How to Pack the Perfect Beach Cooler
Posted On Tuesday, July 07, 2015
I think that we can all agree that beach days are the best days! The sun high overhead, the sand between your toes and the ocean surf just waiting to be splashed in. The beach means fun times, family memories, and what could make that any better? What about a great snack or packed lunch?
In my experience, food can make any day go from good to better to best. That being said, it can be a bit of a challenge to not only gather the beach toys, towels, sunscreen, and finally the kiddos in the car, but also trying to pack a cooler to fit everyone’s favorite beach snacks. Well, no worries! We have the 101 on packing the perfect cooler for the beach!
1. The Cooler
One of the most important steps of packing the cooler is actually having a cooler to pack! The size will obviously depend on how many you will be feeding and whether or not you’ll be bringing a lunch or just a snack. However, no matter what size cooler you’ll be bringing, it’s best to get a cooler with thick, hard walls so that it will be guaranteed to hold in the cool air. A good rule of thumb is to bring a cooler big enough for everyone to have room for one medium size Tupperware with their food and a water bottle. Keeping that in mind will help you determine a good sized cooler.
Once you have decided on your cooler, make sure that you never forget to wash it out before you use it. Keep your food from being contaminated and take that extra step!
Filling your cooler with ice is the next step and probably one of the trickiest. Not enough ice means that everything melts faster and you’re left with a bucket of lukewarm water by the time to you make it to the beach. Too much ice will result in not being able to fit everyone’s snacks, which is a big beach faux pas!
To avoid a big ice disaster, try freezing water bottles or other containers of water instead of pouring loose ice inside. A good hack to remember is to add salt to the water that you’ll freeze beause the salt will actually help keep the temperature lower for longer! That means you will get a longer life-span out of your cooler, which also means an extra hour or two on the beach!
3. Packing the Cooler
Begin by packing some of your ice containers on the bottom and sides of the cooler and putting the food and drinks you want to keep cool in the middle. Then, instead of piling more ice on top of your food, put some pre-chilled water bottles on top. That way, you can get the most use out of your space and you won’t have to dig through mounds of ice containers to get to your food and beverages!
Keep in mind the order that you will be eating your snacks. Pack the food you will be eating later in the day at the bottom, so that you don’t have to dig through the cooler to try to get the food that you packed at the bottom. This will definitely be a time-saver, especially when the little ones are hungry wanting food and wanting it now!
Also remember that if your food is in plastic bags instead of containers, you’ll want to make sure that they are placed near the top so that food inside won’t get crushed on the journey from the car to the beach! No one likes smashed sandwiches and bruised fruit!
4. Keeping It Cool
Once you get to the beach, you may think that maintenance of the cooler is now over, that you are finished, that nature will take its course and all you can do is sit back while the ice slowly melts away. Not so! There are few things that you can do to preserve the cool temps in your cooler while at the beach.
The first and most obvious answer is to try and limit the times opening and closing the cooler. This one can be a little difficult when one child after the next gets thirsty, but they all seem to want water at different times! An idea for this one might be to call everyone in at the same to get water together to prevent staggered water times!
Another great hack is to actually bury the cooler about half-way into the sand. The sand further down is cool and can help keep the temperatures cool. If you packed an umbrella, you share the space underneath with your cooler as well to keep the sun off.
One more helpful tip to remember is to limit the food in the cooler to only food that must stay cold. A common mistake that people make is by throwing in chips or crackers in the cooler to save space, but adding food that is warm or room temperature to the cooler will immediately raise the temperature of the cooler. It’s also a waste of space for your other yummy chilled treats!
We hope that these tips and tricks for packing your cooler for the beach and keeping your food nice and chilled will help you to get through your next beach day! Make sure you stay tuned in to our blog for some great recipes for snacks and lunches that you can take with you in your perfectly packed cooler!