How To Pack A Cooler For Camping


No matter what season is, there is always a need to keep something cool during your camp trip. Knowing how to pack a cooler for your camping will make things way easier and allow you to keep your food cold and usable for a longer period, especially during hot, summer days.

In this article, we’ll show you how to get the most out of your freezer and use the maximum out of it.

Cool The Cooler The Night Before

Placing your cooler in the freezer the night before you hit the road is one of the most underrated tricks and one of the essentials in packing a cooler for camping. This way your ice pack will stay cold for a longer period. The best option is to place it in a commercial freezer, but if you don’t have one nearby, you could either leave your cooler outside or if that is not an option or it is the middle of the summer and it is too hot, you can place it at the coolest part of your home.

Freeze Your Food And Drinks

Freeze all the food you plan to use at a later date. For instance, if you’ve planned to eat something on your second night, freeze it and let it melt slowly. This way you’ll not only keep the food itself colder for a longer period, but you’ll also increase the time your cooler will keep the temperature. Also, it is recommended to freeze bottles of water and other non-carbonated drinks and getting them out of your cooler once you reach your destination. Check out our list of the best lunch coolers.

Blocks Are Better Than Cubes

Although a bit easier to manage, ice cubes are not as good at keeping the temperature low as the ice blocks. Ice blocks don’t melt so rapidly so they are a way better option. All you need is a pick, a hammer, or some other similar tool to break it into smaller pieces you’ll use for your drinks. With ice cubes, all you can do is watch them melt. To make ice blocks, all you need is to freeze the water in the container you can buy anywhere where they sell home equipment.

How To Prevent Soggy Items

As you go, the ice will inevitably start to melt, and it can affect your food if it falls between the ice blocks or chunks. To avoid this, take a milk card and cut it to create a sheet you’ll place on the ice blocks that are placed at the bottom of your cooler. This way you’ll help your ice blocks last longer, while you’ll also create protection for your other food and prevent direct contact.

Should You Drain Water?

One of the main questions in how to pack a cooler debate is should you drain the water or not? Some campers prefer to drain it no matter how long the trip is, while the others intentionally keep it undrained if the trip is short. The reasoning is that this way some stuff, for instance, beer or carbonated soda or anything in cans will gain additional coldness. On the other hand, water will speed up the melting process of your remaining ice, and to avoid your ice blocks from melting faster than wanted, drain the water a couple of times per day, if you’re out for a longer trip. However, if you’ll be camping for two or three days, feel free to leave it.

Change The Packaging


This may or may not happen, but sometimes fabric bags that contain the food are faulty and water easily reaches your food and potentially ruins it. To prevent this from happening to you, always repack your food from its original bag into your ones. There are many bags with zip locks made especially for coolers. This also has some other perks, because you’ll keep your food cold longer, and this way you won’t have to deal with as much thrash as you would otherwise.

How To Keep Your Vegetables Fresh

If you plan to bring green vegetables with you, there is the one packing a cooler for camping trick that will keep them fresh for a longer period. Use the paper towel, soak it in water, and wrap your vegetables in it before you put them in the cooler. This way they’ll stay fresh and crunchy longer.

Additional Insulation

This is a great trick, especially if you camp during the hot summer. You can use any material that has insulation in it, like sleeping pads (old ones, of course), and cut it in the shape of your cooler. This will keep the sun away from your cooler and help it stay cold. Yeti coolers are known for their great insulation, and you can check them out here.

Make Sure It’s Closed

When you don’t use your cooler, close it. If you leave it open, it will speed the process of melting up. When you need something, open it, take what you want and close it immediately to keep the cold air in and the hot one out.

Beer Cooler Sounds Cool

You’ll need an extra cooler, but it will make things way easier. Remember, you’ll be opening your cooler to grab a beer way more often than you’d to take food out of it. That’s why you should think about getting another cooler for your beer and other beverage. The small cooler will do the trick.

Clean Your Cooler

This should be one of the first things you’ll do once you get back home to keep it in a good shape for your future trips. Use soap and mild water, and if you’re afraid of bacteria, throw in a bit of bleach inside. Once you finish cleaning, place it to dry completely.

Storing Cooler

When you don’t use it, place your cooler away from the sun. If you keep it out of direct sunlight, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Globo Surf Overview

Knowing how to pack a cooler can make a difference between an amazing camping experience and an unpleasant time in nature with all your food ruined. With this article, you’ll know exactly what to do to keep your food fresh and your belly full.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!