We’ve all been there. That lid that just won’t close and the last thing you want to do is part with a tasty snack or refreshing beverage. End the frustration now, by following our 5 tricks to packing a cooler.
Trick #1 Quality vs. Quantity
You won’t feel the need to overpack when using a quality cooler. A hard and thick sided cooler will offer you peace of mind that your food is cold, fresh, and a crowd-pleaser. Light-weighted and soft-sided coolers make it more difficult to maximize the space as much as hard-sided coolers. Too much space in a cooler and the temperature can’t stay consistently cold.
Trick #2 Top to Bottom
Line the bottom of the cooler with frozen ice packs. In most instances, they will fill the entire cooler. Frozen ice packs don’t expel as much water as ice, keeping items from soaking in the cooler. Plus, they are an affordable option for future use. Once you fill your cooler, line the top of the cooler again with ice packs to maximize cold coverage.
Trick #3 Lose the Packaging
By keeping food or drinks in its original packaging you are limiting your cooler space to a box vs. finding extra pockets to stash items in. Plastic bags are a great way to keep items dry and make your items fit in the cooler. Avoid taking large bottles like ketchup and mustard by only taking amounts you need. For added insulation, freeze water bottles to help keep cooler cold and offer a refreshing cold drink.
Trick #4 Meal Prep
If you are not going to be cooking meat that evening, freeze and then place it in a sealable plastic bag. Be extra cautious with meat in your cooler. You don’t want juices from the meat to get out or it will contaminate your entire cooler. Place meat at the bottom of the cooler, right on top of your layer of frozen ice packs. Above the meat place additional perishable items like fruits, veggies, etc. Nothing should go into the cooler at room temperature. Don’t put any items on top of the meat that are too heavy.
Trick #5 Towel To The Rescue
If you have extra space, add in freezer packs. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Another option is rolling up a towel that suits the cooler space. Place the rolled-up towel in the freezer the night before and then tuck it in the cooler space. Coolers perform better when all of the space is filled as it can insulate better. Plus the towel can be available in a pinch should a mess occur.