How to Keep Food Frozen During Camping

You might think you can't take frozen food with you when you camp, but with a little planning you can do just that! Freezing food ahead of time is the first step in keeping frozen food fresh while camping.

How to Keep Food Frozen During Camping
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Overview
Camping can be an exciting adventure and gives campers a chance to reconnect with nature. Sometimes, campers pack food and other perishables that need to be kept frozen. This may include bait for a fishing trip or frozen food intended to be grilled or roasted later in the camping expedition. Follow these tips to keep frozen food chilled during a camping trip, even if you're camping in the heat of summer.
Step 1
Freeze food ahead of time in your home freezer. Place food in the freezer at least three to four days before leaving on your camping trip to ensure the food is suitably frozen. Packing partially frozen food will greatly decrease the length of time that the food will remain cold; fully frozen food will last longer.
Step 2
Use the appropriate cooler to keep food frozen. If you are driving to a campsite and have the luxury of vehicle transportation, choose a steel or fiberglass cooler. Such coolers have the maximum cold temperature retention power but are very heavy when filled and not suitable for rural camps that require you to carry your camping supplies. Campers in locations that are not accessible by car may choose a Styrofoam cooler, which is appropriately light and easy to transport.
Step 3
Use a cold source to supply the low temperatures needed to keep food frozen. The larger the cold source, the longer it will last. For example, a large block of ice obtained from a gas station or grocery store will stay frozen longer than a bag full of small ice cubes. Fill empty, rinsed milk or juice cartons with water and freeze them to form self-contained ice blocks. Alternatively, you may use frozen gel packs.
Step 4
Pack the frozen food into the cooler in the right order. Pack raw meat on the bottom of the cooler to prevent melted blood and juices from contaminating other products in the cooler. Then pack according to the order in which you plan to use the frozen food; items you will use first or frequently should be at the top. This minimizes the time you spend with the cooler open while searching for items. The cold source should be placed in the cooler last because cold temperatures travel down.
Step 5
Insulate the cooler. Wrap the cooler in a heavy blanket or tarp and place the cooler in the shade away from the sunlight and other sources of heat. This further preserves and insulates the cold temperature of the frozen food.
skill
1
ingredient
Cooler

Ice

Ice packs

ingredients
Cooler
ingredients
Ice
ingredients
Ice packs
warning
Thoroughly cook meat and poultry, even if you have kept it frozen during the entire trip.
warnings
Thoroughly cook meat and poultry, even if you have kept it frozen during the entire trip.
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keep food frozen camping cold
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keep
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food
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frozen
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camping
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cold

Resources
reference
McDonald, John. Camping Tips For The Best Camping Trips. New York: WMI Books, 2005.
resource
USDA Food Safety Tips for Campers
resource
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