What We're Reading About: The Best Way To Pack A Cooler
The hottest days of the year are officially here and I think it's time we all learned a little something about keeping our beers colder. Growing up on the balmy beaches of Florida we know how important it is to have your cooler game perfected. We hope these tips will have you dialed for your next shindig at the Duvin Beach Club. Enjoy and Have a day!
1. Use Two Coolers
"We know you’re here for the best way to pack a cooler—one cooler—but our first recommendation is to use two coolers. Bear with us—there’s good rationale for doubling up. Simply put, you want one cooler for drinks and another for food. Anyone who’s attended a summertime party knows guests dip into the drink supply far more frequently than they poke around in the refrigerated food. It might only be the cook who touches that. Every time you open a cooler, warm air gets in, so storing sodas with steaks means your meat could go bad a lot faster than it would in a designated portable meat locker. A warm Coke is one thing—uncooked room-temperature chicken is another." - John Kennedy
2. Make Sure You Have The Right Cooler
The best cooler for your trip is the one you can stuff to its limit, leaving as little empty space as possible. You want as much heat transfer as possible inside your cooler to happen between the ice and your goodies—you don’t want precious ice chilling random air. Your main consideration will be size: use one you can fill to at least two-thirds of its capacity with ice, with the remainder reserved for food or drink.
3. Freeze Your Own Ice
4. Pre-Cool Your Cooler
Once your cooler is clean and ready to go, stash it in the coolest place you can until you’re ready to pack it up. Maybe that’s a shady spot outside your house, your basement, or inside a freezer, but you want to avoid pulling a cooler straight out of a hot car or steamy shed and immediately stuffing it full of ice and goodies. The warmth from the cooler will seep into the cold stuff inside and you’ll waste ice cooling the cooler. Not ideal. Keep the cooler on ice (or as close as you can get), however, and the summer heat will have to work through cold insulation before it even touches what you’ve got inside.
5. Prepare Your Food and Drink
Before you pack your cooler, you’ll want to get rid of as much dead weight as you can. That means preparing food in advance so it’s essentially ready to cook or eat right off the ice. Get rid of packaging too—don’t waste ice chilling some plastic you’re going to immediately throw in the trash when you get to your party spot.
Freeze what you can, too, because a frozen burger patty is just as good as a block of ice when it comes to cooling things down.
6. Craft A Smart Stacking Strategy
The more intelligently you pack your cooler, the less you’ll have to disturb its contents, and the less heat you’ll introduce into that refrigerated environment. We recommend starting with a base of ice or reusable ice packs, and we highly recommend you do so by dropping in a block of ice that fits snugly into the bottom of your cooler.
On top of this cold foundation, you’ll want an insulator of some kind, at least in your food cooler. While you’re discarding packaging, save some cardboard—it’s lightweight and fairly good at resisting heat. You could even consider a thin piece of wood. If you have something better that’s food-safe, by all means, use it. For bonus cooling, chill this material with your cooler beforehand. Not only will this unmeltable layer ensure a solid base and an extra barrier for heat to break through, it will keep food from slipping into the icy meltwater depths to be ruined forever.
Remember what we said above: the less air there is in your cooler, the longer everything will stay cold. And if you want to get really intense about cooler packing, separate everything by category and create a map of what you’ve got going on inside your portable icebox.
7. Finish With A Cold Cap
Once your cooler is stuffed to the brim with ice and goodies, fill the last bit of space under the lid with something cold. We think the best choice here is a reusable freezer sheet, because these ice packs are flat and thin, easily serving as a second lid. If you don’t have some of those, reusable ice packs are a good secondary option because they also tend to be uniformly flat and are larger than ice cubes (surface area always matters). Regular ice will do the trick too, but it won’t last as long as our preferred options.
Stay cool out there this summer, and may your drinks stay frosty too.
View Full Article Here: How to pack a cooler | Popular Science (popsci.com)