One of the skills every beer lover should learn is: how to pack a perfect beer cooler. This will ensure that you and your folks always have a chilled beer on any outdoor trip. Whether you are on your way to watch your favorite sports team, going to the beach, or you are preparing for a barbecue party at your backyard, this step-by-step guide will show you how to pack a perfect beer cooler. You will get the most out of the space in the cooler, make your ice last longer, and keep your beer cool for as long as you want.
Pre-chill The Beer and The Cooler
Chill your beer in the refrigerator for at least one to two hours before placing them in the cooler. While your beer is in the refrigerator, get your ice ready. Homemade ice is the best, but if you are buying ice from a commercial ice maker, this is the time to dash down and pick up your ice. Research has shown that you will get the best performance from your ice if you use at least 5 pounds of ice for each crate (containing 12 cans) of beer. As soon as you get your ice, put a bag of ice in your cooler to pre-cool it.
Stack The Ice And Beer In Layers
Crush some of the ice and put an even layer of ice (about one inch thick) at the bottom of the cooler. Then place the chilled cans of beer upright on the top of the ice. Place them as closely together as possible to reduce the amount of air space between them. Leave at least half an inch of space between the cans and the wall of the cooler. Then fill this space with ice to reduce the effect of the heat that is transferred from the walls of the cooler. Thereafter, place another layer of ice on the cans before you arrange another layer of beer. Repeat this procedure until the entire cooler is full.
Separate Various Brands of Beer
In a party with different types of guests, you may need to serve different types of beer. This means that your guests would be opening the cooler to search for the type of beer they want. Frequent opening and closing of the cooler would make the ice melt faster. So you should arrange different kinds of beer on each row. For instance, if one row, in your cooler, can take 36 cans, divide this into six groups of beer which may include: light beer, lager beer, dark ale, India pale ale, wheat beer, and stout.
Add Rock Salt
If you are going to be away from home for a very long time, you can add rock salt to the ice to retain a low temperature even after melting. After you create a layer of ice, sprinkle some rock salt on its surface. When you add the salt to melting ice, it reduces the melting point of the water. Thus, the salt that mixes with the water will make it as cold as the frozen ice. Subsequently, the ice will melt slower and keep your beer cold for a longer time.
Those are a few tricks that can simplify the process of packing your cooler of beer for your trip to the beach or your next hiking or camping trip. If you follow the steps and advice provided here, your beer will be extremely cold for several hours.
If you are planning to go on a trip, you should use these tips to prevent your ice from melting very fast. You will be able to keep your drinks cool, preserve your food, and avoid the extra cost of buying ice on your next trip.
1. Use Large Homemade Ice Blocks
The size, strength, and quality of your ice blocks will determine how long they will last. You can control the quality of your ice by making them yourself. Use some empty milk cartons or freeze water with quart-sized zip-lock bags. Larger ice blocks always take a longer time to melt. Instead of using tap water directly, you should use slightly cooled boiled water. Boiled water will reduce the amount of air bubbles in the ice. Thus, the water molecules will be closely packed together and the ice will take a longer time to melt.
2. Choose the Right Type of Cooler
Choose a cooler that will keep your ice cold for the entire duration of your trip. Features such as size, external color, hinges, thermal insulation, and cooling duration will determine how long your ice will last. For instance, if you are going on a family camping trip for 5-days, a Coleman 6201A748 100 Quart will keep your drinks cool for up to one week without the need to add more ice. It also has the capacity to hold up to 6 crates of drinks for a family of six people; so you will never run out drinks.
3. Pre-Chill The Cooler and Your Food and Drinks
Bring out your cooler from storage early, clean it, and put in a bag of ice for about 12 to 24 hours before use.
Also, pre-chill some of the food and drinks you want to place in the cooler. This will automatically extend the lifespan of your ice. However, you should not freeze canned drinks or plastic bottles containing carbonated drinks because they could burst. Fruit juice and water may be frozen while soda should be kept in the refrigerator. Additionally, you may freeze meat and other food items before putting them in your cooler.
4. Arrange Your Food and Drinks Systematically
Line the internal surface of your cooler and the lid with aluminum bubble wrap. This will provide insulation to keep the heat out of your cooler. Arrange the items in the cooler so that the ones you will take last will be at the bottom while those that will be consumed first will be at the top. You will able to pick what you need quickly and prevent hot air from getting into the cooler. Finally, place your ice blocks on top of the items and pack the cooler tight and as full as you can.
5. Shield Your Cooler from Heat
You should keep your cooler away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Wrap a wet towel around it to shield it from atmospheric heat. To reduce the rate at which the ice melts, use a cooler with a light-colored exterior surface. A very good example of this type of cooler is the Igloo Glide Pro Cooler which has a pure white surface. The ultratherm technology used to insulate the body keeps food and drinks frozen for at least 5 days. It also has UV protection that prevents it from getting damaged in the sun.
These tips for keeping ice cold longer will help you enjoy cool drinks and food during your next camping trip. By arranging your items properly in the right type of cooler, using large homemade ice blocks, you can prolong the life of your ice.
Since dry ice contains solidified carbon dioxide gas, it does not melt and may leave your food items soggy and sloshing inside your cooler. Nonetheless, dry ice in a cooler can burn your skin, crack the cooler and lead to an emission of harmful vapors.
That being the case, you will need to take a few precautionary measures before you can use the ice to ensure that cooler is full of cold and fresh food.
Know the Right Amount of Ice to Have in the Cooler
Ice is typically dense; Fifty pounds of dry ice can be about the same size as a twenty-five-pound block of regular ice and will last a little bit longer. Thus, you need to know the right amount of ice to have in your unit.
Most often, an ice slab measuring 10 by 10 by 2 inches will weigh 10 pounds. The best cooler will allow you to stack one 10 pound square of ice of every 15 inches of the space available. Note that the square will diminish in about 24 hours.
Some of best places to buy your ice include sporting goods stores, bait shops, and grocery stores. The ice is often prepackaged in paper bags or thick plastic. While it’s less common, dry ice also comes in pellet form.
Prepare the Cooler
While some coolers such as Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler, you will have to prepare the cooler before you put in the dry ice. Before placing the dry ice in the cooler, wrap it using few layers of newspaper, paper bags or clean towels. Never set the ice straight into the cooler because the cold temperatures (minus 109 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause the interior to crack.
In case the cooler has a latch, unlatch it. Doing so allows the vapors to escape from under the lid. If the gas remains inside the cooler, the expanding carbon dioxide will accumulate enough pressure to bow, crack or blow the cover out forcefully.
Prepare the Food for Dry Ice
Be sure to pre-freeze any food that you do not intend to eat for at least 24 hours. Failure to do may lead to the food freezing unevenly depending on how close you have placed it on the ice.
Keep the frozen food at the bottom of your cooler and place a couple of towels or the food to create a thick cover. The towels will ensure that the dry ice does not crack the plastic containers and cause freezing burns in case it comes into contact with frozen meats and vegetables.
Place another towel on top of the dry ice and add the other items you would want to cool but not necessarily frozen on top of the ice. Place bottles, cans, eggs or any other item that can crack on the soft side of the cooler to prevent freezing.
Using the Cooler Outdoors
When using your cooler outdoors, make sure you place it in the trunk of your car where there’s enough ventilation to allow the gases to escape. Remember that the dry ice in a cooler can still cause accumulation of carbon dioxide even when the cooler is being used outdoors.
Ensure that your car’s heating system is on the “fresh air” setting. Open the windows adjacent to the cooler to allow the carbon dioxide to escape. In case you feel lightheaded or out of breath when carrying the ice in your car, it is most probably because you don’t have enough air flow of fresh air inside the car.
While it might come across as pretty straightforward, using dry ice in a cooler requires extra caution otherwise, you might end up damaging the cooler and hurt yourself in the process.