Keeping perishable foods cool is a must on a camping trip. When temperatures surpass 40 degrees Fahrenheit, microorganisms start to grow, and items like raw meat, eggs, milk and some precooked foods begin to spoil. Eating these foods can make you sick, so it’s important to pack a cooler that will keep food cold and fresh longer.
Buy or make your own ice packs prior to leaving. Fill a container about two-thirds to three-quarters full of water and freeze. Containers you can use include half-gallon milk jugs, gallon-size sealable freezer bags and soda bottles. Solid blocks of ice melt more slowly than ice cubes.
Cool food prior to leaving. Put sodas, jelly and other items that will end up in your cooler in the refrigerator overnight.
Freeze items that can be frozen at home prior to leaving. Items like juice boxes, hamburger patties, individual chicken breasts and hot dogs can be frozen and can slowly thaw in your cooler for you to use on your trip.
Keep loose ice (cubes) in a separate container, such as a freezer bag. Ice can become contaminated if left loose in the cooler. Loose ice stored in a container will stay clean and can be used in drinks.
Evenly distribute the ice packs and frozen food items as much as possible when you pack your cooler. Place heavy items on the bottom of the cooler. Place uncooked meat and poultry products in extra plastic freezer bags to prevent possible cross-contamination