How to Pick the Best Type of Ice for Your Cooler Like a Pro

A Cordova cooler
Photo Courtesy: Cordova Coolers

When it comes to keeping your cooler contents as cold as possible, the type of ice you choose can make a huge difference. But how are you supposed to know which type — cubed, block or dry — is right? Cordova Coolers shares their ice-buying tips for your next outdoor adventure.

Cubed Ice

Everybody is familiar with cubed ice: great for chilling contents quickly and for overnight trips. Pro tip: The colder the cooler, the longer your ice will last, so chill your cooler the night before your trip. If you don’t have access to a commercial-sized freezer, place the cooler on your back porch or in the coolest part of your house before packing it with ice.

Block Ice

Whether you buy a commercially packaged block at the grocery store or simply freeze a couple water-filled milk jugs, block ice melts slower than cubed so it’s a good option for weekend trips. Pro tip: After you’re filled your cooler with block ice and added your food and/or beverages, use cubed ice to fill in any air gaps to maximize your cooler’s chill factor.

Dry Ice

Dry ice, which is a frozen form of carbon dioxide (CO2), is more efficient than regular ice for keeping things cold or even frozen. Ideal for keeping your food and drinks cold or frozen for week-long (or longer) trips, dry ice is also the lightest option, which is helpful when you have to lift or carry your cooler. Pro tips: Avoid direct skin contact (ALWAYS use protective gloves —leather or cloth are fine — when handling dry ice to avoid frostbite) and keep your cooler in a well-ventilated area (be sure to crack your windows if traveling with your dry ice-filled cooler inside your vehicle).

Do you have any ice-packing hacks you use in the great outdoors? Tell us all about it in a comment below.