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Monica Prelle

How to Keep the Ice Chest Cold

By August 22, 2012

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Question: How can I keep ice from melting for as long as possible?

When trying to store food and drinks in a cooler, which would be the best way to stop the ice from melting for as long as possible in order to keep the food good and the drinks cold?

Answer: "Learning it the hard way, we now take block ice and put it on the bottom of the cooler. It may last 4-5 days in contrast to a day for ice cubes. It can be purchased at convenient stores, or you can make it yourself by filling empty milk 1/2 gal cartons and freezing them." - Don, About Camping Reader

Here's what former Camping Guide, David Sweet has to say about melting ice.

August 23, 2012 at 1:03 am
(1) jim says:

pack supplies already cooled.

August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm
(2) Lou Cook says:

What I do is freeze water bottles and as they thaw drink the water and yes I know your aren’t suppose to do that. Normally I can keep ice this way for 3 days. Make sure you keep the chest out of the direct sun also

August 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm
(3) Mauricio says:

It’s really a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you just shared this helpful info with us.

Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

August 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm
(4) Matt says:

On a related note; often you might end up with food items floatin in some melted ice water. We picked up a second hand vacuum sealer and anything that we don’t get wett, we seal. At worst you have some floating bags, but everything stays dry, with not bits and pieces floating in the water.

August 29, 2012 at 9:43 am
(5) Larry says:

Blocks of ice do work best and some places do sell it. If you have a “local” ice house nearby, their ice is much colder and lasts longer than anything you can make at home or buy at a convenience store.

Also, use a 5 day cooler. We have found that the Coleman coolers work the best w/o needing to spend big bucks on a marine or other cooler.

We do both for our boy scout troop and our personal camping and it works great and has for a few years now.

July 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm
(6) Dave says:

Haven’t tried it yet but how about poring some rock salt in your ice chest along with the ice ? it works when your making ice cream it freezes up so why wouldn’t it work ?

September 21, 2013 at 1:43 am
(7) Rick says:

Rock salt will work, but only if you wish to freeze your food. Salt water freezes at 0 degrees, and it thaws at the same temperature. Place it it your cooler, and it will reduce the temperature of the cooler below freezing until it melts, at which point the cooler full of salt water will begin to rise in temperature past the safe point. Water, however, stabilizes at 32 degree until it melts, which is obviously a much better temperature for holding food. Salted water won’t last longer, but it will be colder.

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