How To Keep Food Cold While Camping: 6 Important Questions

How to keep food cold while camping: your Guide for fresh Food and cold Drinks on camping Trips

34 Degrees, you are sunbathing next to your camping tent and enjoying the warmth on your skin. The chirping of birds and the river’s noise affect your well-being, and the moment is perfect.

Now a sip of cold water with ice cubes. Oh, wait, the water is quite warm! What can be done now to cool the water?

During a camping trip, you take only the most necessary things with you. The food cooler is not a top priority for many tourists. But what are the alternatives, and how can you keep cool drinks and food? You can find here the most valuable smart tips and tricks on how to keep your food cool anyway.

Meat, fish, dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables deteriorate very quickly, and food poisoning does not last long here. The question of how to keep food cold while camping becomes very relevant.

How to keep food cold while camping

This post will answer six questions

  • How do campers keep food cold?
  • How can I keep food cold in a cooler for 2 days?
  • How do you keep food cold when camping dry?
  • How do you keep the meat cold when camping?
  • How long will a cooler bag keep food cold?
  • How can I keep food cold for 8 hours

How do campers keep food cold

Electric cooler

Invest in a portable car fridge, preferably with cooling elements. Usually, here you can keep cold food, frozen water bottles, frozen meals, and items frozen in the car fridge for free or for a small fee. You can take a fridge or a trunk with you anywhere.

Even to the beach if you don’t want to drink warm water. Typically, a cooler bag doesn’t cost much either. You can get a cheap version already for 30 – 50 USD. Take one—it’s worth it.

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To make it even colder, the cooler should be half-filled with ice cubes. Additionally, you should make sure that the perishable food, raw meat, drinking water, or other food that you put in the food coolers are not at room temperature, but are already chilled.

What is a food cooler for?

Food is not eternal for storage. They sooner or later deteriorate due to microorganisms such as bacteria or mold. Low temperatures prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, which leads to the fact that products such as raw meat, soft cheese, summer sausage, camping food, soggy food, beef jerky and dairy products stay cold.

However, cooling or even freezing is just one of many ways to make products more durable. There is also the possibility of heating, pickling, drying, cooking, frying or sweetening food. With a refrigerator, food stays cold longer.

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What food should be stored in the refrigerator?

Basically, these are perishable food meat or raw meat and dairy products that are stored in the cooler. And various products that need to be put in the cooler only after opening, such as milk, jam, mayonnaise, frozen meals or broken ice pack, such as canned vegetables.

Additionally, there is another type of food that, although it does not necessarily have to be placed in a cooler, simply tastes better when chilled, such as beer, white wine, or soft drinks.

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Tips and tricks for camping trips without the use of refrigerator mobility

We admit that enjoying a cold beer or cold water after a busy day of hiking in a chaise tongue in front of a camping trip is a dream. But you don’t necessarily need your own drink cooler for this. You can easily buy beer on the go: at a kiosk, at a gas station, or in a mountain restaurant. Here are some additional tips on how to keep food cold while camping without a cooler.

Cooling in water

If you travel in the mountains, you know, that there are cold air and water even in the middle of summer. As soon as the bucket was filled with mountain water, drinking water, perishable food ice cubes, and camping food items were put on, you just need to wait 15 minutes: Hooray! The temperature remains cold, and cold air helps with this.

Also, you can fill the river water in bottles. Now you have analogs of ice packs for cooling. This method will be able to replace your ice cubes, with a separate cooler.

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Portion packages or homemade ice packs

There are many products that we put in the refrigerator after opening (perishable foods). Therefore, for use in a camper without an ice cooler, it is recommended to use freezer bags, ice packs or dry ice packs. Something cooling should become part of your camping gear. Frozen food can also work as a cooling item for some time.

Switch to long-life dairy and meat products

There are many dairy and meat products that do not need cooling because they are preserved in other ways. Thus, you can resort to powdered milk or condensed milk. There are various varieties of processed cheese in soft cheese. And especially with meat, a large offer is available, such as salami, raw ham, bundle meat, beef jerky, meat pies or good old sausage.

And delicious desserts, such food as vanilla or chocolate cream, are available directly from the jar.

Avoid sticky leftovers of food

It would be best if you tried to look that no leftovers are left because they also need to be refrigerated. However, this requires some planning during the camping. Leftover food can be dangerous and can lead to food poisoning, ruining your camping trip.

Also, food spoils more quickly when it comes in contact with warm air, and leftovers can become poison rather than a benefit.

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Cool place when car camping

Most tourists have a place somewhere where it stays pretty cool, even in warm temperatures, so the food stays cold while camping. In car camping, there is this place right under the bed. There, even if the outside temperature is 30 degrees, it stays cool enough to store cheese or yogurt for 1-2 days without any problems. For very perishable food, however, this is strongly discouraged.

Cooling with ice

There are cold packs that are cooled by ice (ice blocks, dry ice or coolers) completely without electricity. Thanks to the special foam insulation, and aluminum foil, the temperature remain frozen for several days and keeps drinks cool even at high outdoor temperatures.

How do you keep food cold when dry camping

The only way to know if you are keeping food cold at a safe temperature is to stick to a thermometer for food cold camping. Check out all of our camping food safety tips to keep everyone safe so you can focus on having fun!

You may have a question, “How can you find out the temperature in the refrigerator? Does it stay cool?”. Put a thermometer in your pocket and watch the temperature change. When the temperature starts to drop, you can add dry ice to the well-insulated cooler.

Such a thermometer is not expensive, but very useful when camping.

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Ice packs or ice coolers will keep your food cold and protected from bacteria for several hours, maybe even days, when camping. You can make the packs yourself, but you can also buy them at gas stations or online. The main advantage of these packs is that they are reusable, so they are environmentally friendly and practical.

Another useful basic food safety tip is to use frozen vegetables as ice for the refrigerator. First, there is a cooling process and maintaining the desired minus temperature. Secondly, you can eat the vegetables or attach them to the injured part of the body.

Another plus is that it is easier for you on the way back. After all, you will eat frozen vegetables. When you go camping, use two coolers. One is for the products and the other for the cooling components.

One box with your own hands. To save food without a refrigerator in the heat, try to build a cold-saving insulated box with your own hands. To do this, take a dense bag and cut out the parts from the insulation according to their size (this material is very flexible). Then you need to dock all sides of the box with foil or tape.

The more hermetic the seal, the longer the food can be stored in a homemade box. To keep the cold, it is good to use batteries, which are stored in the freezer. If there are none, then use bottles or a water bottle with frozen water.

To achieve a thermal insulation effect, it is necessary to wrap all frozen food in paper. The less often such a box is opened, the less cold is extracted, and the longer the quality of the products is preserved.

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How do you keep meat cold when camping

If the cooler bag with cold packs is not opened, it will keep the meat cold for a whole day on the camping trip, like in the refrigerator. And it is relatively inexpensive.

The container under the same conditions will already be able to keep the meat cold for even a couple of days during camping trip.

There are many advantages of such storage:

  • You collect a bag or container at home with ice packs, and carry it and store it in the same form.
  • Freezing is not required if the road is long.
  • Guaranteed long-term preservation of food cold or another perishable food cold while camping.
  • There is no risk of spoiling the meat.

How long will a cooler bag keep food cold

Having a cold coke or a cold camping food on hand at all times on the road in the camping trip is a real luxury. But a car fridge or a cooler on the camping trips does not only have advantages. For example, the operation of a cooler cold unit requires an uninterrupted power supply.

It also takes up space in the camper and if you are sensitive to noise, the regular hum can get on your nerves at some point. Some devices give off heat to the environment, which is undesirable, especially in the summer. After all, of course, a high-quality cooler is not exactly a bargain and usually costs several hundred dollars.

How can I keep food cold in a cooler for 2 days

Following a few simple steps will extend the life of the ice in your cooler so that your cooler stays cold for longer. This will save you money on ice, and you will not have to worry about drinks getting warm or food spoiling because they heated up too quickly.

Coolers are designed to stay cold and keep ice frozen for an extended period of time. However, how well you pack and use your cooler can make a big difference in how long it stays cold.

Dry ice

Just throwing some dry ice in a cooler might be better than leaving the ice in an uninsulated bucket, but if you do the right things, you can keep things cold for much, much longer. How does it work? Carbon dioxide freezes at temperatures below -100 °C.

Subsequently, it will cool your food not for a few hours, but for a couple of days. Unfortunately, dry ice is not a product that can be bought in any store or at any local gas station. It can be found in online stores.

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What is better: a car cooler or a cooler bag

The car cooler operates from the car’s network and generates cold. That is, it is essentially the same cooler that you often have at home, only smaller. In our opinion, this is the most reliable option in terms of storage and transportation of meat.

This storage method has many advantages. Firstly, the shelf life of meat is the same as in a real refrigerator at home. Secondly, the cold does not disappear with time. Third, it is convenient and practical.

Storing frozen food during a trip in cooler bags is not only simple but also effective. For 3-4 hours, the low temperature in them is guaranteed. Several purchased packages at once allow you to decompose products so as not to open each of them repeatedly. It is important to keep warm air out of the refrigerator, and your products will keep for up to 8 hours.

Let’s summarize the results

If you are camping, you most likely have a cooler with you. You store all perishable products such as meat (especially raw), cheese, eggs and milk at an acceptable temperature.

  • Pre-chill the cooler with dry ice or ice blocks for one hour before placing food inside.
  • Fill large polycarbonate water bottles, ice packs, juice or milk and freezing water (leave room at the top of the bottle to expand). This will keep your freezer bag cold longer than fast-melting ice cubes, and you can drink liquid when you don’t need ice.
  • Wrap all raw foods in a bag twice so they don’t transfer to other products; freeze anything you’ll eat after the first day in advance.
  • Place the foods you will eat right at the beginning in the top of the backpack. Place the frozen foods on the bottom where the cooler is coldest.
  • Use a thermometer to check how cold the food is in the cooler.

Be sure not to take too much food with you, and don’t put things that can spoil in direct sunlight on a picnic table. Otherwise, you may get food poisoning.

Non-perishable snacks and Styrofoam coolers (with their own ice blocks) are helpful. You should also carry refrigerated food and some fresh ice in the two coolers (so you don’t lose ice cubes).

We hope that in our article you have found the answer to the question of how to keep food cool while camping.


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