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How to Properly Pack a Cooler – Some Seriously Cold Tips

How to Properly Pack a Cooler – Some Seriously Cold Tips

Making sure your beer stays cold and steaks stay fresh for 10 days and beyond.

Man opening driftsun ice chest full of ice and beer on fall afternoon

Chill Your Cooler Before Packing

A cold cooler keeps ice longer. Driftsun’s Ice Chests have some serious insulation, they are great at maintaining internal temperatures, even warm temperatures. Don’t sacrifice precious ice getting your cooler down to those icy temps. Instead Pre-chill your cooler the night before a long trip. 

If you somehow have access to a commercial freezer, let the cooler spend the night inside. For everyone else, keep it out on your porch overnight, or place a bag of ice in the cooler and replace with fresh ice before your trip. 


Freeze Food and Drinks

Planning to have steak and chicken on the third night of your trip? Pack them frozen, let them thaw over time or pull them out just before cookin’ time. They’ll contribute to the overall cool and be ready right when you need them. The same goes for your water. Start with frozen bottles in the cooler, and pull them out to thaw once you arrive at camp.


Blocks Instead of Cubes? (Or Both)

Ice cubes will chill a cooler and its contents much faster but block ice won’t melt nearly as quickly. For long trips, nothing beats block ice. Make these at home by freezing water in Tupperware, or buy blocks from your local grocery store.

Pro Tip - Use a mixture of both to chill contents achieve maximum long-term retention.


Add Extra Layers of Insulation

Air is the enemy. Large pockets of air inside your cooler will accelerate melting as the ice is busy cooling the excess air. Adding extra layers of insulation, such as cardboard, towels, more ice, or even crumpled newspaper, will help eliminate air cooling and extend the life of your ice.


Limit Opening and Closing

Like we said before, air is the enemy. Every time you open your cooler to check your icy stash the cold air inside is exchanged for warm outside air. This warm air must then be cooled again. It’s best to limit access to your cooler - keep it latched and closed as often as possible.

Pro Tip – Know what your getting before you open your cooler. This will help decrease warm air exposure time.


Dry Ice is King

To fully optimize your cooler’s cooling potential, use dry ice. A huge benefit to Driftsun Ice Chest’s is that they are dry ice compatible and have a pressure release valve to release excess CO2. For best results, place dry ice inside of the cooler with your ice and water. Overall, dry ice does a better job at keeping items in the cooler colder and frozen for longer. Adding with the ice and water will greatly increase the longevity and cooling potential of your ice. Always follow, common safety practices while handling dry ice.


Clean and Air-Dry After long Trips 

If you’ve been on an extended trip, it’s easy to throw your cooler in the garage and head inside for a shower and some much-needed relaxation. Resist. Hit that thing with soap and warm water. For stubborn stains, mix water and bleach in a 6 to 1 ratio for a deep cleaning (use rubber gloves). You don’t want to create a haven for bacteria on the inside. Once the cooler is clean, let it sit out in the sun to fully dry. 

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