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How to Keep Food Cold Outside: Tips and Tricks for Storing Food for Outdoor Events and Activities

How to Keep Food Cold Outside: Tips and Tricks for Storing Food for Outdoor Events and Activities


Whether you're having a summer potluck or planning a camping menu for a multi-day trip, it's essential to understand the best practices for keeping food cold outside. In this blog post, we'll explore the different methods and equipment you can use to keep your food at safe temperatures outdoors, as well as some tips for planning and preparing your meals.


6 Ways to Keep Food Cold Outside


Summer is synonymous with cold salads and cool beverages, however, the high temperatures can make it challenging to keep your food at safe temperatures. If you're looking for strategies to store your food safely to prevent food poisoning, here are a few tips that can help you:


1) Use a High-Quality Cooler


happy man holding the blue cooler in camping area

Credit: Envato Elements/ cavanimages


One of the most effective ways to keep food nice and cold in outdoor settings is to use a high-quality cooler. A good cooler can save you from the hassle of constantly replenishing ice, and will keep your food cold for much longer than a cheaper model. 

When shopping for a cooler, look for one with thick insulation and a tight-fitting lid. Additionally, look for coolers with wheels for easy transportation, and handles for comfortable carrying.


2) Pack Food in Airtight Containers


vegetables in air tight containers

Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios


Another way to keep food cold in outdoor settings is to pack it in airtight containers. This will prevent the summer heat from getting in. Additionally, make sure to use containers that are made of materials that will not absorb odors or flavors. Glass, stainless steel, and plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are all good options.


3) Use Dry Ice Packs or Frozen Water Bottles


Nice Packs dry ice packs

Credit: Nice Packs


Another effective method for keeping food cold in outdoor settings is to use dry ice packs. These can be placed directly in your cooler or among your food containers to keep them chilled.

Additionally, you can freeze bottles of water and use them as ice packs, which will also provide a source of hydration as they melt. Avoid using loose ice cubes as they tend to occupy a lot of space and melt faster.


4) Plan and Prepare Meals in Advance


woman storing food in air tight containers in the refrigerator

Credit: Envato Elements/ lithiumphoto


Proper planning and preparation can go a long way in keeping food cold in outdoor settings. Make sure to prepare your meals in advance, so they can be stored in the refrigerator before being packed. Also, consider packing foods that do not need refrigeration, like dried fruits and nuts, crackers, and bread. These foods can be stored at room temperature, which will help to keep your cooler cold.


5) Insulate Your Cooler


blue bubble wraps

Credit: Envato Elements/ slavereva


To keep food cold for longer periods, you can also insulate your cooler. Insulating your cooler can help to prevent the cold air inside from escaping and the warm air outside from entering. 

There are many ways to insulate a cooler such as using bubble wraps, mylar, or foam pads. You can also use a combination of these methods for the best results.


6) Use Thermal Bags or Insulated Containers

thermal liners for cooler

Credit: Nice Packs


If you do not want to use a cooler, you can use thermal bags or insulated containers. These specially designed bags and containers are made with insulation materials that can keep food cold for hours. They are perfect for transporting food to picnics, camping trips, or other outdoor events. You can also use them to store leftovers or perishable items when going grocery shopping.


Tips for Keeping Food Cold


blue cooler in the beach

Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios


Now that you know how to keep your food chilled in outdoor settings, use the following tips to achieve the best results:

  • Keep the cooler in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight. This will help to keep the temperature inside the cooler consistent.
  • Keep hot foods and cold foods separate to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Avoid opening the cooler too frequently, as this will allow hot air to enter and cool air to escape.
  • Before you plan to eat food from the cooler, use a thermometer to check the temperature inside the cooler. The recommended safe temperature for storing perishable food is 40°F or lower. If the temperature is higher than this, the food should not be consumed.
  • If you want your food items to stay cold as long as possible, pack your cooler in layers, with the items that need to be kept coldest on the bottom and the items that don't need to be as cold on top.



    Maintaining the temperature of food in outdoor settings is crucial for preventing foodborne illness. By using a high-quality cooler, packing food in airtight containers, using ice packs or frozen water bottles, and planning and preparing meals in advance, you can ensure that your food stays safe to eat during your outdoor adventures.

    Looking to enjoy cold food and refreshing drinks on your next outdoor adventure? Check out Nice Packs' dry ice packs. These packs are specially designed to keep drinks and food cool and fresh for prolonged periods. Shop with us today to enjoy exclusive offers.

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