If you are a man of adventure then you ought to have a cooler that is fitted to last for long outings. Without it, your adventure will end without any cold beers to celebrate.
Whether you have a cheap mediocre cooler or an expensive one, we have some tricks that will make it better in all ways.
No matter how high quality your cooler is, there will always be room for improvement. So let us look at these cool cooler hacks.
1. Add aluminum wraps inside
You will find aluminum bubble wraps on Amazon (link). For example, Reflectix aluminum bubble wraps. These aluminum wraps work excellent as an insulator.
Even though the freezer is lined with thick heat-insulating foam, it is better to have another additional insulating layer that will retain the ice more.
Just buy a roll of aluminum bubble wrap or just a roll of aluminum wrap and line it at the inside of your cooler. You can use adhesive to stick it inside. Line it properly and make sure that there are no gaps. Don’t forget to line the lids, too.
2. Pre-chill the cooler
It is always better to prepare for your outing from the day before going out. As they say, better preparation gives you better results. So start preparing your cooler from the day before going out.
Simply take your empty cooler and put it in the freezer. Leave it there for a day or 12 hours. This will cool down the core temperature of the cooler. As a result, the ice you put inside of it will not have to use any additional energy for cooling the cooler.
This will significantly improve your cooler’s ice retention performance.
3. Lay an ice foundation
The coolest cooler is the one that lasts longer and accompanies you to the end of the adventure. To make your cooler last for that long, you should add a couple of ice bricks or enough ice bricks to cover the bottom of the freezer.
This will give the ice cubes on top of it a solid power source for retaining themselves.
You can use dry ice bricks for the best results. They will last for about a week. But for an average three days outing, use regular ice bricks.
4. Add salt in the ice cubes
It is scientifically proven that salt keeps water and ice cool (That’s why they use it on the ice that keeps the ice cream). So if you add salt to the water and make ice cubes with them, they will stay cool for long. Even after melting, they will stay relatively cool for longer.
So do yourself a favor and add salt to your ice cubes and ice bricks.
5. Create a dry zone
Some foods need to be cool and dry at the same time. Getting in contact with ice will ruin them. They may lose their crispness or get soggy. You don’t want to open your cooler and find a sub-sandwich soaked in cold water. That will ruin the taste.
The best solution is to create a dry zone. How will you do that? First store all the foods that are properly canned and won’t matter if they get soaked up in icy water. Then put a poly-sheet on top of them and place the food that needs to be dry on top of the poly sheet. You can also add a refrigerator grill on top of the poly for a more strong construction.
Alternatively, there are cooler accessories like baskets and nets to organize your cooler properly. You can find them on Amazon (link)
6. Use big or small balloons
If all the foods in the cooler need to stay in a dry condition, then there is one smart thing you can do. That is to use balloons.
Rather than throwing ice cubes in the cooler, load it with balloons that have ice cubes inside of them. Or you can fill the balloons with water and freeze them.
There will indeed be water outside the balloons but it will be significantly less than using ice cubes. But you will have to maintain a little caution here. Do not put anything sharp with the balloons, or it will burst the balloon and the food will get wet.
7. Use PVC pipes
If you are a DIY person, then you will love this hack. All you need to do is make a one-stop tour of the hardware store. Pick some PVC pipes that are in an adequate size to be fitted in your cooler. Buy enough PVC pipe blockers. For each PVC ice pack, you will need two blockers.
Now simply take a PVC pipe. Block one side with a blocker. You can add adhesive for this if you want but that won’t be necessary. Then fill the pipe with water and add another blocker on this side, Now freeze them in the freezer and your PVC pipe ice packs are ready. They are reusable. You can spray-paint the PVC pipes and make them look cool.
8. Add wheels
Imagine how cool it will be to slide your cooler on wheels rather than carrying it around? It is one of the unspoken problems with hard shell coolers. They are so heavy that it becomes very difficult to carry them around by yourself. It needs two or three people to carry them around.
While there are many coolers available in the market that feature wheels like the RovR cooler, you can do some DIY here.
Just purchase a set of trolley wheels and add them. We recommend you watch a few Youtube tutorials before doing it. Or take the help of an expert. Otherwise, you may end up damaging the cooler real badly.
9. Add your personal touch
When your coolers become old, add a little life by adding some personal touches.
Bring out the paints and start doing your thing on it. You can even add glow sticks and glow paints on it to make it look way cooler at night.
Check out how this guy made his cooler extra cool by sticker bombing it.
10. Use a towel for covering
Another cool and easy way of keeping your cooler ice retention longer is to cover it with a light color towel. Even better if the towel is wet.
Light color reflects sunlight. As a result, a very little amount of sunlight will reach the cooler. Thus the cooler will stay cool for longer.
This is very helpful for those who own a dark color cooler.
11. Transport items in compact ways
One more way of making your cooler better is making up more space in it. For this, you will have to do some preparations and work at home. Simply unpack all foods and place them in compact boxes. Also take the amount that you will use, no extras.
This will save up a lot of space and you will end up having more space for more beers and beverages.
12. Make use of the lid
Have you ever thought of making use of that space left under the lid of your cooler? Well, there are nets available that add a little extra storage for your coolers. You can find them on Amazon (link)
13. Add a mini thermometer
For those of you who want to keep things more scientific and accurate, the ice temperature inside the cooler is a big deal. So you can help that thought of ice temperature by attaching a small thermometer inside the cooler.
Just take a waterproof refrigerator thermometer and attach it inside with dual side adhesive tape. You can attach it at the bottom of the lid or the side walls. That is your choice to make.
14. Use additional insulation
When you are packing the food in chronological order, you can add a layer of ice in between the types of foods. You can also replace those ice layers with a thin layer of foam or your old yoga mat.
This will work a little less well than the ice cube layer but it will save a lot of space in the cooler for more storage.
15. Make it float
What is cooler than a cooler that floats in the pool? Probably a cooler that hovers in the air by that technology is far in the future. Let’s just stick with floating in the water. So how do we make our typical coolers float? Just add four pool noodles on each side of the cooler with zip ties or other methods and it will float. Then you will never have to worry about running out of drinks in the pool. Your cooler is right beside you.
Alternatively, use a huge floatation device like an inflatable lounge.
Coolers are now something we cannot ignore when engaging in outdoor activities. But unfortunately, you cannot get a reliable quality cooler without spending a considerable amount of money. But with a few smart hacks like the ones described above, you can make do with your average cooler.