Summer’s just around the corner. Well, at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves to get through the colder months of the year. To get you in the summer spirit, we have been thinking about the best ways to pack your camping cooler for the perfect trip.
Buy the Right Cooler – For starters, you need the right tools for the job. You can’t just grab any old cooler and expect it to stay cold for the whole trip. You’re going to need some serious equipment. Fortunately, we have already found the best cooler for camping.
Take Two Coolers – This isn’t always possible, but if you’re really serious about keeping your stuff cold, you should consider taking two coolers. Keep all of your food in one and your drinks in another. This will avoid any cross-contamination and ensure you have enough space.
Make Sure It’s Clean – This should be obvious, but your cooler should be super clean before you put anything in it. It’s easy for food to get contaminated so disinfect the cooler thoroughly before you start to pack it.
Pre-Cool the Box – Bring your cooler inside at least a day before you set out on your trip. Fill it full of cold water and throw in some ice cubes to cool it down even further. Then when you empty it before you go, it will be at the perfect temperature to start packing.
Freeze Raw Meat – If you’re taking raw meat, it’s essential to freeze it beforehand. Not only will this keep it colder for longer, but it will also make it much safer to eat. It should take over 2 hours for it to freeze properly, so make sure you prepare in advance.
Make Sure Everything Is Pre-Cooled – Another trick for getting the most out of your is to pre-cool. Get your beers in the fridge and food in the freezer before you set off on your trip. This means that it has a colder base temperature and will take longer to warm up.
Pack Food in Separate Containers – You can buy plastic containers from most supermarkets and any homewares shop. This has two really useful functions. Firstly, it stops any cross-contamination between your different foods and stops anything from spilling out into the cooler itself. And secondly, it makes your cooler much easier to stack.
Packing the Cooler
Use Block Ice or Freeze Packs – Ice cubes are an excellent way of cooling down liquids, but they melt a lot quicker than block ice. You can use any container to make block ice, just pick one that will suit the size of your cooler. Freeze packs also stay colder for longer, and they can be picked up from most camping shops. If you can’t get block ice or freeze packs, fill bottles of water around three-quarters full and put them in the freezer, they will do the same job.
Fill the Empty Spaces with Ice Cubes – Whilst you should definitely use block ice or freeze packs for your main coolant, ice cubes are an excellent way of filling empty space in the cooler. This makes everything in the cooler more secure and keeps it even colder.
Put the Fragile Stuff on Top – Pack your cooler like you would pack a bag of shopping, heavy and solid stuff on the bottom and fragile stuff at the top. This stops anything from getting squashed. This is especially important for stuff like eggs that can get damaged and spill into the rest of the cooler.
Keep the Cooler in The Shade – If you didn’t know already, the sun is pretty hot. Sure, it is one of the best things about a BBQ or camping trip, but it’s your worst enemy when you’re trying to keep your beers cold. Find a shaded spot to keep your camping cooler or even cover it with a thick blanket, anything to get it out of direct sunlight.
Put It in The Car Last – When you’re packing the car for your trip, filling the cool box should be your last job. This will maximize the amount of time it can keep your stuff cold. It might seem like a simple tip, but it could give you an extra hour of cool beers.
Keep It Closed – Only open your cooler when you have to. They are designed to keep the cool in when they’re closed. So, don’t just open it and leave it open to the elements.
Don’t Drain Any Melted Water – When your ice blocks and ice cubes melt, you might think about draining the water, but it’s actually much better to leave it in. Just make sure all of your food is properly sealed, or you might end up with some wet burgers and soggy bread.