Gear guide: Ice management

When it comes to camping, your memories should be warm, but your cooler should be anything but.
January 22, 2018 01:10 PM
  1. Tips to follow

    From selecting the right kind of ice to stacking your cooler properly—and even a towel trick—these 10 tips will help keep your ice colder, longer at camp.

  2. Pick the proper cooler

    Whether you need a small cooler for a quick family getaway or a much larger one for a week of group camping, Coleman has you covered with its range of top-quality products. The 28 QT Xtreme Personal Cooler, for example, will keep items cold for up to three days, while the 120 QT Xtreme Chest will keep 204 cans chilled for up to six days.

  3. Pack multiples

    Because space is often at a premium, more is more when it comes to coolers. Consider designating one cooler for beverages and another for food. Or, if you’re camping for a long stretch, consider packing a cooler for each day.

  4. Chill your cooler in advance

    The night before, preload your cooler a with a couple bags of sacrificial ice to cool it down.

  5. Choose your ice wisely

    Block ice stays cooler longer than the cubed bagged ice you can pick up at the gas station. Fill the bottom of your cooler with block ice, but fill in the spaces with cubes. In addition, be sure you have enough cubed ice for cooling drinks.

    (Pro tip: Save a few bucks by filling empty, clean cartons of milk with water and freezing them for several days. Peel off the cardboard and—voilà—you have free, homemade block ice.)

  6. Pre-chill food and drinks

    Refrigerate and/or freeze as many items as you can well before adding them to your cooler. After all, you don’t want to waste your cooler’s valuable “ice power” chilling room-temperature soda cans.

  7. Layer wisely

    Put block ice at the very bottom, adding frozen products, dairy and raw meats next. Work up with items like fresh fruits and veggies that are less likely to spoil, layering ice throughout.

  8. Keep your cooler out of the sun

    Move it to new locations throughout the day, based on where the shade is. Draping a light-colored, wet towel over the cooler will help maintain its temperature, as well.

  9. Don’t drain it

    Though you might be tempted to empty out the melted ice, remember it’s better to have cold water than air surrounding the remaining ice.

  10. Limit how often—and how long—it’s opened

    Just like when opening the fridge at home, kids have the tendency to stare … and stare … until locating just the right snack. Restrict the amount of open-cooler time to prevent ice from melting.

  11. Add extra ice as needed

    Assuming you have access to a nearby supermarket or convenience store, an ice-run may be a wise move. The money you spend on a couple extra bags of ice will pay off in spades if it helps eliminate the potential for food contamination.

  12. Find more tips and advice

    The Coleman Get Outdoors app has a variety of additional resources related to coolers:

    How to pack a cooler

    Keep your cooler cold

    Think like a scout: Three strategies for a well-packed cooler


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January 18, 2018 09:48 AM