10 Tips for Keeping your Cooler Cool {Infographic}

10 Tips for Keeping your Cooler Cool {Infographic} 6 Rating(s)

10 Tips for Keeping Your Cooler CoolAfter a long walk and surviving the sun’s unforgiving heatwave, you finally reach your hiking summit, armed with delicious snacks stored in your cooler; you open your cooler only to see a sandwich suspended in a pool of melted ice – this is the picnicker’s nightmare.

Well, don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Before you go on your next picnic or hiking trip, you might find useful these 10 tips for helping your cooler stay colder longer.

1. Clean the cooler before each trip

Before you go on your day trip equipped with your best small cooler, it is always advisable to clean it to make sure that there is no mold or mildew present; possible meat juice leakage could be still present inside the cooler which can lead to potential contamination of other food items stored in the cooler next.

(Note: New coolers could still contain manufacturing residue, always clean your cooler before using!)

You can use standard dishwasher liquid with warm water. Wash the inside thoroughly and rinse. If there are remaining odors from previous trips, you can wash the cooler with vinegar or rub lemons on the inside and then rinse.

2. Pre-chill cooler night before

Give your cooler a head start; It helps to pre-chill the cooler the night before use, especially if it is stored in a hot area of your home (a warm cooler would need to lower its own temperature first, melting ice contents more quickly).
Simply dump a bag of ice in it, close the lid tightly and let it cool overnight for a few hours before packing it. You can always keep the leftover ice in it when you pack it.

3. Tightly pack ice

Make sure that your ice is packed tightly together so that it will last longer. If the ice is loosely packed there is more surface area exposed to the warm air.

Do not use crushed ice if you intend to go on a long trip. Smaller pieces create a larger surface area which results in the ice melting quicker. Use cubes or, if the cooler is big enough, ice blocks will be better.

4. ‘First in last out’ Rule

It is always a good rule to follow the rule that whatever goes in first would be the last to come out of the cooler.
Pack the perishable items that are not frequently used at the bottom of the cooler and keep items like snacks on the top. If you continuously dig to the bottom, the cold air will escape resulting in the ice melting more quickly.

5. Separate frozen meat

All your meats and fish should be kept at the bottom of the cooler because that is where the temperature is at its coldest. When you pack your food items, if they are already frozen it will assist in keeping the cooler cool and in turn, the ice will also last longer.

(Note: Always pack frozen meat in water-tight containers or bags to avoid contamination of drinks and water bottles with meat products or juices.)

How to Keep a Cooler Cool Infographic

6. Drinks & Bottles

Surround drinks and bottles with ice; it is best to pack drinks that are already cold. Do not try and freeze bottled drinks packed in glass. (They will shatter)
Keep drinks just above the frozen meat – this would be a nice cool place to keep drinks and bottles colder for a longer time.

7. Packing Coolers with frozen water bottles

Once you have packed the cooler and there are gaps, pack frozen water bottles in these spaces. That serves two purposes by helping to keep the temperature low and can be used as cold drinking water later.

8. Stay out of the sun

The sun’s radiation is the main culprit of melted coolers.
When you have arrived at your camping site or picnic spot, always look for a tree or find a nice shady area to store your cooler. Also, make sure that it will be covered by shade for the whole day as the sun changes position.

9. Have a separate Cooler

If the trip is going to be exceptionally long, it is better to have a dedicated cooler for ice which can be used to replenish melted ice that has melted in the cooler that your foodstuff and drinks are being stored in. Replenish ice only when it is necessary as your cooler will heat up when the lid is opened.

10. Improve your cooler

Higher end coolers like the Yeti Cooler have a greater ice retention than an off-brand superstore cooler. To keep the inside of your cooler from looking like a pool of water at the end of the day, there are several knock-off Yeti coolers which provide similar performance. 

At this point, you have at least learned one tip to help keep your cooler stay colder for longer! Whether going on a picnic or a 3-day long hiking trip, these tips are universal and will help you get the most out of your cooler. My personal favorite tip is to pack frozen water bottles – it acts as temporary ice, and when it starts to melt, it’s perfect drinking water.

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May 10th, 2017

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