The Art of Packing a Cooler

Everyone has a system and plan to pack their cooler. I thought I’d detail my plan and approach for those that may be looking for a few simple tricks and tips to keeping your food fresh when you are on the go.

Firstly, I have Lock & Lock Airtight Square Tall Food Storage Container 135.25-oz / 16.91-cup. These plastic air/water tight containers are AWESOME! I’ve had mine for many years and use them nearly every weekend. Definitely worth the investment. Plus you’ll need to grab a couple of boxes of Ziploc Slider Storage Bags, Gallon Size, 96 Count both the gallon and sandwich sizes. Don’t worry you can recycle and reuse during your trip. We always need and use Zip Locks.

Take as much of your items out of their original packaging as you can, it saves space plus you won’t have extra trash/recycling at your site. You’ll see I put the hummus and dips in the small Lock & Lids. Watermelon and other cut fruit in the larger Lock & Lids. I prepped all the other veggies and put them into Zip Lock bags. I kept the potatoes with herb blend, green beans, and sausage in their original packaging since I felt like they were pretty air tight in their plastic packaging. I did still put them in a Zip Lock for safety. I put the shredded cheese into Zip Locks and any other items that I don’t want water to penetrate.

Once all the items have been prepped and packed I begin to pack the cooler bag. These are the hot/cold bags you get from the grocery store. Depending on the length of our trip I either use one or two of them. I place two frozen packs at the bottoms of the hot/cold bags. Then begin dropping the zip lock bag items in. I put the meat and dairy on the bottom since I want to make sure they keep the coldest. Then I stack everything else on top. I will add a couple small freezer packs along the way. Then I place the Lock & Lid containers next to the cooler bag in the cooler. I pack in as much cold beer as I can. The cold beer really helps keep everything cold :). Then I simply poor the ice from my refrigerator/ice maker on top. And that’s it! This will keep in Florida heat for several hours. When we get to our destination we normally are good to wait to buy ice until the next day. When our fridge is cold we transfer the items from our hot/cold bag to the fridge and the ice packs to the freezer so they are ready for us when we head home or throughout our trip for lunches and such.

Now, we don’t have a super expensive cooler Coleman 82-Quart Ultimate Extreme Marine Cooler.  We priced out the new fancy several day coolers but honestly, these tips work so good we just went with the moderately priced one and it’s perfect.  Just some effort and planning and everything stays cold and fresh.  Hope some of these tips help you on your next adventure.  Remember to Get Outside Florida.

PS, if you want to check out some of the yummy meals I made head over to https://fastfancyfood.com .

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