Having a light ice chest for camping comes in handy when you want to camp effortlessly and without additional challenges. However, it can be disheartening when you end up with spoilt food even though you invested in a good cooler. Sometimes it is not the cooler’s fault but the way you handle it. The difficulty is in knowing what changes you can make to reach its full potential and prevent vegetable spoilage when camping.
Rules for camping with coolers
These are general rules to extend the cold time inside your cooler:
- Make sure your cooler is not warm. It would be a waste of ice to put it straight into a warm cooler causing it to start melting instantly. Also, have your items pre-chilled for the same reason.
- If possible, bring two coolers. Use them separately for drinks and food. A cooler with drinks is more likely to be opened up more frequently. You won’t let too much hot air onto your food because people don’t reach for this cooler as much.
- Fill up air pockets with more food or ice packs – this will make it harder for hot air to penetrate. But remember not to overfill your cooler with food (no more than 2/3 of the container space, the rest is ice) if you want to keep it cool for days.
- Create layers, first and last of which should be ice packs. It makes sense to put softer items on top. You can go the extra mile and put soft items in sealed bags so they don’t leak onto everything in the cooler.
- Consider using dry ice, although be cautious of gas and don’t touch it with bare hands.
Tips for storing vegetables in particular
Here are some uncommon tricks you can use to make your vegetables last longer:
- Prioritize vegetables in good condition. If it’s damaged, leave it at home since it won’t survive the travel.
- Don’t put every vegetable in a cooler. The space is limited so determine whether you can bring some produce without cooling. Onions, green peppers or celery can bring a lot of flavor to a meal but don’t require refrigerating. Pack it in some paper and put in a place where it won’t get bruised.
- Separate foods that are more likely to go bad quickly and store them in the coldest spot of the cooler. In a similar manner, use up the veggies that are very quick to go bad in the first place. Save food that can last longer till the later part of your trip.
- Rather than putting fruits and veggies in plastic, use paper bags. When gas can’t escape the container, it increases spoilage. You can use paper as a make-shift cushioning without weighing down the cooler even more.
- Particularly delicate vegetables can be stored inside a container that you were bringing along anyway. This way you eliminate unused space and create a hard shell for the produce.