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How to Pack a Cooler with Dry Ice

Are you ready to go on a weekend getaway with family or friends? Memorial Day is right around the corner! Knowing how to pack a cooler, using dry ice, can ensure your perishables stay cold longer. Dry ice proves to be a superior option than regular ice, especially when going on an extended trip to the beach, camping, hunting, or fishing. Dry ice allows you to be certain your perishable food will not spoil, allowing you to focus on one thing – having fun!

What is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is manufactured from liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) and maintains a low temperature of -109.3°F. Dry ice goes through a sublimation process, making it virtually mess-free. Sublimation is the process of a solid going directly into a gaseous form, skipping the liquid state. Unlike regular ice that melts, leaving a puddle of water to clean, dry ice reverts back to CO2 gas. Dry Ice gives off twice the cooling power per pound than regular ice. You’re cooler won’t be weighed down by an absorbent amount of ice any longer! These characteristics makes dry ice ideal for shipping perishables, including a cooler ready for a weekend, or week-long trip! Noble Gas Solutions offers 3 different sizes of dry ice – blocks, pellets, and fine rice.

Pack a Cooler using Dry IceHow to Pack a Cooler with dry ice

It is recommended to use dry ice to keep you food frozen, or cool, for extended periods of time. Whether you are keeping food frozen or cold, rest assured you won’t have to worry about dumping out excess water to lighten your load. You will need to pack your cooler differently, depending on whether you need to keep perishable food products frozen or cold.

Read the tips below in order to optimize your dry ice usage while keeping food at your desired temperature.

Keeping it Cool

Is this the first time you’ve had to pack a cooler with dry ice? Don’t stress – it’s actually quite simple, but here are some helpful tips! It is recommended to keep the dry ice at the bottom of your cooler.  If your cooler is big enough, a solid block of dry ice is recommended, but cylindrical pellets are a good substitute. By keeping the dry ice at the bottom, you are allowing the food at the top to stay cool, without freezing. Due to its extremely low temperature, dry ice will freeze the food it comes into direct contact with. Adding an extra layer between dry ice and food products, like cardboard, newspaper, or a cloth layer, will help keep your food cold, not frozen.

To slow down the sublimation process, losing product, you should minimize air pockets in your cooler. You can fill this empty space with dry ice pellets, or regular ice. If you choose to go with regular ice, the low temperature of dry ice will help slow down the melting process. Keep in mind the amount of times you open your cooler matters. Every time you open your cooler, warm air is displacing the cold air inside, forcing it to cool back down to its normal temperature. When not using your cooler, covering it with a blanket or sleeping bag will help preserve the ice longer, maintain its cool temperature point.

Freeze it for When you Need It

Packing a cooler to keep perishables frozen, is only slightly different from how you would pack it if keeping food cool. It is recommended to have dry ice at the bottom and top of your perishables –whether its frozen food, or the fruits of a hunting expedition. Due to its extremely low temperature, dry ice will freeze the food it comes into direct contact with. This will ensure your perishables stay frozen, without thawing.

To slow down the sublimation process, losing product, you should minimize air pockets in your cooler. In order to keep food frozen, dry ice pellets are recommended to fill the empty space. . Keep in mind the amount of times you open your cooler matters. Every time you open your cooler, warm air is displacing the cold air inside, forcing it to cool back down to its normal temperature. When not using your cooler, covering it with a blanket or sleeping bag will help preserve the ice longer, maintain its cool temperature point. We do not recommend having dry ice be in direct contact with meat products. Ensue meat, and other perishables, are packaged correctly and not exposed directly to dry ice.

Available Sizes of Dry Ice

Noble Gas Solutions manufactures dry ice in-house from Food & Beverage grade CO2. We are the only local dry ice manufacturer within 130 miles of Albany, NY. This means no product is being shipped long distances prior to reaching your hands – fresh is best! Our dry ice products are available for commercial use and for the general public.

Dry Ice Blocks

Noble Gas Solutions manufactures 14.5 lbs. solid blocks of dry ice. Our Albany Showroom can have this product ready in 30 minutes – call ahead, and avoid the wait! Call our Kingston Store for information on best pick-up time. This form of dry ice is ideal for when you need to pack a cooler for an extended trip. The amount of dry ice needed varies by trip length and application, frozen versus cold.

Dimensions: 6” x 6” x 10”

Dry Ice Pelletsscoop of dry ice pellets

Dry ice pellets are manufactured every weekday at our Albany Showroom. Walk-ins are welcome for this readily-available product. Call our Kingston Store for information on best pick-up time. This form of dry ice can be used in a cooler, it is ideal for packaging & shipping of perishable products.

Dimensions: ½” x 1-6”

Be sure to follow these safety & handling guidelines when handling dry ice. For more information on dry ice and products we offer visit our website.  

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