How to Keep Ice From Melting in a Cooler

Ways to Make Ice Last Longer in the Cooler

If you have decided to invest in a good camping cooler, you should also learn how to prevent ice from melting in it for longer. Give your cooler the proper conditions, and its content will be kept there fresh for days. Give it bad conditions, and you will only get one or two days of ice out of it. Here are some practical pieces of advice on making ice last longer.

Choose a Light-Colored Cooler

Consider buying a light-colored cooler made of reflective material. Light colors absorb warmth and help your ice last longer.

Chill Your Cooler and Products In Advance

Chill Your Cooler and Products In Advance

If you place items in a cold cooler, they will keep fresh longer than when you put them in a hot cooler. If you have such an opportunity, add some ice into the cooler and leave it for several hours in a cold place before you fill it up with foods.

Note that you lose some amount of ice to cool down the items. By cooling them beforehand, you can eliminate this and keep your ice for longer.

Pack the Cooler with Ice

Put as much ice inside of it as you can. By doing so, you ensure that the ice keeps the entire cooler and items in it cold for longer. Besides, this way, you minimize the amount of warm air in the cooler, which leads to ice melting.

Keep It in Shadow

Keep It in Shadow

If your cooler is placed in the heat during the whole day, it will not keep both ice and the products in it cold for long. Instead, keep your cooler in the shade to make the ice last for a longer time.

Let the Air Flow under the Cooler

Some coolers have built-in rubber feet that allow you to raise them off the ground to let the airflow underneath. This helps minimize the exposure of cooler to the warm sand. If your good cheap cooler has no such feet, you can use something like blocks to raise it.

Do Not Drain the Cooler

The air between ice has an even worse effect on it than water. Each time the cooler is opened, the cold air evaporates from it, and warm outside air gets inside. By draining the cooler, you allow this air to get in between all the pieces of ice and warm it up. If you let the cold water remain inside while the ice melts, the air cannot get between the chunks of ice. You should only drain it when you need to replace the space with fresh ice.

Add Extra Ice

Add Extra Ice

By adding new ice once the existing ice has melted, you can still keep it cold enough. Additionally, it will make the space for warm air smaller when you open the cooler.

Line Your Cooler with Aluminum Foil

Its reflective surface keeps ice from melting even more effectively than other materials. Before putting the ice in the cooler, line it with one layer of foil.

Cover the Cooler with a Wet Towel

Do you know that feeling when you are hot, and you wet your hair? You feel much cooler when doing so. That same is true with the wheeled cooler. By applying this technique to it, you can help prevent it from warming up too fast. To reach the best result, keep the towel wet all the time.

Place a Towel in the Cooler Before Placing Ice in

Place a Towel in the Cooler Before Placing Ice in

This will insulate the ice and keep it cold. One more great option is using bubble wrap with a towel to keep your ice insulated and less prone to melting in the cooler. You can also try and add frozen ice packs. These packs can help keep your cooler nice and cold, and the ice frozen longer.

Bury Your Cooler

When you are at the beach, for example, one more way to keep the cooler cold for a longer time is burying it. While the top level of the ground or sand usually gets hot in the sun, the deeper layers of it are quite cool. You can reach even better results by soaking the ground or sand around the cooler.

Use Boiled Water for Ice Cubes or Blocks

By boiling the water before making ice from it, you reduce the number of air bubbles in the ice. Thanks to this, your ice will last longer. Additionally, you can use this tip for making ice for your drinks, as this also makes the ice appear clearer and less hazy.

Use Big Blocks of Ice

Use Big Blocks of Ice


Use large trays to get larger ice cubes. Or you can even use a muffin pan for making ice chunks. Big blocks of ice last longer than small ones. The reason is that large blocks of ice have a small surface and therefore are not exposed that much to the warm air.

Use Salt Water for Ice

Sea salt has a lower freezing point than water for a boat coolers. It means salty ice will have a lower temperature than regular ice. Once melted, salty water will still have a sub-freezing temperature. To get the best results, it is recommended to freeze seawater instead of creating your own saltwater since it requires a lot of salt to make this work.

Remember that to reach the best results, you should try many different strategies. For example, you can use big blocks of salted ice, cover your cooler with a wet towel, and bury it in the sand. Or create feet for your cooler to let the airflow under it, chill the cooler itself and the items beforehand, fill it with ice from boiled water, and line the cooler with aluminum foil before placing it in a shady place. Consider mixing and matching to do as many tips as possible, and you will definitely get some extra ice retention time out of your cooler.