Skip to content


Some lunch in a cooler box

How To Keep Food Cold While Camping | The Best Tips for Preventing Spoiled Food on Camp Trips


You don't have to stick to canned food when you're in the woods. With a little forethought and forward planning, you will be able to enjoy fresh food without being concerned that it has gone bad. In this blog, we'll go over the best ways for keeping food cold when on a camping trip.


How to Keep Food Cold While Camping


Food safety is crucial whether you're cooking inside or outside. Food poisoning is particularly risky if you're camping. Here are some tips for preserving the coldness of your food when camping.


1) Buy a Good Quality Cooler

 A lady taking some cold drink out the cooler while the man sits in a chair and the kids are running around

Credit: Refrigerator Planet


This is the best option that will keep your food cold. What kind of cooler should you get?

Your camping schedule, individual interests, and budget are factors that will influence this. Compared to steel and fiberglass coolers, Styrofoam coolers are significantly lighter and are made to keep food refrigerated for longer. This is something to consider if you plan to travel for a long time with one.


2) Use Two Coolers


An excellent technique to ensure that everything remains cold is to purchase two coolers: one for food and one for drinks.

The beverage cooler is going to be opened much more regularly than the cooler for food. If a cooler is routinely opened, the cold air will soon escape. When the boys keep going to the beverage cooler for yet another drink, you can rest easy knowing that the food is retaining its coolness in the other cooler.


3) Freeze Water Bottles

 Some bottles with water that has turned into ice next to a blue cooler

Credit: 50 Campfires


Freeze water bottles to fill any empty places in your food cooler. Your meals will stay colder since these water bottles will stay frozen for a greater duration of time compared to ice cubes.

You will have access to some cold water to drink even after your beverages cooler has warmed up. If you have the room, it won't hurt to add a few of these bottles to the food cooler as well; they'll help things remain chilled for longer.


4) Make Sure that You Pack Correctly


To keep your food colder for longer, pack it correctly. You might consider putting your cooler in an insulated box to add an extra layer of insulation and cooling.

When preparing a cooler for camping trips, the food that needs to stay the coolest should be closest to the bottom of the cooler. This means that the more delicate and perishable foods should be placed on top of the cooler, while any meat or frozen food items should be at the bottom.


5) Use Dry Ice Packs

 Nice Packs ice packs

Credit: Nice Packs


A good way to keep your cooler cold is by using dry ice packs. A dry ice pack like the one from Nice Packs maintains its coolness even when exposed to warm air, unlike a regular ice pack that quickly melts. Additionally, unlike loose ice, these ice packs don't leave behind a watery mess. They will make sure that your food stays chilled for hours on end, preserving its freshness and reducing the chance that you'll contract food poisoning.


6) A Sponge Can Be Useful


Another thing to think about is sponges. You can freeze a sponge by submerging it in water. It works well as an ice substitute.

There are other additional uses for it as well. Along with the ice, put a dry sponge in your cooler. The sponge will absorb the water when everything begins to melt. This decreases the amount of unused area and makes the cooler dryer. The cold sponge can be used to cool your neck on warm days as well as to clean your cooler after a camping trip.


7) Invest in an Electric Cooler

 A cooler filled with food and drinks with an electric plug.

Credit: Koolatron


Electric coolers function as a portable refrigerator or freezer when plugged into your car or a power source at your campsite. Due to the fact that these devices don't require ice, you can store a lot more than you could with a typical cooler.


Safety Tips While Camping


Use the following safety guidelines while camping to keep you, your friends, and your family safe:


1) Maintain the Appropriate Temperature

 Some food and drinks in a cooler filled with ice and water

Credit: CleverHiker


Cold bacteria multiply rapidly in the "danger zone," which is the region between 40°F and 140°F. To keep food out of the danger zone, it needs to be at the appropriate temperature. This requires carefully storing the foods that must be refrigerated. Never leave foods out that need to be chilled.

Ensure that your cooler is within the appropriate temperature by keeping a thermometer in it.


2) Don’t Forget To Wash


Bacteria can quickly grow in a filthy atmosphere. Bring soap, water, hand sanitizer, and fresh towels. Before and after preparing and eating meals, always wash your hands, dishes, and worktops.


3) Make Sure You Have Access to Clean Water

 A black kettle in a grill with flames heating up the water

Credit: What’s Danny Doing?


No matter how clean it seems, it is not a good idea to rely on fresh water from a body of water for drinking, cooking, or cleaning. Bring water for drinking and cleaning in bottles. Always start with a full bottle of water and fill it up whenever possible at reputable public water fountains.

One way to make water safe is to boil it. After bringing the water to a roaring boil, continue boiling it for at least one minute.

If boiling water is not an alternative, water purification pills and filters can be used to reduce the presence of viruses, bacteria, and parasites.


4) Limit the Spread of Contaminants


Bacteria from raw meat and poultry are quickly spread to other foods via dripping juices, contaminated hands, or contaminated utensils.

You can avoid this by carefully cleaning your hands with soap and water both before and after food preparation, as well as by using different cutlery for cooked and uncooked food. Meat and poultry should be double-wrapped to prevent raw meat juices from leaking onto other foods when being transported in a cooler.


How Can You Keep Your Cooler Secure When Camping?

 A brown bear in a forest looking at a cooler

Credit: The Washington Post


If there are a lot of animals where you are camping, such as bears, you should protect your cooler.

Consider investing in premium cooler locks or bear-resistant coolers for an extra degree of security (nearly all premium coolers are certified).


How Can I Keep Food Cold When Trekking?

 A cooler with lunch and a ice pack in the lid of a plastic cooler

Credit: Nice Packs


It would be absurd to carry a large cooler when trekking. Therefore, you can use a thermal bag to store your food and beverages.

These bags are small and light enough to fit inside a backpack. You can place the food in the bag's main compartment and then add dry ice packs to the pockets to maintain the interior's temperature. Food can be kept cold for several days in thermal bags, especially if it has been chilled or frozen beforehand.


Always Carry Alternative Options When Camping

 A person holding nuts in their hand and an orange container in the other hand

Credit: REI


You need to always prepare for the worst when camping. What if the cooler malfunctions and the food goes bad?

Being stranded without food while camping is the last thing you want to happen. Always pack backups for the perishable food and store them somewhere else. Consider diverse meal varieties. Snacks like dried fruit, trail mix, and almonds are examples of non-perishable camping food.




Nothing compares to the thrill of going camping with your loved ones, especially if you don't have to worry about the food or drinks spoiling. Keeping your food cold and in top shape, while you are traveling can not only preserve the food but also help you avoid potentially fatal situations like food poisoning.

Back to blog