How to Keep Food Cold While Camping?


Have you ever experienced food poisoning? If you are someone who has suffered from food poisoning in the past, you would know the severity of pain that it causes. And those of you who haven’t should be grateful because it feels like someone has punched you hard in the stomach, making you lose control of your body functions entirely. In simple words, we can say that it sucks.

When you plan to go for a hike and outdoor camping, the chances of getting food poisoning is much higher because usually, you don’t find proper refrigeration systems outdoors.

For this reason, I’ve assembled a list of 10 hints on the most proficient method to keep food cold while you’re outdoors.

How to keep food cold while camping

best way to keep food cold camping

1. The plane food preparation

What’s the arrangement with plane food? It’s frozen; the easiest and practical approach for carrying fresh food if somewhat hindering to the taste. You can utilize this technique to pack your supper!

By freezing meats, vegetables, and different perishables, you’ll have the option to store them longer on the campground. And if you are planning to camp in an area far away from home and stock up your food from the supermarket, pick things from the frozen items section instead of fresh items.

2. Purchase a high-end cooler

You might think that investing a couple of hundred dollars in a cooler is not worth it, but they do protect your food from getting contaminated.

The costlier coolers, in general, have thicker walls and better protection, which will keep the ice from melting.

Generally, I don’t carry a lot of perishable food for my camping trips, but I do possess an RTIC Cooler, which I use for travels. Even if you open it after every few hours, the ice inside it remains solid for around 3-4 days. Therefore, I believe it would perform very well on the campsite.

3. Bring two pair of coolers

Whenever you are packing your camping essentials, for your convenience, you should also bring two coolers with you one for the beverages and one for food.

Since the beverage cooler will be opened more, its cooling will end faster. With two coolers, you won’t have to open the food cooler every half an hour to grab a drink.

4. Bring 90% of your water in the ice form

If, for any reason, you don’t want to make an ice pack, freeze a large portion of the water that you plan to bring along with you on your camping adventure.

The frozen water will fill in as a replacement of the ice pack, and once melted, you can drink it!

5. Buy some ice

The simplest method to fill a cooler with ice is by heading off to the neighborhood corner store and grabbing one of those 20 pounds frozen blocks (you know, the ones you need to smash on the ground multiple times to break them into ice cubes).

Sadly, this is not the best quality ice as it has a large amount of air trapped inside, which causes it to melt faster.

Also, if you have ever watched the making process of these ice blocks, you would know how disgusting ice machines are!

6. If nothing works, use dry ice

If these standard techniques don’t work properly, try using dry ice.

At – 109℉, the solidified carbon dioxide will keep your food items cold for a couple of days.

Dry ice isn’t something you can buy at the service station, so request Google to locate your neighborhood providers.

Before adding dry ice to your cooler, fold it with a paper and then place it on your food, not at the base of the cooler.

7. Don’t carry perishable food without refrigeration

If you are planning to go on outdoor camping, you can’t bring perishable food due to the absence of a refrigeration. Even though it is quite hard to live without fresh food, but fresh meat and dairy will get spoiled without refrigeration.

Therefore, there are some elective nourishments you might need to carry with you on the campground to fulfill the protein requirements your body.

For meat, you can generally choose summer sausage or beef jerky. And if you are bringing cheese, make sure to bring hard and aged cheese like cheddar or gouda instead of soft cheese like mozzarella and brie.

8. Make some ice packs yourself

Rather than heading off to the store to purchase those odd blue gel ice packs, you can make them yourself, and you will find most of the required ingredients at your home.

You might want an inflexible ice pack, for that, you can dip and soak some sponges in the water and then freeze them.

9. Organize your cooler correctly

It would be best if you packed your cooler in a tight space to keep food cold in cooler. The less free space, the longer its cooling will last.

Pack your cooler in the following steps:

  1. Fill the base with a layer of ice.
  2. Then place your frozen items on it.
  3. Next, add another layer of ice packs on the top of your frozen items.
  4. In the end, place the rest of your remaining items on top and sprinkle in some ice cubes to cover the space.

10. Use evaporative cooling process

Interestingly you can keep your food products fresh even without a cooler. Using a procedure known as “evaporative cooling,” vegetables and fruits can last for days without refrigeration. Here’s the secret:

  1. Add your fruits and vegetables in a porous sack (burlap, mesh, etc.) and wet the whole bag.
  2. Hang it somewhere in the shade with a breeze.
  3. Wet the sack again after it dries (typically 2-3 times each day).

You should always have a backup

Regardless of whether you follow all these tips or not, you can still face some issues. Therefore, as a precaution, bring some extra food and water with you that won’t spoil.

Carry a couple of cliff bars and water filters because they always come in handy.

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Outdoor camping trips should be about having a good time with family and friends, not stressing whether your food is going to get ruined or not.

Improper storage of food can spoil your food and eating that spoiled food can lead to some serious medical issues.

Follow the above-mentioned tips on how to keep your food cold while camping, and you might save mot only your food but also your whole trip from getting spoiled.


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