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Five Steps to Packing a Cooler When Using Dry Ice

Ice in a cooler

As we’ve discussed before on this blog, with a little planning and a few blocks of dry ice, you can bring your favorite foods just about anywhere – even on a camping trip (good to know, since we’ve still got five weeks of summer ahead of us).

But how do you actually pack a cooler for camping if you’re using dry ice? Here are five steps to doing it right.

  • Step 1: Start with the right cooler. Choose a cooler that is sturdy, well insulated, and designed for long-term ice retention. Some of the more reputable brands of dry ice-approved coolers include Yeti, ORCA, Engel, Pelican, and Grizzly. Check out this YouTube channel for dry ice cooler video reviews*.
  • Step 2: Load your food. Packing perishable food should be the last thing you do before getting on the road. Keep the food packed as tightly as possible and fill any gaps with wads of newspaper for maximum efficiency; this will slow the dry ice sublimation process.
  • Step 3: Leave space for dry ice. Leave at least three to four inches of room at the top of the cooler for the dry ice (although it can be inconvenient, placing the dry ice at the top of the cooler keeps the temperature inside colder, since cold air sinks). Keep the dry ice wrapped in the paper it comes in. If you plan to camp at higher elevations, bring more dry ice along than what you would use at sea level (dry ice sublimates faster in high elevations, where air pressure is lower).
  • Step 4: Load the dry ice. Always use gloves and follow safe dry ice handling practices when handling dry ice – even if it’s wrapped in paper. Dry ice is sold in 10-inch blocks; two of these should fit into a standard cooler and will last about 24 hours.
  • Step 5: Ventilate and insulate the cooler. Keep the lid of your cooler slightly ajar; while this may seem counterintuitive, it prevents sublimating gas from building in your airtight cooler and bursting. To keep your cooler both ventilated and insulated, wrap it in a sleeping bag or wool blanket.

Need dry ice for your next camping trip? We’ve got you covered! Visit one of our convenient locations to pick up yours today.

*Please note: Irish Carbonic is not in any way affiliated with Coolers on Sale and is not responsible for the content found in its videos.

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