How To Keep Your Esky Cold | 5 Tips For Keeping Ice Longer
Stop Ice from melting with these five great tips & tricks for keeping your esky or cooler cold for longer!
If you're planning a camping/fishing trip for a weekend, or even longer, then one of the essentials is undoubtedly going to be a cooler. Whether it's for keeping a few beers ice-cold or making sure you have milk, eggs, and other necessities taken care of for your trip, a well-stocked cooler is a must. However, continually filling it with ice can be difficult, if not impossible, depending on the situation... which is why it's a good idea to follow some simple tips for making sure your ice lasts as long as possible.
Tip #1: Pre-Chill Your Esky
An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, or so the old saying goes, and it's particularly true when it comes to your camping cooler. If you just grab your cooler out of the garage, where it's been hot and dusty for weeks, and throw some ice in it, that ice is already working overtime to cool off the interior. Do a little pregame when it comes to your cooler. Put it in a cool place for a few hours and place a bag of ice or some ice-bricks inside it. This preparation helps to cool down the overall temperature, initiates the insulation (in high-end coolers such as our M-Series) and ensures that your esky is already pre-chilled before you put your food and drinks inside.
Another good idea is to pre-freeze a selection of your beverages you plan on filling it with, i.e. Juice poppers, water bottles and cordials etc. This way, the cooler is not having to work to cool these items, and the items themselves will help with keeping everything cold.
This process may take a little extra time, but it can add literal hours if not days to your ice's lifespan once you're out of the house. Now you're really ready to fill it with fresh ice!
Tip #2: A Proper Ice-Ratio and No Wasted Space!
One of the most important considerations when it comes to your cooler is going to be the ratio of the contents within. Generally speaking, you want to have roughly a 2-to-1 or even 3-to-1 ratio of ice, to everything else. So dedicate about a third of the cooler to the stuff you actually want to keep cold, and then fill the rest of it with ice. The tighter the space, and the more ice you have, the longer it's going to take to melt overall so fill it to the brim! Remember - air and space is the enemy in coolers!
Tip #3: Add Some Salt to Your Ice
It's a scientific fact that salt lowers the freezing temperature of water.
By adding salt to your water before you freeze it, you get colder ice. The colder the ice is, the more the temperature has to rise in order to melt it, and the longer it's going to last overall.
You can use this to your advantage, but be mindful of your contents when doing this. We suggest making "block-salt-ice" using Ice-cream containers or water bottles to prevent it from spoiling your goods, and placing such containers at the very bottom of your cooler.
The Ideal Food & Drink Order For Your Cooler:
Top Of Cooler: Crushed Ice
Middle Cooler: Food / Drinks
Bottom Of Cooler: Block Ice, Salt-ice containers etc.
How To Create An Ice-Salt Mixture For Your Esky:
Place 1tsp to 1 glass of water per container and mix well. Place in a freezer overnight before placing them in your cooler.
Tip #4: Don't Drain The Water Once You've Filled It?
This tip is one of controversy to us. In our experience, and due to the fact that our coolers have amazing insulation, we prefer to drain the small amount of excess water once a day to keep everything dry inside. However, research does suggest that keeping the water inside is "technically" better so take this one with a grain of salt, do some of your own testing and make the decision for yourself!
One of the most common mistakes people make with their coolers is to drain them as the water melts. This is especially true in cases where the esky has a drainage plug that can be turned just to let the water pour out of the bottom. However, if you want to maintain your cooler's chill, this is one of the worst things you can do while it's still in use. That cold water might not be ice, but it's helping maintain the overall lower temperature of your cooler; getting rid of it is just going to speed up the melting process. As long as you adequately protect your contents against the water, you've got nothing to worry about.
Tip #5: Keep Things on The Shady Side
Most people don't need to be told that the sun is a heat source and that if you leave your cooler out in the sun, then your ice is going to melt significantly quicker. That's why it really helps to keep your icebox in a shady spot (under a tree, in the lee side of a car, etc.) to help preserve the ice, as well as all the contents within. And if you're camping somewhere that doesn't have convenient shade, make sure you keep the cooler in your tent or shaded under a tarp, it will buy you a lot of extra time in the long run.
Bonus Tip: Keep the cooler lid shut as much as possible! :)