Camping trips are the most exciting experiences you can get in your lifetime. It is also one of the best ways to create lifelong memories. However, proper planning is necessary to make an outdoor trip successful and more enjoyable.
When it comes to camping, one of the main challenges you will face is preserving your goods and drinks. This is because, foods are perishable, and you cannot keep them fresh for a long time without a refrigerator. Without storing the food under the right temperature may lead to food poisoning.
Taking a refrigerator in your camping area is not a practical solution. So, how can you preserve your foods while camping?
No worry. In this article, I will be showing you how to keep foods and beverages cold while camping.
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Let’s jump right into it:
Get a High Performing Cooler
Portable coolers or ice chests are like portable refrigerators. These are made for keeping ice cold for a longer time without any electric power. A portable cooler is usually constructed using interior and exterior shells of plastic with hard foam in between. This kind of construction ensures good insulation and keeps the ice cold for several days.
Modern coolers are made using roto-molded construction (a single plastic construction technology). These are extremely durable and great for keeping ice cold for the longest time.
While it may look pointless to spend a few hundred dollars for a high-end rotomolded cooler, it truly helps you keep your things cold during camping. You will find a lot of brands offering various types of coolers in the market. Try to pick the best performing cooler with proper size and carrying options so that it is easy to transport along with the rest of your luggage. This will help you a lot with keeping your foods and drinks cold for a longer time.
Pack the Cooler in Right way
After getting a high-end cooler, the next thing is to pack it in the right way. There are some factors that impact the ice retention capacity of a cooler. Proper packing helps to maximize the ice retention time and get the best performance from a cooler. Followings are some of the useful tips on packing a cooler:
Pre-Cool the Cooler Before Packing
It’s not a wise decision to pack your foods in a warm cooler. This is because the warm cooler consumes a significant amount of ice to bring down the heat. What you can do is keep the cooler at room temperature overnight before packing it. You can also pack some home ice inside the cooler to make it cool.
Pre-Cool the Foods and Drinks
Pre-cooling the foods and drinks is also necessary before packing them in a cooler. This will contribute a lot to the overall cooling of the cooler by consuming less ice. Keep your food and beverages inside a refrigerator overnight to make them cool before packing into a cooler.
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Use Dry Ice
To get better insulation from a cooler, you’ll need long-lasting ice packs. Dry ice packs are great for cooler and perform better than regular ice. So, it’s better to use dry ice into the cooler. Most of the cooler brand suggests maintaining the standard 2:1 ice-to-content ratio. Make sure you pack twice ice than your foods and drinks.
Pack Items in Layers
You can reduce the opening of a cooler by maintaining the proper layers while packing. Pack ice at the bottom of the cooler, then store large bottles of beer, after than make another layer of ice, then pack the dry food items. Finally, make another layer with ice.
Add Salt to the Ice
This may be surprising but an effective way to reduce the ice from melting. The water becomes colder when mixing rock salt. So, your food will retain coldness for a longer time.
However, you shouldn’t use too much salt in a cooler. This will become poisonous and make your foods taste salty.
Ensure no Air Gaps Inside the Cooler
Make sure there is no empty space inside the cooler. The empty space will accelerate the ice melt to cool the air left inside the cooler. Try to pack as much ice as you can. You can use a paper towel or other lightweight things to fill the extra space and avoid the extra weight of ice.
These are some useful tips that you can follow to pack your cooler for better ice retention. Most of the rotomolded cooler can hold ice for more than 2-3 days. If you pack and use the cooler properly, you will be able to get the maximum ice retention time from it.
Here are some other useful tips on maximizing the ice life of a cooler and preserve your foods and drinks for a long time while camping:
Keep the Lid Closed
Most coolers come with rubber latches and gasket to ensure a tight seal. You should keep the lid closed after packing it. Some cooler comes with an integrated locking system which is more useful for keeping the lid closed.
Keep the Cooler Under Shade
Coolers are made for absorbing less heat. But that doesn’t mean you should keep them under the hot sun. The outside temperature impacts a lot on keeping ice cold inside a cooler. If you want to keep your foods cold for a longer time, make sure you keep the cooler under shade. This can be anywhere like under a tree or inside your tent. You can also cover the cooler with a blanket or towel if there’s no shade available.
Frequent opening kills ice faster especially if you are in a hot weather condition. Every time you open a cooler the cool air replaced by the warm air. This reduces the ice holding capacity of the cooler. So, try to limit the opening of your cooler. Only open it when you need it.
Improper storing of your foods and drinks during a camping trip may lead to serious or embarrassing health problems such as food poisoning. Using a portable cooler will not only save your food but also make your entire camping trip more enjoyable. I hope the above tips will help you preserve your foods and drinks during your camping or other outdoor trips.