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7 Tips To Keep Food Cold While Camping

Keep Food Cold While Camping

How To Keep Food Cold While Camping

Nowadays technology has taken us all around the world and allows us to be seamlessly connected and reachable. However, to maintain a healthy balance, it is important to sometimes unplug, sit back, relax, and unwind, and camping is quickly emerging as one of the more favorable options to achieve that.

Keep Food Cold While Camping
Keep Food Cold While Camping

The two things which form the essence of camping are the location and food. And while the location may be an individual preference, maintaining the freshness of food is a necessity for every camper. So here are some tips to keep food cold while camping.

Use regular and dry ice packs

Ice is your best friend when you are out camping and the only thing that will keep the temperatures in check in the wilderness. You can use ice in various forms, be it dry or regular.

Dry ice is simply carbon dioxide in solid form. You must be very cautious and handle it with tongs or while wearing insulated gloves as they can cause injuries similar to burns. When using ice packs to cool food, it is better to place it on top as the coolness tend to settle down in case of dry ice. Also, you should avoid placing it with carbonated drinks, lest you want them to explode.

Regular ice packs can be bought in the market and have much lesser temperatures, thus, can be handled easily. However, unlike dry ice that converts directly from solid to gas, regular ice will result in puddles of water.

Camping in Lake Holon photo via Lake Holon FB Page
Camping in Lake Holon photo via Lake Holon FB Page

Place the ice packs in the cooler

It is not enough to carry around your food and the ice packs in just any container, rather a cooler would better serve the purpose. You are able to choose the best coolers for camping at the market.

However, spending a little money on quality cooler will not only save you from all the hassle but will also serve as an investment.

People use different ways to place the ice packs on the cooler. But, one of the more efficient ways is to line the bottom with regular ice packs, keep frozen food on top of it, add some more insulation, keep more food, and then top it with dry ice. The combination of ice and cooler keeps the food from perishing for days.

Overnight camping
Overnight camping

Add salt

When you add salt to ice, it melts at a much slower rate. This can be explained by the fact that salt has a lower freezing point than water and when you add salt to the water, the freezing point of water goes down as well. So when you want to preserve the temperature inside the cooler, just add salt to the ice-packed box and you are good to go.

A similar effect can be achieved by freezing salty water. The ice formed that way will have a reduced melting point and thus will liquidate at a much slower rate. This technique of salting the ice was used in ancient times to make ice-creams and is still followed today in many areas where people don’t have access to refrigerators.

Do not leave empty spaces

While ice is your best friend, air can be your biggest enemy. Try to cut off any and all empty spaces.

You can achieve this by putting loose ice cubes in tiny spaces, and insulting other areas with the help of kitchen towels and newspapers. The cooler should always be shut tight properly to ensure cutting down the air circulation to the minimum.

Freeze everything that can be frozen

You should freeze everything that can be frozen or has some water content in it. Say, instead of carrying normal water, freeze your water bottles, or even your beer cans, and later in the day after some time has passed, you will have cold water and beer at your disposal.

In fact, these will act as extra ice for your cooler. Even in the case of food, if you are carrying meats and vegetables, try to take them in frozen form to add to the same effect and to keep them for longer. What helps the most is if you chill the cooler with ice before putting in the products.

Avoid the sun

A cooler works more efficiently when it is cold both from the inside and the outside. One method to ensure this is to not put your cooler in a hot area before you have started filling it. Try to keep it in a cool, shaded area before your trip begins, so as to retain its essence. Now as you proceed towards filling all that dry ice, regular ice, your ice water bottles and cans, and frozen food, you still need to keep in mind that it is not enough.

You should avoid placing the cooler in the sun even as you have arrived at your camp. Even if you have the best cooler for camping, you must keep it in a shady area, like under a tree helps a lot. It would also be very effective if you could keep the cooler at a slightly raised platform say by placing wooden stands under it. Raising the cooler this way keeps it from coming in direct contact with the hot ground.

Camping Area
Camping Area

Do not open often

When you are out in the open, do not open your cooler more than needed. In fact, the very reason why air is your cooler’s enemy comes into play here as well

If you frequently open the cooler, not only will the hot air from the surroundings go in, but also the cool air from inside will come out, thus making the temperature inside a whole lot warmer. This disrupts the internal temperatures and hence the ice retention capabilities. Families with children might find it tougher to follow this step.


All in all, when going for outings, the fewer things one has to worry about, the better and if these seven simple tips are followed, then food becomes one less thing to worry about. In the end, just enjoy your time, the greenery and calm, your food, and happy camping.

About the Author:

Hi, friends! My name is Cindy. I love being outdoors, and If I’m not out on the town, you will most likely find me camping. When I began camping a couple of years ago, I didn’t have much knowledge about camping and made lots of mistakes. But now, I have gained lots of experience on camping, and that’s why I want to share with all of you – my readers.

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Also see: 15 Beach Camping Destinations in the Philippines

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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