Stay Dry Cooler Ice Packs

Since we travel a lot, we often have a cooler of drinks and snacks. 

The challenges are:

  • How to keep things cold without soaking them (a small puncture in the food bag or a lid not snapped tightly can lead to a soggy PB&J or drowned chips or veggies).
  • Getting water all over your hand or car each time you pull something out of the cooler.  Then do you carry a towel along?
  • After ice melts in the cooler, draining can be difficult depending on how large the cooler is and whether you’re tipping it or pulling the plug.  Then make sure to wipe it dry or set it out (open) to dry so you don’t develop mold.
  • Having to buy ice again and again to put in your cooler.

What to do to avoid those issues and still keep stuff cold:

  • Fill empty drink bottles ¾ with water and freeze them.  Filling them full could lead to IMG_1487exploding bottles when the ice expands.  Leaving some room for expansion is why we don’t fill the last ¼.  We just leave the bottles in the freezer for when we need them.  When we are taking a cooler with us, we grab the number of frozen bottles we need and throw them in the bottom of the cooler. 
  • When they are melted, just throw them back in a freezer.  There is no mess to clean up (other than wiping up the drops of bottle sweat).  As they melt, the water is still trapped in the bottle, so no drowning veggies or soggy sandwiches.
  • Since they are re-freezable, there is no need to keep buying ice each time you plan to use a cooler.

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