Going on a camping adventure soon? If you don’t want to end up with spilled drinks, a shortage of ice or the juices of your meats getting mixed with other food, you should learn how to pack your cooler the right way. It serves as your refrigerator in the outdoors and unless you don’t want refreshing drinks or fresh food for when you’re camping, you should pay close attention to its importance.
Here are some useful tips to pack your cooler like a camping pro:
Clean and pre-chill your cooler
Before packing, it is vital to get your cooler’s core temperature as low as possible. This means bringing it out from storage, airing it out, cleaning and disinfecting it. Do this at least 1 day before your trip. This is important for food safety.
After cleaning, it’s time for pre-chilling. Dump a big bag of ice into your cooler and fill it with cold water at least half a day before you start to pack. Right before you put drinks or food in, discard the ice water (use it to water plants so it won’t go to waste!)
Prepare food for packing
Whether you’re bringing 1 or 2 coolers, the goal is to maximize the space to make all the food and drinks you need to fit inside. That’s why it’s advisable that you plan out your meals and prepare as much as you can at home. Place food in leak-proof containers. To keep food and drinks colder for longer, freeze them before packing.
Use ice blocks
Block ice (or large reusable freezer packs) is the best type to use for your cooler’s foundation as it takes longer to melt compared to ice cubes. If you don’t have these, you can also use freeze bottles of water (leave space for the ice to expand). Once all your food and beverages are organized inside, use ice cubes to fill in the gaps.
To keep your food fresh and cool, you should only pack your cooler right before leaving (it should be the last thing you pack before leaving). When packing food in a cooler, start packing your meals for the last day at the bottom, working your way up to the first day.
Follow these cooler packing tips to enjoy fresher food and colder drinks at your campsite! More importantly, you’ll be promoting food safety as well by packing your cooler like a pro!