Best Ways to Keep Food Cold When Camping

Share this article

Headed out on a camping trip? Have you packed in all the camping essentials like tents, water, coolers, etc? Camping enthusiasts in excitement may sometimes leave out essentials which may help maintain the freshness of the food.

Good food makes every journey exciting during a trip, you ought to carry a cooling box which helps keep the sumptuous food in its best shape and taste. Consuming spoiled food could cause food poisoning.

It is often seen that people fail to keep food cold and end up eating spoiled food or no food at all. We have curated a list of ways that you can use to keep the food cold and fresh for most of your camping days.

Use a 12v Camping Fridge

If you don’t want to worry about regularly using ice to keep your food cool then consider using a 12v camping fridge. There are plenty on the market with many also having a freezer component or dual zone section allowing for two separate temperature controlled compartments. This is perfect for keeping meat and other food items frozen. If you are camping for a long period of time then it’s best to have a suitable battery system and 12v solar panels in order to supply enough power to keep the fridge running.

Invest in a High-End Cooler

Investing in a high-end cooler is the most beneficial decision you can make for your camping tours! Coolers help you keep your drinks, both soft and hard, cold. Additionally, it also helps in keeping the food cold. Coolers come in different prices and weight capacities. Therefore, you can choose the cooler that has the best features. Thick walls and better insulation are must-have features in your cooler

The thick walls prevent ice from cooling down. The cooler you choose should satisfy your entire camping expedition. If you regularly camp for 2-3 days, you should buy, keeping that in mind. If you are someone who prefers a week-long camping expedition once or twice a year, you should look for coolers that offer high-end features like drink holders, cooler shelves, etc.

Consider Two Coolers

While on camping trips, we need to have cold drinks and preserve food by keeping it cold for a longer period. Therefore, it is suggested to keep two coolers. You can use one cooler for keeping your food while the other for keeping your drinks.

There are many benefits of keeping two coolers, apart from having your drinks and food properly organised. Generally, we indulge in drinking more than we eat. Therefore, keeping separate coolers will help you prevent any air from entering the food cooler; hence, keeping it cold for long. If you decide to keep two coolers, make sure you buy one especially for keeping your drinks.

Freeze your Camping Meals

It is recommended to prepare your meals in advance for your camping trip. It will ensure that the food stays cool for longer and reduces your efforts to cook meals at the camping site. You might want to take this advice because frozen food does not spoil.

You just need to reheat, and your food is all set to be eaten. Also, note that all the frozen meals should be kept at the bottom of the cooler, right above the ice layer. If you carry any perishable food with you, make sure to eat that first and the frozen meals later. For frozen meals, you can choose a mixed vegetable noodle jar, chili con Carne, etc.

Photo Credit:

Dry ice helps to keep the temperature inside the coolers low. Also, since they last long, you can ensure that the food stays cold for longer. Place the dry ice properly covered in newspapers as the top layer in your icebox. It is suggested not to touch dry ice with bare hands as it can damage the top layer of your skin.

Additionally, only choose dry ice as an option if you are sure that the ice coolers will be placed in the trunk. Dry ice emits carbon dioxide, so it is better to keep it away from people. When you reach your camping site, place the ice coolers with dry ice away from your pets and tent.

Salt- It Works Like Magic, Every Time

Expert campers will already know about this magic trick. Add a pinch or two of rock salt when keeping your bottle and ice trays up for freezing. The use of rock salt will reduce the melting point of water. Additionally, when melting water mixes with ice, it turns colder than ice. This salt trick ensures that your food stays at a cold temperature for a long time.

You need to take extra care while adding salt because too much of anything is bad. Also, when the ice melts, the salt taste might enter your food. So beware, but yes, it is one good trick for campers.

Keep the Cooler in Shade

Photo Credit:

Providing a maximum amount of shade to the cooler goes unsaid. Heat and ice are no good friends. You have to keep your coolers away from direct sunlight as well as from heat sources. Make sure that it is kept in a windy place under shade to keep the ice stay longer. The more exposure it will get to heat, the faster your ice will melt, leaving your food thawing and, at times, even spoiled.

Freeze Most of Your Drinking Water

When you carry drinking water along on camping trips, it is suggested to freeze most of your drinking water but not all. Apart from dry ice, ice cubes, you can use the frozen water bottles as additional coolers for the food coolers to stay cold. You can choose large water bottles such as a 2L bottle and freeze them at least 3-4 nights before your trip. Ensure that the water is completely frozen. Semi-frozen water is likely to melt faster.

Layer the Cooler Right

Layering your cooler correctly determines the duration your food stays cold. Use the following way to pack the cooler:

  •  The bottom layer should be an ice block
  •  Place the frozen meat, meals as the second layers
  •  If the cooler permits, place another ice block
  •  Keep the sealed food packets next
  •  Fill the remaining space with ice cubes.
  •  If you choose to place dry ice, make sure that it is properly wrapped in newspaper.

Camping is nice and fun only when you have access to food. Therefore, use the ways mentioned above to preserve your food for a long period and enjoy your camping expedition. Happy Camping!

Andy Sullivan

Andy Sullivan

A lover of all things outdoors, Andy is an experience camper having traveled the east cost of Australia multiple times and countless trips throughout New Zealand.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Keep up to date with everything camping related, from new gear and equipment to the best places to camp around Australia!

Weekly Video

Sign up for our Newsletter

Get the latest camping and 4WD news delivered to your inbox.

How we make money is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Additionally, participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.

Omg... what a great deal!

bigwig jerky