How to Keep Food Cold While Camping?

how to keep food cold while camping

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

Camping is one of the best ways to relax.  Most people love the outdoors, allowing them to get some tranquility from the urban rush. Many people wonder how to keep food cold while camping, but with the right gear and features, you should not need to worry about keeping the foods cool and fresh.

In the following article, we will look at the best way to keep food cold while camping and allow you to understand which products should be the best. Once you manage to keep your food cold, it will make the trip more enjoyable. Additionally, it removes the constant stress of having to deal with food that might get spoiled.

Benefits of Keeping Your Food Cold While Camping

a way to keep food cold when camping

Before we look at some of the methods, we must look at the benefits. When you have tons of food, and they remain fresh, it will give peace of mind, and you don’t need to stress the fact that food could spoil. Here are some of the key benefits from keeping food cold while camping:

  • Peace of Mind: So far, we have stressed the fact that you will have peace of mind. You don’t need to be constantly stressed about your food being spoiled.
  • Longer Trips: Additionally, you can look to expand or extend your camping trips by carrying more foods that will not spoil.
  • Freshness: If food remains fresh, they remain full of nutritional value, which means you don’t need to compromise on nutrition.
  • Better Experience: Unfortunately, it is not fun living off rations that are preserved. Having fresh food tastes better and will be more enjoyable.
  • More Food: Finally, you will be able to carry more food on your trips, which reduces the need to visit local shops.

There could be many more benefits to keep food cold when camping. However, these benefits are some of the most prominent you will experience immediately when you are camping. As mentioned, you won’t need to visit any local stores if some of them are present. It saves you money from buying foods at their expensive prices.

8 Ways to Keep Food Cold When Camping

Having seen some of the benefits, you might be ready to look at which foods should be the best. In the following section, we look at some of the top methods. These methods vary from one another and in terms of price. Regardless of your experience, you should be able to find the right method that meets your needs and budget.

1. An Insulated Cooler  YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, Aquifer Blue

One of the first methods is also the most basic, and when you are out on longer camping trips, you might want to consider a cooler. There are numerous coolers on the market today, but not all of them have been insulated in the same way. Some of the top coolers have been insulated with polyurethane foam to ensure the temperature is regulated.

The YETI Tundra 65 Cooler is considered the Rolls Royce of all coolers, and there is a wide variety of different options. The Tundra 65 can hold 65 liters, and the insulation makes it possible for the unit to hold ice. Ice should not melt as quickly as many cheaper coolers, which makes it a valuable investment to keep your food cold.

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Pre-Chill Coolers and Foods

Once you set foot outside your home and you are ready to get going, your cooler will immediately start to lose temperature. Instead of starting with a normal cooler, you can chill the unit. If you have a large freezer, you can place the cooler in the freezer with some of your foods. However, if you don’t have such a freezer, you can let the unit rest with ice.

Once the cooler has been pre-chilled, you will lose some of the cold temperatures much slower. If you add ice to the cooler before you head on your trip, you can significantly reduce the loss of the cold. With a longer cooling period, foods will remain colder for prolonged periods and even stay fresh while you are traveling.

3. Large Ice Blocks

If you don’t like to use the standard ice you could consider settling for larger ice blocks. While these are still technically made from water, they are slightly larger, which means the time to melt will be vastly extended. One of the downsides to using these large blocks is that you will notice they take up a lot of space in your cooler.

4. The Dry Ice Benefit

Dry ice is one of the best alternatives to ensure your food remains cool. It will have a standard temperature of -109.3-degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature means that dry ice will give you twice the cooling power when compared to standard ice. Additionally, it does not melt and rather reverts to CO2, which means nothing will be in your cooler.

Since the melting of dry ice does not go down like many other forms of ice, you will want to place the dry ice at the bottom of the cooler. As the ice evaporates and turns into CO2. It will keep the foods at the top cool. Additionally, the lack of oxygen also reduces the chances of bacteria that could potentially grow. Your food should not spoil as quickly.

5. Consider Buying Frozen Foods

frozen foods

While many people might consider eating fresh foods when they are at home, it is not always possible. However, frozen foods can also be defrosted to ensure that they remain fresh when you cook them. Fortunately, it should be easy for you to defrost the foods, which makes it comfortable for most people to keep food from spoiling.

The best way to keep food frozen while camping is certainly to choose frozen foods. It is important that you also consider the expiry date of foods. Once the food starts nearing the expiry date, it will require specific temperatures to keep the food from spoiling. You should consider the expiry date before you are buying the food.

6. Layer Your Food

You must plan the meals before you head out on your trip. By spending time rearranging the foods inside the cooling unit, you might notice that you allow a lot of heat to enter the box. You should eat the food at the top first to ensure that as the ice melts, water seeps to the bottom and keeps the rest fresh.

Additionally, you should pack your food in a layer for each day if possible. Keep your food with a low spoil rate at the upper part, while moving foods like meat to the bottom? The meat can potentially spoil after a couple of days. However, when they remain frozen for long periods, it will be much easier to keep them fresh for as long as possible.

7. The Salt Trick

One thing you might not have known is that salt will allow water to freeze much faster. While we don’t recommend adding your blocks of ice and water to the freezer, you can create bottles of frozen water. The water should have a little bit of salt to help speed up the freezing process, especially when in a hurry to keep camping foods frozen.

We recommend that you mark the bottles with a clear market when adding salt. It should be much easier to distinguish between saltwater and freshwater. Drinking salt water can lead to dehydration and cause you serious illness, and when you freeze it in blocks, it could make your foods taste very salty.

8. Consider Taking More Than One Cooler

If possible, you should consider taking more than one cooler. If you can split them up to use the one for foods and the other for drinks, you can limit the number of times that the cooler with the food is opened. Keep in mind that each time the cooler is opened, you will allow heat to enter the cooler and this will speed up the melting process.

However, when you choose to use the second cooler for drinks, you will notice that the cooler your food remains colder for longer. You might even want to consider adding another cooler when that is possible. You should try to have a temporary cooler with items that will be used quickly and one for foods that need to stay cold for longer.

Use Common Sense

Finally, you need to use common sense. If you are looking to keep your food cold while camping, you should refrain from constantly open the cooler. You should leave the cooler and consider opening the unit once to remove all the things you need. Don’t take any items that might spoil when not kept at extremely low temperatures either.


 If you love camping and spending time outdoors, you need to understand how to keep food cold while camping. The above-mentioned options are 9 of the top options that will make it possible to keep food cold for longer. We recommend looking at some of these options. Let us know in the comment section if we have missed any of your favorite methods.

Previous articleCanyon Lake Swimming in Arizona – 5 Spots
Next articleWhy are Yeti Coolers So Expensive?