How to Keep your Food Cold while Camping

How to Keep your Food Cold while Camping

There are some campers who like their home comforts, and there are some who prefer a simpler approach. Having an electric hook up (EHU) does make life easier, and we do indulge from time to time, but we also enjoy camping without EHU. In fact many of our favourite sites are non-electric, for example Hickling Campsite or Great Langdale. There’s something really enjoyable about a simple camping set up, taking things slowly and detoxing from the stresses (and tech!) of everyday life. 

This simple approach, however, does throw up a few problems, for example how do you keep your food cold while camping with no electricity? 

Many campsites have communal kitchens with fridge or freezer space, however not all do so it’s worth checking what facilities are available so you can be prepared. 

Luckily, it’s not too difficult to keep food cold while camping, here’s a few tips that will help you keep your food and drink cool for your whole camping trip:

Freeze what you can

When packing your cool box, freeze as much as possible. Drinks, milk and meat all freeze nicely and will help to keep your box cool. By the time you come to eat or drink them, they are usually nicely defrosted. 

For example, instead of a large 4 pint milk, I’ll take two 2 pinters, one to use first, and then I will freeze the other to use on the following days. Bottles of water or capri suns are great to take frozen. If you have small children or babies, yoghurt pouches and purees also freeze well. 

Ice Block Exchange

Nearly every campsite we’ve been to has a freezer to use for freezing ice blocks. As soon as we arrive, I will take a set of ice blocks and put them in the freezer (make sure that yours are labelled as they all look the same!). I find that with so many people opening and closing the doors, it can take a while to freeze so I get mine in ASAP. By the next morning they should be frozen and I will swap them with the old ones from the cool box. Rinse and repeat every 24 hours. 

Keep it Shut

Make sure that you keep your cool box closed as much as you can. I try to be organised and get everything I need at once, so I’m not opening and closing more than necessary. This definitely helps to keep your food cold while camping. 

I also only use the coolbox for food that really needs it. Things like lettuce, tomatoes and onions, that I would usually keep in the fridge at home, I tend to leave in a cool shady spot to keep fridge space for things that really need to be kept cold when camping. 

Remember that cold air sinks, so make sure you have ice blocks at the top as well as the bottom of your cool box. 

With limited cool box space, we do tend to buy ice cubes when we’re camping. As we shop everyday, or every other day, a couple of bags of ice are handy for cooling down drinks if it’s hot. 

Do you have any tips for keeping your food cold while camping? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking for more camping content?

How to Survive Camping in the Rain

The Beginner’s Guide to Camping Etiquette

Why We Love Camping



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