What is the best way to keep ice in your cooler? What are your options? All ice is not created equal. There are different types of ice with advantages and disadvantages of their own. Read below to determine which ice options are right for you when keeping ice in your cooler or ice chest.
1. Regular Ice - Kept at 32 degrees, typically wet and melts quickly. Build up of water in the bottom of your cooler is a definite con to "regular" ice. However, some icy water in your cooler can help keep your foods cold. Create a way to keep your food from sitting on the bottom of the ice chest.
2. Subzero Ice – Frozen at lower temps, dryer and typically lasts longer.
3. Dry Ice – Ideal for longer trips, this ice will freeze the contents of your cooler, and must be kept ventilated. Everything in the cooler will freeze. For camping trips keep refrigerated goods in another ice chest cooler. Read below for further information. Always exercise caution when using dry ice.
4. Combination of dry ice and wet ice – Good option for long trips. The dry ice will keep the other ice frozen.
5. Ice size (block vs cube). Block ice will melt slower, but does not give you the coverage and cooling that cube ice offers. One option is using both block ice and cube ice together to maximize the life of the ice. You can create your own block ice using milk cartons, or water bottles.
6. Ice packs. If you want a low-mess ice option that's reusable we recommend ice packs. They come in various shapes and sizes. Ice packs can be softer to the touch verses hard ice. I like using ice packs for trips to the grocery store or to the park.
In practice water, frozen in gallon jugs works well when purchasing block ice is not an option. Don't forget to leave a bit of room at the top to avoid cracking the plastic jug. If you purchase gallon water at the store open the jug and pour out a small amount of water before freezing.
So, what is the best ice for my cooler? If you're planning a long trip a combination of dry and cubed or blocked ice works best to keep foods ice cold, or frozen.
To read more on keeping ice in your cooler and tips on keeping ice. Check out our article: "Packing and Preparing your Cooler to Keep Ice"
PIERCE manufactures rotomolded coolers, the best coolers for keeping ice. To learn more about the PIERCE coolers, their features and accessories click here.