How to Keep Food Cold While Camping? Who doesn’t love camping? Almost everybody is in love with camping and the adventures associated with it. The experience of sitting by the campfire and having some great meals is unforgettable. But to have such experience, you need to plan thoroughly and properly in advance. One of the main challenges of camping is keeping your food and drinks cold during this adventure. Many avid campers wonder how to keep food cold while camping as the idea of bad food and food poisoning is enough to put anyone off. Food could be the main difference between a fabulous and miserable camping experience.
In this guide, we will present you with some great tips to keep your food cold on camping trips. So, let’s get started on our journey to a great camping experience.
- 1 Tips for Keeping Food Cold While Camping
- 2 More Tips for Keeping Food Cold While Camping
- 3 Some Food Safety Guidelines for Camping
Tips for Keeping Food Cold While Camping
1. Invest in a High-End Cooler
The single most important decision to keep your food cold is investing in a high-end cooler. Don’t go for a cheap cooler as no amount of ice will keep your food chilled during your trip. Most high-end coolers like Yeti Hopper 20 offer the best features like better insulation and thicker walls so effectively preventing the ice from melting. Some of the expensive products also have handy features like thermometers, shelves, handles, and wheels. Always keep a thermometer inside the cooler to ensure the optimum temperature inside the cooler. Fiberglass and steel coolers can keep food cool for several days, on the other hand, the Styrofoam coolers weigh much less.
2. Pre-Chill Your Cooler
You don’t want your camping experience to be miserable so, always plan it in advance. A great tip is to help your cooler pre-chill the night before your camping trip. In this way, your cooler can keep your food cool for longer time duration. It can be easily done by filling the cooler with a bag of loose ice or frozen ice packs. When you are ready for camping, you can transfer your food to a pre-chilled cooler as opposed to room temperature. You can also put your whole cooler inside a deep freezer if it has the space for it. In this way, your cooler can maintain its cooling for a long time.
3. Avoid Opening the Cooler Too Much
The whole point of using a cooler is to keep your food cool and preserved for a long time. It is obvious that your cooler will experience heavy traffic due to its regular opening and closing. Because of this continuous operation, the cold air will be lost and replaced by the warm air which gets in at the same time. This warm air will melt the ice so only open the cooler when needed.
4. Get Two Coolers
Another important point to a great camping experience is having two coolers with you. It is always advised to bring two coolers along with you, i.e. one for food and the other for drinks. Once you do that, you will eventually know its benefits. Apart from preserving your food and drinks in a safe and healthy environment, it also means your eatables are fully organized. It is always helpful if you can quickly identify your drinks and food cooler. So, having two coolers ensures that your food is cooler and no unnecessary opening of coolers.
5. Dry Ice Packs
The inside of your cooler will work perfectly if you use long-lasting ice packs. For this purpose, you need to first buy a freezer bag from anywhere. Fill this bag with two cups of water and one cup of alcohol, remember to use medium-sized cups for this purpose. Don’t use big cups as you’ll need to make lots of ice packs. Before sealing the freezer bag make sure to let the air out as much as you can. This is a unique trick to keep your food and beverages cold throughout the camping adventure. These dry ice packs can be a great addition to your camping gear if they are of good quality.
6. Add Some Salt
This point seems a bit strange but it is not. It is a secret trick that most campers are unaware of. The point is that the addition of salt will reduce the water’s melting point. It is because when water mixes with rock salt, it becomes even cooler than ice thus helping your food retain its coldness. But don’t add too much of it as it can impart a salty taste to your foods and drinks, use it in normal amounts. Use the salt if you want freezing water otherwise not.
7. Avoid the Direct Sunlight
It is not difficult to understand that the sun and ice can’t go together. You need to make sure that your cooler is always placed in a shade during your camping trip. Otherwise, bring the cooler or not, it won’t make much of a difference. Many campers have the habit of leaving the coolers in their cars until the party begins. This trick is very helpful in the hot season when the temperature is very high. Just make sure that your cooler isn’t placed near the hot parts of the car.
8. Avoid Perishable Food
It is difficult to stay without perishable food during camping but avoid it as much as possible. You don’t need to unnecessarily depend on fresh meat and dairy to get your protein as you can use other meals. It is because foods like meat and dairy can’t go without proper refrigeration. If meat is a part of your daily life, you can opt for beef jerky and summer sausage. Don’t use any soft cheese like mozzarella and brie instead go for cheddar or Gouda. When consuming firm cheese, use plenty of water as these are very high in sodium.
9. Freeze Your Drinking Water
Use the 2L plastic containers and freeze the water in them one week before your camping adventure. Get your water in absolute solid form before you set foot for your trip. You can also do it one or two nights before your camping trip but it will melt faster. This is why freezing in large containers helps to elongate the defrosting time ensuring that you have clean drinking water always with you.
More Tips for Keeping Food Cold While Camping
Food Storage Containers
When it comes to food storage containers, there are many options to choose from. You can go with the traditional Tupperware, or you could try a more modern option like silicone food storage bags. Silicone food storage bags are a great option because they are durable, reusable, and dishwasher safe. They also come in a variety of sizes, so you can find the perfect bag for your needs. Another great option for food storage is glass containers. Glass containers are eco-friendly and durable, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option that will keep your food fresh, glass containers are a great choice.
Preparing Food Ahead of Time
Camping can be a fun, exciting experience, but it can also be very challenging when it comes to keeping your food cold. If you don’t have the right camping supplies and techniques, you may find yourself with spoiled food and unhappy campers. Here are six quick and easy tips to keep your food cold while camping:
Bring an ice chest or cooler filled with frozen water or ice packs. This will help to keep your food cold without having to wait for frozen dinners or melting drinks to cool down.
Some Food Safety Guidelines for Camping
Here are some food safety tips to keep you safe while you are away….
- Always wash your hands before handling the food.
- Use different utensils for preparing different meals, don’t cross-contaminate the utensils. In this way, the meat juices will not mix with other foods.
- Learn how to cook on a campfire before going on camping.
- Check the expiry dates before consuming the food. Don’t eat the food that has passed its due date.
- Keep a thermometer in your cooler to regularly monitor the temperature of your cooler.
Final Thoughts on Keeping Food Cold During Camping
Camping is a great experience especially when you are with your loved ones. The thing that makes your camping experience a great one is to have great food while camping. If you are still confused about how to keep food cold while camping, the above knowledge will definitely help you. Keeping your food cold will preserve it and protect you from food poisoning.