How To Keep Food Cold While Camping

The Grom Life is an independent publisher. You will not find paid product promotions or sponsored content on this site. You will find affiliate links which means we may earn a commission if you purchase through these links.

There are many things to prepare when you go camping. Keeping food cold is one of them. Of course, when glamping, you will be provided with a fridge and freezer, so storing food won’t be a problem. However, if you don’t have a refrigerator, how do you keep food cold while camping?

There are many ways to keep food cold when camping. If you are camping on campgrounds with electricity, you can invest in a portable fridge freezer. If you are outback camping and have no electricity, you must freeze the food beforehand and place it in a cooler box.

This article will discuss how to keep food cold while camping. Regardless of whether you have access to electricity or not, there are some tips to keep your food cold to ensure the food doesn’t spoil. You can keep food cold for up to ten days by taking the following steps. We will discuss how to keep food cold with and without access to electricity.

How To Keep Food Cold With Access To Electricity

If you are going to a campground with electricity, you will be able to keep your food cold with much less effort. However, while portable fridges and freezers are great for camping, they are not quite as effective at retaining the cold as your fridge at home does. Therefore, you must follow these guidelines to ensure your portable fridge works effectively.

Step 1: Turn The Freezer On Before Packing

The first thing you must do to ensure your food lasts as long as possible is to turn the portable freezer on ahead of time. The freezer should be cold before you start packing the food you wish to take in it. Ensure that the fridge compartment is set to the temperature you need it and the freezer compartment is at its coldest temperature.

Step 2: Ensure The Food Is Cold Before Packing It

This is a crucial step, as putting room temperature food in the portable freezer will make the temperature significantly warmer, and the food will take much longer to freeze or cool down. Bear in mind a portable freezer’s power is not equal to that of a home fridge or freezer. Therefore, it cannot take the same load.

Ensure that everything you want to pack in the freezer side of the portable freezer is frozen rock solid, and everything that’s going into the fridge side is already cold. This will help the portable freezer retain its temperature and help keep the food cold for longer.

Step 3: Pack The Food In Order Of Use

Mostly when people go camping, they have a predetermined plan of what they will cook on which day of the camping trip. Therefore, you should pack your food into the portable freezer in the same order as you wish to use the food.

As mentioned, a portable freezer is not as powerful as a home freezer, and it will lose its cold air much quicker when it is opened. Therefore, you should not waste time unpacking the freezer to reach the food at the bottom when opening the portable freezer. Instead, pack the food you wish to use first in the top of the freezer so it is easier to reach when you want to use it.

Also, pack things you will often use, such as milk and beverages, at the top of the fridge compartment to ensure easy access.

Step 4: Keep The Portable Freezer Turned On

A portable freezer should retain its cold for roughly one night. However, once the freezer starts losing its cold, it will take a lot of energy to get the temperatures back to its settings. Therefore, you must always keep the portable freezer connected to a power source.

Connect the freezer to your car’s power if you are traveling long distances. Then, when you arrive at the campgrounds, connect the freezer to electricity as soon as possible.

Step 5: Don’t Open The Portable Freezer Unnecessarily

While camping, you should only open the portable freezer when you need something from it and close it as quickly as possible. Don’t open the portable freezer and stare at the food, deciding what to use.

As mentioned earlier, a portable freezer will lose its cold air much faster than a freezer at home. As a result, it will require more time and energy to replace the lost air. Therefore, you shouldn’t waste time when the freezer is open.

How To Keep Food Cold Without Access To Electricity

When camping without electricity, it is still possible to use a portable freezer if converted to run from solar power. Alternatively, you can also use a car battery or generator to power your portable freezer. In that case, you will follow the same steps as above.

However, suppose you don’t have a portable freezer or don’t have a way of using it without electricity. In that case, you must keep your food cold in a cooler box. Here are tips for keeping food cold in a cooler box when you don’t have access to electricity.

Step 1: Ensure The Food Is Cold Before Packing

When using a portable freezer, you must ensure the food you are putting into the cooler box is as cold as possible. Food that needs to remain frozen must already be frozen solid before packing it into the cooler box. This will help the food last longer, and it will help keep the temperature inside the cooler box colder.

Step 2: Ensure The Cooler Box Is Already Cold Before Packing

Although the cooler box cannot bring the temperature down by itself, you can still make the inside of the cooler box cold by filling it with ice bricks. You can also place the cooler box into a freezer if you have enough space. Leave the lid of the cooler box open to ensure the inside gets cold.

Step 3: Pack Food In Order Of Use

This step is more crucial when using a cooler box, as there is no way to replace the cold air once it is lost. Therefore, you mustn’t waste time when opening the cooler box. Instead, pack the food and drinks you use the most at the top and the food intended for later use at the bottom.

Step 4: Pack Ice Bricks Into The Cooler Box

Adding ice bricks to the cooler box will help to keep it cold. If you happen to camp in a location that sells ice, you can also buy ice and throw it into the cooler box while camping to keep the food cold. Unfortunately, there is no way to refreeze any food that has thawed. Therefore, you must ensure the cooler box remains as cold as possible.

Step 5: Use Natural Resources To Keep Food Cold

Of course, if you are camping in an area with snow, you can simply bury the food in the snow. It will keep the food frozen and cold. However, be aware of the wildlife in the area and place a marker where you buried the food to find it again later.

For those who don’t go camping in the snow but like to go camping near rivers or lakes, you can place any beverages or fruit in a bag and put it in the river or lake. The water will help keep the food cold, and you will need less space in a cooler box. Be sure to remove the food and bags from the water when you depart.


As you can see, there are many ways to keep food cold when camping. Whether camping with or without access to electricity, the most important steps are to ensure the food is cold before packing it in the portable freezer or cooler box and be quick about it when you open the container and take out any food.