point (thermal bridging) …ie where you PEE heat or cold air if used as an ice box.

plug these gaps by finding peanut butter pot plastic lids that fit & making a “hockey puck” filled with basic squirt foam filler or more celotex / xtratherm insulation with a craft knife.

Beware the dust from insulation boards, they are an irritant, wear a mask, eye cover, & hoover the particulate it will stem losses quite considerably enabling less cycling through heat loss.

IF you want to open the container & look (why?) consider bodging an inner silicone sheet, (try ali express) sectional lid ( bent hanger wire maybe) to reduce loss when opened, one half could simply overlap the other (partial seal & easier to lift)

Thanks for your useful recommendations Gus.

Another savings is available by reusing the ambient temperature water bath. It avoids heating the cold pipe temp water and the cost of water itself.


A “standard” coleman “type” insulated cooler with some foam wall insulator & stiffener will work ok generally, however a few points to note.

1 water is heavy, water causes flex at key points of a lid (where the lift up recess join is) will pee heat as when half filled it flexes enough to open the joint.

If you don’t want to ruin a cooler by cutting through the lid (reasonable, bearing in mind how high the anova sits) don’t ! …simply grab a snack bag & stick the screws in there, remove the lid.

Now the anova can sit (via its clamp) a bit lower into the water, but still high.
IF you want to use the clamp on the side, a typical fill before sticking a joint of meat in will require 20 litres (in a 32 ish litre oblong coleman cooler) …so consider neutral water displacement methods if need be, but be aware, you’ll still be heating them as you heat the water, so it might be easier simply to repurpose the water a few days later instead)

IF / when you mount your anova sous vide stick remember “moisture / steam” find their way through gaps in lids, thus a silicone skirt …I use one of my insantpot silicone seals that has been cut tightly to accomodate the anova to prevent moisture cutting out 20 mins into your cook, tripping your RCD & all the easily avoided trauma & finger jabbing that go’s with your own ill-prep (sorry, it’s true)

The anova (mine anyway) has a grille that can & does attract moisture if you let it, & dry out time (area & season dependent can be some hours in a conservatory / porch) …so it’s easier to get a silicone skirt thats slid onto the wand.

IE, you’ve removed the cooler lid…
You’ve grabbed some solid foam foil sided insulation board & cut an anova channel slot into it, moisture will get through, thus the silicone skirt sits above the lid & redirects the condensation without interruption.

The channel cut (compared to a bored hole) also allows you to angle up the insulation board to add / remove / “nosey” the water bath cooking process without dragging the anova wand out of the water, …which if you are new to a cooler cook, evaporation is your likely panic button.

As my foil insulation board was from skip diving (and 25mm is fine on top, I use thicker
stuff underneath the container) it’s a cheap lid, …my small cooler requires a 35cm wide x 2ft long initial cut of insulation board, that’s with overhang at the long end to allow easy lift.
weigh down the lid with some bags of raw spuds (potatoes) …2.5 kg bags x 2 or similar are typically in a pantry or kicking around, no one is going to moan if you use that sort of dead weight for a few days on a long cook.

Top weight helps the overall seal, reduces evaporation massively (the anova wand hole will now be negligible) …& if like my easter cook has just been, a bone in leg of lamb at 2.6 odd kg brings the preheated water (acclimatised to room temp overnight mind) from 20c to the 55c / 60c needed within “about” an hour.

For a large joint, I tend to place a rib rack into the water (middle) & place the joint on it, turning it if you feel the need.

The aforementioned leg of lamb brings the water level up considerably, but better to have a bit too much & a jug to “possibly” bale out than put in & heat from cold.

Water temp at the back of the container (having checked the angle of the impeller output within your container) will be around 2c lower but will stabilise, (likely you’ll have a spare probe to sit at the back) …best to stabilise it front to back BEFORE adding the meat.

Temp drop:
Depends on enviroment outside of the “meat pool” if insulated properly when turned off (impellor & all) will likely be around 1c per hour, or if lazily you upturn the cooler lid & shove it in to cover the majority of the cooler bar the wand stick end, will be 2-3 c loss per hour in my experience, but a left ajar lid + a rigid insulated container is more prone to evaporation loss than anything.

Aluminum foil insulation tape is my go to for sealing edges of board, the thicker (building profession) the better rather than finding “floaters” from insulation board in with your cooler (which chip off over time with regular use) …also better insulator overall (no soggy foam)