Tent & Car Campers Handbook

Want to help your cooler do its job—keeping your food and drinks as cold as possible for as long as possible without a mess? Try these suggestions from Buck Tilton and Kristin Hostetter, authors of Tent and Car Camper's Handbook: Advice for Families & First-Timers.

  • If you don't have a storage tray in your cooler, put foods you don't want to get wet in zip-lock plastic bags.
  • Whatever cooler you choose, use block ice. Block ice lasts much longer than crushed ice.
  • To extend the life of your ice, keep the cooler open no longer than necessary.
  • Pre-cool in your refrigerator at home the food you'll carry in your container.
  • Wrap the cooler in a blanket for more insulation during travel time in your vehicle, and keep the cooler in a shady spot in camp.
  • The next time you buy ice cream at the market, you might be offered an insulated bag to keep the ice cream colder on the way home. Save the insulated bag, and use it for frozen food you carry in your cooler.
  • If you don't like the mess of melting ice, purchase reusable plastic freezer packs, the ones you freeze at home and use again and again in your cooler.


—Adapted from Tent and Car Camper's Handbook: Advice for Families & First-Timers by Buck Tilton, M.S., with Kristin Hostetter, $17.95, paperback .


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