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Come rain or shine, camping in the great outdoors has always been a popular vacation. Away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, there’s nothing like being at one with nature.

The crisp fresh air of the forest and a night roasting marshmallows around the campfire is a perfect way to recharge. But marshmallows can’t be the only food on the camping dinner menu! 

Bringing great food to share with your friends and family can make any wilderness weekend even better. However, it’s vital that you keep your food cool to avoid disaster.

Hours put into planning, meal preparation and shopping can all go to waste without the means to keep your food cool and safe for you and your camping party.

No one wants to eat soggy, lukewarm food, and they sure don’t want to get sick from it either as bacteria thrive on your ruined sandwiches. 

While having a cooler is a great start, it can only help you so much. Here, you can learn some cooling tricks to dodge a camping catastrophe.

Freeze Your Food

Cooking food and freezing it will remove a lot of the stress and protect you from a nasty case of food poisoning.

Your food will stay cooler as it defrosts over time and will save you the worry of dealing with high-risk food, like meat products, in the middle of the woods.

You don’t need to pre-cook any huge meals if you don’t want to either! Just head to your local grocery store and pick up some ready-made frozen food. This will save you time and let you enjoy the fun times ahead.

Pre-chill Your Cooler

Pre-chill Your Cooler

Taking a cooler on your camping trip is a must if you plan on bringing perishable food. However, it’s not as simple as putting your food straight in.

Packing frozen or chilled food into a room temperature cooler isn’t going to help you keep your food safe for the entire trip. A cooler doesn’t cool itself!

To pre-chill your cooler, simply throw in some ice, wait a few hours, and then pack the food you want to take with you.

Regular ice cubes from your local gas station will do the job, but make sure you don’t use them when packing the food, as they’ll make your food damp as they melt.

Empty the ice cubes out and use the following method to keep your food cooler for longer.

Use Ice Packs (Or Make Your Own)

While you shouldn’t use loose ice cubes to keep your food chilled, you can use bags of ice if you wish, however, this is not ideal for keeping food cool for a long time.

Air can get into the ice cubes, meaning the ice will melt quickly, not to mention the water issue you’ll have if the bag is torn.

Thermal ice packs are the best way to keep your food cool and dry. They can be frozen and reused over and over again, saving you money, and it’s better for the environment.

Remember to use non-toxic packs, just in case of accidental spillage.

If thermal ice packs aren’t an option for you, you can always make your own! Using freezer bags or plastic water bottles, just fill with cold water, add a little salt, squeeze out the air, and freeze them.

The added salt will reduce the melting point of your homemade ice packs, keeping them frozen for longer.

Pack Tight And Right

Packing your cooler correctly will definitely help you keep all your food fresh and chilled. The first packing rule is simple – the food that needs to stay the coldest for the longest time should be packed at the bottom of the cooler.

So meats and frozen foods should stay at the bottom, while the least perishable foods should stay at the top.

You should also layer your ice packs between your food to keep everything cold; a layer on the bottom, a layer above the meats and frozen food, and finally a layer on top.

Finally, pack your cooler tight to keep everything cold. If there is less space in the cooler, the food will last longer. Remember to leave enough space for your ice packs!

Avoid The Sun

We all know that the heat will undoubtedly melt your cooler and ruin the food for your camping trip. Depending on where you decide to venture, that hot midday sun could spell disaster. 

Make sure you keep your food in a shaded area at all times, such as under a tree, picnic table, or tarp. Don’t keep your food in the car, as it will heat up considerably during the day.

Be sure to keep an eye on the position of the sun too – as the sun moves throughout the day, so will the shaded areas. Check regularly to make sure your piece of shade hasn’t disappeared and left your cooler in direct sunlight.

Don’t Open Your Cooler Too Often

Keeping your cooler closed sounds obvious, but it is very important to keep in mind. The more you open your cooler, the warmer your food will get. 

To avoid opening your cooler unnecessarily, keep food that doesn’t need refrigeration in a separate container and items that you use frequently near the top so you don’t have to dig around for too long.

This will ensure the cooler’s cold environment will stay that way for longer. 

Final Tips

While keeping all these cooling hacks in mind, here are some final tips:

  • Bring two coolers – One for food and one for drinks! Keep hydrated throughout the day without disturbing the temperature of the food.
  • Use a thermometer – It’s important to keep the cooler below 40F, so pack a thermometer and check it regularly.
  • Pack non-perishables – Bring plenty of non-perishable food, like beef jerky, dried fruit, and canned foods.
  • Use freezer bags – Avoid contamination and leaking by packing food in freezer bags and double bag raw meats.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be camping happily and dining safely with friends and family on your camping vacation.

Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!

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