How to get the most from your icebox! Get the maximum performance!

Author: Jon Burrell   Date Posted:8 April 2019 

On my most recent trip to Fraser Island with friends it came to my attention that there were many differeing opinions on how to get the most from your icebox, esky or chilly bin.  This created lengthy heated discussions, with everyone there adament that their method was the best - no dispute - handed down from generation to generation.  

In the end, we all agreed to disagree and moved on and continued to enjoy our holiday.

This got me thinking though.  If I dont know with 100% certainty which method is best for ensuring your food stays cold for the longest when camping.  How many of our customers do not either?

So I went and reached out to the product engineers at Dometic.  They're experts in cooling, and keeping food cold and have a terrific range of icebox.  Sure enough, they knew and gave me this list of tips.  The first one being obvious, buy a quality icebox and pay attention to the insulation used.  Not all coolers/iceboxes/eskies are built the same and in many cases are not designed for camping, but more so parties where 12 hours from ice is all you need.

Tips on how to keep ice for as long as possible in your icebox.  

  1.  Use Quality Ice - party ice is not suited to camping.  It has high surface areas and often isnt deep frozen and is not dense - hence it melts quick.  Great for quickly cooling a carton of beer, but not for lasting a long time.
  2. Use Block Ice - you can make your own by freezing water in milk containers, or ice cream tubs.
  3. Pre-Cool - Before you load your camping ice, drop in some party ice to cool the icebox itself.
  4. 1/3 ice - your icebox should be a third full of ice.  
  5. Reduce Air Space - fill your icebox to the brim - leaving no room for air - which does not retain temperature.
  6. Load Cold/Frozen Food - Try to only put in frozen or cold goods into your icebox.  This saves your ice from having to do the hard work of bringing it down in temperature.
  7. Reduce opening time. -  Try to organise your icebox in such a way that means you can quickly find what you need & close it again. 
  8. Refasten the latches - The latches to hold the lid down arent just for transport, but ensure you've got the best seal holding in all the cold.  
  9. Open your icebox less - Try to minimise how often you open your icebox.  
  10. Dont Drain - Water retains temperature better than air.  Do not drain water from your icebox except to make room for new ice.
  11. Consider buying two smaller iceboxes.  Usually, you want your icebox to keep your food cold & drinks cold.  Consider getting seperate iceboxes for each purpose.  This should reduce the openings on your food icebox, meaning your food will stay cold longer.  It's also easier to carry!  Plus!  They're also more convenient for taking to parties.

Many campers do also use dry ice, but in some areas this is not easy to find and comes with its own complications - in addition to being a little dangerous.  So if you do go this way, please be careful and consider whether its really necessary.


Thanks for reading - Happy Camping! 

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