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The most exciting part of camping is the food and for people like us, keeping the food fresh and the drinks cold is the highlight of camping. The summer heat can be overwhelming and the first thing that might come to your mind will be how to pack a cooler for camping. Packing a cooler for camping seems very easy, but there is a technique to it. Most camping trips require that you go deep into areas that are far from electricity and of course ice. Some people have even gone out on camping trips for days in the hot weather and knowing how to pack a cooler almost becomes a necessity and not a luxury.

In the beginning, people did not put much thought into finding the best way to pack a cooler for camping. All they thought was necessary was pouring a large number of frozen blocks of water over drinks and that was it. In no time, people found themselves eating what seemed like food that was meant to be refrigerated food but for several reasons were several bars below par. As for the drinks, the least said, the better. People then had to travel for miles into inhabited land to look for ice. Most were not lucky with their ice treasure hunt. Most places did not produce solely ice at the temperature that could be used to make solid ice blocks.

More than a few of these failed encounters with ice and chests made campers scramble for the best ideas on how to pack a cooler for camping. For those with lots of questions on how to keep food cold while camping, we’ve got you covered. Doing research was of the utmost importance since it looked as if the average person had no idea what to do with ice and ice chests. After much research and deliberation with the experts on the World Wide Web, a few of these ideas came up as the best way to pack ice. We tried them all. Some worked, some failed. However, the practices combined in this article are among some of the best options we found as we undertook several arduous research trials to come up with good enough options to share.


We are now ready to share the results of our research with you so that your camping experience will not have the same bad experiences we encountered when we began. Follow these tips closely for the absolute best camping experience with your camp cooler.

1. Change Your Cold Storage Box

The newer chests have been tested and have been seen to have much better insulation than the older sets. This is really not the time to be frugal. You might have to pay for the quality you want, also outrageous prices are unnecessary. You can get a great chest for a good price. Get a container with insulation that is about 2 inches thick. Also if there are brands you trust, you can opt for those ones once the insulation is thick enough.

2. Two Storages Are Better

If your camping size is large, opt for two or more chests, each doing a specific job, rather than combining all your foods together. This is because the tendencies of opening your drink ice chest more are higher, causing the storage box to become warmer faster. This might not bode well for food stored in the same cooler. People might also want to dig down deep to get their coldest drink at the bottom of the cold storage box, thereby allowing several hands into the food and interrupting the entire cooking process. Get a second storage box if it’s affordable so that the food remains untouched till it’s ready to be eaten.

3. Prep Your Storage Box Beforehand

Learning how to keep a cooler cold starts several hours before the d-day. Carry your cooler inside your house the day before, rather than leaving your cooler in an overly warm place. This will help the cold storage’s core temperature to remain cold rather than overly warm. You might want to wash your cooler very well. You need a squeaky clean ice chest for a great camping experience. Finally, pre-chill your cooler to further bring down the core temperature. Get some cold packs for coolers and dump them in your ice chest just to keep the temperature cold. You should do this twelve hours before it’s time to leave. You will get rid of this ice before you will restock your cooler for the big day.

4. Pack Your Food Wisely

When it comes to what to put in a cooler for camping, you might want to follow these steps. Freeze as much food as possible, especially food that will not be eaten the first day. Frozen food serves as extra ice and remains colder for longer. Save space by getting rid of store packaging and other forms of packaging that take up space. Pour out condiments into smaller bowls with covers, and pre-chop all your vegetables beforehand, keep them nicely packaged and refrigerated. Pack all liquids right side up to prevent leakages. Use leak-proof packaging for all your things because you will invariably end up with a wet storage box. You do not want all your food to become a big cold wet mess.

5. Don’t Forget About Ice Options

Go for ice packs for coolers if you can get your hands on those. Large ice packs for coolers are preferable to the cubes which melt in almost no time. There are certain cooler packs for ice that may be sold separately, however, if you cannot get any of those, get freezer packs. If you also do not have the reusable freezer packs, freeze bottles of water and packs of water into large ice blocks. Use those to form the base of your cooler, then intersperse them with food in the order from what will be eaten last to what will be eaten first. These blocks of frozen water and frozen food can be poured into your ice pack when you are packing a storage box for camping. Get frozen cubes of water too. These will fill up all cracks and empty spaces. There should be as many frozen blocks as possible. If you are staying for a long outdoors, consider using dry ice. These are extremely cold and keep food frozen for days.

Make sure your cooler is the very last thing you pack into the car. Throughout your trip, keep your ice cooler pack in the shade and you can put a wet towel over the top of the pack to further insulate it. Minimize the number of times you open your cooler to keep food cold for longer.


Packing a cooler for camping can be tricky. You really do not want to end up eating warm food in the middle of the day under the sun. Follow these tips and expect an ice-cool camping experience even in 40 degree Celsius weather. Got any more ideas? Share them with us so we update our list. Hope you have a great time camping!