If you are going on a long trip, it's best to bring one cooler for beverages/drinks and a separate cooler for food. The reason is because beverage coolers are opened frequently, allowing cold air to escape. Coolers with food will stay colder longer because it will be opened less frequently. Depending on the length of your trip/day out, a separate cooler with extra ice will help you to replenish ice in food and beverage coolers.
Wash all perishable foods, such as fruits & vegetables before you leave home. Pack all foods in air tight bags or sealed plastic containers - this helps prevent cross contamination and a mess.
Ice packs are available in many different sizes and styles. For the softer coolers, we advise that you DO NOT put loose ice in the food coolers. The reason for this is simple, the sharp edges of the ice can rip the lining and ice melts faster and makes the cooler heavy and misshapen. In order to prolong usage of your cooler, it must be taken care of.
Beverage cooler tips:
Pre-chill beverages before placing them in the cooler. Pre-cooling preserves ice, so you will need less ice to cool drinks down. Since cold air travels down, place beverages in the cooler first and ice last. If possible, try to keep your cooler out of the sun/ out of a hot car. Try finding a shaded area to keep your cooler.
Food cooler tips:
To keep food cold long weekend getaways, several ice packs are best. Or you can use a block of ice. This will keep food cold for a longer period. Always place ice-packs/ice blocks bottom of the cooler. Always pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator into the cooler. Keep foods dry and safe from cross contamination by placing in air tight bags or sealed plastic containers. Again, we suggest using several ice-packs. Also, to fill up the spaces, put a couple of small water bottles in your freezer the nigh before. Place frozen bottles in the gaps. Immediate ice packs PLUS extra water if you get thirsty!
Keep hot foods warm. Coolers can be used for cooling AND keeping foods warm. We highly recommend the following to keep your foods warm: purchase some ice-pack/hot-packs. These packs will help keep your food warm. Once you have heated your food – wrap it up in tin foil and then place the hot-packs (please read instructions on heating) on top. If there are any spaces, cover your food with a kitchen towel. Wrap hot bowls containing hot foods with more towels and then carefully place in the cooler. Try filling up spaces with kitchen towels - not allowing for empty space will help keep foods hot.
A cooler is not meant to re-chill food that has remained at a temperature of 40°F or above for one hour or more. Only food that has remained at safe temperatures should be placed back into the cooler. To be safe, throw out any food you are unsure of (especially anything with mayo, eggs, etc.)
A full cooler will maintain safer temperatures longer than a half empty cooler.
Thaw items in the refrigerator or cooler, do not thaw meat at room temperature or in the sun.
Keep perishable foods in cooler until just before serving.
Tips on Cleaning Your Cooler:
Wash cooler with warm soapy water. To sanitize cooler, we suggest spraying the inside with an equal mix of water and white vinegar. Leave lid on cooler OPEN to air dry. This is important - if you close your cooler whilst damp, there will be an odor. Some coolers come with removable liner. Remove liner and wash with warm soapy water. Again, make sure the liner is completely dry before placing back in the cooler.
This may be too much for one day at the beach....