How to Keep Food Cold While Camping | 7 Effective Methods

Camping is special. Camping is fun. But you know what’s not fun? Getting a terrible case of food poisoning while being on the move like that. In fact, there’s probably nothing worse than stomach problems when you’re out and about living the best moments of your life.

We feel passionate about stomach issues, so we want to let you know what you can do to avoid it.

The first and foremost thing of importance here is your food, and it’s temperature. You have to know how to keep food cold while camping. Cold food stays fresh longer. And the longer your food is cold, the longer it will stay fresh, and the further away will you be able to stay away from pesky problems like food poisoning.

Let’s commence.

How to Keep Food Cold While Camping?

Here are some good tips. We recommend that you follow every one of them if you don’t want to starve to death in your camp tent.

1. Get A Good and Reliable Cooler Box

Coolers are literally like small fridges that you can carry around with you while you’re on the go. They are boxes with thick walls that are particularly built to provide a high level of insulation. The hot air from the outside cannot enter the sacred space inside a good cooler, and so your food stays cold for long periods.

These coolers are particularly great for long camping trips or for places that are known to have high temperatures.

One problem you might face with this method of food storage is the price of the coolers. The thick walls and insulation are a bit expensive to build, and so they are going to be quite a small investment for you. If you are an adventurer spirited person with a few camping trips in mind, then you should definitely make the purchase.

And to be on the safe side, if you get a portable car fridge or a cooler, we recommend you to get a thermometer as well. It will help to get a more accurate reading on the temperature inside the box.

2. Separate The Food Items

By this, we mean that it’s better to keep the drinks and the solid food in two different boxes. If they are kept together, the food will get cooler more quickly because of the extra moisture from the drinks inside the box.

This will additionally help you to keep food more organized. It will also cancel the chances of having drinks spill out into the box. Basically, the fewer items you have in a cooler, the more constant will the temperatures remain inside it.

3. Don’t Open The Cooler

Now this one is pretty obvious, but we are still stating it because it’s easy to forget.

Each time you open the box, the cool air from inside gets out, and hot air from outside gets in. So, you have to make sure that no one opens the box.

Assign a particular time for meals and snacks, and strictly monitor that no one eats at a random unspecified time.

This extra-disciplinary measure will help everyone to get accustomed to the camping rules and will also help you to keep the food safe, fresh, and edible for longer periods so that everyone can later benefit from it.

4. Keep Dry Ice Packs Inside

Dry ice packs stay frozen longer than ice. If you keep it inside the insulated walls of your cooler along with the food, then the temperature inside will stay low and at a constant level for up to 3 days at a stretch.

You could also make your own ice packs at home. Buy a freezer bag from the store and then fill it up with 2 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol. Then you have to seal it shut. But before sealing it off, squeeze all the air out of the bag.

If there is no air inside the bag, then it will stay cool for more time.

5. Add Extra Salt

Salt is a magical preservator that has been used to maintain the freshness of food from ancient times. It was used in the process of mummification for preserving bodies by ancient Egyptians, and it has always been in use for preserving fish in many parts of the world.

And now, you can also make use of this by packing up some salt in a bag made of thin cotton cloth and storing it inside the box along with the ice packs.

The salt lowers the melting point of water, and thus helps it to stay ice inside.

6. Keep It Away From the Sun

This is an absolute no-brainer, but it’s also important to mention because it’s easier to forget this one while you’re out and about relaxing in the wilderness.

Always keep the cooler in the shade, and keep a bag on top of it, or put a pile of clothes over it to further distance it away from the sun.

The further you keep it from the sun, the safer your food will be.

7. Don’t Carry Perishable Food

Sad to say, but for your sake, we’ll say it – you have to avoid cheese like it’s nobody’s business. Yes, cheese of all kinds. Not only the soft ones but also the hard ones like Gouda. The problem with soft cheese is that they’ll go bad really quickly and stink up your freezer.

And the problem with hard cheese is that they’ll make you very thirsty and you’ll want to drink tonnes of water after.

But it’s not advisable to carry that much water in your cooler for camping.

So, avoid cheese and all other perishable food at all costs. Otherwise, you might just have to throw it all away, and that will be a waste of resources that we strongly advise against.

Keep Food Cold While Camping


What is a safe food storage temperature?

The safe temperature is 40 Fahrenheit for food.

How long will a cooler keep food cold?

If you keep blocks of ice or ice packs inside the cooler instead of cubes, then the food will stay cold longer – for about a week.

Does salt prevent ice from melting?

No, it will slow down the process significantly.


Food is love, and food is life. Food makes camping better, and your body stronger. So, we hope we have been able to explain to you how to keep food cold while camping, and with that knowledge, your trips will be much better, and you’re going to be much more prepared for difficult adventurous feats. Good luck, and have fun!

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