How do we pack our ice chest?

Teardrop trailers have very little space and this goes double for our ice chests. Some teardrop galleys are lucky to have a little refrigerator and maybe an ice chest for extra food and drinks, but face it, we will never have as much room for food as the bigger trailers.

Our only way to keep food cold while traveling is with our Igloo bear-proof cooler (similar to this guy here) that we lash onto our tongue cargo rack. Over the years, we have gone through numerous ways to pack as much food as possible without having our fresh eggs swimming in melted ice water with random bags of lunch meat.

The best solution we have come up with is to use several storage containers from Walmart to hold the food in separate compartments, while the ice surrounds the containers. This keeps the melting ice from soaking the fresh food. The top container holds fruits, veggies and other items that don't need to be very cold, while the bottom container holds meat, dairy and frozen items that tend to keep the cold items colder. The surrounding ice can hold more breakable items like beer or soda bottles.

Since plastic container products and sizes are always changing, the best way to accomplish a similar setup is to bring your ice chest to the store and try to fit several containers into it. We were able to find a set of containers with handles that nested into each other. When we want to do some cooking, we will just pull out the container and carry it to the stove and our picnic table.


  1. Do you have an extra liner in your cooler? Ours drives me crazy because it doesn't keep stuff cold longer than 36 hours.

    1. Love your handle! Yes, we use a few pieces of Aluminet to line our ice chest. It extends the ice life for only about a day in warmer climates, so it's worth it, but needs to be replaced every few trips. Hence the lid not having fell off.

  2. Have you ever thought of just freezing water bottles with a sip or two removed and using them for ice? I do that with my smoothie lunch each day. Zero waste and no mess. Cold extra water as they melt. They stay frozen remarkably long.

  3. Thanks for your comment. Yes, we have done that in the past. We fill up plastic containers or bottles and place them on top of the food since cold air sinks. However, when camping, we don't have access to a freezer to re-freeze the containers and they just end up taking up too much room in our cooler. It's a great idea for a one-day trip, but not for a multi-day trip.