Staying Cool in the Summer Heat: How to Keep Meat Cold While Camping
Whether you’re a seasoned camper, or a first-timer with three young kids in tow, packing smart is essential to make sure you stay cool and keep your food at a safe temperature. Keeping your meat cold while camping is an important factor that should not be overlooked. Meat is highly perishable and if it isn’t handled and stored properly, it can quickly spoil. With a few simple tips, you can easily keep your meat cold while camping and keep your family safe from foodborne illnesses.
1. Buy Frozen Meat
To keep meat cold while camping, it’s best to buy frozen or partially frozen meat. In the days leading up to your camping trip, purchase your meat from the grocery store — the colder the meat, the better. It is important to make sure that the meat stays cold during transport from the grocery store to your campsite. Place the meat in an insulated cooler lined with ice packs and keep it from coming into contact with anything else in the cooler. If possible, it is best to freeze the meat in individual packages to make it easier to store and manage.
2. Invest in an Insulated Cooler
If you’re planning on camping, an insulated cooler is a must-have. The right cooler should keep the inside cold for several days so that your meat and other perishables remain safe. Insulated coolers are usually made with a hard outer shell, while interior walls are lined with a thick foam material to seal in the cold. To further ensure that the cold is retained, invest in cooler ice packs, and fill the cooler with ice before storing the meat. Once the cooler is in place, make sure it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight and keep it in a cool, dry area.
3. Twice-Frozen Packs of Ice
If you’re heading to a campsite where a refrigerator isn’t provided, you can keep your meat safe with twice-frozen packs of ice. Prepare enough packs of ice before your trip and store them in your freezer overnight. The next day, pack these frozen ice packs into the cooler — one for each pack of meat. These will then act as a protective layer between the meat and the larger blocks of ice. Make sure the individual packages of meat and ice are in contact with each other at all times to ensure that the meat stays cold.
4. Add a Common Household Item
To make sure your meat stays cold while camping, you can add a common household item that you may have already packed with you: baking soda! Adding a few tablespoons of baking soda into the cooler can help keep the meat at an even temperature. Baking soda also helps absorb odors, so your campsite will stay smelling fresh. Keeping a few containers of baking soda in your cooler can make sure that the meat stays fresh and safe during your camping trip.
5. Use Dry Ice
If your campsite doesn’t have a refrigerator or freezer to store your food, dry ice is a great way to keep your meat cold while camping. Dry ice is solidified carbon dioxide gas, which releases cool temperatures as it sublimates in the air. While packing dry ice, it’s important to use insulated bags, as the temperatures it emits can burn your skin. Make sure the dry ice is not placed directly on the meat and place it at the bottom of the cooler so that the cold doesn’t drip onto the food stored on top.
Keeping your meat cold should be an important priority when camping. With the right preparation and precautions, you can successfully transport and refrigerate your food for a safe and enjoyable camping trip. Following these simple tips will help you stay cool and safe while enjoying the great outdoors.