Regardless of whether you are going hiking, biking, or kayaking, a solid camping trip is going to require fresh ice. Most campers think about using a camping cooler to help keep the ice cool; however, not all large coolers and iceboxes are the same. While some iceboxes and coolers might look great on the outside, they do not have the right insulation to keep ice frozen on the inside. Here are a few important tips every camper should follow to make sure their ice stays frozen for the long-term.
What We'll Cover
Choose the Right Icebox
Of course, the first step is to choose the right icebox. Make sure to look at all the options, particularly those from brands that specialize in camping needs. In addition, think about the functionality of the icebox. While a huge icebox can hold a large amount of food and drinks, it will also be harder to transport. In this situation, it might be better to go with multiple, smaller iceboxes that are easier to lift, or alternatively, a wheeled cooler that can be easily towed. With the icebox picked out, there are a few additional ways to prepare it for the trip, keeping the ice frozen.
Prepare the Ice Properly
About a day or two prior to heading off for a camping trip, spread a layer of crushed ice throughout the icebox. This will act to cool down the air that is present inside the icebox. Doing this in advance will cool the temperature of the box, keeping everything inside cooler for longer.
Take Advantage of Block Ice
While crushed ice is important initially, use block ice for other purposes. Crushed ice has a lot of space between the frozen water molecules, which means that crushed ice is actually more air than ice. For this reason, crushed ice melts faster than solid ice. With this in mind, go with solid ice to keep everything inside the icebox cold. Block ice also comes in both hard and soft packs, which makes the ice easier to handle and pack depending on whether you have a hard-shell or soft-shelled cooler such as a backpack cooler. It is also possible for someone to make their own block ice using ice cream packs, frozen juice bottles, or even ice packs for coolers.
Add Some Salt
It is also a good idea to add some salt to any water that is going to be frozen. Adding salt to the water will lower the freezing temperature, and the water will actually be colder than the frozen ice. As a result, the water (and the ice) will stay colder for longer.
Cool the Drinks and Food Ahead of Time
Finally, it is also a good idea to cool whatever is going to go inside the cooler. Take the time to make sure food and drinks are cold when they enter the cooler by placing them in the refrigerator beforehand. Then, add the cold contents to the cooler. This will keep the ice from having to do the job of cooling the food and drinks meaning the ice will stay frozen for a longer period of time.
Keep Ice Cold While Camping
Adding an icebox or cooler to your camping kitchen setup and following these tips will help ice stay colder for longer while camping. Take the time to make sure the ice, cooler, and contents are cold prior to leaving. This can make a significant difference in the overall quality of the trip!