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Cigar 101

How to Make & Set Up a Cigar Coolidor

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Set up a coolidor (or coolerdor) when your cigar collection is too big for a traditional humidor. Converting a standard cooler into an oversized humidor is an easy and affordable way to store several boxes of cigars. It’s much cheaper than buying a cabinet-style humidor or a wine fridge to store your cigars. When your cigar collection spirals out of control, follow our steps for seasoning a coolidor. 

What is a Coolidor?

A coolidor is simply a cooler (that you would normally take to the beach) that you’ve modified to humidify cigars like a humidor. A sturdy model with a reliable seal and enough space for your cigars is what you need to start. After you add a humidification source, your cooler will keep your cigars in perfect condition. If you buy cigars in bulk or multiple boxes when they’re on sale, a coolidor is a wise investment.

Coolidor vs. Humidor

Coolidors are plastic versus the Spanish cedar or hardwood material a traditional humidor is made from. While cedar humidors offer a better environment for aging cigars, there are ways you can set up your coolidor to emulate a traditional cedar box and age your cigars for long periods of time with great results. A coolidor will cost a fraction of the price of a cedar humidor that holds approximately the same amount of cigars.

What You Need to Build and Set Up a Coolidor

  • New cooler
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Empty cigar boxes & cedar sheets
  • Humidification source
  • Hygrometer

Buy a New Cooler

It’s tempting to use the old red cooler that’s been sitting in your garage for five years, but we don’t recommend it. An old cooler can hang onto unwanted aromas that may not emerge until your cigars are inside. Start fresh with a new cooler. Popular models from Coleman, Rubbermaid, YETI, and Igloo work great. You’re potentially storing several hundred or thousands of dollars’ worth of cigars, so it’s easy to justify the expense of a new cooler.

Sanitize Your Cooler

Your cooler is brand new, but you still need to clean it to ensure your cigars won’t absorb any unwanted manufacturing residues. Set your new cooler in the bathtub, fill it with warm water, and one cup of bleach. Wipe the inside down with a rag and leave it sit overnight filled with the water and bleach. In the morning, dump the water out and let your cooler dry out in the sun. Place a cup of baking soda in the cooler, close the lid, and let it sit overnight. Repeat these steps until any unwanted smells are gone.

Season Your Coolidor

Save your empty wooden cigar boxes and the cedar sheets that are usually packed between the rows of cigars, or get some from your local smokeshop. Cigar boxes and cedar sheets make an excellent substitute for the cedar lining in a traditional humidor. To properly season your coolidor, you need to humidify it before any cigars go inside. Fill your coolidor with empty cigar boxes. Empty boxes help to absorb and maintain humidity as well as age your cigars better than the stark plastic interior of the cooler.

Choose an Adequate Humidification System

Cigars should be stored at roughly 70 degrees and 70% RH (relative humidity). There are a variety of ways to humidify your coolidor. You can add multiple humidification units or crystal jars, or invest in a Cigar Oasis Humidifier that’s designed to humidify a larger space. The most hands-off method is to use numerous Boveda humidity pouches. The goal is to achieve 70% RH before you put your cigars in your coolidor. Like humidifying a traditional humidor, the process can take a few days. Seal your cooler with the humidification source and empty cigar boxes inside and give it a few days for the humidity to rise.

Monitor Humidity & Temperature with a Hygrometer

Purchase a reliable hygrometer to monitor the temperature and humidity in your coolidor.  Calibrate it, set it inside, and check the readings.

Add Your Cigars

After you’ve achieved a consistent 70% humidity, add your cigars. Because your cigars will absorb a substantial amount of humidity initially, be vigilant in watching your humidity levels. Increase the humidity if needed.

Difference Between Coolidor vs. Coolderdor

The words coolerdor and coolidor mean the same thing. Each is blended from the same two words: cooler and humidor. Some cigar lovers prefer one over the other, but both are acceptable.

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