Know Before You Go Camping in British Columbia.  Looking to find winter camping?

Keep camping food cool and safe

Two empty containers on a counter

Empty containers are great for ice in a cooler

Even with the improvements that have been made to make coolers more efficient, it’s hard to keep your food cool when you’re camping. Although blocks of ice are great, they make a mess in your cooler when they melt. And at many campsites, it is often hard to find a place close by that you can buy ice.

I’ve found a couple of great ways to help keep your food cool, and safe, when you’re camping.

During non-camping times, save a few plastic juice containers, or some of the large plastic containers that contain nuts, etc. A few days before you’re going to be heading out to the campsite, ensure that the containers are washed and rinsed well and then fill them three quarters of the way full of water and put them in your freezer. Never fill them all the way or you’ll risk the chance of splitting the container. I rest the lid on top of the container, without screwing it on, just in case the ice does expand more than expected.

Just before you leave on your camping trip, top up the containers with water and seal them tightly. Put them in the cooler first, one at each end, and pack your food around them.
Once in your cooler, these containers of ice will keep your food cool and, when the ice melts you can use the water for drinking or cooking, etc. Plus, packing your ice in this manner has the added bonus of keeping your food dry – no more food floating in the melted ice in the bottom of your cooler.

Tasty salad


Besides having a good supply of ice, before you go camping also check any food that you’re taking to see if any of it can be frozen. Having frozen food in your cooler acts like ice and helps keep everything cool.

A delicious camping hamburger

Keep meat safe when camping

Once the ice in your containers has melted and you’ve used the water, you can use the empty containers to collect any garbage, grey water or grease and then, when you’re home, you can dispose of the contents and recycle the container.

Written by: Nancy Chave-Submitted as a contest entry

Published: November 7, 2014
Last Updated: June 28, 2016

BC Camping Story Contest Entry by BC Camping Story Contest Entry

This post as been submitted voluntarily by the above author as an entry to the Camping and RV BC Coalition " BC Camping Story Contest".