The last thing you need is to open your cooler only to find your cans, dry ice, and hot dogs half-open on your camping trip. If this has happened before and you are afraid it may reoccur, we’ve shared some tips for packing cans and, ultimately, your cooler correctly, so your food stays chilled to perfection throughout your adventure.
Type of Cooler
According to Quality Logo, coolers vary by weight, shape, size, and material. The only similarity they have is that they’re used to store dry ice to keep your food and beverage chilled till the end of your adventure. Without further ado, learn more about the different types of coolers.
According to Fresh off the Grid, a top-performing cooler should have an ice-to-content ratio of at least 2:1. That means if you get a small cooler, its performance will dwindle. On the other hand, a larger cooler might not provide the insulation benefits you deserve.
Therefore, it’s vital to shop for an ideal-sized cooler to prevent ruining any performance advantage you intend to gain. It’s best if you had a two-cooler system that separates foods and drinks that need extra chilling from those that don’t.
Cooling materials vary depending on your intention for the cooler, how well it’s insulated, and how many things you’ve kept inside. Coolers are made from materials like:
- Metal- They are made using stainless steel or aluminum. Unlike plastics, they’re heavyweight but are favorable for large events such as barbecue hosting or weddings.
- Robust plastic comes built with easy-to-carry handles and can be wheeled, making them perfect for outdoor events like camping and picnics.
- Canvas is moisture-resistant, making them perfect for business events and lunch meetings.
- Cotton- Like canvas, cotton can resist moisture and is light in weight. Its simplistic style makes it ideal for picnics or camping.
- Neoprene- It’s easy to clean, perfect for a camping trip.
- Nylon- This is a robust material, relieving you of the worry of wear and tear. If you’re into long road trips requiring refreshments, nylon is the best choice.
- Polyester- It dries out fast and is easy to clean, making it convenient for intense outdoor events like camping
- Polypropylene- It’s a strong material that works best in hiking expeditions and camping adventures.
- Styrofoam- It’s prone to dirt and gunk, making it ideal for indoor use.
- Vinyl- It’s an excellent material for camping trips because it’s affordable and durable.
Pack Food and Drinks the Right Way
When packing food and drinks in your cooler box, make sure the ones that need extra cooling stay at the bottom. For example, you should start with beer/soda cans. Store them at the bottom of the container and add a layer of ice packs. Continue layering them and ice packs until you reach the top.
Set aside one side of the cooler for refreshments so you can reach them without interfering with the other foods or leaving the cold air to slip out. One trick of preventing this is packing by meal. Any meal you take on the last day should remain at the bottom. Ensure the meal you’ll eat on day one is at the top.
Foods like meat, chicken, and fruits need freezing before packing them in a cooler. To ensure your food stays cold, remove them from its original containers. Re-pack them in rigid plastic containers that are less likely to leak. For eggs, they are more prone to breaking. So, when packing them, add a card box on the sides to prevent them from breaking during transportation.
How to pack the dry ice in the cooler
Dry ice boasts the power to keep ice from melting over time, ensuring your foods remain fresh and chilled. Here is how to pack dry ice in the cooler:
Step 1: Wear gloves to protect your hands from frostbite from the ice
Step 2: Use newspapers or cardboards to cover the dry ice, increasing its insulation capabilities
Step 3: Pour the dry ice at the bottom of the cooler
Step 4: Layer condensed ice over the dry ice
Step 5: Add the foods and cans that need chilling
Step 6: Layer regular ice over the top of the items
Remember, items that don’t be chilled need dry ice and regular ice cubes. The trick is to start by pouring the dry ice at the bottom before adding a layer of regular ice on top of it. Both dry and normal ice can ensure your items get chilled for more than eight hours when done correctly.
How to pack your cans in a cooler
Whether you’re looking to pack your beer cans or soda cans, your packing style can make your camping trip tremendous or dwindle your efforts. Learn how to pack your cans through these simple steps:
Step 1: Arrange your cans by stacking them on top of each other. Don’t huddle them anyhow. Leave a 2-inch space between each column.
Step 2: Cover the beer cans with a layer of ice and gently shake the cooler so that ice fills the spaces between the beer or soda cans. Next, pour a fair amount of ice on the beer while sprinkling rock salt to melt the ice, making a cold layer around your cans.
Step 3: Put the following line off cans and repeat the ice pouring process. This ensures the cans have enough space and remain cooler.
How to pack a cooler for camping
On the day of your camping trip, there are a few ways to prep your cooker to make it successful. Here is how to go about it.
Step 1: Bring your cooler inside a day before your trip for inspection and cleaning.
Step 2: Clean it using lukewarm water and disinfectant in a spray bottle. If it’s in good condition, start by cleaning the interior before proceeding to the exteriors. Put it out to dry or use a dry cloth.
Step 3: Pre-Chill. Pour cold water a few hours into your trip. Put dry ice in the frozen water before reloading with fresh ice again. This should help the interior of your cooler to acclimatize and start cold.
Step 4: Put separate sections for your food and refreshments by stacking the least-used ones at the bottom. Cover the cooler tightly. Now it’s ready for use. You can put it in your car.
Prepping your cooler and packing foods and refreshments the right way will help you have a great camping experience. Remember that the type of cooler and material significantly used impacts its cooling performance. When shopping, don’t dwell on the brands alone. Study the specs to determine if they’ll match your camping needs.