6 Ways To Keep Your Food Cold While Camping

Camping is a riveting experience you will ever have in your life. There is nothing better than sitting by a bonfire with the aroma of food. 

However, one of the fastest ways your fun can get spoiled is if your food gets spoiled. One of the questions every camper asks is how to keep food cold and fresh while on a camping trip. 

You can take things like dry sausages, onions, or fruits on camping trips. But most of the perishables can go stale. 

The problem is that if you eat such food, you can get food poisoning. Food poisoning is already bad at home, but on a camping trip, it is even worse.  

The best way to preserve such food items is to keep them cold. 

There are plenty of methods you can choose to keep your food cold while camping. You can use coolers, ice packs, dry ice, insulated containers, mini-refrigerators, and carry frozen food. 

Let us unpack everything you can do to keep your food cold while camping.

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1. Freezing Food Before Leaving

There can be several ways to freeze your food before leaving for your camping trip.

Cook your food items before you go on your camping trip if you want to remove much of the stress. You can then freeze the food and drinks before leaving. It will help in keeping the cooler cold for much longer. 

If you want to save time, you can always pick up some frozen meals from any grocery store or gas station. Nowadays, most supermarkets sell a variety of frozen meals.

You need to be very careful while packing your frozen food items as you would not want any item to defrost and spoil other food items in the container. One way to do that is to pack them in separate containers or ziplock bags before keeping them in the cooler. 

Take extra care while packing meat, as even a minor carelessness can spoil it. 

Freeze food before leaving
Freeze food before leaving

2. Coolers

Carrying coolers on trips has come a long way. Coolers (Amazon link) these days are very efficient. But you should follow some rules to make it work perfectly. 

Coolers work a lot better if they are pre-chilled. If you are going camping in a cold environment, you can keep the cooler outside. Otherwise, you can keep a bag full of ice in it the night before. 

Now, to make it work efficiently, always keep your frozen food and vegetables in the cooler first. 

You can also put frozen bottles around your food items to keep them cold. Additionally, keep the items you access more regularly, such as milk, cheese, ketchup, etc., in the cooler.

Before closing the lid, don’t forget to put an insulating layer. It will help to maintain the temperature inside the cooler.

3. Cooler Bags

You can keep your perishable food items in the cooler bags (Amazon link). This way, your food will remain fresh for a couple of days. 

For example, if you want to carry some frozen meat, you can freeze the food in the marination sauce and keep that in the cooler bags. It will act like an ice cube. This way, it can last for at least two days. 

If you want it to last even longer, you can even wrap the food in the newspaper and then put it in the middle of the barrel.  

You can even put ice cream in the cooler bags if you want to have it during your camping trip. It can last for a couple of days. 

You can also carry ice packs inside the cooler bag. It will keep it cold for more time. Depending on how you like to camp, some people prefer to take more ice packs. 

Camping cooler and cooler bag
Camping cooler and cooler bag

4. Thermos And Insulated Containers

At times, using ice can be inconvenient. You can use thermos or insulated containers (Amazon links) to keep your food and beverages cold without ice. 

The only issue with them is their capacity. They are generally smaller in size. Thus, they are good for a couple of people, and for 1-3 days of camping, at most. More than that, and you may have to go for other alternatives on this list.

5. Portable Refrigerator

Portable refrigerators (Amazon link) are by far the best solution for keeping your food products cold. 

However, they come with a hefty price tag. While coolers and cooler bags set you back by $50-$100, a portable refrigerator can easily go above $300. Thus it may not be for everyone. 

But if you are a frequent camper, you will be much better off with a refrigerator than any other solution on the list. 

RVs and refrigerators go very well together. However, if your car has a compact boot, refrigerators may not be an ideal choice for you.  

6. Keep Your Containers And Coolers Away From Sun

Now, this one goes without saying. Keeping the cooler in the sun can be a big mistake. It goes for refrigerators as well. 

Keeping the coolers and refrigerators will melt the ice or reduce their efficiency. 

To avoid that, you can keep your coolers in the shade. You can keep your coolers inside the tent, the boot of your car, or below a tree to protect them.


There you have it. Food can potentially be a big problem away from civilization if you allow it to be. 

Chances are, you will have to make some preparation for every aspect of your camping trip. Food security is no different. 

However, the ways I have listed in this article may have given you a good idea regarding storing and keeping your food cold for longer shelf life. All that is required is choosing the best way that suits your needs. 

Happy camping! 

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