9 of the Best Ways to Keep Food Cold While Camping
2/9 courtesy of amazon.com
Or Keep It Budget-Friendly
If you’re searching for a dependable and affordable cooler, go no farther than the Coleman Company, which has been manufacturing camping gear for more than a century. The Coleman X-Treme cooler($50) has a capacity of 70 quarts and has insulated sides that will keep items cold for up to five days in temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You may purchase it here. 4/9 via the website Amazon.com
Try a Portable Car Fridge
Using the electricity from your car or the campsite’s power supply, keep stuff cool for longer periods of time. This portable vehicle fridge (which costs $279) can work on 12/24-volt DC or 110-volt AC electricity. Additionally, it contains a USB connector for charging your phone. Have you lost power? There’s nothing to worry about. This vehicle fridge keeps objects frozen for up to 10 hours, even after it has been unplugged from the power source. You may purchase it here. 5/9amophoto au/Shutterstock
Use a Separate Cooler for Drinks
In part because beverages are accessible more frequently than food items, the cooler in which they are stored heats up more rapidly. Preparing a separate beverage cooler allows you to open it regularly without having to worry about rotting food in the main cooler. It’s possible that you’ll want to pack these drink accessories as well. 7/9ThomsonD/Shutterstock
Use Frozen Bottles of Water
The temptation to pick up a bag of ice at the petrol station on your way out of town may be too great to resist, but the ice will melt rapidly and may contaminate your food. Instead, use frozen bottles of water to keep things cool. They will keep your food cold for a significantly longer period of time and will be more effective at doing so. Furthermore, once the bottles have melted, you’ll have plenty of water to drink! Here’s where you can get the safest bottled water money can buy. Photo courtesy of Elena Moieeva/Shutterstock.
Double-Wrap Frozen Meat
Double-wrap frozen meat in aluminum foil and freezer bags to help prevent cross-contamination from taking place. As the meat thaws, this will prevent any liquids from escaping into your cooler and spoiling your meal. The temperature inside the interior of your cooler should not be higher than 40°F for food safety reasons. Keep an eye on the temperature by hanging a thermometer ($10) from the ceiling. Please keep in mind that every product is chosen by our editors in an unbiased manner. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our affiliate links, we may receive a commission.
How to Keep Food Cold While Camping (13 Icy Tips for Campers) • Storyteller Travel
Are you thinking of going camping? Knowing how to keep food cold when camping can come in handy since it might mean the difference between having a fantastic or horrible camping trip. Here are 13 extremely cold camping strategies to keep your food cold while you’re out in the great outdoors.
Campers Guide to Keeping Food Cold
Eating food that is above 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) or below that temperature increases the risk of food sickness. It’s also not a good idea to get ill when camping.
The next post will be divided into two portions. The first section contains 13 techniques for keeping food cold while camping, and the second portion contains food safety advice as well as frequently asked questions regarding keeping food cold while camping. So let’s get this party started!
What is a safe food storage temperature?
According to Health Canada, your cooler should maintain a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) or below to ensure food safety.
13 Tips: Keeping Food Cold When Camping
This is the single most essential decision you can make to ensure that your food stays cool. Don’t waste your money on a low-quality cooler; no amount of ice will keep your food chilly during your vacation. There are many various types of coolers available on the market, ranging from low-cost styrofoam to high-end steel or fiberglass coolers, as well as electric coolers that connect to automobile batteries. Some of the more costly models have useful extras like as thermometers, shelves, handles, wheels, and drainage plugs, among other things.
This is determined by things such as your budget, personal preferences, and the length of time you want to spend camping.
This is something to keep in mind if you intend on transporting one for an extended period of time.
Continue reading because I’ve got more advice to share with you on how to keep food chilled when camping, no matter what style of cooler you’re using.
2. Pre-chill your cooler
Don’t let a lukewarm camping experience ruin your entire camping vacation experience. By chilling your food the night before or a few hours before your journey, you may help your cooler keep your food colder for longer. Make a bag of loose ice or frozen ice packs and put them in it to get this effect. Then, when you’re ready to travel, you may empty the cooler and move your refrigerated food to a pre-chilled environment, rather than a room-temperature setting. Your entire cooler may be stored inside your deep freeze if you have the necessary room.
3. Choose long-lasting ice
Though loose ice from gas stations and grocery shops can be used, it will rapidly melt, leaving you with a cooler full of water and mushy food items. Use huge blocks of ice, which you should lay in the bottom of your cooler, to keep your drinks cold. Large ice blocks will take significantly longer to melt, allowing your food to remain chilled for a longer period of time. To make ice blocks even better, freeze water in plastic water bottles or milk jugs approximately four days before your trip and then store them in your cooler.
In addition, after the ice melts in the bottles or jugs, you will have safe drinking water, which is very useful in an emergency case.
Many grocery stores in the United States provide dry ice, which is useful if you’re camping there.
If you don’t wrap dry ice in newspaper beforehand, it will burn your skin and damage your cooler, so be careful. Aside from that, don’t put any food products near to dry ice that you don’t want to be frozen since dry ice will freeze everything that comes into direct contact with the substance.
4. Freeze your food
By freezing your food a few days before your camping trip, you may accomplish two goals at the same time. The frozen food may be utilized as ice cubes in a variety of ways. Aside from that, your food will remain cold until you’re ready to prepare it at your campground.
5. Use ice packs
Make use of ice packs to assist keep your food and drink products chilled for a longer period of time. Ice packs that have been made can be purchased online or at supermarket and camping stores. These ice packs may be used over and over again and will remain cold for up to two days if they are properly stored. It’s possible to produce your own ice packs without spending any further money by freezing water in ziplock freezer bags before using it. Frozen vegetable bags make excellent DIY ice packs, as do frozen fruit bags.
If you get hurt while camping, ice packs will come in helpful to help minimize swelling and discomfort.
6. Two coolers are better than one
If you have the capacity, it is advised that you carry two coolers on your camping vacations to keep food and drinks separate. Opening and closing a cooler on a regular basis will cause it to lose chilled air fast. If your children keep returning to the drink cooler for another drink, you may be assured that the food in the other cooler will remain cold. After that, you will learn how to open a can without the need of a can opener.
7. Pack your cooler tight, and pack it right!
When you’re camping, you don’t want to have to sift through a freezer full of frozen food in search of a specific item you’re looking for. You also don’t want to have to open your cooler too often, too. So, in order to avoid all of this, it is important to load your cooler in the proper manner.
- Start with a layer of block ice or crushed ice to create your first layer. For trips lasting longer than a couple of days, it is advised that you bring block ice with you. After that, place frozen or cold meat on top of the ice. In order to prevent contamination of other foods after defrosting, make certain that it is enclosed in tightly sealed packets. Additional layers of ice can be placed on top of the meat if there is enough room. Now, immediately on top of the ice, place any dairy products you may have. Other food products that have been sealed in their own container or ziplock bag are next on the list. Drinks, condiments, sandwiches, and snacks should be placed on the top tier of the food pyramid since they will be consumed first or most frequently.
After you have your food packed in the cooler, make sure that every air pocket is filled with an ice pack to ensure that cold air continues to flow downward to the bottom of the cooler.
8. Keep your cooler in the shade
Once you’ve arrived at your campground, choose a shaded area where you can store your cooler away from direct sunlight. As the sun moves across the sky throughout the day, you may find yourself needing to relocate the cooler at various points throughout the day. Cover your cooler with a blanket or tarp to provide additional insulation.
9. Bring along non-perishable foods
Additionally, it is a good idea to bring along some snacks that do not require refrigeration in addition to the food in the cooler. The following items may be stored without the need of a cooler: canned meals, protein bars, dried fruit, trail mix, as well as a gallon of fresh drinking water.
10. Don’t drain the cooler unnecessarily
Even after the ice in the cooler has melted, the cold water in the cooler continues to keep the food chilled. Try not to empty the water from the cooler as long as you have enough space to spare.
11. Freeze (most of) your drinking water
If you’re going vehicle camping, you might want to consider bringing your own drinking water.
On the other hand, you could just boil some river water instead. Why not freeze some water and then drink it when it thaws instead, assuming you’re taking a lot of it with you?
12. Cook your food before leaving
Some of your camping food may be prepared the night before, which will make it easier to handle your coolers. Some foods will last longer if they are stored in this manner. Apart from that, having some food ready to go after setting up camp on your first day is quite convenient! Furthermore, if you freeze your prepared meals before leaving, they may also be used as cooling ice for the remainder of your food while traveling.
13. Use a thermometer inside the cooler
This is a straightforward method of ensuring that your food remains safe. Remove the thermometer from the refrigerator and place it in the cooler. A quick glance will reveal whether or not you are in the safe temperature zone. A cooler thermometer, such as this one, will provide readings in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, and will operate between -40°C and 50°C (-40°F and 120°F). It costs only a few dollars and eliminates the need for guessing when it comes to food storage. What do you intend to do with your time while camping is up to you.
3 Best Coolers to Keep Camping Food Cold
This soft-sided cooler has no leaks and is completely leak proof. In other words, even if your ice melts and begins to puddle, it will not get any other objects wet. It is equipped with a hydrolok zipper as well as highly robust carry straps. Check Amazon for the most up-to-date pricing. The empty weight is 5.5 pounds, and it has a capacity of up to 30 pounds of ice. That should help to bring everything to a halt. In terms of capacity, it can contain 24 cans of beer — if a 2:1 ice to beer ratio is utilized.
2. Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler
This is a traditional cooler, however it has significantly extended shelf life. On camping vacations, I’ve relied on this wheeled type for many years. And, by following some of the suggestions in this post, we’ve seen the ice continue for more than 5 days in some cases. Check Amazon for the most up-to-date pricing. This beast has a capacity of 95 cans and is equipped with an easy-to-use drain for any melted ice. If you have to go a long distance, the wheels and lengthy tow handle will come in handy.
3. Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler
It is insulated with two inches of polyurethane foam, which provides great ice retention. In addition, Pelican offers a somewhat unique guarantee: “If you break it, we replace it.” Forever!” Check Amazon for the most up-to-date pricing. It is available in nine different colors, making it ideal for use with the two-cooler method of keeping food cold.
6 Food Safety Tips for Campers
Anyone who doesn’t want to become sick when camping should keep some basic food safety guidelines in mind:
- Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meat and poultry apart from other foods at all times. “Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold,” as the saying goes, to prevent the spread of germs. Perishable goods should be consumed or thrown away within two hours after being removed from the refrigerator. Meat that is not yet cooked (such as raw beef, hog, or lamb) should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F or higher, whereas poultry that is not yet cooked should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Water should be brought in bottled form or boiled to ensure it is safe to consume. Washing dining utensils with clean water and soap might help you from becoming sick. Bring disposable wipes and/or hand sanitizer with you to keep your hands as clean as possible. Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat or poultry. To dispose of any leftover food and other debris, bring garbage bags with you.
Are you looking for a gift for the camper in your life? Check out our carefully picked selection of camping gifts.
12 Questions About Keeping Camping Food Cold
There are a variety of methods for keeping your food supply cold — even for several days in the wilderness. In order to summarize the recommendations above on how to keep food cold when camping, here is a list:
- Consider purchasing a high-quality cooler that is well-insulated. Several hours or the night before your travel, fill your cooler with ice and place it in the refrigerator. Block ice and dry ice should be used for longer-lasting results. By freezing water in water bottles or milk/juice containers, you may make your own ice blocks. Prepare your food in advance of your camping trip by freezing it a few days before you depart. Ice packs may be used to fill any air spaces in your cooler. Bring two coolers, one for drinks and the other for food, so you can alternate between them. Pack the cooler correctly by putting the meat on the bottom and the most frequently used goods on the top shelf
- Remember to always keep your cooler in the shade and covered with a blanket or tarp when not in use. Unless absolutely required, do not drain melted ice water. Make the majority of your drinking water ice cold
- Prepare some of your meals before departing on your journey
- Use a thermometer to ensure that food is kept at 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) or colder.
2. How long will a cooler keep food cold?
If the interior temperature of your cooler maintains below 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), your food will remain cold for as long as the cooler is in use. It is also a good idea to keep a thermometer on hand. It will assist to keep your food cold if you store ice or ice packs in your cooler. Even in extremely hot weather, block ice may survive between 5 and 7 days provided your cooler is well-insulated and stored properly.
Covering your cooler with a tarp or blanket provides additional insulation for your cooler, allowing it to keep food cold for a longer period of time. When the interior temperature of the cooler begins to rise, food should be consumed within a few hours.
3. How do you keep food cold without a cooler?
If you don’t have access to a cooler, one of the most effective ways to keep food cold is to use an athermal bag. When packed with ice packs and frozen or pre-chilled food, the thermal bag works in the same way as a cooler at keeping food cold for extended periods of time. No cooler or thermal bag on hand? No problem. You may make a DIY cooler by wrapping an unopened cardboard box in aluminum foil and placing a lid on top of the box. This will not keep food cold for as long as a cooler, but it will suffice if you’re only going on a picnic or a single overnight camping excursion.
Place your food in a container filled with cold, flowing water or keep it underground.
4. How do you store food while camping?
Wild birds and animals may sneak into your food storage area and take it if you leave it alone. Here are some food storage suggestions: More information on how to keep food when camping may be found in this video: You may see it on YouTube.
5. How long do insulated lunch bags keep food cold?
Insulated lunch bags can keep food cold for up to three days, and they can keep food cold for even longer if you stuff them with ice packs or frozen food. Nonetheless, don’t expect your ice to remain that long, particularly on a very hot day.
6. How can I keep food cold in a cooler for 2 days?
In the cooler, large blocks of ice will keep food fresh and chilled for at least two days. In addition to dry ice, you can buy bags of crushed ice at camp stores and keep your cooler filled with it, although crushed ice will melt more quickly. If you don’t have either of these, you can buy bags of crushed ice at camp stores and keep your cooler filled with it.
7. How long will ice packs keep a cooler cold?
For at least two days, large blocks of ice will keep the food fresh in the cooler. You may also use crushed ice, which you can purchase at camp stores and put in your cooler to keep food cold for extended periods of time. However, crushed ice will melt more quickly than dry ice.
8. How does a cooler keep things cold?
Coolers are available in a broad range of sizes, shapes, and brands, but they always function in the same way: by providing insulation, they keep things cool. In order to prevent heat from transferring into the cooler, a variety of materials are used to construct coolers of various sizes and shapes.
9. How do you keep drinks cold when camping?
Drinks may be frozen before departing for your camping trip and transported in a thermal bag instead of being kept on ice in a separate cooler from the food cooler. When freezing carbonated beverages, you must exercise caution since soda will swell and burst in the can or container from which it was originally packaged. If possible, pour the beverages into a separate container with enough space at the top to accommodate expansion during the cooking process. Drinks can also be kept cold by placing them under flowing water.
10. How do you keep eggs cold when camping?
No one wants broken eggs in their cooler, so figure out how many eggs you’ll need before you go for your camping trip to prevent this situation.
Crack each egg and store the yolks (either individually or combined) in a resealable container or plastic bottle before you leave the house for the day. Pack the containers in a cooler along with other cold items, and your eggs should remain chilled for many days.
11. How to keep food cold in a car?
You may invest in a portable automobile refrigerator, such as this one from Igloo. Alternatively, carry your food in a well-insulated cooler to keep it chilled while traveling in your car. It should be alright for the cooler and food to stay chilly while you’re traveling if your car has air conditioning. You should cover the cooler in the trunk of your car with a blanket or tarp during the summer or when your car is parked in order to keep it cold.
12. How to keep food cold while backpacking?
The thought of lugging around a large cooler while trekking would be absurd. As an alternative, you can place your food and beverages in a thermal bag. It is possible to pack these bags inside your backpack because they are small and lightweight. To keep the food cold, you may place it in the main section of the bag and then put ice packs in the pockets to keep it cool on the inside. Thermal bags can keep food cold for several days, especially if the food has been frozen or chilled before being placed in the bag.
We hope that this article has provided you with some useful information on how to keep food cold when camping. Any further recommendations that weren’t covered in this post would be appreciated. Please share your thoughts in the comments area.
How To Keep Food Cold While Camping
There’s nothing quite like sitting around a bonfire while enjoying the delicious aromas of a dinner being prepared. Many campers, however, are concerned about how to keep food cold while on a camping vacation. After all, the prospect of contracting food poisoning when stranded in the middle of nowhere should be enough to deter anyone. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the foolproof method of keeping your food cold on camping excursions, as well as some important considerations to keep in mind when doing so.
- Before you leave, put the food items in the freezer or refrigerator. Make your own or purchase some ice packs. Prepare your cooler by chilling it beforehand. Pack the food into your cooler in the proper manner. Pack your cooler as firmly as possible
- Minimize the amount of time you open the cooler
- Keep the cooler out of the direct sunlight
Related:Fancy a picnic in the fresh air? Check out our review of the best screen house tent– it’s a great way to keep the pests at bay!
1. Freeze or cool the food before leaving
Prepare your meals ahead of time if you want to reduce the amount of stress you experience when camping. This can alleviate a great deal of anxiety, particularly if your diet contains meat. Food and beverages should then be frozen or cooled before leaving the cooler, as this will help to keep the cooler chilly for a much longer period of time. As an added convenience, you can always purchase pre-frozen meals from your local grocery shop or petrol station to save time. You’ll want to store all of your food in freezer bags to save space.
When it comes to packaging fresh meat, extra caution should be exercised because any contamination might be fatal.
2. Pick up some ice packs (or make your own)
When camping, it’s critical to use the proper sort of ice to keep everything cool. It is absolutely OK to utilize a bag of loose ice cubes that you purchased at the shop for the purpose of chilling your cooler before you depart for your trip. However, this sort of ice is far from perfect for keeping food cold after you have left the premises. Because of the tiny cubes, a lot of air may get through, resulting in the ice melting fast. On top of that, a ripped bag or a shard of ice might result in water leaking everywhere.
- Block ice retains its cold for an extended period of time and is a far superior alternative.
- Additionally, the fact that the ice is compacted helps to prevent food from becoming moist in the cooler.
- Do you want to learn how to build your own ice blocks?
- When water and salt are combined, the melting point of water is reduced, allowing the process to proceed more quickly.
- Other methods for making ice packs more flexible include mixing in a little amount of dish detergent, which some people have found to be effective.
I strongly advise you to use freezer bags for this purpose. The last thing you want to come upon is a cooler brimming with ice water. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to use a different container, you may recycle a milk jug. Milk jugs can also be used to create a substantial block of ice.
Should I use dry ice?
Dry ice, which is formed from carbon dioxide rather than water, is extremely cold and has a long shelf life. Some campers choose to put dry ice packs in their coolers to keep the contents of their cooler as cold as possible. Dry icepacks, on the other hand, are not recommended as a routine practice since extra precautions must be followed while using them. In the event that you decide to utilize it, make sure to wear insulated gloves (yep, it gets that cold!). Another thing to consider is the fact that when dry ice melts, it produces carbon dioxide rather than water.
Finally, when the dry ice melts and the gas inside the cooler is released, the pressure inside the cooler rises.
In most cases, 10 pounds of dry ice will last for 24 hours.
3. Pre-chill your cooler
In order to transport perishable food items, it is necessary to bring along a cooler. However, you would not want your room-temperature cooler to be used to reheat all of your chilled and frozen foods. If you’re wondering how to keep a cooler cold, all you have to do is put some ice in it a few hours before you plan to load the food. The basic ice cubes that you can get at your local gas station are ideal for this purpose, albeit they should not be utilized while packing the meal. In addition, if you’re fortunate enough to have a large chest freezer, one of the most effective methods to keep it ultra cold is to place the entire cooler inside.
4. Properly pack food into your cooler
When packing a cooler for a camping trip, there is one basic guideline to follow: the food that has to be kept coldest should be placed closest to the bottom of the cooler, and vice versa. The bottom of the cooler should include any meat or frozen food products, with the top of the cooler containing perishable food items (including those that are more fragile). For meats or other foods where cross-contamination is a severe issue, double-pack them in freezer bags (what if a freezer bag tears?) and wrap them in aluminum foil to prevent bacterial growth.
Move it to the very top of the stack!
Create three layers of ice: one layer at the bottom, another layer above the meats, and a final layer of ice on top.
The less room available in the cooler, the longer the food will be able to maintain its temperature.
6. Open the cooler as little as possible to keep food cold
It is critical to maintain the chilly atmosphere inside the cooler at all times in order to keep food cold.
Heat pours in to replace the cold every time the lid is opened and closed once again. Keep your cooler closed as much as possible to prevent condensation.
7. Keep your cooler out of the sun
The one easy tip that will ensure that the ice melts and the food spoils is as follows: Allow it to bake in the sun! When camping, try to keep the cooler as close to the shade as possible in order to keep the food as cold as possible. Some of the most effective methods of obtaining shade are as follows:
- Set up your own tarp
- Campsites that have storage facilities
Keep an eye on the shadow since it may shift as the day progresses and the sun travels across the sky.
Pro tips for the cooler
A cooler is a must-have piece of camping equipment for anybody who enjoys a nice cookout while on the trail. A high-quality cooler will have stronger walls, greater insulation, and better locks, which will keep cold air within and warm air on the outside. As a result, a high-end chiller can keep everything frozen for several days at a time. Examples include this 54-quart Coleman cooler, which is well-insulated and can keep food cold for four days in temperatures as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Aside from having a stellar reputation as an outstanding cooler for keeping food cold when camping, the Yeti Tundra cooler also receives excellent reviews.
- how long it will stay cold).
- A more contemporary cooler will keep items colder for a significantly longer period of time.
- If you’re staying at a camping, you might want to consider carrying an electric cooler, or if you’re driving, you might use a vehicle refrigerator.
Bring two coolers to make the food last longer
One of the most critical aspects of keeping the cooler refrigerated is to keep it closed as much as possible. What is the most serious problem? Drinks. With each opening to get another sip, the cold air exits and is replaced by a surge of warm air, creating a vicious cycle. This is particularly problematic for individuals who are more physically active and require a considerable volume of drinking water to maintain their health. It is recommended that you bring two coolers, one for the food items and another for the drinks, if you have the room.
Make sure the two coolers are clearly distinguishable from one another so that you don’t continually dipping into the wrong one.
How to keep food cold while camping without a cooler?
When a cooler is unquestionably the most effective method of keeping your food chilled while camping, there are some options that may be utilized in an emergency. When filled with ice, thermal bags can help keep your food colder for longer. When it comes to keeping your food cold when traveling but not having to haul a cooler around, the Ice Mule is an ingenious option that is worth considering. A cooler backpack, in essence, since it offers many of the advantages of a cooler while also providing the adaptability required for getting out and about.
Finally, if you’re going vehicle camping, you might want to consider carrying a car refrigerator. A car refrigerator can be powered by the vehicle’s batteries, eliminating the need for ice.
Freezing water bottles
Are you planning on bringing a lot of drinking water on your camping trip? Consider putting a large amount of it in the freezer. The ice bottles may serve as big blocks of ice, allowing coolers to remain cold for an extended period of time. The downside is that they can take a long time to freeze in the first place and should be placed in the freezer at least 48 hours before leaving the house for the trip. Only thing to remember is not to freeze all of your water because you may need it in an emergency and frozen water bottles might take a long time to thaw.
Food safety guidelines on a camping trip
Some of the most fundamental food safety precautions that we take for granted at home are often forgotten when cooking outside, and this is especially true for children. Cold camping food is insufficient for assuring the safety of you and your loved ones when camping. Listed below are a few essential suggestions to keep in mind during your trip experience. Before and after handling food, it is critical to remember to wash your hands thoroughly. Bottled water or water from a nearby stream, providing the water is safe, can be utilized for this purpose.
- It is not permissible to utilize any of the ingredients for meat for other dishes.
- The food should be well cooked through before serving.
- Whether it comes to determining when food is safe to consume, a food thermometer is very useful.
- It is no one’s intention to become ill when camping due to food poisoning.
- Check the temperature of the cooler using a non-food thermometer placed inside.
Bring alternative options
It’s always a good idea to prepare for the worst case scenario while hoping for the best. If the cooler fails and the food becomes spoiled, what happens? Alternatively, the bag containing the raw meat ruptures, contaminating the remainder of the meal. On a camping trip, the last thing you want to happen is to be stranded without food, which is exactly what might happen. Always carry alternatives to perishable items and store them in a separate area from the perishables. A water filter may also be a very useful addition to your camping equipment collection.
Food that doesn’t need a cooler
Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is always sage advice. If the cooler fails and the food degrades, what should you do? Is it possible that the bag containing the raw meat ruptures, contaminating the remainder of the food supply?
When you’re on a camping vacation, the last thing you want to happen is to be stranded with no food. Make sure you have alternatives to perishable items on hand and store them in a different area. A water filter may also be a very useful addition to your camping equipment.
Over to you
Any recommendations on how to keep food cold while camping would be greatly appreciated. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! Please let us know if you like this content. That’s the only way we’ll be able to make progress.
Keeping Food Cold While Camping (21 Genius Methods)
Food must be kept cold at all times, which is difficult yet vital. I’ve written this essay to share with you all of the tips and techniques that I’ve acquired over the course of the last many years.
- Ice cubes from the grocery store will enough to chill your cooler. Purchase a high-quality cooler with excellent insulation. Purchase two coolers to keep beverages and food separate
- Open your cooler only when necessary to prevent warm air from entering
- Check to see if there is no available space in your cooler
- Stack the food in your cooler in layers to keep it chilled. Keep your cooler in a cool, dry place. Prepare your cooler by digging a hole in the sand and placing it inside. Do not use ordinary ice cubes
- Instead, use ice cubes that have been frozen. Thermal or dry ice packs should be purchased. Put your food in the freezer.
Let’s go into some additional specifics and pointers!
1. Know When Food Perishes
To begin, let’s review some general knowledge regarding food before getting into the meat of the text. Most food perishes in the first 24-48 hours if it is not kept cold by a cooler or some other means of chilling. Furthermore, once meat, eggs, and a variety of other items reach temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria begin to grow on them. You will need to purchase a thermometer to ensure that your cooler is indeed staying chilly at all times. You wouldn’t want to end up with food poisoning while on vacation, would you?
2. Don’t Bring Perishable Food
Another really efficient strategy that I recommend is to avoid bringing any perishable food. You may bring beef jerky or any other nutritional snacks that are airtight and won’t spoil with you to the meeting. Just remember to pack more water than you think you’ll need if you’re planning on eating any of these snacks. They contain a lot of salt, which helps to keep them fresh. You should also avoid bringing soft cheeses such as brie and mozzarella, if you plan on bringing cheese. Bringing hard matured cheeses such as cheddar or gouda can ensure that you have enough of food for a long period.
If you absolutely must pack perishable food, make sure to consume it as soon as possible during your camping vacation.
3. Cool Your Cooler
This is a method that you must know if you want to keep your meals cooler while traveling. I recommend that you get a bag of loose ice, the type of ice that you might buy at a grocery shop or petrol station. Simply place it in a cooler a few hours before packing to keep it chilled. When you’re through packing, just toss the ice out of the cooler and you’re done. You’ve got a nice, chilled cooler! Because coolers are normally kept at ambient temperature, this strategy is successful in most cases.
It is quite effective.
4. Get a Quality Cooler
This is something I cannot emphasize enough. I’ve seen folks purchase low-cost coolers under the impression that they are exactly the same as high-end coolers. You’ll need to spend a lot of money on a good cooler. Keep in mind that high-end coolers will set you back a couple hundred dollars more. I possess a Yeti Tundra 35, and you can read about my thoughts on it and my experiences with it on this page. In fact, I believe it is the greatest cooler currently available on the market. The higher cost is justified, however, by the thicker walls and improved insulation that they give.
The majority of high-quality coolers from reputable vendors will hold ice for three to four days!
Additionally, be certain that the cooler you purchase has a drain.
Because of the humidity, even ice packs and water bottles transform from solid ice to liquid water.
The final decision on whether or not to purchase a cooler that includes sophisticated technologies like as Bluetooth and speakers is up to you.
5. Get Another Cooler
Purchasing two coolers is another incredibly successful approach, however some people may choose not to do so because it is somewhat expensive. Most people just do not have the room or the financial resources to purchase separate coolers. This strategy is excellent because you can separate your drinks from your meals by putting them in separate coolers. Obviously, drinks will always be opened more frequently than food, leading your cooler to warm up more quickly than it should. The presence of two distinct coolers guarantees that the food cooler is accessed less frequently.
Also, be sure you label them with tape on the outside of the box!
The Ice Mule is a product that is now available on the market.
This option is especially useful if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have enough space in your vehicle to transport two coolers.
6. Don’t Open Your Cooler Often
As previously said, you should aim to avoid opening your cooler on a regular basis. This is due to the fact that when you open a cooler, heated air will rush in. No matter how brief a period of time you leave the door open, warm air will always storm in and begin to melt your ice a little bit more. Just remember to keep your cooler(s) closed as much as possible while not in use.
7. Pack Your Cooler Tightly
Another incredibly crucial consideration that should not be overlooked! The greater the amount of room available in your cooler, the warmer it will be. Only thing to remember is to fill every available space in your cooler with either food or ice.
8. Organize Your Cooler
It’s time to learn how to properly arrange your cooler, now that we’ve established that. Many folks have no idea what they’re doing and end up making a huge mess in their cooler. You must arrange food products according to how much refrigeration they require. The lower the temperature, the more refrigeration they’ll receive.
- First and foremost, you’ll want to put a layer of ice in the bottom of your cooler
- Second, you’ll want to put a layer of ice on top of that. After that, you may put any frozen meal, cooked meat, or raw meat on top of it. Add another layer of ice blocks on top of the meat to make it even colder. Stack products that have been sealed and packaged on top of that layer. Place your most fragile and frequently used things on top of the ones that have been sealed and packaged. Fill the remaining space in the cooler with ice.
Keep in mind that your food should not take up more than 60% of the space in your cooler, or else it will not be able to keep cool enough! As I indicated in the preceding phases, you should start with what you want to consume and work your way up to the very top. This keeps you from digging into the ground, allowing your cooler to last longer. You should thaw any frozen meat that you want to cook the next day by putting it in your cooler the night before. This also implies that your other food will remain cooler for a longer period of time as a result of the meat no longer being frozen.
9. Keep Your Cooler out of the Sun
In the same way that you would keep yourself out of the sun, you would want to keep your cooler out of the sun as well. The sun is one of the primary causes of coolers being overheated! If you really want it to be in the sun, or if you don’t know where to put it, you can always cover it with a tarp or some blankets to keep it from being too hot.
If at all possible, try to keep it in a cool, shaded environment. As a result, your food would remain colder for an exponentially greater length of time. If you’d like, you may put it in the trunk of your vehicle. Just make sure your cooler isn’t in direct sunlight or near heat sources.
10. Put Your Cooler in the Sand
Are you planning a trip to the beach or to the desert? This technique turned out to be quite beneficial, and I didn’t notice many other people using it. By digging a well in the sand and placing your cooler within, you may extend the life of your cooler by a day or two. Sand is really an excellent heat insulator, and the farther you dig into it, the colder it becomes! Simply sprinkle some Reflectix on the lid of your cooler and you’re good to go. It will divert the sun’s rays away from your heating system.
11. Try Evaporative Cooling
This is excellent for any type of product, including fruits and vegetables. It has the potential to extend their shelf life to up to 4 days, which is remarkable!
- Fill a porous bag (burlap or mesh works well) with vegetables
- Set aside. Wet the entire bag from top to bottom
- Make sure it is hung in an area with plenty of shade and breeze. The bag should be wetted again when it has dried (typically 2-3 times per day).
When storing food, you can also dig a hole in the ground to accommodate the need. Just keep in mind that it could become a little soiled. This approach, on the other hand, is not recommended because it is a bit dusty and insects may be able to get to your meal rather soon.
12. Use the Right Type of Ice
It is absolutely not acceptable to utilize ice from your neighborhood gas station or grocery shop! As previously said, I solely recommend this ice for use in your cooler to keep it chilled. You should only purchase this low-cost ice if you are in a rush because it is quite easy to obtain; however, keep in mind that your food will only last approximately 2 days if you do so. Bad ice will melt very fast, forming a pool of water around the ice cube. This ice should be avoided at all costs. If I were you, I’d just use it for beverages because it gets disgusting when it comes into contact with food.
13. Get Ice Packs
Avoid purchasing those bizarre gel packets from the shop. Most of the time, they’re blue in color. If you put them in your cooler, they will melt and ruin everything. I’ve done it before. It is quite efficient and beneficial to use thermal ice packs. Due to the fact that they may be used over and over again, they are also excellent money savers. Thermal ice packs are rather common, so you should be able to locate one that is the right size almost anyplace. You may also build your own ice packs; I will provide you with a selection of ice pack recipes to get you started.
- To begin, soak a few sponges in water until they are soft. Add a pinch of salt to make it freeze more quickly
- Put the sponges in the freezer for a while.
You may also construct ice packs that are more flexible:
- Put some dish soap in a Ziploc bag and freeze it. Add a pinch of salt to make it freeze more quickly
- Remove as much air as possible from the room
- Put it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
If you don’t have any of the items listed above, which is likely the case for most individuals, you may substitute rubbing alcohol.
- Get yourself a freezer bag
- Fill the bag halfway with 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 cups water
- Seal the bag. Remove all of the air from the freezer bag and tightly shut it
- Put it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
14. Separate Your Ice
This is something that not many people do, but it is very necessary if you are utilizing ice cubes. Placing ice cubes in a cooler is filthy and can result in contaminated ice being produced. The ice itself may also be a source of contamination, however this is quite unlikely! Keep ice in freezer bags to avoid melting. This will assist to keep the ice and cooler clean, and you may even utilize the ice to make drinks with later on.
15. Pack Your Food Properly
You don’t want your food to be polluted in the same way that you don’t want your ice to be contaminated in the first place. All food, with the exception of raw meat, should be placed in non-permeable bags. This will shield it from any ice melt, preventing your meal from becoming mushy!
If you divide your ice in the manner shown above, you won’t have to worry about it becoming soggy. Place any raw meat in plastic freezer bags to prevent the meat from being infected in your cooler. Raw meat contains a high concentration of potentially harmful microorganisms!
16. Bring Frozen Food
Food that has been frozen will remain colder for a significantly longer period of time. It will also chill anything else in its immediate vicinity. You may pack it in the same way that airplanes do since airline food is usually frozen. Here’s a guide on storing food in the freezer. Freeze anything you can get your hands on. Before going on a camping vacation, be sure you freeze all of your food, including meat, veggies, and perishables. In the event that you are pressed for time, you may always opt to purchase frozen food from your local grocery shop rather than fresh produce.
It’s possible that it picked up some pathogens.
Keeping the cooler and beverages colder for a longer period of time is a great benefit!
17. Freeze Your Water
When I go camping, this is the approach that I always use to cook my meals. It has shown to be more successful than any other method I’ve tried. Bottles of frozen water should take up any remaining space in your cooler. These might be 2-liter bottles or any other type of bottle that you choose. Keep in mind that you must freeze them a few days in advance of cooking them! Large bottles might take up to a week to freeze completely. For those who don’t have time, you may just pour 1/4 cup of salt to the bottom of a water bottle and fill it up with water instead.
Just remember to mark any bottles that contain salt to ensure that you don’t unintentionally consume them!
Another fantastic advantage of using this strategy is that you’ll ultimately have some cold water remained to drink once your cooler has warmed up a little bit.
18. Add Salt
As previously stated, salt has the effect of lowering the boiling point. Just be careful not to put salt on the ice cubes, since this may cause them to melt incredibly quickly! I recommend carrying a large amount of salt with you on your camping trip since you can add salt to your cooler after the ice starts to melt in the sun. When melting water and salt are combined, the result is water that is colder than ice! This will allow your cooler to last far longer than it would otherwise. Just keep in mind that, like with everything else, moderation is key.
19. Get Dry Ice Packs
Dry ice packs, it seems insane, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not a particularly uncommon occurrence! Because it is so cold, dry ice effectively keeps food frozen. Normal ice just serves to keep your meal “cool.” You may thus anticipate your food shelf life to be greatly increased if you use dry ice in your cooking.
On the market, there are large quantities of these products. Make every effort to obtain the largest specimens possible! There are a large number of high-quality dry ice packs available on the market. I’ll go into more detail on making your own dry ice later on.
20. Use Dry Ice
Dry ice will persist far longer than ice due to the fact that it is frozen carbon dioxide. Ice is just a kind of water that has been frozen. As previously stated, dry ice is really far colder than ice, as seen by the graph below. Did you know that dry ice, unlike water, does not melt or leave any residue behind? Instead of turning into a liquid, it really becomes a gas. Due to the high pressure created in your cooler, it will remain colder for an even longer period of time as a result of this procedure.
I propose that you get dry ice as soon as possible before going camping.
- Dry ice should be wrapped in a couple layers of newspaper. Place the dry ice on top of the food you’re preparing. Regular ice or ice packs should be placed beneath your food.
Only use dry ice to cover your food, and make sure it doesn’t come into touch with any water! Also, you should avoid touching dry ice with your hands directly; you should use gloves instead. As previously said, it will release gas. Carbon dioxide can be hazardous, so make sure to store it in the trunk or rear of your truck at all times. Make sure it’s stored away from any tents or dogs to avoid damage. Dry ice is available at Walmart, Costco, and Safeway, among other places. Some businesses may need you to be over the age of 18 in order to purchase dry ice.
21. Get Backups
When you go camping, especially alone, you should always have a back-up plan. If all else fails, stock up on a variety of snack bars and non-perishable foods. If you ever find yourself without access to water, you may purchase a water filter. Always remember to keep an additional gallon of water on hand!
How to Keep Food Cold While Camping
Camping is a lot of fun and a great way to create lifelong memories, but it can be difficult when it comes to meal preparation. Because carrying a refrigerator on your back is not a practical option, you’ll need to figure out a way to keep food safe and cold during your journey. This depends on whether you’re hauling everything on your back or if you have the luxury of a car or canoe to help with the heavy lifting and transportation. In either case, you have a plethora of tried-and-true alternatives.
When you have the option of a cooler
When tent campers are at a location that is accessible by vehicle or where they can bring their stuff in by canoe or other boat, food safety is much easier to ensure. So you may carry one or more coolers, which are simply scaled-down versions of the iceboxes people used to use before refrigerators were widely available. There are five things you may use to keep your foods cool, and you can use them in different combinations: loose ice, block ice, frozen gel packs, dry ice, and the food itself.
Each has its own set of pros and cons, which may be debated in great detail on internet camping forums like this one.
The importance of food, on the other hand, is frequently underestimated. Food that is frozen from the beginning will last longer and will assist in keeping other items cold until it thaws.
My cooler is cooler than yours
To get the greatest results from your cooler packing, there are a few tricks to keep in mind. The first thing to remember is that if you have the option of carrying more than one cooler, place the more perishable things – meats or eggs, for example – in one, and the less-essential items, such as snacks and beverages, in the other. As a result, you will open the cooler less frequently, and the contents will remain cooler longer. It is beneficial to place a piece of long-lasting block ice or dry ice at the bottom of the container and then use loose ice to fill up the areas surrounding your meal.
Use cooling racks or trivets at the bottom of your container if you’re using ice to protect your ice and food from becoming wet from melting water.
Frozen water bottles are also effective instruments for chilling, and they have the added virtue of being drinkable after they have thawed.
Alternative cooling methods for backpackers
The fact that you’re leaving the automobile behind means that your options are more restricted when it comes to packing light for a backpacking trip. A portable lunch kit that is both lightweight and insulated is a helpful carry-along item: The gel packs and frozen meats or prepared meals may be stored in it for up to two days, and it will keep them cold for several days. Freezing steaks, chops, or burgers in separate bags with a liquid marinade will help keep them colder for extended periods of time in your backpack since the marinade functions as a little ice pack on its own while in storage.
Wrap the meal in a damp cloth or towel, and the moisture will evaporate, allowing the food to chill as it is absorbed.
A quick primer on food safety
Preparation and correct food handling are required to ensure that your food is safe while you’re on your camping trip. The preparation phase begins during the planning phase: you always want to consume the more perishable meals during the first day or two of the trip and save the more durable foods for later in the journey. For food handling, the same safety precautions you would use everywhere else — hygiene, sanitation, and temperature – apply in the woods as they would in any other setting.
Raw foods should not come into contact with cooked meals, and foods should be stored and cooked at the proper temperatures.
Purchase an affordable fridge thermometer for each cooler so that you can ensure that your perishables are kept at or below 40 degrees F. You can also use an instant-read thermometer to ensure that your meals have been cooked or reheated to the proper temperature for the recipe.
A smart option: carrying fewer perishable foods
You may make your life a lot easier by putting some attention to the meals you eat and selecting ones that require the least amount of chilling. Hamburgers cooked over a campfire might be your Very Favorite Thing Ever, but they’re also notoriously difficult to keep fresh. Dry-cured sausages and jerky, on the other hand, may be stored at room temperature for an extended period of time. One simple mental exercise is to imagine yourself in the supermarket, looking at the various goods on the shelves.
After all, driving (or worse, trekking) for kilometers to go to the nearest store is probably not what you had in mind when you opted to go camping in the first place.