< Back to the blog

7 Tips for Packing a Better Cooler

Coolers are often overlooked when camping, but they’re actually one of the most important things you
can bring along. Cold drinks, ice packs, and frozen foods will help keep everyone cool during those hot
summer days, and you’ll also want to ensure that you’ve got space to store any food you plan on
cooking with your camp stove. Here are eight tips for packing a better cooler that will help you make the
most of your next camping trip.

1) Prepackage food where you can

Like many campers, you probably plan to cook at least some of your meals over an open flame. Plan on
bringing pre-cooked and ready-to-eat foods that don’t require refrigeration. Hot dogs, hamburgers,
bacon wrapped sausages, grilled cheese sandwiches and cold cuts are all great candidates for grilling
out—and they can all be prepped ahead of time.

2) Prepare your cooler in advance

Prepare your coolers by cleaning it out if it needs it. Keep it is a nice cool spot and not in a hot position. Wipe it down with a disinfectant to make sure you are starting your trip with a clean cooler. You can also pre-chill your cooler with ice or cold water prior to filling it. This will help keep food colder longer when you start packing up so that it doesn’t heat up too much before you start heading out. If there isn’t enough room to put another layer of frozen water bottles, then leave a couple of them loose so they will still partially freeze. A full layer of frozen ones will likely cause condensation within your cooler as they warm up again as they thaw.

3) Prepare your food

Was and prep your vegies and fruit. Place condiments into smaller containers to save space. This prep will also encourage your family to snack on the healthy foods that you’re taking. Place foods in
waterproof containers as it will help it stay fresher longer (and protect it from getting soggy). Pack
snacks your kids will love – ones you know they’ll eat so they aren’t upset when you don’t have time to stop. Make sure meats are well wrapped to prevent them leaking juices onto other items. To do so, put absorbent material at the bottom of these containers, then place meat on top and more absorbent material around it. When frozen, take out the desired amount and put back without disturbing other food around it too much.

4) Make lots of ice

A general rule is 2 parts ice to 1 part food – keep this in mind when packing your cooler. When you don’t
have access to an ice maker or freezer, freeze water bottles ahead of time and toss them in your cooler.
They’ll keep everything else cold while they slowly thaw. Your cooler will stay colder longer, so you can
cut back on ice.

5) Fill your cooler

Space is at a premium when camping, so store your largest foods first. Keeping in mind when you will
be eating them. Place smaller items in and around them – you will fit lots more in than you think.

6) Freeze your food ahead of time

If you’re heading out on an extended camping trip, you’ll want to plan ahead. When foods are cold,
they take up more space in your cooler. So, place them in your freezer for about 6 hours before loading
them into your cooler. This will significantly reduce their volume so that you can pack more food. You
may also consider freezing drink containers and using them as ice blocks to fill any extra space that you
have remaining in your cooler after freezing food items.

7) Plan all of your meals in advance

The less you have to worry about food, drinks and snacks when you’re out camping, hiking or in an
unfamiliar environment, the better. By planning ahead, you won’t have to focus on these things—you
can just relax. And that’s what vacation is all about.

Have a question? We can help!

We have valuable camper trailer experience and know what it takes to create an easy, relaxing camping experience.