• Home
  • >
  • How to Keep a Cooler Cold for 3 days

How to Keep a Cooler Cold for 3 days

Obviously, if you are out on a picnic, you want to keep your food and drinks cold for a time. On a normal day with some mild heat, your drinks will stay cold for a while, but not for a long time.

This is when a good cooler comes in handy to keep your food and drinks colder for a much longer period of time. The problem is that not all coolers are made equal, so sometimes you need to improvise while you are out camping.

In this article, we will take a quick look at how to keep a cooler cold the longest so you can preserve your food and drinks when out and about. So let's get right down to it, shall we?

Choose a high quality cooler

 Invest in a high-quality cooler with thick insulation and a tight-fitting lid. Coolers with thicker walls can retain ice and keep food colder for longer.  There are many great options to choose from here.  Yeti Tundra is a great but expensive option. Pelican Coolers compare very favorably to Yeti at a lower cost.  The Igloo Yukon Cooler is another great option along with Frosted frog and Coho Coolers

Pre-Chill the Cooler

The first thing you do not want to do is put all your cold food and drinks inside a hot cooler. You can start by putting the cooler inside the freezer. If you are lucky enough to have a walk-in cooler, that is even better.

Another way to pre-chill the cooler is to put a block of ice inside the cooler the night before. This will give you quite a cold head start the following day when you start packing things inside the cooler.

If the cooler is pre-cooled, it will also prevent the ice you add in the morning from melting as quickly. You will have cold food and drinks for much longer during the day while you are out fishing or hiking.

If you use ice blocks or cubes to pre-chill the cooler, you should keep it in a cold place during the night. Also, try to fill all the spaces inside the cooler with ice to prevent the ice from melting too quickly.

Use the Right Ice

Block ice lasts longer than ice cubes or crushed ice, so try to use block ice if possible. You can also use dry ice if you have it, but be sure to handle it carefully as it can be dangerous.

Pre-Chill the Food and Drinks

You can put everything that is going in the cooler for the camping trip or picnic in the freezer the night before. This can also include items like the mustard and ketchup and all the other sauces you are going to use.

Freeze Some Water Bottles

You can also fill a couple of small or medium-sized water bottles with water and freeze them overnight for a better effect. You should do that with all the water you are going to drink the next day while on the trip.

If your drinking water is frozen, it will stay like that for a very long time, and it will actually help keep the cooler cold. With this method, you have already added a few hours of cold to your cooler and the food and drinks inside.

Pack the Cooler Properly

Packing the cooler the right way will help keep it colder inside for longer during the day. We all know that heat rises and cold air sinks, so you need to use that knowledge to your advantage.

When you pack the cooler, it is best to put the solid frozen things on the bottom layer of the cooler. This first layer can contain some solid ice blocks to enhance the cooling capability of the cooler even further.

With that layer completed, you can pack the food that is frozen solid on top of the ice at the bottom. This is the food that you are going to use later in the day or even the next day.

This is the food that you want to keep cold as long as possible, and at the same time, it will help keep the cooler cold. The bottom layer of ice in the cooler will take longer to melt than the top layer of ice.

All the food that is packed at the bottom of the cooler should be stored inside waterproof plastic bags. The third layer in your cooler, if possible, should be some water bottles that were frozen during the night.

You can now put down a layer of ice cubes, either loose or in bags, on top of everything that is packed inside the cooler. Do not worry if this ice starts to melt, because the bottom layer of food should be sealed in waterproof bags.

Now, on top of everything else, you can pack the things that you are going to use the most during the day. This will include the ketchup and mustard, as well as all the other things, like cheese, vegetables, and butter.

Finally, to top it all off, you can use some sort of insulation blanket that will help keep everything under it cold. Just a small rubber mat that is about the size of the cooler box will do the trick.

Some people use a foil blanket to reflect the heat away from the cold things inside the cooler. It is up to you what you want to use, though. Whenever you need something, just lift the corner of the blanket.

Now you can close the lid of the cooler to keep everything cold for a longer period of time during the day.

Keep the Cooler Closed

Each time you open the cooler, you let in warm air which will increase the temperature and melt the ice faster. Try to limit the number of times you open the cooler and keep the lid tightly closed when not in use.

Store the cooler in cool pace

Keep the cooler in a cool, shaded spot. Direct sunlight and high temperatures will cause the ice to melt faster and reduce the cooling effect.  If you can't find a shady spot the try putting a towel or some other covering over the cooler.

Replenish the Ice

After a day or two, check the ice level and add more ice as needed to keep the cooler cold.

Ideal For the Drinks

If you put some loose drinks on top of the blanket you used inside the cooler, it will keep your drinks cold. The great thing about this is that your drinks will be at around 35 to 40 degrees, which is just the right temperature.

Some people prefer their beer to be at just the right temperature, and by putting it at the top, it will be. With the loose drinks on top, at just the right temperature, you won’t lose any cold inside the cooler when you retrieve a drink.


Hopefully, this will help you keep the food and drinks colder for much longer while on your fishing trip. It will also help save you a lot of money on ice if you make your own ice blocks at home.

Another note on the insulation blanket is that you can even keep that in the freezer overnight, as well. This will help a great deal if everything that goes inside the cooler box is already cold.