How Do I Pack An Ice Cooler The Best Way Possible?
How do you keep your food and drinks cool and fresh when you go on a road trip? Most of us pack our lunch boxes and beverage bottles in an ice cooler. Unfortunately, we don’t always use the right procedure, and the drinks get lukewarm prematurely.
But that stops right now. Let me give you a few tips on how to pack your cooler like a pro.
1. You need a good cooler
It doesn’t matter how well you pack the cooler if its quality is substandard.
A good quality cooler is hard and thick-sided and insulates better than a soft-sided cooler. It’s the only kind of cooler which will keep the food and drinks cool despite the hot sun.
2. Clean out the cooler
Don’t pack the cooler without washing it first. You see, the presence of food crumbs and spilled drinks makes the cooler fertile ground for bacteria and other microorganisms to breed in. This is especially true if you often transport raw meat.
So before packing it, clean it out, washing with warm water and a mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly after you are through, and dry the cooler with a clean towel.
3. Store in a cool place
If you keep the cooler in a warm environment, it will retain that temperature. But if you keep it in a cool place the night before you pack it, it will keep your food and drink cool for longer.
To ready it for the job, put a bag of ice in the empty cooler. The ice will lower the cooler’s internal temperature, enhancing its effectiveness when you pack it the next day.
4. Pre-chill the food and drink
For best results, stick the food and drink in a refrigerator the night before your trip. So when you have to pack the cooler the next day, the bottles of soda will be chilled and cool to the touch. And once you put them in the cooler, it will enable them to retain this deliciously cold temperature.
Remember to stick the food and drinks in the cooler immediately after retrieving them from the fridge. Don’t give them time to get warm.
5. Use ice packs if you hate the wetness of regular ice
The best thing about ice packs is that they will cool your food without sweating into it. It’s quite annoying reaching for your food at the bottom of the cooler and having to deep your hand into soggy, icy water.
However, regular ice is more effective at cooling your food than an ice pack. You see, when some of the ice melts, the cold water spreads the chill through a greater surface area than ice packs can. The best type of ice is block ice – it is much more effective than ice cubes.
6. Use intact containers
Ensure your food containers do not have any holes or spaces through which water can penetrate. I don’t think you would much enjoy eating a soggy tomato sandwich!
7. Separate coolers
If it’s possible, use separate coolers for the food and the drinks. You will probably need the drinks more often than you need the food.
The constant opening and closing of the cooler as people get at the drinks will let in warm air which will make it less effective at keeping the food fresh. I suggest having a portable ice maker for making ice on the go.
8. First in should be last out
Pack the items you will need last at the very bottom or front of the cooler. Items like drinks which you will probably want as soon as possible should be at the top.
This ensures the ice layers remain intact, and no warm air penetrates where it shouldn’t. As a result, the bottom items stay cool for as long as you need them to.
Packing an ice cooler does not require you to attend any classes. Follow these common sense tips, and you will marvel at how long your food stays fresh in the ice cooler.