To help keep ice from melting so fast, follow the these tips and avoid an extra trip to the local store for ice during your trip.
The cooler is packed and ready to go!
Is your ice melting too fast? It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and look for a place that sells ice. Sometimes that little store that sells ice is far, far…far away from your camp.
However, there are few things you can do to keep your ice from disappearing so quickly.
Tip #1: Keep the cooler lid completely closed and locked when you’re not using it. If warm air gets into the cooler the ice will melt much faster.
For this reason I’ll take 2 coolers along for longer trips. I use a larger cooler for food and a smaller cooler for beverages. It’s the beverage cooler that gets opened most often.
If you have kids, 2 smaller coolers is the way to go. Kids tend to open the lid and stare at the cooler contents a long time before they decide what they want. During that time lots of warm air gets into the cooler.
Tip #2: Keep the cooler in the shade out of the direct sunlight. You may have to move it around a bit during the day but your efforts will keep ice from melting too fast and beverages will stay colder, longer.
Tip #3: Another idea is to completely cover your cooler with a wet towel (preferably a light colored one, like white) and continuously keep the towel moist during the day. The evaporation effect will chill the entire cooler.
Of all the tips, this one really helps keep ice from melting so fast the most.
Also, if a cooler has any other color than white, the cooler itself will absorb more heat from the sun and the ice will melt faster. Covering a dark colored cooler with a light colored towel helps a lot!
Tip #4: I found that a block of ice lasts longer that cubed ice. That’s something to consider. Of course camping on busy weekends you’ll need to buy whatever ice type you can get.
Tip #5: When draining the excess water out of the cooler always leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of water in the bottom. This will help keep your contents colder and the ice will last longer.
The reason for this is simple: When an object (a can) is completely submersed in water every part of that can is in contact with the water. However, if you put a can on ice alone, only the points where the ice is touching the can will have a cooling effect.
Tip #6: When putting items into the cooler make sure they are already chilled or frozen beforehand. It takes a lot of ice to cool down warm items.
Rather than putting warm drinks into the cooler right away, it's best to wait until you're at the campsite. If there's a lake or stream I'll stow the drinks there first to cool them off.
Keep an eye on your drinks so they don't float away! Maybe anchor them with some rope using a good knot.
Also, it's better to put the food in first then put a layer of cubed ice on top. When traveling with only one cooler I'll put the food more to one side and
drinks to the other. That way it's easier to find things and the lid will be open a shorter amount of time.
Tip #7: Make your own pure block ice at home. If I happen to have room in my freezer at home I’ll make my own block ice.
Take an empty paper milk carton and rinse it out well. Fill it with tap water, but not to the top. You’ll need to leave room for the expanding ice.
Once completely frozen, peel off the paper carton. Like magic….you can have perfect blocks of ice!
Because the water freezes much slower in your freezer at home than at a commercial facility, the ice will be very clear and solid, lasting a long time.
Note: Since the ice takes all night or longer to freeze at home, besure to plan ahead.
Home made block ice.
How to keep ice from melting too fast "Bonus Tip": Cliff wrote in from Canada to remind me of this one.
This method works best if you're staying in the same place for several days and of course if you are camping on suitable ground that has sand or lose dirt.
Bury the cooler 3/4 of the way into the ground. Dirt may fall into the cooler if it's much deeper than that. Cover the rest exposed portion with a wet shirt or towel. Even better, soak the ground along the cooler with water.
This one alone will make your ice last twice as long!
Following these tips will help keep ice from melting too fast. Chances are your ice will last the entire weekend and you can avoid an extra trip to buy more ice.
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