Most Questions About the Best Coolers For Camping

For the people among us who prefer the great outdoors to the inside of the house and who’s idea of a ‘fun vacation’ is a multi-day camping trip into the wild, you should know just how important a good cooler is. Nobody likes to drink lukewarm beverages, regardless of it being water, soda, or beer.

That’s why we have always believed that if you’re serious about camping then you should consider getting some of the best rated coolers for you.

Some of you, after reading our articles, have reached out to us with a couple of great questions about coolers that you wish to know. We think that it would be helpful for everyone to have all of the most frequently asked questions we have on record, answered.

So here are the most frequently asked questions about the best coolers on the market.

What Is Roto-Molding?

If you have been following our articles on the best coolers for camping for a while, you may already be used to the word ‘Roto-molded’. If you’re still hazy about this, fear not! Here’s the short answer.

Roto-mold is the shortened form of ‘rotational molding’. It is a manufacturing process that cooler-makers use to give their products a solid one-piece architecture.

Additionally, roto-molding gives coolers a more uniformed body, as well.

This uniformity is especially beneficial to durability and performance because roto-molded coolers will have walls that are more consistent in thickness. Thus, giving it not only greater damage-resisting property but also insulation. The corners of the roto-molded coolers are also stronger at the corners when compared to normal coolers.

If you’ve been following our ice cooler reviews, you will notice the more expensive and higher-quality kind of coolers all tend to be roto-molded. This is the exact reason why. Roto-molding is one of the biggest reasons why coolers nowadays can be ‘bear-resistant’ and have the ability to maintain cool internal temperatures for up to several days at a time.

If you’re looking for the best coolers for your money, it’s always recommended that you get a roto-molded cooler.

Why Are People Sprinkling Salt Into Their Cooler?

One nifty thing that you should know about salt (Yes, your normal table salt) is that it can lower the freezing point of water. In short, even though we all know that water freezes into ice at 0°C (32°F), by sprinkling salt into water, you can actually force it to stay liquid below this temperature.

How does this help, though?

Objects (Like beer or soda cans) will cool faster if a greater area of its surface is in contact with the chilling agent. Even when you cover them with solid ice cubes, their shapes naturally don’t make maximum contact with can beverages. But when you add salt into ice - the ice will dissolve into sub-freezing temperature liquid, the cans can now be completely submerged into the frigid water. Because of this, warm beverages can be chilled far quicker.

On the same principle, already cold beverages can be kept cold for far longer, too. The heat capacity of water is almost doubled that of solid ice, which means it will also be able to stay at a cold temperature for far longer than ice. This trick will be especially helpful if you have medium sized coolers or good small coolers that don’t have a lot of insulation capability. It will give them a much-needed edge to keep your things cooled for far longer than they’re rated for.

Should I Put Dry Ice Into My Cooler?

Many savvy campers and hikers use top rated coolers for camping to transport raw food ingredients into the wild with them. In hot weather, food can spoil extremely quickly since bacteria thrive in heat. That’s why many have stuffed their coolers with dry ice instead of normal water ice. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide and it is much, much colder than your ordinary ice blocks (-78.5°C or -109.3°F).

Before you move past this point, however, first check in with the manufacturer of your cooler to see whether you can use dry ice with it or not. For some coolers, dry ice can burn out the internal structure of the cooler, making it unusable.

Because of the temperature dry ice is at, you will have to wear gloves while handling it or you’ll be at risk of getting frostbite from the cold.

Also, be aware that dry ice does not melt into a liquid, instead, it sublimates into carbon dioxide gas. This is the same stuff that you expel when you breathe out, so breathing in carbon dioxide is harsh on your respiratory system. It can lead to dizziness and, with long term exposure, even fainting. Therefore, while using dry ice, make sure that the cooler is well-ventilated.

How Much Ice Should I Put Into My Cooler?

This depends entirely on the size of your cooler but here’s a motto that you should always go with while dealing with coolers: You can never pack too much ice. Take as much ice as you can possibly carry with you. The larger your cooler is, the more ice it will need in order to maintain a consistent internal temperature.

A 2-to-1 ratio between ice and content is the best. Don’t expect to fill your cooler with beer cans and only lay a thin layer of ice on top that and get cold beer to drink after a four-hour hike. From all of the letters we received, this problem has popped up far too frequently for us not to advise you on this so there you go.

What Exactly Is ‘Bear-Resistant’?

You will have heard this term being used many times in cooler reviews and commercials. The best coolers seem to all have been ‘bear’-rated, but what does this mean, exactly?

Literally, this term means that the cooler you’re looking at is perfectly capable of keeping its shape and the contents within safe even while being mauled by a bear. Although the actual tests and experiments behind this can be a little bit hazy, many of the best coolers reviews - Top cooler in the world out there on the market, like Tundra coolers, were actually recorded being put in front of a grizzly and thrown around.

But it’s not just pure structural strength alone. Bear resistant coolers are also airtight to prevent the scent of food from leaking out and attracting animals like bears. Such a vacuum seal can also drastically improve ice retention time.

Regardless, the core message that the term ‘bear-resistant’ is trying to sell you is that they are built to be extremely tough and can withstand just about anything that nature can throw at it along with having greater ice-keeping time, too.

What Are The Proper Steps To Cleaning Coolers?

There aren’t a lot of tools or steps that you have to take in order to clean your cooler. Just your average household dishwasher soap, a towel, along with some warm water is enough to clean just about any cooler.

But deep cleaning it is another matter entirely. After using it for a while (especially when you use it to carry food), the cooler will have an unpleasant odor to it. Usually, the place in a cooler that odor can emanate from are the gasket and the drain plug. To purge them all of the smell, use a 6:1-ratio mixture of warm water and bleach, then scrub the entire cooler down with a cloth.

Make sure that after you’re done that you leave the lid of the cooler opened so that it could dry faster.

Usually, after a long time in the wild, your cooler will be stained with dirt and dust. Since coolers are typically cast from plastic, you could just use an eraser to scrub out the stains.

Is It Possible To Use My Cooler To Keep Items Warm?

Insulation goes both ways, a cooler can retain heat or coldness the same. It’s only that most people don’t often find the need to keep items hot that using coolers to maintain heat isn’t already popular.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, you can use your cooler to keep whatever you want within warm.


There are a dozen more questions worth sharing, but that’s it for this article. We hope that we have provided you with the answers you’re looking for and for people out there who just stumbled upon this article by chance, we hope that you’ve found this useful!

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