How To Keep Food & Drinks Cold While Camping

Anyone who loves a good old camping trip is quickly overwhelmed by an important question: How to keep food cold while camping?

How to keep food cold while camping

This is a question that should be clarified in advance, especially in midsummer and in warmer areas.

The Simplest Option: The Refrigerator

If you go camping in a caravan or RV, you usually have a very simple option at hand: the camping refrigerator. This is usually integrated into the caravan and is powered by electricity.

Most models have a small cooling compartment included. Unfortunately, the refrigerators are usually very small, which is why only daily rations of your camping food can be bought and refrigerated.

If you go camping in your tent, you have the choice of a mobile refrigerator, which is available in different sizes and designs. The connection to a power grid is also important here.

It is also advisable to have an extension cable that is at least 20m long and suitable for outdoor use, as the next power box can be a few meters away.

A little tip: If the outside temperature is very hot and the cooling capacity of the refrigerator is no longer sufficient, it is advisable to open the flap of the freezer. This creates an even lower temperature inside the refrigerator. The prerequisite is of course that the freezer is integrated into the refrigerator. It should be noted, however, that defrosting the freezer will cause water to collect in the lower area of ​​the refrigerator and you will not be able to store any frozen food items. This should be removed as soon as possible for reasons of hygiene.

Good cooling performance is very important for a number of reasons. On the one hand, this is the only way to protect perishable food from heat, and on the other hand, many luxury foods taste better when cold. It does not matter whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Cool Boxes (Coolers)

Cool boxes, otherwise known as “coolers”, are also a good option for cooling drinks and food. Here the selection ranges from electrical variants to fabric models. The electric cool boxes can be connected to the mains and provide a reliable source of cooling. Numerous cool boxes can also be connected to the car’s cigarette lighter or socket.

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

My favorite is the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

This cooler has served me well over the years and was perfect for when I went camping out in the desert.

The advantage of cool boxes: They are handy, use less electricity than refrigerators, and are transportable.

The disadvantage: the performance is usually worse than with refrigerators, the storage space is less and they often generate more noise than refrigerators or other cooling options.

Fabric cool boxes are wonderfully suitable for keeping drinks and food cool on excursions. They can be washed and thanks to an integrated protective film, no moisture penetrates to the outside.

The disadvantage: the cooling time is only a few hours. In order to achieve a higher cooling power, it is advisable to insert ice packs and cover the box with a cloth, towel, or blanket. It should also be protected from direct sunlight.

Many campsites offer to cool your ice pack for free or for a small fee. It is worth asking at the restaurant or the information desk.

Alternatives For The Small Budget

Apart from larger purchases such as refrigerators or cool boxes, there are of course many other ways to cool your food and drinks.


Bags of ice cubes are available in almost every major supermarket. The packs are cheap and keep cool for quite a long time. The ice can be filled into a bucket or other container. Stow the drinks in between and cooling is guaranteed.

ice cubes

The disadvantage of ice is that it melts and has to be topped up regularly. Even simple buckets of cold water can create a slight cooling. However, when the outside temperature is very warm, the water must be topped up very frequently. Using a combination of cold water and ice is a good way to cool your drinks.

You could also use dry ice if you get your hands on it.

Using dry ice will help with keeping food cold, and also dry as it does not leave any residue that can cause dampness.

Lake, sea, river

Lake nearby? Wonderful! Drinks in particular are ideal for cooling in cool waters. Of course, every camper should make sure that the drinks are not in the way, that there is no risk of injury to other guests and that all products are completely removed. However, this is ideal for cooling. The water can also be scooped out of the lake, river, or stream with a bucket and tipped back again after heating up. This way, the camper avoids wasting water.

General tips

When camping, you should never bring too much food. It is better to go shopping more often and cool the groceries properly. Most campsites have shops that offer chilled drinks and food for a minimal surcharge.

During the day it is recommended to store drinks under the caravan. Warm air always rises, which is why it is coolest directly on the ground. In addition, there is no sunlight under the caravan and the heat does not build up under it.


So, now that you have learned how to keep food cold while camping, be sure to remember this advice and don’t forget to pack your cooler on your next trip.

Ben Ross