Bonus Tips

Chill everything first 
Whenever possible, cool down the items that will be going into your cooler. If the camping cooler only has to maintain the cold temperature, it won’t need as much cooling power (ice) as it does when it has to cool the items down and then maintain. You can save yourself from having to add ice by cooling everything down before you start loading your cooler.

Cans on bottom
Start by lining up your cans in a ring around the outer edges of your cooler. That means you’ll be leaving a hollow space in the center. Lots of people make the mistake of tossing the drinks in last, on top of the ice before going camping. Their theory is that drinks will be reached for the most often, so they should be on top where they’ll be accessible. But cold sinks, while heat rises. So drinks sitting on top will never get as frosty cold up there as they will on the bottom.

Lining them up along the edges puts the cans in the coldest part of your cooler, but still makes them easy to get to. Since you know they are on the edges, you can just slip your hand straight down against the sidewall of the cooler and grab one, without having to rummage through the whole cooler.

Bag all items
Put all of your food items into zipper baggies before you add them to the camping cooler. The cellophane wrapper that most food comes in is not waterproof. Food left in only its own original packaging is likely to get soggy in a hurry. Don’t pack any glass into your cooler. If you need mayonnaise, scoop some out into a plastic sealable container, and leave the glass jar at home.

Filling the center
Put an inch or two of ice inside your ring of cans, then lay all your bagged items on top of that ice. Then layer more camping ice, filling up all the empty space in the cooler.

NorChill bags are a perfect cooler for family outings. A day at the beach, the park, a sporting event or even a trip to an amusement park.  Our coolers come in 3 sizes: Small (12-Can), Medium (24-Can) and Large (48-Can). The small bag is perfect as a lunch cooler or for use in the car. The medium soft cooler is optimal for picnics, kids sporting events, or to keep food and drink insulated during camping. The large soft sided cooler is great as a marine cooler for use on the boat, as a hunting cooler to preserve field dressed game, or as a tailgate cooler to keep food and drinks cold during tailgating.

It is best to bring one cooler for drinks and a separate bag for food. The reason is because beverage coolers are opened frequently, allowing cold air to escape. Coolers with food will stay colder longer because it will be opened less frequently. Depending on the length of your trip/day out, a separate cooler with extra ice will help you to replenish ice in food and beverage coolers.  Packing food and drinks separately will also prevent cross-contamination of food and beverages.

The amount of ice packs needed depends on the size of the cooler bags. If you are taking water bottles or non-carbonated liquids in your cooler, we recommend you freeze them before putting them in the cooler bags.  They will act as additional ice packs and provide you with a lovely cool drink long after all the ice melts.

Full cooler bags will maintain at safer temperatures longer than a half empty soft cooler.

Packing a Beverage Cooler

Since cold air travels down, place beverages in the cooler first and ice last.  Pre-chill beverages before placing them in the cooler. Pre-cooling preserves ice, so you will need less ice to cool drinks down. During travel or activities, try to keep your cooler out of direct sunlight; find a cooler place in the shade.

Packing a Food Cooler

To keep food cold long weekend getaways, several ice alternative packs are best. Or use a block ice purchased whole from the store, or frozen in a zip-lock bag. Always place ice packs/ice blocks in the bottom of the cooler.  Keep foods dry and safe from cross contamination by placing in air tight bags or sealed plastic containers. Wash all perishable foods, such as fruits & vegetables before packing the cooler and then place them directly on top of the ice in the cooler.   Fill up the empty spaces with frozen water bottles.  Always remember to thaw items in the refrigerator or cooler, do not thaw meat at room temperature or in the sun.

Our soft cooler bags can be used for cooling and keeping foods warm.  First heat your food.  Then wrap it completely in tin foil and place it in the insulated cooler bag.  If you have any free space you may want to cover your food with a kitchen towel or simply fill the spaces with a towel. For extended trips, outings or events, purchase “hot-packs” and place them on the bottom of the bag before packing the food.

Always keep perishable foods in the cooler until just before serving.