8 Tips for Keeping Ice Longer in your Icebox

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No matter what brand or size of icebox, esky or cooler you own, these tips will help you make your ice last longer in your cooler. Not all iceboxes are made equal, many look nice on the outside but have inefficient insulation on the inside. Make sure you buy an icebox from a reputable icebox manufacturer such as Evakool or Dometic, this will ensure you get the most out of your icebox or esky at your next barbecue or camping trip.

1. Prepare your icebox

Spread a layer of crushed ice around your ice box the day or night before you use it. A bag of crushed ice costs around $5 – but don’t worry it won’t be wasted. By cooling down your icebox and the air inside, in advance, you’re doing half the job of the ice you’ll put in later.

2. Use block ice

Crushed ice is full of space and air which means there isn’t much actual solid ice, so it melts quickly leaving you with an icebox of cold water. Block ice is a solid mass of ice. It will keep your icebox as cold as crushed ice but won’t melt as quickly.

You can buy block ice in soft and hard packs that make handling and packing easy, we have these ice packs available on the Snowys website. Alternatively, you can make your own using ice cream containers or juice bottles, remembering to only part-fill them to allow for expansion.

3. Add some salt to your ice

Adding salt to water before freezing lowers the freezing temperature of the water, meaning that your ice will actually be colder than frozen fresh water. Using sea water will work even better than adding your own salt to the water.
Ice blocks and bottles in a waeco cooler

Frozen ice blocks – they can be old bottles or ice cream containers if you want – are better than crushed ice.

4. Cool your drinks and food first

Your icebox will perform at its best if you cool down the contents to go inside first. Place your food items in a fridge for a few hours first, then put the cold contents into the icebox. This way you’re saving your ice from having to cool the contents down in-turn making the ice last longer.

If you don’t have room in the fridge, put your drinks in the crushed ice you’re using to cool the icebox down.

5. Adding the beers!

If you’re putting drinks in your icebox, leave the crushed ice in (from Tip #1 above) even if it’s already half melted. The cold water will help to slow your block ice from melting.

6. Keep it out of the sun

The sun is your worst enemy in preserving your ice and the reasons should be obvious. Keep your icebox in the shade as much as possible and ensure there is good airflow around the box. Sitting the icebox inside your tent or car is like putting it in an oven as temperatures can often climb 10 – 20 degrees higher than outside.

You could even cover your icebox with a blanket or towel to shade it from the sun, if you’re at the beach a wet towel will work even better.

Moving the Coleman Cooler in a shady spot

Always keep your Icebox away from the sun and under shade as much as possible.

7. Avoid opening your icebox too much

This is obvious, but every time you open your icebox not only do you let the heat in but you let the cold out. Avoid opening your icebox too much.

Here’s a tip. Rather than dashing to the main icebox every 10 minutes to grab another coldy, move enough drinks to a smaller icebox or soft-sided cooler bag to get you through a session. That way you’re only having to open the main icebox once, and you don’t go thirsty.

8. Fill your icebox as much as you can

An icebox packed to the brim will preserve its ice longer than a part-filled icebox of air. The more food or drinks you have in your icebox, there is less air which needs to be cooled down and kept cold.

Check out our range of iceboxes to keep you cool, and let us know what you do to keep your ice longer in your icebox!ย