How to Make Food in Your Cooler Last for a Long Trip


A cooler is a great thing to invest in, especially if you go camping a lot. Coolers keep your food cold and allow you to use it as you need it. However, you shouldn’t just throw everything into your cooler and throw ice on top of it. That will probably result in uneven cooling and mushy food. Yuck! When you properly pack your food you’re utilizing all the space, letting everything cool equally, and making sure that all your food isn’t getting squashed. Here’s the how to make your food last in your cooler.  

How to Make Food in Your Cooler Last

Let the Cooler Get Cold

A cold cooler stays cold longer. Put your cooler outside in the cool night air the night before you leave on a trip. Or leave it in the snow if there is any. A cooler that is already cold will keep food cold much longer. Imagine putting food into a hot cooler that’s been in the hot garage for weeks. Your ice would melt as soon as it touches the cooler. 

Use Blocks Not Cubes

Using ice blocks instead of cubes will help your ice to last longer. Since ice blocks are much larger than ice cubes, they don’t melt as fast. You can buy your own ice blocks or you can just make your own by freezing water in big a Tupperware. The only problem is that if you want ice for drinks or anything you’ll need to try to chip it off of the ice blocks instead of grabbing a couple of cubes. 

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Image Source: Go Camping America

Start With Frozen Food

Freeze your food before you put it into the cooler. This will add more cooling power and it’ll keep your food safer. Starting out with thawed chicken in your cooler could result in bacteria growth if the cooler doesn’t quite get cool enough. Frozen chicken will slowly thaw out and be ready to cook when you need it. It’s just like an extra block of ice! Freezing all of your water bottles works really well too. 

Provide a Barrier

Put all of your ice blocks on the bottom of the cooler then put a piece of cardboard over the top of the ice. Then put your food on top of the cardboard. This will prevent any of your food from getting too wet. The last thing you want is a loaf of soggy bread that is inedible. Adding an extra layer between the ice will also help better insulate your cooler. 

Keep It Closed

This seems like a no-brainer but some people don’t realize how often they keep their cooler open. As soon as you’re done getting your food from the cooler, you need to close and latch it. This will prevent any precious cool air from getting out. Don’t let the cooler stay open like a picnic where everyone can go and grab their drinks. You’ve got precious food inside that cooler! Don’t risk letting it get warm. Keeping an organized cooler where everything has a specific spot will also limit the amount of time the cooler is open while you are looking for something. 

Summing Up

Packing your cooler correctly actually makes a huge difference in how long your food will last and the quality of your food. Don’t just dump everything in your cooler and hope for the best. Planning, preparing, and organizing will save you time, money, and frustration. Otherwise, you might have to throw out perfectly good food that you bought because it went bad or because it got all soggy. Use these methods to properly pack your cooler and you’ll have a great trip wherever you go because all your food will last. 

Image Source: Fresh Off The Grid

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