How to Keep Food Cold While Camping-Panergy
1. Plan your meals before you go
You should plan out each meal of the day in sequence so you know what you will be eating and when you will be eating it.
If you plan ahead, you can pack the food according to when you will need it so you donâ€™t find yourself needing something all the way at the bottom the first day.
This is more efficient and prevents you from having to keep the cooler open for too long and exposing the food inside to the heat.
2. Separate cooked and uncooked meats
If you want to cook some of the food ahead of time and other food you are bringing raw to cook while you are camping, you should always keep them separate.
You donâ€™t want to mix up the two and you donâ€™t want any of your raw meats contaminating your other food.
3. Repackage items in freezer bags
You should always put your uncooked meats in freezer bags for extra safety. You can either take them out of their original packaging and put them in freezer bags if you want to condense your items and save room, or you can put the entire package in freezer bags. You donâ€™t want to run the risk of any thawing out meats leaking in the cooler.
4. Freeze food before your trip
You should always freeze the food for a few days prior to your trip to make sure it is all the way frozen before itâ€™s time to pack it into the cooler. If it is completely frozen, it will take much longer to thaw out and will be much easier to preserve and keep cold.
5. Cook food before your trip
The more items you could prepare and cook before your trip, the better off you will be. If there are any dishes you plan to make that you know you can cook ahead of time and keep it fresh for when you are ready to eat it, that is always the better options than taking a bunch of raw food.
6. Freeze your bottled water
Freeze your bottles of water for a few days prior to your trip and use them like an added ice pack for your cooler.
Keeping them on the top of a cooler will keep it cool longer and you wonâ€™t lose any room with more ice or another ice path because your bottle’s water will be both an extra ice pack and a cold drink when you are ready for it.
7. Package loose ice
It is always best to keep the ice more confined like a bottle of water or an ice pack, as opposed to pouring loose ice into the cooler.
Packaged ice is much easier to preserve because it wonâ€™t melt nearly as fast. It will also prevent the ice from getting contaminated so you could use it to put in your drink if you need to.
If you have loose ice and thereâ€™s a bunch of food in the cooler and people are going in and grabbing things with their bare hands while you are out in the woods, the ice and everything it touches will be contaminated. Once the ice melts, it will be even worse.
8. Give your cooler a pre-freeze
Pre-freezing the cooler for at least a few hours before your trip to help it stay cooler longer. Ideally, you should freeze your cooler the night before, but a few hours will do. Putting food, ice, drinks and other items in the cooler
9. Secure a thermometer inside your cooler
It is always helpful to secure a small thermometer onto the inside of your cooler so you can keep track of what the temperature is inside.
That way you will know if the food is staying fresh or not. It will alert you to how much longer things will remain frozen or how long you have until certain things will need to be cooked.
10. Use a separate cooler for your drinks
The best option for coolers is to keep the drinks and the food in separate coolers if you have the ability to do so.
If you are able to carry another cooler to the campsite without too much hassle, it is recommended to package them separately.
This is beneficial for potential risk of contamination, but also because drink coolers are opened a lot more frequently than food coolers and the frequent opening and closing of the drink cooler will continue to increase the temperature inside the cooler and everything will defrost much quicker.
11. Use cooling aids
It is always helpful to have as many cooling assistants as possible in the cooler. As discussed before, freezing water bottles is one option.
Another option is using cooler packs. You can buy reusable freezer packs that you fill with water and freeze before your trip. They are insulated packages that get colder than ice, donâ€™t leave behind food swimming in dirty water and last up to 48 hours.
There are alsoÂ extra thin freezer packsÂ you could use as well that are only Â½ inch thick and can slide down the side of your cooler with ease and along the bottom, saving you a ton of space in your cooler.Â Dry ice packsÂ also work very well.
12. Pack cooler with long lasting ice
As stated before, loose ice always melts much faster than compacted ice. Prepare your ice in freezer bags to keep it confined, uncontaminated and cooler for longer.
13. To pack it right, pack it tight
The tighter you pack the food into the cooler, the longer it will stay cool. If there are too many spaces between the items,
it allows more air to move between them, which defrosts everything quicker. Pack things in as neatly and tightly as you can, and as stated before, plan your meals ahead of time so you can pack it strategically as well.
14. Insulate your cooler
Once you get to the campsite, keep your cooler well insulated. Bring a heavy blanket or other item to drape over your cooler whenever possible.
Insulating your cooler will preserve the frozen items for a longer period of time and prevent the sun and heat from increasing the temperature inside.
15. Keep opening your cooler to the bare minimum
Only open your cooler when you absolutely need to and if you do have to open it, try to be as quick as possible. The longer it is open, the quicker things in the cooler will defrost. You want to keep the cold air in, not let it out.
**One last suggestion**
Use a portable cooler fridge. If you have the ability to bring along a portable fridge, this is a great option for not only keeping everything cool, but also for extra storage
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