10 Tips for Keeping Ice Longer In Your Cooler

By Brodie SwisherJune 15, 2020

Warmer days are finally here, and it’s time start keeping a cooler full of cold drinks in the truck or boat. But how do you go about maximizing the ice you put in your favorite cooler? 

Our friends at YETI have the answer with these 10 tips for keeping ice longer in your cooler. 

10 Tips For Keeping Ice Longer In Your Cooler
Do you know how to make your ice last longer? Follow these steps.

1. START WITH A CHILLED COOLER

If stored in warm places, a significant amount of ice will be wasted cooling the cooler itself. Preload your cooler a few hours prior to use with a sacrificial bag of ice to cool it down or store it in a cool place before loading it up.

2. USE TWICE THE ICE AS YOUR CONTENTS

Making sure you use enough ice in your cooler is key. We recommend following a ⅔ ice, ⅓ contents ratio. This means that one-third of your cooler can hold your cold drinks and food, while the other two-thirds should be filled with ice if you fill the cooler completely. The more ice you use, the longer it will last.

3. ICE TEMPERATURES VARY SIGNIFICANTLY

Warm ice (around 32°F) is typically wet or dripping, and won’t last long. Ice that is colder than the freezing point is relatively dry and will last substantially longer.

10 Tips For Keeping Ice Longer In Your Cooler

4. BLOCK ICE VS. CUBE ICE

Smaller, cubed ice will chill a cooler and the contents more quickly, but block ice melts at a much slower rate. Most pros use a mix of both to chill contents and achieve long-term ice retention to keep their cooler cold the longest.

5. AIR IS THE ENEMY

Large areas of air inside your cooler will accelerate ice-melt as the ice is consumed with having to cool the air, instead of your contents. If you do need to leave space in your cooler, they are best filled with extra ice, towels, or crumpled newspaper if weight is a concern.

6. DON’T DRAIN THE WATER

Once your cooler is in use, DO NOT empty the cold water. The water helps to insulate the remaining ice. However, exposed food and meat should be kept out of the water.

7. SUNLIGHT IS A HEAT SOURCE

Keep your cooler out of direct sunlight when possible. Ice can last up to twice as long in the shade. Some pros even use tarps or towels to cover their coolers when they can’t find a shaded spot.

8. LIMIT COOLER ACCESS

Every time you open the cooler, you are exchanging the cold air inside for warm air outside that must then be cooled, causing faster ice-melt. A bonus tip is to utilize a few pieces of tape on the top of your cooler as a “cooler map” to let everyone know where things are located, without having to open it up and dig around.

9. DRY ICE IS BEST (HARD COOLERS AND ICE BUCKETS ONLY)

The Tundra and Roadie Hard Coolers and YETI TANK Ice Buckets are all dry ice compatible, however, Hopper Soft Coolers are not. When used in conjunction with a YETI Hard Cooler, dry ice can keep food and drinks cold and frozen longer than regular ice. 

10. YETI ICE SUPPLEMENT

Extend your regular ice with YETI ICE. YETI ICE is dialed into a temperature just below that of regular ice, letting it do all the cooling work to keep your regular ice from melting. Check out the YETI ICE Configurator to find which sizes fit best in your YETI cooler.

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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