Tip of the week
How to pack a cooler
Make ice early. A day in advance of traveling, freeze gel packs and use plastic containers to make blocks and slabs of ice. You should aim to pack twice as much ice as food and drink while avoiding large air pockets. And remember to store the cooler overnight in a cool place.
Pack in layers. Place large ice blocks on the cooler’s bottom, followed by meat and dairy (on long trips, include some frozen proteins). Add a new layer of ice slabs, followed by drinks and condiments, then the final ice layer. Sandwiches and other soft items should sit on top.
Adjust for drinks. If you’re bringing a drinks-only cooler, fill it with ice and mix in a half cup of salt, then bury the bottles and cans in the ice. The salt will lower the temperature of the icy mix. Avoid the temptation to drain the water—it keeps the ice and beverages colder than air would.
Source: Real Simple