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How To Pack Your Cooler To Stay Cold Longer


Coolers are built to retain ice and keep contents cold. However, users can impact how long the contents stay cold and how long ice lasts. Here are some tips to increase your chill factor.

1) Start with a cold cooler.

Starting with a cold cooler exponentially increases your ability to keep items cold longer. The ice you add doesn’t have to expend energy to chill the cooler so the ice can remain frozen longer and do its job keeping your contents cold.

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a walk-in cooler like at a meat locker or grocery store, set your cooler in there and leave the lid open to chill the interior. If you’re like most people, you’ll have to chill the interior with ice. You can think beyond bags of ice from the convenience store. Freeze water in old water or milk jugs and place those in your cooler to pre-chill. If you’re traveling with a group on a big game trip of a lifetime, spread out the responsibility of freezing those bottles and keep them in the cooler with the lid closed until your ready to fill it with your meat.

If you aren’t a plan-ahead kind of person or are in the backcountry for a camping trip, open the lid and let cooler night air enter the cooler to reduce the temperature or keep the coolers in the shade as much as possible. Do whatever you can to lower the interior temperature prior to filling with contents; perhaps that means filling with cold water from a hose or stream then draining and wiping down. Be resourceful and get creative with what’s available.

2) Fill with cold or chilled contents whenever possible.

If you have an opportunity, place pre-chilled beverages or cold foods in your cooler; that’s the best-case scenario. If you start with cold contents, the ice and cooler won’t have to work as hard to keep contents chilled, therefore retaining ice longer. If you’re fishing, try to place fish from cold waters into the cooler as soon as possible. Don’t give meat the opportunity to heat up in the afternoon sun. Some seasoned hunting guides suggest hanging meat overnight to chill in the night air before placing in coolers.

3) Pack items densely.

Leave as little airspace as possible. Layer ice on top of the contents to fill the cooler to full capacity. If you have more ice than other contents; surround the contents on the bottom, sides, and top with ice or icepacks to provide an extra layer of insulation this boosts the insulating power of Grizzly Coolers' thick pressure-injected polyurethane foam insulated walls. For example, if you’re packing processed game meat, frozen meat is best, but a near-frozen state works well too because the pliability of near-frozen meat allows the meat packages to nestle against each other and pack more densely.
Check out Grizzly's lineup of hard sided coolers.

4) Keep the ice chest closed.

Keep the cooler lid sealed. Fight the desire to inspect the contents. Every time the seal is broken, and warmer air is introduced to the cooler contents, the ice has to expend more energy to chill the contents again. Grizzly Coolers rubber gasket maintains a tight seal to keep cold air trapped with the BearClaw™ Latches keeping a secure grip until you’re really ready to open the cooler.

5) Insulate the cooler exterior.

Keeping the exterior of the cooler insulated buys you extra time. It’s a good, better, best situation. You can strap your cooler onto a trailer or a roof rack but placing it out of direct sunlight inside your vehicle and wrapped in a blanket or sleeping bag is best if you can. On a boat or at a campsite, these same principles apply.

6) Run with multiple coolers like a pro.

If you’re heading out on a hunt or fishing trip, you might consider bringing several coolers. Designate a cooler for your groups’ food and beverages knowing it will be opened more frequently. Keep other coolers chilled, closed, and ready to fill with your game meat or catch for the trip home.

7) Use ice, ice packs, frozen jugs, or try dry ice to keep items cold.

Select bags of ice, commercial ice packs, or frozen jugs to chill items within your cooler. Dry ice may be a good choice if you have paper-wrapped game meat that could get wet from melting ice. Note that dry ice will quickly freeze items so if you don’t want your sandwich or drinks served frozen, it might not be the choice for you. Grizzly Coolers are dry ice compatible. Dry ice can be purchased from many locations. Google “dry ice near me” but make sure you understand handling instructions before you pick up your supply. For example, dry ice should never come in contact with skin. Always use protective gloves, towels, or tongs to handle dry ice. It’s colder than regular ice and can burn skin similar to frostbite. Wrap dry ice in towels or newspaper before placing in a cooler. Dry ice doesn’t melt; it converts to carbon dioxide gas, replacing oxygen so it should not be inhaled or used in a non-ventilated area. Dry ice should not be eaten or swallowed.

Enjoy the benefits of owning a premium hard-sided Grizzly Cooler and see how a little pre-planning and strategy can extend the chill factor in your next adventure.

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