How To Keep Food Cold While Camping?

Campers are always looking for ways on how to keep food cold while camping. There are a few different options, but they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Some people prefer ice chests because they can stock up on blocks of ice at the grocery store and pack them into the cooler before going on the trip. Others like coolers that use gel packs or chemical cooling agents inside an insulated case with a built-in fan that allows air to circulate, and still others choose thermoelectric coolers that rely on electricity from car cigarette lighters or solar panels to produce cold air without any moving parts.

The problem is that each type has its own set of problems: Ice chests take too much room in your vehicle; coolers with fans need power, which means you either need to take a gas generator, run power cords from your vehicle’s lighter or hook up solar panels; and thermoelectric coolers are heavy, bulky and pricey.

Some campers have even tried stuffing ice chests with snow. If you’re camping in the snow belt, it works pretty well, but if you’re camping in the desert, it’s not an option.

Best Ways to Keep Your Food Cold

Keep Your Cooler Away From Sunlight

Even though it’s a basic suggestion, it’s one that’s easy to overlook: keeping your cooler in the shade is essential

Freeze Water Bottles

The temptation to pick up a bag of ice at the petrol station on your way out of town may be too great to resist, but the ice will melt rapidly and may contaminate your food. Instead, freeze your bottled water. They will keep your food cold for a significantly longer period of time and will be more effective at doing so. Furthermore, once it melted, you’ll have plenty of water to drink!

Use A Portable Car Fridge

Using the electricity from your car or the campsite’s power supply, keep stuff cool for longer periods of time. A portable vehicle fridge operates on 12/24-volt DC or 110-volt alternating current. Additionally, it contains a USB connector for charging your phone. Have you lost power? There’s nothing to worry about. This vehicle fridge keeps objects frozen for up to 10 hours, even after it has been unplugged from the power source.

Freeze Some Of Your Food

By freezing your food in advance, you can keep it cooler for a longer period of time. If you put broken eggs in a freezer-safe container, they will defrost just in time for breakfast the next morning.

Frozen Meat Should Be Double-Wrapped

Frozen meat should be wrapped in both freezer bags and aluminum foils to help prevent cross-contamination from taking place. As the meat thaws, this will avoid liquids from spilling into your cooler and spoiling your meal. The temperature inside the interior of your cooler should not be higher than 40°F for food safety reasons. Keep an eye on the temperature by hanging a thermometer.

Use Some Freeze Packs

With ice packs, you can keep goods cool without having to deal with the mess that comes with melting ice cubes. Designed to be reusable, these huge cooler freeze packs are composed of non-hazardous materials and can keep food cold for up to 48 hours.

Drinks Should Be Kept In A Separate Cooler

Because beverages are accessible more frequently than food items, the cooler in which they are stored heat up more rapidly than the other way around. Separate beverage coolers should be brought along so that food may be opened regularly without fear of spoiling.

how to keep food cold while camping

Keep It Cold With Thermal Devices

If you really want to keep your food cold while camping, consider a thermal device designed specifically for this purpose. Thermal devices come in three different types: thermal coolers, thermal chests, and thermal carriers.

They all use phase-changing materials or specialized insulation to keep food colder longer than conventional coolers and they work very well in hot climates.

These devices can significantly extend the life of ice while holding food at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) for several days. They’re particularly effective if you’re camping and don’t plan to return home until after your ice supplies have given out, or if you want to keep food cool while boating, fishing, or floating down a river.

Thermal Coolers

Thermal coolers are like standard ice chests except they use thick insulation to reduce heat transfer. These devices don’t require any special parts; you can place them over the open bed of your truck and cover them with blankets during transport to make sure they stay cold for as long as possible.

Thermal coolers also come in a variety of sizes, including small carriers that fold down compactly for storage when you’re not using them.

These can work well in a tent or small camper where space is limited and you don’t need to keep food cold for days at a time.

Thermal Chests

With thermal chests, the insulation is built directly into the walls of a portable container. If you need to keep food cold for several days, one of these will do a better job than a thermal cooler.

They’re often used in boats and RVs where space is at a premium and there’s no room for an extra ice chest.

Thermal Carriers

Thermal carriers are almost like mini-refrigerators, designed to keep food cold in the back of an SUV or truck. They’re larger than thermal coolers; some can hold up to 100 quarts of ice at a time.

The biggest advantage is that these devices are purpose-built for hot climates, so they often have better insulation than camping coolers and they’ll last longer. Some are even powerful enough to be used as portable freezers, which makes them ideal for hunters who want to pack out game after a long day in the field.

With thermal coolers, thermal chests, and thermal carriers designed specifically for camping, all you have to do is make sure they’re prepped before you leave home by filling them with ice and any other perishables you’ll need to keep cold during transport.


If you don’t have a portable fridge, you’ll have a hard time keeping food cool when camping. But there are many ways that you can do in order to prevent that.

When organizing your trip’s meal schedule, keep in mind that some items will need to be refrigerated before consumption. A large cooler is needed if you plan on bringing along many food items that need to be kept chilled.

If you only have one cooler for all of the food and beverages, then you’ll need to focus on planning meals and take into account the fact that you don’t have enough refrigeration!