Pelican Ice Retention: How to Pack a Cooler – Adventure Ready

Pelican Ice Retention: How to Pack Your Cooler

How you pack your cooler is just as important as what you pack in it! Like so many things in life, there’s no one right way to pack your cooler, but here are some tips that will help. After all, a well packed cooler is integral to extending your Pelican ice retention strategy for as long as possible.

Keep it Clean

The first thing you should do is clean out your cooler with dish detergent and warm water. Thanks to the drain that is built into most hard-sided Pelican Elite Cooler (the 20QT does not include a drain) cleaning is a breeze. If you are worried about lingering odors from keeping the cooler in storage, put a little vanilla extract on a paper towel and give your clean and dry cooler a quick wipe. Don’t forget to repeat this step at the end of your trip!

Plan and Prep

A little bit of planning and preparation goes a long way! Here are a few things you can do to make packing your cooler easier and also extend your ice retention.
  • Freeze what you aren’t going to need for a day or two. Hamburgers, hotdogs and water bottles can all be frozen in advance of your trip and will help keep your cooler as chilly as possible.
  • Use containers and zip-top bags that you know won’t leak. You don’t want your vinaigrette leaking into your cooler and making an oily mess, and you also don’t want the melt water from your cooler leaking into your pasta salad.
  • Do your meal prep before you leave home. Bulky foods like fruits and vegetables can be chopped and stored in containers that will pack into your cooler with a minimum of wasted space. Plus when it’s time to cook, you’re that much closer to a delicious meal.

Cooler Lasagna

Now it is time to make cooler lasagna! Layers are your friend when you are packing your cooler. First lay down a layer of block ice for your base. Now add the items you need to stay the coldest, your steaks and bacon and chicken wings. Add another layer of ice, this time use cubes to help fill in any gaps or spaces. Now put in your beverages; pull the water bottles out of the freezer and the beers out of the fridge. Add your third layer of ice. Now you can add your fruits, vegetables and cheese. If you have a dry rack basket, place your most fragile items, like eggs, or items you don’t want to touch the ice, like bread, inside of it. Lastly, top off the cooler with a final layer of ice. Remember that you want to leave as little room for air in the cooler as possible. See illustration below for reference.

Other Ways to Organize

If cooler lasagna isn’t your thing, there are other ways you can organize your cooler. You can use a divider to split the cooler into two sections and pack side by side, with drinks and snacks on one side and food on the other. Or, if you have a really large cooler, you can split the cooler into three sections: one for breakfast foods, one for lunch, and one for dinner.

The Last Word

There are a lot of different techniques that you can employ to get the best results from your Pelican ice retention strategy. The most important thing to remember is that you find the techniques that work best for your adventures. That way you can focus more on having fun and less on stressing out about your cooler.