There is nothing worse to find the ice in your best wheeled cooler has melted while getting halfway through your camping trip. As if the drinks getting warm isn’t bad enough, the food you packed could actually make you sick. This happened to me way too many times, and I am here to help you avoid the same fate. Luckily, with a few tips, it is easy to keep your packed goods cold!
Pre-Freezing is Your Friend
A couple of days before I pack a cooler, I freeze water and other non-carbonated drinks. This way, they act as ice but take up less space. You can also freeze meat and bread. This will extend the life of the bread in warm weather, since you will save space in the cooler by leaving it out.
Pre-Cool Your Cooler
You can actually pre-cool your cooler by filling it with ice a few hours before packing the food. This takes a lot of ice, depending on the size of your cooler. However, a lower temperature interior and exterior won’t melt your precious ice when it really matters.
Use 2 Coolers
The majority of opening and closing a cooler is the result of thirst. If you think about it, there are only a few times you get into the stash for food. To prevent losing excess coldness, use one cooler for beverages and another for edibles.
You can find Reflectix and other aluminum-coated bubble wraps at home improvement stores or online. This works whether or not your cooler already has insulation by keeping the heat out and the cool in. Line the whole interior including the lid with pieces you have cut to size. You can even cover the exterior with the leftover sheet.
Use the Right Kind of Ice
Some people use ice blocks, and others use crushed ice sold at gas stations and grocery stores. Dry ice is the longest lasting option for those willing to take special some precautions. These include wearing gloves, covering the dry ice with paper, and keeping it elevated off the cooler. For the rest of us, block ice is the best if you are going to be gone 3 days or longer.
Want to save some time and money on ice blocks? Fill up zip locking bags with water and freeze them. Then, you can reuse them more than once. You can also use pre-made ice packs. This is a great way to avoid flooding the cooler.
Buy a Better Cooler
If you can afford it, the easiest way to keep ice frozen all day is to buy a better cooler. The technology is increasing at such a rapid pace they come out with better and better coolers are the time. If you need to walk a distance from your car to the campsite, I recommend trying a wheeled cooler.
Here is a quick list of the best wheeled coolers I’ve found in my search:
- YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
- Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler
- Coleman 42-Can Soft Cooler