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9 of the Best Ways to Keep Food Cold While Camping

Spending some time in the great outdoors? You'll need to know how to keep food cold while camping. These are our best tips and tricks.

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Roller Coolervia

Buy the Cadillac of Coolers

When it comes to high-quality coolers, Yeti gets top marks all around. The Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler ($350) is certified bear-resistant, and its 3-inch thick insulated walls keep ice frozen.

Plus: You’ll wish you knew these camping hacks sooner!

Purchase here.

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Coleman Wheeled Coolervia

Or Keep It Budget-Friendly

If you’re looking for a reliable budget-friendly cooler, try one from the Coleman Company—which has been making camping gear for over a century. The Coleman X-Treme cooler ($50) has a 70-quart capacity, and its insulated walls will keep things cool for up to five days in 90°F temperatures.

Purchase here.

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Freeze Packsvia

Use Freeze Packs

Ice packs are great for keeping items cold without the mess of melted ice cubes. These large cooler freeze packs ($24 for 3) are reusable, made from non-hazardous materials and stay cold for up to 48 hours. Plus: You NEED to get your hands on these really cool camping gadgets.

Purchase here.

Get our ultimate guide to backyard camping.

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Portable Car Fridgevia

Try a Portable Car Fridge

Keep items cold with help from your car or the campsite’s power source. This portable car fridge ($279) runs on 12/24 DC or 110V AC power. It also has a USB port to charge your phone. Lost power? No worries. This car fridge keeps items frozen up to 10 hours—even after being disconnected.

Purchase here.

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Picnic cooler box with bottles of beer and ice on grass during Australia Day celebrationamophoto_au/Shutterstock

Use a Separate Cooler for Drinks

Since drinks are accessed more often than your food items, the cooler holding ’em warms up more quickly. Pack a separate beverage cooler that can be opened frequently without having to worry about spoiled food.

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Bags with frozen vegetables in refrigerator, closeupAhanov Michael/Shutterstock

Freeze Your Food in Advance

Freezing your food in advance will keep it colder for longer. You can even freeze cracked eggs in a freezer-safe container; they’ll thaw just in time for breakfast.

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The water in the ice box on the beachThomsonD/Shutterstock

Use Frozen Bottles of Water

Though it may be tempting to grab ice from the gas station on your way out of town, a bag of ice will melt quickly and can contaminate your food. Instead, use frozen bottles of water. They stay cold much longer and will be more effective at keeping your food chilled. Plus, you’ll have plenty of water to drink once the bottles melt!

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Beach Picnic CoolerAdwo/Shutterstock

Keep the Cooler in the Shade

It’s a simple tip, but it’s an easy one to forget—keep your cooler in the shade whenever possible.

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raw beef Rib bone steak on paper and table with 2lb iron weightelena moiseeva/Shutterstock

Double-Wrap Frozen Meat

To help prevent cross-contamination, double wrap frozen meat in aluminum foil and freezer bags. This will prevent any liquids from escaping into your cooler as the meat thaws. For food safety purposes, the interior of your cooler should not exceed 40°F. Use a hanging thermometer ($10) to keep an eye on the temperature. Next, check out our most brilliant handy hints for camping.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.