Pack Your Cooler

Tips and advice to get the most out of your cooler and Arctic Ice®

On this page, we'll show you how to properly pack your cooler using Arctic Ice ® high-performance cooler panels in order to get the optimal environment for your cooler contents.  Whether you have a high-performance cooler that cost hundreds of dollars or a discount cooler from your local super-store, Arctic Ice ® can help you dial in the right temperature for your cooler needs.  Here we'll detail the proper applications and uses for each line of our cooler packs, including the Arctic Ice ® Alaskan Series ®, Chillin' Brew ®, and Tundra Series ®.  

1. Separate and Organize Your Items

It's important separate and organize your cooler items by type.  Beverages should be kept separate and, if at all possible, placed in a separate cooler all together.  If you only want to pack one cooler with food and beverages, just make sure the beverages are pre-chilled.  That way, they can act as additional "ice packs."  Food items should be organized by weight as well as which items you want to stay the coldest, longest.

2. Layer Your Cooler

You want to optimize the cooler space you have by creating an evenly-chilled environment.  Start by putting a layer of Arctic Ice

® cooler panels on the bottom of the cooler.  Next, start placing meats, heavy items (beverages), and highly-perishable foods directly on top of the base layer of Arctic Ice

®.   This will ensure that these items stay the coldest.  As you do this, you can also start layering the internal sides of the cooler with Arctic Ice

® panels as well.  The idea is to surround the food with cold instead of relying only on the bottom layer.

3. Conserve Cooler Space

Unless you have a giant cooler, internal cooler space is usually at a premium.  That's why it is important to save room where you can.  Cutting up large fruits and vegetables and storing them in smaller, stackable containers will not only save lot of room but also help you organize your cooler more efficiently.  And remember, plastic zipper bags are your friends!  If you have some not-so-fragile items that aren't that juicy like carrots and celery sticks, place them all in one zipper bag instead of two.   And speaking of veggies, most only need to be kept slightly chilled so save these items to be placed near the top of the cooler.  

4.  Find a Shady Spot

Now that you have this perfectly organized, layered, and optimally chilled cooler don't just leave it out in the sun all day long!  This is one thing that most people overlook while they're using their coolers.  Whenever your cooler arrives at its final destination for the day, try to find a shady spot to put it in.  This will help your cooler maintain it's cold internal temperature longer. 

5.  Close That Lid!

Another all-too-often overlooked tip is to make sure the cooler lid is completely shut when not in use.  Coolers don't generate cold air like a refrigerator or freezer.  So to make sure your items stay chilled and your Arctic Ice ® stays cold as long as possible, keep your cooler lid completely shut as often as possible.  

Additional Tips

• Keep your cooler off the ground by using a couple of medium sized branches or pieces of wood.  Air circulation under your cooler helps it stay colder, longer.  
• A wet towel placed over your cooler has an evaporative cooling effect and helps your cooler maintain its temperature.


Which series should I use: Alaskan or Tundra?

It depends on how you intend to use your Arctic Ice®. Keep in mind that the two series were designed for specific purposes. The Alaskan series is ideal for keeping your chilled goods cold. The Tundra Series is ideal for keeping frozen items frozen.

Why not just use the Tundra Series for everything since it freezes much colder than the Alaskan Series?

Arctic Ice® and other phase change materials (PCM) are designed to hold a very specific freezing point while absorbing “heat” from the surrounding area. When Arctic Ice® Tundra Series is exposed to temperatures greater than its freezing/melting point, it begins to absorb that difference in temperature or “heat”. The greater the difference in your payload temperature and the phase change material, the quicker it will change phase from solid to liquid, or melt.

What makes Arctic Ice® so much more efficient than other PCM’s is its ability to absorb greater amounts of heat without greatly increasing its temperature.

Example: When you place your chilled food and beverages in a cooler from a refrigerator, they are cooled to around 35-36º F. The Alaskan Series is designed to hold a constant 32°F while absorbing the “heat” around it. Since only a couple of degrees separate your food and beverages (35-36º F) and our Alaskan Series blocks (32°F), they are ideal for keeping these items at a refrigerated temperature for a long time.

Using Tundra Series blocks in the above situation would cause them to absorb a lot of “heat”. The difference in temperature of your chilled items (35-36F ) and the Alaskan Series blocks (5 F) is 30 degrees of “heat”. Therefore the Tundra series would melt more quickly and could possibly freeze some of the items it comes in contact with for prolonged periods.

How much Arctic Ice™ do I need?

You should choose close to the same weight of Arctic Ice®Alaskan Series as you would regular ice. Arctic Ice™ comes in 4 convenient sizes – Small (.75 lbs.), Medium (1.5 lbs.) Large (2.5 lbs) and XLarge (5 lbs.) The difference is Arctic Ice™ will last longer, leaves no wet mess, is dishwasher safe, and is re-usable for years!

What if I want to keep something frozen? How much of the Tundra Series should I use?

Keeping items frozen for an extended period of time depends on several factors. Make sure that you use the smallest insulated container needed to hold your cargo and the Tundra Series blocks. Use at least one block to cover the bottom of the container and one to cover the top of the frozen goods. The more blocks you use, the longer your frozen goods will stay frozen. You’ll also find that the less you open the container, the longer it will hold frozen temperatures. Remember, if you're peeking, you’re not freezing!

Why won’t my Tundra Series Arctic Ice® freeze in my freezer?

Arctic Ice® Tundra Series has a specific cooling point of -15º C or 5º F. Make sure your freezer is turned down below this point or to its lowest setting. Most, if not all consumer freezers will get this cold or even colder. Some will cool down to -10º F! The Tundra Series (also a dry ice alternative) works best when cooled for at least 36 hours at the lowest setting available on consumer freezers.(What takes longer to thaw, takes longer to freeze.)