Frozen Water Bottles as Cooler Ice

Frozen Water Bottles as Cooler Ice One of the issues of tent camping is how to keep food cold. The obvious answer has been at least in modern times the good old fashioned cooler. With the improvements in cooler technology over the last 10 years there are some very nice coolers out there. The ever popular “5 day cooler” you can purchase at virtually any big box retailer is one that should be in everyones camping kit. I am writing this article more on what we use to keep items cool in the cooler instead of the cooler itself. If you are like me one of the things that really bothers me about coolers after ice is put in them is the melting of the ice which then fills the bottom of the cooler with water. The water in turn makes a mess of all the food in the cooler and it also can be a bit of a food born health risk. An example would be if the hamburger blood mixed with water contaminates all the other food that is in the cooler. There is nothing worse than a water/blood filled bag of fresh vegetables. A very simple solution I have used for some time now is the good old fashioned water bottle. Yes the ones that you see on television that America uses enough of in a years time to circle the planet earth. When I am preparing to go on a camping or hunting trip that may be several days, I start about a week prior to the date and purchase three or four flats of plastic water bottles at the grocery store. The amount depends upon how many people will be on the trip and how many days the trip is. If it is a trip into the dessert for 4 days I calculate how much water each person should be drinking per day and multiply it by the days planned on being gone. Once the water is home I take the bottles out of the packaging and place them in a chest freezer and walk away. The day that I leave I then place the frozen solid water bottles into the coolers with the food and go. Once on the trip the water bottles gradually thaw in the coolers and other than a bit of condensation created on the outside of the bottles you will have a cooler that stays relatively free of water in the bottom. The really nice thing about this technique is that you have to take drinking water regardless. This keeps the amount of extra things a person has to pack to a minimum. In other words you can drink the water that was once the cooler ice. In a decent cooler at 80 degrees F a water bottle will have ice in it still 4 days after coming out of the freezer. One area this has been very effective is on a boat in camp trip where extra weight as well as bulk becomes an issue simply due to the space limitations of a boat. The other really nice thing is you still have a very large supply of ice if you need to cool a drink down. Simply drink the water that is melted in the bottle, find a rock, stick, hammer, or water ever else comes to your mind and smash the ice in the bottle. Cut the bottle open with a pocket knife and pour the crushed ice into a cup with your drink of choice. Hopefully this idea will improve your next tent camping experience and make your life a bit easier in the outdoors. Thanks for reading. Steve