Tips How to Keep a Cooler Colder Longer on a Kayak Trip
1. Metal coolers hold heat longer when left in the sun.
2. Make sure the cooler has a tight seal.
3. Ice lasts longer in a white or light colored cooler. Darker colors will absorb more heat from the sun and the ice will melt faster. Covering a dark colored cooler with a light colored towel can help keep ice longer.
Packing Your Cooler
1. I freeze a 2.5 gallon plastic jug of water of water in my freezer at home. I have taken a 5 water gallon jug to the grocery store and used their freezer, but it is a lot harder to deal with than a 2.5 water jug on a road trip.
In the top of the 2.5 gallon jug, I cut a 3 x 3 - three sided square hole (one side acts as a flap) to refill with ice cubes as the block of ice melts. I drink the cold water when the ice inside melts inside of the jug. The jug keeps the water from ruining my food as it melts. I place all ice cubes in plastic bags.
I freeze smaller water jugs that I take out on the water when I am kayaking. The jugs I use have large openings that I can fill up with ice cubes and water and use again the next day. Be sure not to fill the jugs to the top. You need to leave room for the expanding ice. Also, the ice can take a day – maybe two to freeze at home, so be sure to plan ahead.
2. I cook and prepare all of my food and freeze it two days prior to when I will depart. When you pack your cooler make sure the food and drinks are chilled. Warm food or drinks melts your ice faster in your cooler.
3. After I cook the food I freeze the food in a zip locked baggie that I insert into a larger zip lock gallon size baggie, which I fill with some water and seal shut, and then place flat in the freezer. It is essential to lay the baggies flat stacked on top of each other in your freezer so they also lay flat in your cooler.
4. When you are ready to pack your cooler start with the foods you will use in the order you will eat them each day. Put the items you will use last on the bottom of the cooler, and those you will need access to first, on top.
5. Make sure you pack your cooler tight as air pockets can increase the temperature inside.
6. For longer trips it’s a good idea to keep your
beverages in a separate cooler that can be opened
more frequently. Put all of your food in another
cooler and open it less often.
While on Your Trip
1. Only open your cooler when necessary and quickly close it right away.
2. Park your car in a shaded area and keep your cooler in the shade and out of the sun.
3. Use sun shade inside your car windows (which also detours bears, that recognize a cooler.)
4. Drain the water only when necessary to create
more space in the cooler or when adding more ice.