This is essentially a beginner’s guide to using coolers while camping. A lot of the tips, you may already know. Read through and leave a tip at the end that you know of that wasn’t in the post.
Do I need a cooler when camping?
Having a good quality cooler is important. Heck, I suggest you have two. One for your drinks and one for food. Of course if you plan on camping with different amounts of people, then you will need different sizes as well. If you can find a size that will work for both, obviously save the money.
It all depends on the number of people and the amount of time you are out. It might be a short night, early morning deal where you won’t need a cooler. If you are hiking or backpacking, you don’t want to be hauling a big cooler around.
Can goods or dry ingredients are best for hiking and backpacking trips. Use your common sense and find one that works best for you. I will provide tips to help you.
The coolers best friend is ice. Be prepared to either stop at a store or pre make your own before you leave.
Tips to Making Your Ice Last Longer
Another tip is to have the drinks and food already cooled down. If you can freeze anything (water bottle), do it.
Packing your equipment, such as sleeping bags, pillows, and clothing around your cooler will help keep it insulated.
The bigger the cubes, the long it’s going to last. But, if you need to cool it down fast, having crushed ice will cover more space.
Keep the cooler in the shade or out of the sun.
Always make sure the lid to the cooler gets closed all the way. Think about what you are going to get out before you open the lid. Be sure to remind the kids of these tips too.
How Should I Pack a Camping Cooler?
Always put your ice in last. Once the ice is in, it’s difficult to put stuff down in into the ice. The ice has to go out and up if you do. Plus hot air rises and cold air goes down.
First, put the foods in that will be used last or toward the end of your stay. Try to plan out your meals. If you know that it will be used in the beginning or something you will use frequently, put it on the top layer.
To be safe, store meat and dairy on top of the ice or within it. Remember it will melt. This means if you want to keep any of the foods dry, store them in plastic bags.
You do NOT want to drain the ice cold water. That’s just as good as ice. If you have extra ice that’s not in the cooler, maybe it’s melting, feel free to empty the water and add some more. Of course, that’s not the only time you want to remove the water, but you get the point. Use your best judgement.
Last but not least, you want to make sure you always empty, drain and clean out your camping cooler every time. Do this as soon as possible. This will help keep your cooler from growing mold or other nasty things, such as bugs making it their home. Also, make sure it’s completely dry before closing the lid and storing it.