How to Pack a Cooler for a Camping Trip



One of the best parts about camping is the food. Whether you have access to a grill or fire pit, or if you’ve got nothing but a small burner and a tiny pot, cooking is always an adventure in the great outdoors. The key is to pack your cooler wisely.

Tips for Proper Cooler Packing

  • Choose the right cooler: Pick a portable cooler that is well-insulated and has a lid that locks. This is essential in keeping the food frozen and undetected by bears and other hungry animals.
  • Chill first: Before packing the cooler, pre-chill or pre-freeze the items. The colder everything is, the longer it will stay cold and the longer it will last.
  • Go big: Be choosy when picking out ice to pack your cooler. The bigger the chunks of ice, the more slowly they will melt.
  • Be organized: In order to preserve the cool temperature, pack foods in a specific order. Put what you plan to eat first on top. Foods that will be consumed later can go towards the bottom. This way, the foods at the bottom will be kept the coldest as they are underneath all of the other frozen items, and you will not have to dump the cooler out to find something you need.
  • Find a shady spot: Make sure to keep your cooler in a shady area to help preserve the ice. As the ice melts, drain the cooler. Otherwise, the ice will melt faster, and the cooler will overflow. If you can’t find a shady spot, try placing a wet towel over the top of the cooler for an “evaporative cooling effect.” It is not wise to keep food of any kind in your tent.

A major factor that goes into packing for a camping trip is safety. When it comes to food, make sure it is all stored in containers that are bear-proof, as bears have a sense of smell seven times more powerful than dogs. A container is considered bear-proof if it can last 60 minutes of contact time with a bear.

Another thing to consider is the length of time you will spend at the campsite. The average stay at a state park for a camping trip is between three and four days. Make sure you are packing enough food to last

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