A red and white cooler on beach sand

How to Keep a Cooler Cold Without Ice


Contrary to what it might seem, a cooler does not actually cool its contents. It simply maintains the temperature while preventing heat from escaping. That's why most coolers use ice to maintain a consistent temperature, but what if you don't have any ice in the fridge? Can you still enjoy ice-cold drinks and fresh food? In this blog, we will discuss 7 ways to keep a cooler cold without ice.


7 Ways to Keep a Cooler Cold Without Ice


Use one or more of the following methods to keep your food and drinks cool in a cooler without using cubed ice:


1)  Choose a Good Quality Cooler

 A blue and white cooler in the center of blue and white beach chairs

Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios


If you intend to use a cooler without ice cubes, selecting the right type of cooler is essential. You should avoid using foam or metal coolers since they absorb heat more easily and cause the contents to become warm. Instead, choose a durable plastic cooler or similar hard-sided cooler that will keep your food and drinks cold for longer. Additionally, go for lighter-colored coolers to keep the temperature stable.


2)  Pre-chill the Contents

 A person taking bottles out of the fridge that has been cooled

Credit: Envato Elements/ cookelma


If you want to help your ice cooler stay cold for longer, you must refrigerate the contents beforehand. As mentioned before, coolers don't actually cool their contents rather, they simply maintain the temperature. So if you put your contents in at room temperature, the cooler will maintain them at that temperature rather than cooling them down. Therefore, before you put anything in the cooler, make sure it's as cold as possible. If feasible, freeze your drinks, meat, and other food; if not, place everything in the refrigerator the night before to cool it down before loading it into your cooler.


3)  Pre-Chill Your Cooler

 Three bottles of water that have been frozen

Credit: Envato Elements/ Lazy_Bear


Starting with a cold cooler boosts your ability to keep beverages and food cold for longer. Ice bags are typically used to chill a cooler, but since you don't have any, you'll have to make do with what you have. This includes using frozen water bottles, frozen vegetable bags, frozen meat, and other items. If you don't have any of these items, another approach is to fill your cooler with cold water before loading it. Do whatever you can and use whatever you have to reduce the internal temperature of your cooler.


4)  Line the Cooler With Insulated Liners

 A Nice Packs silver insulated liner used in boxes and coolers

Credit: Nice Packs


Since you won't be using any ice to keep your cooler cold, you'll need to use alternate methods to keep the hot air outside and the cold air inside. One method to do this is to line the interior of your cooler with insulated liners or aluminum foil. Another option is to place a layer on top of your cooler to reflect any additional UV radiation.


5)  Wrap Your Food and Drinks With Towels

 A set of 3 towels on top of each other

Credit: Envato Elements/ Nadianb


Coolers warm up much more quickly when there are empty air spaces. The more air space there is in a cooler, the faster it will lose its coolness. To protect your food and drinks from void air space, wrap them with towels. Additionally, filling any empty space with towels can also help. You'd be shocked at how much longer your stuff will stay cold by using this simple trick.


6)  Use Dry Ice Packs

 A dry ice pack from Nice Packs

Credit: Nice Packs


Dry ice packs are the most effective way to keep your cooler cold without ice. A dry ice pack, like the one from Nice Packs, maintains its coolness even when exposed to warm air. Additionally, these ice packs do not leave a soggy mess behind, which can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and accelerate the warming process of your cooler.


7)  Keep Your Cooler in the Shade

 A red and white cooler filled with green bottles

Credit: Envato Elements/ Pressmaster


The location of the cooler affects how long the contents will stay cold, so positioning it correctly is essential. Hence, keep your cooler out of direct sunlight and instead position it in a shaded area. Additionally, you shouldn't keep it in an area with high temperatures, such as next to a campfire. A high-temperature environment can undo all of your efforts. Furthermore, to prevent cool air from escaping when taking anything out of the cooler, avoid opening the cooler lid all the way.




We hope that this blog has helped you learn how to keep a cooler cold without ice. Remember that even if you follow all of the above instructions, a cooler without ice will not keep food as cold as a cooler with ice unless you use a cooling element such as dry ice packs. To shop for dry ice packs that last 4 times longer than cubed ice, check out Nice Packs.