When Mtn Papa and I were married 5.5 years ago, we hauled our ice cream ball out to the Forest Service cabin we spent our honeymoon in. Granted, it was April so we could almost guarantee some sort of snow or ice out there in the mountains to help with the process, but also thought it was a fun way to have a treat after our 3 mile ski in. It is now a fun memory of a little “extra” out there in the primitive cabin, and one that was quickly brought to mind while we made ice cream with our boys camping recently.
YayLabs! sent us a quart-size one of their Ice Cream balls and we made good use of it over the past few weeks (hey – we HAD to test it out!) The ice cream ball is unique because one size opens up to a container where you put all the ice cream ingredients and the other side opens up to allow you to fill the rest of the ball with ice and salt. To mix the ice cream, you simply play with the ball (promoting active outdoor family time, of course) for about 30 minutes until the ice cream has stiffened. It’s super easy and obviously requires no electricity.
The quart size easily feeds our family of 4 (with a little extra) and the pint size (which is what we had on our honeymoon) is plenty enough to generously feed two ice cream-hungry adults.
We spent a weekend in the Tetons (convenient to have that out our “back door”) and brought the ice cream ball along. I premixed the ice cream recipe in a water bottle and packed extra ice cubes to use specifically for making the treat (tip: we usually keep our cooler cold with frozen recycled juice bottles to keep everything a bit neater). Mtn Papa was celebrating his birthday that weekend so we figured it was a great excuse for a special dessert.
What we loved:
- The ball is really simple and straight-forward so is perfect for camping
- It promotes active family time
- It allowed us to have a special frozen treat without leaving our campsite
- The ingredients are few – cream, sugar and vanilla (we added our favorite toppings later)
- It can be used indoors (especially with the cover) and outdoors
What we weren’t so crazy about:
- If you don’t have the cover (which we did get at a later time and highly recommend), the ball is heavy and can be tough for little kids to move around. Additionally, be careful how you kick (carefully) or push it – it’s hard and heavy enough to hurt!
- We rolled ours in the dirt which got pretty messy as the condensation from the ice wet the ball and turned that dirt into a mud
- After enjoying it, the clean up at a campsite is tough. We opted to throw it in a plastic bag and clean it when we got home (which worked just fine.)
A few tips:
- Get the inflatable cover. It protects the ball from breaking, makes rolling it easier and safer, and makes clean up easier too.
- Never NEVER throw it (for your own sake and to reduce the risk of breaking it)
- Get ice from an ice machine. It tends to be a bit flatter and easier to get into the ball. I had ice from our ice trays and they were a tad on the big side to get in. It worked, but required some changing of their sizes.
- Premix the ingredients. WAY easier when camping.
- Don’t tighten the ball with the wrench they include – and they say this in the manual – it can be really hard to open up if you do so.
- Sing songs and play along as you make your ice cream!
- Definitely stop after 15 minutes and scrape the sides!
Great toppings that are easy to bring camping:
- M & Ms
- Trail Mix
- Nuts by themselves
- Baileys….or some other fine liquor for the adults
- Pack some chocolate sauce in a small container
- A small container of sprinkles
Where to find them:
REI has the pint size in various colors and the inflatable cover too. Amazon also has the YayLabs Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball Ice Cream Maker with Inflatable Cover in the Quart size as a package deal. Both places have them in a variety of colors.
Celebrate the end of summer with Ice Cream!
YayLabs! has agreed to help you celebrate the last bit of summer (though we all know ice cream is not limited to the hot months of the year) with a giveaway. For this one, we will have two winners:
- Grand prize winner of an Ice Cream Ball with an Inflatable cover
- A runner up of just the Ice Cream Ball
As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! Sorry, this giveaway is open to the U.S. only.
YayLabs! generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. Additionally, a few of these links are affiliates. Thank you so much for clicking through them to make your purchases – it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (VERY VERY) small way! You can find my full disclosure here.
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