Nothing adds to the enjoyment of summertime activities such as retriever training, clays busting, camping and fishing like an icy cooler full of refreshing drinks and snacks. And hey, don’t look now but the balmy start to hunting season is right around the corner — you need to ensure your cooler’s in tip-top shape to hydrate a thirsty blind and keep your doves and teal fresh during the drive home.
Here are 10 great tips to ensure your cooler keeps ice longer this summer courtesy of Big Frig Coolers, a proud supporter of Delta Waterfowl.
Choose a Light Color
When buying a cooler, consider white or a light color, as it will absorb less heat. There are also camo options, perfect for the duck blind.
Pre-chill the Cooler
In order to get the most out of your cooler, pre-chill it for 24 hours before use. Pre-chilling involves adding a cold source to your cooler to bring the internal temperature down. One simple method is to freeze water in a milk jug and place it in the cooler overnight.
Use Commercial Ice
A commercial freezer will have colder ice than a home freezer. Additionally, bags of ice located in the back of a commercial freezer are ideal, as they are colder than the bags in the front.
Pre-chill Food and Drinks
The colder the food and drinks you put into a cooler, the longer they’ll stay cold. Place frozen items on the bottom of the cooler and especially avoid packing warm cans of liquid.
Go Heavy on the Ice
Fill your cooler to capacity by topping it off with as much ice as possible.
Throw Some Shade
Your cooler should be kept in the shade to retain ice longer. If shade isn’t available, cover your cooler with a light-colored towel.
Keep a Lid on It
The more you open the lid, the more warm air you let into the cooler. Think strategically when grabbing items from your cooler.
Adopt a No-drain Policy
Don’t drain the water from your cooler, because it’s almost as cold as the remaining ice and provides insulation against further melting. To avoid soggy items, keep your food sealed tight.
Freeze Water Bottles
If traveling with water bottles, consider freezing half of your supply and packing them on the bottom for an added icy blast.
Add an Insulating Mat
Grab some wool or an insulated blanket, and cut it to fit across the top of your cooler, below the lid. When you open the lid to grab something, just lift up enough of the insulating mat to find the item. The ice beneath your mat will remain protected from exposure to warmth.