How to Keep Food Cold While Camping
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There are some challenges you have to deal with when you go camping, but most of them have a solution. A common problem you will need to deal when camping is how to keep your food cold. It is a good idea to properly plan so you can know which solution is going to work for you. Meal planning will make the process much easier. If you are bringing along a lot of food items that need to be kept cold, you have to find a method that will be able to accommodate what you have brought for the camping trip.
Avoid Perishable Foods
This can seem like a simple thing, but it won’t be easy going without fresh food for a couple of days. Dairy and fresh meat will go bad fast if it is not refrigerated. You should choose alternatives that are rich in proteins but won’t go bad fast. A good alternative for meat is beef jerky or summer sausage.Read our article on camping friendly keto snacks.
If you want to bring cheese to your camping trip, make sure you avoid “young”, soft cheese such as brie and mozzarella. You should opt for aged cheese like gouda or cheddar. You can also bring wine and crackers too if it is something you like. If you choose firm cheeses and dried meats, make sure you drink a lot of water because these foods have a high level of sodium.
A High-End Cooler
It can seem a little pointless to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a high-end cooler, but it will do more than keeping your food cool. It will also ensure it remains safe to eat. The more expensive options have better insulation and thicker walls, and this will prevent the ice from melting. Some will keep the ice solid for about 3-4 days. This will be able to keep your food cold for four days, which is impressive. It is a good idea to have a thermometer inside the cooler so you can easily track the temperature. Ensure the temperature inside is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bringing Two Coolers
If there is enough space, bring two coolers. One will be for food and the other for drinks. You will notice that the drinks cooler will be opened more regularly than the one for food. The drink cooler will get warmer faster because of this. When you use two different coolers, the food will remain cooler for longer because you will be only opening it when you want to eat. Hot air will not be entering the cooler just because you want to get a bottle of water every hour. You should consider freezing your cooler before the camping trip so it can keep the food and drinks cooler for longer, but this will work if you have a large chest freezer.
The Airline Food Prep
Why don’t many people like the food served on airplanes? It is frozen. This is an effective way of transporting fresh food, but don’t expect the taste to be that great. This can be a great tip when transporting dinner for your camping trip.
When you freeze vegetables, meats, and other perishables, you can keep them longer. If the place you are camping in is far from where you live and you want to stock on items from the grocery store, then go to the frozen aisle than fresh products. Cook the entire meal how you normally cook then freeze it. When you get to the camping site and you want to eat the food, just reheat it using the campfire. You will have peace of mind because there is no risk of contamination.
Getting Some Ice
One of the easiest ways people fill their coolers with ice is getting the 20-pound ice bricks from the local gas station (The type of ice you have to throw down a couple of times before they break into smaller ice cubes). This is not the best quality of ice to use because they have a lot of trapped air that will result in the ice melting faster. If you have a look at the inside of the ice machines, you will no longer feel comfortable using the ice. If you don’t have any other option apart from using the giant brick of ice, ensure your food is packed in non-permeable bags. This will make sure your food is not soggy when the ice starts melting.
Making Ice at Home
Instead of buying ice cubes from the store, make them at home. You have all the ingredients needed to make ice in your home. If you are looking for a rigid ice pack, then you can soak sponges in water then put them in a freezer. You can add alcohol or salt to lower the freezing point of water. This will keep it in a solid state for longer.
Freezing 90% of Your Water
If you don’t plan on bringing along an ice pack to your camping trip, then a good alternative is freezing the water you take on your trip. Freezing water inside bottles is a good idea because they will serve as ice packs, and once they have melted, you can use the water to cook or even drink. You should not freeze all the water because you don’t know when an emergency might come up.
Organizing the Cooler
When packing your water cooler, make sure it is as tight as possible. The cooler will stay cold for longer when there is less space. Place the layer of ice at the bottom then the food that you want to keep frozen. Add another layer of ice on top. Place the rest of your items then add ice cubes on top so they can fill the gaps. To make things easier, try placing the foods you will be eating first at the top, this ensures you don’t dig deep into your food, and this minimizes warm air contact with your food.
Place the Cooler in the Right Place
The area you decide to keep your cooler is also important. You should always make sure there is shade where you keep the cooler. The cooler will turn into an oven when placed in direct sunlight, just like a car. To avoid excess radiation from the sun, drape a blanket or sheet over the cooler.
When out camping, you should be having fun and not stressing about your food going to spoil.