Nine Suggestions for Keeping Perishables Cold on the Road

2023-01-14 02:00:09 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

You may want to bring some food that needs to be kept frozen for the trip, whether you're taking a car trip, going camping, or even flying.

The question is, how do you maintain a frozen food supply while on the road?

If you properly plan and pack, you can bring food with you on a trip and keep it frozen for several days.

Make sure your food is pre-frozen, and then pack it tightly in a high-quality cooler with ice packs to fill any empty space. Close the lid and store your cooler where it will be protected from direct sunlight.

Here are nine methods for keeping perishables cold while on the road; pick the one that suits your needs and budget best!

To begin, you should pre-freeze your supplies.

Obviously, if things begin frozen, it will be much simpler to maintain the status quo.

Putting your food in the freezer at least a day before you leave will ensure that it reaches its lowest temperature, which is why you should do so at least 24 hours before you leave.

For pre-freezing purposes, a deep freezer is superior to a standard kitchen freezer because it can cool food to temperatures below zero Fahrenheit.

Before putting food into a cooler, you want to make sure it is as cold as possible, which may require a few days in the freezer.  

To use ice, you should first get a good cooler.

The best coolers are the insulated ones, as they keep your food and drinks cold for a lot longer than the rest.

Numerous products, such as Yeti, RTIC Kong Coolers, and others, all boast of being the best there is.

Your first question, if you're anything like me, is probably "Which keeps ice longer?" ”

I have compiled a list of the best coolers for ice retention after extensive research to highlight the coolers that keep ice the longest.

The quality of coolers varies widely in price, but you usually get what you pay for.

You can rest assured that your perishables will remain icy cold in any of those ice chests.  

You could also use a good quality cooler bag.

Frozen ice cubes in a Yeti Hopper

A cooler bag could be more practical for your trip if you are short on storage space or don't need to keep a large quantity of perishable food frozen.

Again, you'll want to splurge on quality whenever possible; low-cost cooler bags keep food frozen for no more than a few hours, while high-quality ones can do so for days.

So, it shouldn't be a surprise that Yeti ranks high (figuratively speaking). The Yeti Hopper Soft-Sided Cooler is one option, but there are many other reputable manufacturers to consider as well.

You can view the most effective soft coolers for keeping ice here.

The bottom of your cooler should be reserved for frozen foods.

Avoid wasting time and energy by overpacking. The further away your food is from a heat source, the cooler it will remain, right?

Place items that need to be kept cool furthest in the back of your fridge and upright freezer. Your belongings are more likely to overheat if they are in close proximity to the door.

Frozen items should also be stored at the bottom of your cooler.

Because cold air sinks, the food at the bottom of the cooler stays colder for longer than what's at the top, which is also where most coolers' openings are located, causing those foods to thaw out more quickly.

That will help them stay frozen for longer, and you can also use them as improvised ice packs for whatever you set on top of them. Bonus

5. Make use of ice packs that melt faster than regular ice.

Unlike regular ice, ice packs are manufactured to retain their chill for much longer. Those noises are very witchy Totally makes sense; that's what I was thinking.

As a result, I decided to conduct a small study. Watch this video to see how the Yeti ice pack stacks up against conventional ice.

You should put the ice packs in the deepest part of your freezer for as many days as possible to get them as cold as possible.  

For more information on how ice packs compare to regular ice, read my previous article.

6 Make Use of Dry Ice

First-time users of dry ice are in for a treat for many reasons.

The process is simple after you figure out how to manage it properly.

If you want to keep your food really frozen without the hassle, dry ice is the way to go. Unlike regular ice, it retains its form.

In particular, this is a great choice for meats that you don't want to thaw out of the freezer too soon.

However, before using dry ice in your cooler, you should make sure it can handle the temperature. The finest dry ice coolers are detailed here.

When transporting dry ice, it is imperative that all windows be left open. The gas it produces when heated can deprive the inside of a car of oxygen, causing the occupants to faint or even die if they aren't moved frequently.

You can leave the windows open and be perfectly comfortable. To transport dry ice via airplane, simply mark the outside of the box as "Dry ice" or "Frozen Carbon Dioxide."

Instructions for using dry ice in a cooler can be found at this link.

Reduce the amount of dead air space in your cooler by using paper towels or other absorbent materials.

In most cases, we simply fill a cooler with ice or ice packs, add the perishables, and then seal the lid. A lot of times, we don't fill up the entire cooler.

However, all that void increases the rate at which your ice melts and other perishables thaw.

Although the cooler itself provides insulation, a few sheets of paper or a few towels stuffed into the top can do wonders.

As far back as anyone can remember, the homeless have been using newspapers, etc., to keep warm in the winter.  

Alternatively, you can lay down a layer of foam over your frozen food to insulate it from the warm air in the unused portion of your cooler.

Be sure to pre-chill your cooler.

Dry Ice In Yeti Cooler

Pre-chilling a cooler ensures that its contents remain frozen for as long as possible during transit.

There is a lot of thermal mass in coolers, especially high-end models like the Yeti that feature thick insulation, and if you've left the cooler in a warm environment (like a garage), the insulation can actually get HOT. If you put this into a warm cooler, your food and ice will melt very quickly.

To take things to the next level, why not place the entire cooler inside a large freezer? In any case It's possible, depending on the dimensions.

Ice will work as well if that isn't possible.

Make sure to fill the cooler with ice, let it sit in the freezer overnight, and then remove all of the ice and any remaining water before using the cooler.

Then you can add more ice or ice packs, along with whatever else you're transporting.

If you're going to keep your cooler in a warm place, like an attic, garage, or the back of your car in the summer sun, you should do some pre-chilling.  

If you want to know more about how to pre-chill a cooler, click here.

Place Aluminum Foil Around It, Step 9

Finally, wrap your food in aluminum foil like you're trying to shield it from aliens if you want to keep it frozen for the duration of your trip.

Aluminum foil, like the paper and towel insulation I mentioned before, keeps the contents cold. You'll need both aluminum foil and a good cooler because it works differently by blocking heat radiation. Learn the ins and outs of using aluminum foil as a thermal barrier.

The stress of traveling is enough without having to worry about whether or not your food will remain frozen.

You can benefit from any one of these suggestions, but I recommend combining several of them.

Keep in mind the importance of high-quality work. You can't expect it to serve its purpose if it's low-quality. Best wishes on your trip

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