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How to Pack a Cooler Like a Pro: A Step by Step Guide

We all enjoy a can of cold beer during the hot summer months when we are out doing whatever it is we are doing. The feeling of satisfaction when drops of cold beer roll down our throats under the full glare of the blazing sun is indescribable. When you are going to spend several hours outdoors or you are going hitchhiking or surfing, how do you pack a cooler with beer to preserve the coolness up until the time when you need them?

Beer is better enjoyed when it is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and sustaining this temperature for a long time can be challenging during hot and sunny periods. To ensure your beers remain cooler for longer, you need to have these items in place:

  • A large airtight cooler large enough to contain large ice blocks and beer cans
  • Bag of ice for icing your beverages
  • I recommend beer cans over bottles because they are smaller and easy to arrange
  • A stash of salt

With these items, you are ready to get started. Simply follow these steps:


Cool your beers before time

Endeavor to ice your beers overnight or a few hours before you have them arranged in the cooler. This is a great way to start because hot beers take time to cool. But if your cans have already been refrigerated before placing them in the cooler, the applied ice packs will maintain the temperature and freeze the beer cans for longer. This is suitable if the beers are to be consumed in less than an hour. Having no beer at a social gathering is a turn off for many people, and having to wait for them to cool up when the party has already started is even more frustrating. So you need to be time conscious and keep all of this in mind.


Arrange the beer cans

Carefully arrange some beer cans at the bottom of the cooler. You need to create little spaces in between cans to allow the ice access the cans lying at the bottom of the pile.


Place ice over the arranged beer cans

Place your ice pellets on the arranged beer cans until they are fully covered. While placing ice, gently shake the cooler so ice crumbs can fall further down to the bottom of the cooler. If this is not done at intervals, the cans at the base of the pile may not get cold as much as the ones on top.


Apply salt

Apply salt on the pile of cans after they’ve been well arranged. Salt is advisable if the beers are to be consumed shortly because they melt the ice into frozen water, creating a cold pool of water. The cold pool cools the beer within a very short time because of the application of salt.


Arrange another layer of cans

Arrange a second layer of cans on top the pile of salt and cans earlier arranged and repeat the salt application like you did on the first pile of cans.


Repeat the process

Repeat the process by applying one pile on top of another and applying salt to each pile until the cooler is full. Do not forget to gently shake the cooler while arranging the beer cans.

Ice melts faster during the hot summer months, so taking a separate loaded cooler with you will do you no harm. If you plan on spending more than a few hours, you may need to use dry ice to freeze some of the cans, especially the ones arranged at the bottom. Dry ice will keep them cold for a longer time up until you need them. You may also need a towel to wrap your ice blocks to also prevent them from melting fast. Insulated bags, towels and newspapers are great materials to use for preserving your ice.

It is also important that you use an airtight cooler, which is specially designed to maintain cold temperatures. Some backpack coolers are suitable for preserving heat and not coldness. Some coolers are suitable for preserving heat and not coldness. Also, some coolers are not very effective in preventing air penetration so you will need to carefully select the right cooler to use for your beer cooling and preservation.

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