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Packing a Cooler When Traveling

Last weekend, I had the chance to go to my friend's beach house. We decided to bring food with us to make because it is cheaper and usually healthier. We also know from experience that food near the beach is more expensive so we decided to buy everything here and pack a cooler to transport it.

Here are some tips the cooler team shared with me about packing a cooler:

  • Heat rises and cold air falls, so put the items you need to keep cold at the bottom of the cooler. Then, pile ice on top of it
  • Bring your cooler to room temperature for at least an hour before you pack it. Even better is chill it in the fridge before you go
  • Make sure the items you are packing are cold!
  • If you are going to be accessing items during your trip, pack them in order you will need them (snack on top, then dinner, then breakfast for the next day!). That was you will not be digging around in the cooler letting cold air escape
  • Try to keep the cooler out of the sun as much as possible

Check out my awesome cooler packing skills!

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What trips will you be taking a cooler on this summer?  

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16 Responses to Packing a Cooler When Traveling

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  9. sister catherine yaskiw June 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    what are the thoughts about the refreezeable packs?

    • Erin Gentry June 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      We LOVE refreezeable packs. Rubbermaid Blue Ice packs are the best!

    • Heather June 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

      I like to use them with some real ice. I line the bottom of my cooler wtih them, then my food and containers don’t sit in too much water when the ice melts. I feel like the freezer packs thaw out a little faster, so they might not be good for long trips.

  10. Heather June 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Thats a great tip about trying to pack things in the order you might use them. I also like to pack some items while they are still frozen or partially frozen, like hashbrowns, meats or even some of my drinks.

  11. Tracy June 26, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    “Bring your cooler to room temperature for at least an hour before you pack it. Even better is chill it in the fridge before you go”

    Can you please explain what this means?


    • Rick June 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Most people store stuff they aren’t using. That means basement, garage or attic. If you use your cooler in the summer, odds are your cooler may be warm when you pull it out to pack it. So pull it out some time before and allow it to cool off, or better yet, make it cooler yourself. Put some cold water in teh cooler and add ice. Close and slosh every so often. After a while the cooler is cold and then pack your cooler and go.

      As for putting it in the fridge to cool off — if you have a fridge that big, you can afford to not worry about a cooler!

      Remember that a cooler works well in the winter, too — but in reverse. Hot stuff will stay nice and toasty, or you can keep perishable items (say, a salad) from freezing.

      Happy Travelling!

    • Erin Gentry June 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi Tracy,

      Rick’s reply has the jist of it. If you store your cooler in the garage, attic, basement, etc., it is best to bring it inside for about an hour to let it cool down. If your cooler is stored in an area already room temperature like your pantry, then skip this step.

      If you can make your cooler cold it will help stop heat transfer and keep your items cold longer. You can do this by sticking it in the fridge if it is a smaller cooler or adding ice to it before you pack it.

      Rubbermaid coolers are not made to keep items warm as Rick mentions below. We strongly suggest that you do not use the cooler in this way.


  12. cheap jerseys June 12, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    We also know from experience that food near the beach is more expensive so we decided to buy everything here and pack a cooler to transport it.

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