How to keep food cold and fresh when camping

fresh beef with cold food

Keeping your food cold and fresh is one of the important things on a camping trip and it is probably one of the hardest things too if you are up for a long stay, but if you are staying in anything less than a week it can be done easily.

It is a must that you keep your food cold when you are camping because the last thing you want while out in the wilderness is food poisoning, food poisoning might be an easy issue if you are in your home but while camping it might get fatal so you have to watch out.

What kind of food should you take in the first place? this question might differ depending on the length of stay and personal preferences but as much as possible take foods that don’t need refrigeration if you ask me I don’t take Perishable foods as much as possible, but if you do be extra careful.

9 ways to keep your food cold

  • 1. Don’t get a cooler get a mini solar freezer
  • 2. Get a premium cooler
  • 3. Use ice packs
  • 4. Put your cooler in shady places
  • 5. Put your cooler in water
  • 6. You can use dry ice
  • 7. Using thermometers
  • 8. Don’t open your cooler as much as possible
  • 9. Pack tight

1. Don’t get a cooler get a mini solar freezer

Everybody is talking about freezers stop stop stop! you can get a refrigerator with a size of a cooler which works just like the fridge inside our home. you might be wondering how it’s powered it is powered by the sun yup it is solar.

this mini freezer only works if there is solar energy in your camping place so for winter campers this might be bad news but don’t worry you can recharge some of these freezers with a car battery, but for any other season, this portable fridge is perfect.

I haven’t bought one for myself self but just from experience this freezer from amazon is very nice for both summer and winter it can recharged with your car battery or you can order it with its solar panel. the great thing is that it can be both used s a freezer and cooler the temperature can go down to 10°F/-12°C.

2. Get a premium cooler

Investing in a premium cooler is like adding extra days to your food, most premium coolers are very thick, I mean like up to 3 inches thick, that gives them extra insulation but the thing is that they are a bit more expensive than most coolers but if you invest in this coolers you will be good for at least 4 days.

Watch this video to see one of the premium coolers from the yeti brand.

Most yeti coolers are very good for camping like this cooler from amazon which is a premium cooler sold for around $350 but if you want something that is cheap you can get something from the Igloo brand like this cooler they are ok too.

3. Use ice packs

Using just a cooler is useless because coolers are not like the fridge, coolers’ purpose is to isolate the inside from the outside by other words they reduce heat transfer while fridges absorbs the heat and releases it to the outside.

Basically what I am saying is that you have to freeze your food before you put them into the cooler and use ice packs for more efficiency. You can buy cheap ice packs from grocery stores which don’t last long but the best thing to do is to make an ice pack by yourself which is easy.

If you don’t want to make an ice pack you can buy them and they are not expensive I have used these ice packs which I have bought from amazon for 20 bucks I guess and they are legit.

4. Put your cooler in shady places

Putting your cooler on a shady place is not a hard task but it makes a big difference especially if the camping ground is sunny and hot your food might get bad fast so it is a must that you put it on a shady and breezy place.

If your campground has dumpy and wet ground you can easily dig the ground according to the size of the cooler you have, then put it in there I have been doing this technique for years and it works perfectly but this is only if the ground is dumpy but the problem is it might get messy after you finish your camping trip, I mean it is hard to dig it out.

5. Put your cooler in water

You know water has a higher thermal capacity than air and as you know most coolers are waterproof so putting it in water it may increase the time of stay by lowering the heat supply. But you have to make sure the cooler you have is waterproof unless you want your food to soaked in water.

So if there is a pond or something you can put it in there, just make sure the water hasn’t gone bad it has to a clean and freshwater because it might leak into the cooler and spoil your food which is a nightmare but if you can’t find that a shady place will do.

6. You can use dry ice

Instead of ice packs why not use dry ice in your cooler. If you don’t know what dry ice is- dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide and it is primarily used as a cooling agent.

The thing is you have to use dry ice for food only never use it on liquid especially canned liquids why is that? because dry ice is very cold it is around -109.3°F or -78.5°C and as you might have known water expands when temperature drops which leads to an explosion.

Dry ice is ideal to store meat of any kind. Dry ice will keep the inside of the cooler around -20°F with this kind of temperature it might last weeks but the temperature will start to drop after around three days of use which makes us come to the point thermometers.

7. Using thermometers

You have to know the inside temperature of your cooler generally the colder it is, the better it will become so put a thermometer inside and whenever you open your cooler check the readings make sure it is at most 50°F but 40°F is the ideal.

What temperature should you expect? for ice packs and ice cubes 40 to 45°F/4 to 7°C is optimal and for dry ice, the inside temperature can go down up to minus 27°F/-32 °C but the normally dry ice is around -20°F/-28 °C.

8. Don’t open your cooler as much as possible

This is a big mistake people make they open their cooler very often which lets hot air enter the cooler which makes the ice pack last way shorter which in result the cooler will come to room temperature in no time.

So as much as possible don’t open your cooler it, as a matter of fact, many people suggest to put drinks and food in different cooler because we need the drinks very often and we might end up opening the cooler 50 times a day so you might want to do that if you have the space and the money to buy two coolers.

9. Pack tight

Don’t leave out space in your cooler the more air there is it will shorten the time of stay so as much as possible fill your cooler with ether food, drink, or ice. And it is ideal if you freeze your water before you put it into the cooler which rather than putting water that is at room temperature.

Cubed Ice Vs Block Ice Vs Dry Ice