Every decent camping cooler requires a high-quality ice pack to keep your food cool while you’re out in the wilderness. However, locating that ice pack is difficult due to the hundreds of different variations available.

A superb cooler ice pack has three key features:

  • Appropriate in size: Any decent ice pack should be the perfect size for your cooler – not too small or too big.
  • Long-lasting: Ice packs typically last between 8 and 36 hours, so choose one that is appropriate for the length of your trip.
  • Food-safety: All cooler ice packs must be made of non-toxic gel and plastic that will not contaminate your food.

Our top ice packs for coolers list

Tourit ice packs

TOURIT Ice Packs for Coolers Reusable Long Lasting Freezer Packs for Lunch Bags/Boxes, Cooler Backpack, Camping, Beach, Picnics, Fishing and More (Set of 8, Blue)
  • Slim, Convenient and Long Lasting Ice Packs: Set of 8 slim, reusable and versatile hard gel long stripice packs. Each ice pack measures 8.75 x 1.5 x 1.25 inches. Keep your insulated cooler bag/backpack freezer-cold for longer!
  • Long-lasting Gel: The powerful gel filled ice pack retains coldness much longer than ordinary water injected ice packs. They stay cool for many hours and keep your food fresh and your body fit.
  • Instructions: Before using, put Ice packs in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator at least 8 hours until it is completely frozen. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, perfect chillers for everyday use.
  • Unique Design Reusable Ice Pack: Unique long strip design ice packs. Lightweight and portable design saves more space for your cooler/lunch bag. Perfect for any occasion - lunch bags, cooler backpacks, breastmilk bags, work or for outdoor camping.
  • Chilled Food - Even Without the Fridge: These ice packs will keep your food and drinks chilled when you don’t have access to a refrigerator.

The TOURIT Ice Packs, with their distinctive performance-driven design, are a sleek, handy solution for small coolers and short outdoor activities.

TOURIT Ice Packs are made of non-toxic, BPA-free plastic. They all offer a 2-year warranty against faults and manufacturing flaws, giving you extra peace of mind after you buy.

Pros

  • It has a slim design
  • Ideal for lunch-sized coolers
  • Freezes quickly. In 8 to 10 hours, you’ll be ready to travel
  • A two-year warranty provides peace of mind

Cons

  • Compact size. Smaller coolers are the only ones that will work

Yeti ice pack

YETI ICE Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack
  • The perfect YETI Hopper accessory to guard your valuables from the wild
  • The SideKick is made of the same puncture-resistant DryHide fabric as the Hopper
  • Has a water-resistant zipper for continued use in the field keep your fishing license, keys, and phone safe and sound
  • It mounts to the Hopper’s HitchPoint Grid and makes it easy to store wallets, spare keys, and extra gear
  • Product Dimensions: 9 in x 1 ½ in x 5 ½ in

These ice packs, packed with high-quality gel, are designed to stay cold for days on end, especially when stored in a YETI cooler. They have a special shape that allows them to freeze faster, allowing them to be ready for your next journey just a few hours after you arrive home.

While they are a bit pricy, the made-in-the-USA YETI Ice Packs are among the most durable on the market, thanks to their high-density polyethylene build.

Pros

  • It stays frozen for a longer period
  • Extremely durable; can keep cold for days
  • It freezes faster due to its unusual shape and design, which is made of high-quality plastic

Cons

  • Pricey. It’s pricey for a single ice pack

Arctic ice tundra series ice pack

Sale
Arctic Ice Tundra Series 5.0 LB
  • ARCTIC ICE COOLER ICE PACKS: The ARCTIC ICE Tundra Series reusable ice pack freezes at 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Designed to keep frozen goods frozen! Great for hunting, fishing, transporting frozen fish and meat, and ice cream and popsicles
  • FREEZER PACKS: This x-large ARCTIC ICE Tundra Series ice pack is an all natural product derived from vegetable oils, and is designed for use in a large cooler or portable cooler to help keep frozen things frozen
  • LONG LASTING ICE PACKS: ARCTIC ICE portable ice packs for coolers last much longer than ice, features a leak proof ultra sonic spin welded cap, features a maximum surface area for faster cooling and can be used with ice in ice chests and coolers
  • ARCTIC ICE REUSABLE ICE PACK: These ice packs and freezer packs are tested to be reusable up to 100,000 times and are made in the USA
  • ARCTIC ICE: Compare long lasting ARCTIC ICE packs to other brands including Colpac Ice Packs, Engel Coolers, Rctic Coolers, Yeti Ice, Nek Ice Packs, Igloo Ice Packs and Igloo Cooler, Medela Ice Packs, Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers and Rubbermaid Ice Packs

These ice packs have a freezing point of 5ºF (-15ºC), allowing them to absorb more heat to keep your food colder for longer.

They have a rigid, leak-proof, non-toxic plastic container designed to provide optimum surface area for cooling without adding extra weight.

While they take around 24 to 36 hours to solidify, they can keep food cold for days in a quality rotomolded cooler.

Pros

  • The low freezing point keeps food cooler for longer
  • The large surface area increases performance without increasing weight
  • It is manufactured in the United States. Ensures that each ice pack is of high quality

Cons

  • A lengthy freezing time. It might take anything from 24 to 36 hours to freeze

Orion frostbite arctic ice

These extra-large ice packs, made in the United States, are piled on the sides and bottoms of a hard-sided cooler for increased cold retention. They can be frozen in as little as 8 to 10 hours, allowing you to freeze them at night and use them the next day.

One of the most interesting features of the Orion Frostbite Arctic Ice is that they are purposely proportioned as an ice alternative. So, for easy conversion on the move, 1 pound of these ice packs can replace 1 pound of ordinary ice.

Pros

  • Reusable ice substitute. 1 pound of Arctic ice = 1 pound of ordinary ice
  • Rapid freezing
  • Freezes solid in 8 to 10 hours
  • Slim design. Layering is easier in a large cooler

Cons

  • The freezing point is low. Shorter experiences are preferable

Fit & fresh xl coolers

Fit & Fresh XL Cool Coolers Freezer Slim Ice Pack for Lunch Box, Set of 4, Large, Blue
  • XL ICE PACKS: Whether you’re headed back to work, school, or just want to escape the house, these XL Ice Packs are perfectly sized for any bag. Measuring at 7" x 4.5" x 0.50" these ice packs are perfect for lunch bags, beach bags, picnic baskets & more
  • VERSATILE DESIGN: These extra-large ice packs help keep food and drinks cool & fresh even longer. The versatile design allows you to pack them on the bottom and/or sides of your lunch bag or cooler. Tip: use several ice packs for greater cooling power
  • LONG-LASTING: These reusable ice packs are designed to last long so you can head out knowing that what you pack will stay cool and fresh until you are ready to eat. For maximum cooling power, freeze the ice packs the night before use
  • HEALTHY AND SAFE: Included in this set are 4 reusable non-toxic, BPA-Free plastic ice packs. Prevent germs from the cafeteria, shared office refrigerator, or takeout containers by packing a lunch with these ice packs. Hand wash only, do not microwave
  • WE ARE FIT & FRESH: Proudly designed by women, for women, we are dedicated to supporting your healthy lifestyle. We know that the key to living your best life is creating a colorful balance & we’re here with a line of accessories to help you do just that

This is a multipurpose ice pack made for camping coolers with an oversized build and inexpensive pricing.

Their slim shape design also saves space in your cooler, allowing you to pack more food with less ice.

Furthermore, the Fit & Fresh XL Coolers are manufactured by a women-owned company in the United States so that you can feel really good about your purchase.

Pros

  • Slim body contour. Increases the volume of food in your cooler
  • BPA-free. It is safe to use near food
  • Affordable. It is available as a two-pack at a low price

Cons

  • Only suitable for short camping trips. It is only cold for approximately a day

Cooler shock freeze packs

Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack - Long Lasting Cold Freezer Packs for Coolers & Lunch Bags - Compress for Knee Injuries, Back Pain Relief, Post-Surgery Accessories
  • 5 REUSABLE COOLER ICE PACKS REPLACE 18 POUNDS OF ICE, no dirty water in your cooler! Non-hazardous, child safe. Lasts up to 48 hours - Voted #1 in 2017 & 2018 Wiki EzVid Ice Pack competition!
  • NEW IMPROVED – Nylon reinforced packs now 50% stronger and more durable, capable of 100’s of freeze – thaw cycles. Shipped with Cooler Shock dry Formula - you add water (once) and save money. Simply add water and screw lock cap on.
  • The key to COOLER SHOCK is burst cooling. Cooler Shock cooler ice packs actually accelerates cooling – 8 mil thick flexible 3 layer foil & nylon pack – Detailed Cooler use guide right on back of pack
  • Great Service: We are here to make our customers happy! We are committed to offering products of the highest value and our team is dedicated to making sure that you are pleased with your purchase! If you have any concerns, please contact us!

The outside of these soft packs is made of a flexible, multi-layer polyethylene and aluminum material that securely contains a small amount of dry gel mixture. Before using them for the first time, fill them with water, put them in the freezer for about 12 hours, and then reuse them as often as you wish.

The Cooler Shock Freeze Packs, with a chilling temperature of 18oF (-7.8ºC), are meant to stay cold for around 8 hours in the heat, making them ideal for shorter day trips.

Pros

  • It freezes quickly. It only takes 12 hours
  • Small size
  • Soft-sided construction is ideal for a smaller cooler. Uses space within the cooler efficiently

Cons

  • Only for short excursions. For short travels, smaller size is preferable

Engel coolers hard shell ice pack

Engel Coolers 32F 2HP Degree Hard Shell Cooler Pack, 2 Lb, White, Small
  • Engel cooler pads are activated by placing in any freezer and conveniently freeze overnight at 20F or 32F for daily use
  • Engel cooler pads are non-toxic, non-hazardous, Re- usable and outperform standard gel packs
  • Ultimate cooler pads make a great cooler companion to keep cooler contents cold and Dry
  • Works great in boat coolers, lunch boxes, beach coolers, soft sided coolers and cold shipping
  • Dry ice alternative

Because of their 32ºF (0ºC) freezing point, these high-performance ice packs are designed to keep drinks and food cold on longer camping trips. This higher temperature keeps the ice packs from freezing your beverage cans and food for enhanced freshness while you’re out and about.

Each Engel Coolers Hard Shell Ice Pack is comprised of a tough, hard-sided plastic that is non-toxic and safe to use around food. They are also perfectly shaped to be used as a layer around the floor and walls of your large cooler for optimal cold retention.

Pros

  • Extremely durable structure. They are intended for frequent usage
  • They keep well frozen
  • The temperature of 32ºF (0ºC) prevents food from freezing. This material is ideal for lining the walls of large coolers

Cons

  • Expensive. When compared to comparable solutions, it is pricey

Nordic ice no-sweat reusable, long-lasting gel pack

Sale
Nordic Ice NOR1038 No-Sweat Reusable Long-Lasting Gel Pack, 16 oz. (Pack of 3)
  • Designed with a multi-layered exterior that minimizes surface condensation which protects products from moisture damage
  • Provides reliable temperature sensitive protection for the safe transport of food, pharmaceuticals, medical products and more
  • 3-Pack
  • Biodegradable and non-toxic
  • Ideal for keeping lunches cool and icing sore muscles

This Gel pack is a reusable gel ice pack with a multi-layer structure that prevents sweating in your cooler. Your cooler will stay dryer and cleaner, and your food will be less soggy with a no-sweat ice pack. While the barbecue grill preserves the burgers hot (Texas BBQ dinner party, anyone?), this pack keeps your beer and water chilled. Use these to keep snacks cool for up to seven hours in your lunchbox or beach cooler. The packets are made of biodegradable materials.

Pros

  • Multi-layer design reduces sweating
  • Biodegradable

Cons

  • The exterior can become dirty

What is a reusable ice pack?

The name gives it away. It’s an ice pack that you may use again and again. They can be frozen before use and, as long as the outer packing stays intact, can be used again and for an extended period.

They typically contain water and additional additives to increase viscosity, like a refrigerant gel. These contents are usually blue, so you can see them plainly if there is a leak. If you find any blue sandwiches in your cooler, toss them away!

Many businesses now create ice packs out of environmentally acceptable, non-toxic, chemical-free materials. They are also interested in phase transition materials that are non-toxic and biodegradable.

Now for some science

When a phase change material (PCM) absorbs heat, it transforms from a solid to a liquid. When it changes state or phase, it retains the heat and stores it as energy. It eventually melts completely and returns to a normal degree of heat release.

A PCM has the advantage of locking down the heat. Before the phase change occurs, the entire ice pack must melt. It then holds the latent heat until it is completely melted, resulting in less heat in your cooler.

Which is better: reusable ice packs or regular ice?

Ice packs have a few benefits over normal ice. They will keep your cooler cold for longer and will not leave it dripping wet. The last thing you want on a hot day out is hot juice and stale food at the bottom of the cooler.

Regular ice packs are easier to pack around bottled or canned drinks and may take up less space than a reusable ice pack. It does, however, melt faster, making it unsuitable for food storage.

Smaller reusable ice packs are ideal for insulating bento boxes, lunch bags, and other small containers. They’re also great for grocery shopping, as they preserve frozen foods from melting on the way home.

Another factor to consider is the cost. Buying regular ice and constantly replenishing it might be costly, especially if it is a frequent buy. You’re paying for something that melts and is subsequently discarded.

Reusable cool packs can last for years, so they quickly pay for themselves over time while the initial investment is higher. Rinse them and store them in the freezer until the next time you need them.

Precautions to using ice packs in coolers

Many ice packs claim to be made of safe materials that are strong enough to resist the cooler’s contents (some of which might have sharp edges). There are, however, gel-filled ice packs and ice packs with an “instant cold” feature. You can activate it by breaking it and shaking it up.

While soft packs can still help keep your cooler cool, you should be aware of the risks. If they were to puncture, they might discharge potentially hazardous materials into your meals and beverages.

Buying guide for cooler ice packs

Ice packs may appear to be simple pieces of equipment, but they are engineered with cutting-edge technology to keep your food as cold as possible while you’re out in the world.

These are the five most important considerations to make when purchasing cooler ice packs.

What is the difference between ice packs, regular ice, and dry ice?

When it comes to storing food while camping, you have three options: ice packs, ordinary ice, and dry ice.

Here’s what you should know.

1. Ice packs

Ice packs, such as the Orion Frostbite Arctic Ice, are hard-sided or soft-sided containers containing water, silica, food coloring, and propylene glycol. Propylene glycol, the final ingredient, is responsible for lowering the freezing temperature of the water, allowing it to remain frozen for longer, even in above freezing temperatures.

The main benefit of ice packs is that they thaw without making a mess and are reusable. Although they have a higher initial cost, they save you money in the long run because you don’t have to buy extra ice for every trip.

2. Regular ice

Regular ice is simply frozen water, and it is often available at gas stations and grocery stores. A single bag of ice is frequently less expensive than a handful of ice packs if you’re only going on one camping trip.

On the other hand, regular ice melts and cannot be reused (you could re-freeze the melted water, but that’s more trouble than it’s worth).

Because it has a smaller exposed surface area, block-style regular ice melts more slowly. On the other hand, Cubed ordinary ice is better at chilling drinks and food because it can surround anything you’re trying to chill.

3. Dry ice

Dry ice is simply carbon dioxide that has been frozen. It’s a popular option in shipping since carbon dioxide sublimates (turns from solid to gas) at normal Earth temperatures.

This implies there will be no mess or clean-up when the ice has melted.

However, dry ice is expensive and extremely cold (-109.3ºF/-78.5ºC). As a result, caution is required when handling it to avoid freezing injuries. Because of its extremely low temperature, dry ice is only useful for keeping food frozen rather than chilled.

4. Freezing temperature

Every ice pack has a freezing temperature, which affects how well it performs outside.

There are two types of freeze packs: those that freeze around 32ºF (0ºF), as the Engel Coolers Hard Shell Ice Pack, and those that freeze below 20ºF (-6.7ºC), like the Cooler Shock Freeze Packs.

The concept here is that ice packs with lower freezing points will endure longer since they must absorb more heat before melting.

Keep in mind that things close to ice packs, such as the Arctic Ice Tundra Series Ice Packs with very low freezing points (5ºF/-15ºC), can accidentally freeze.

As a result, these models are better for situations where your food has to keep cold for an extended period rather than for a quick lunch.

Longevity

It’s difficult to predict how long an ice pack will survive because it all relies on the cooler you choose and the conditions you’ll encounter.

However, larger ice packs with lower freezing temperatures, such as the YETI ICE Pack, can often survive 2 to 3 days in a well-insulated cooler and even longer in a sturdy rotomolded cooler with a freezer-quality gasket.

Smaller choices with higher freezing points, such as the Fit & Fresh XL Coolers, typically last 8 to 10 hours.

Size, shape, and weight

Larger ice packs, such as the 5lb Engel Coolers Hard Shell Ice Pack, should last longer than smaller ones, such as the 2lb Fit & Fresh XL Coolers. Nonetheless, they are heavier and more difficult to transport, especially in smaller coolers. As a result, the shape of an ice pack is also important.

Slimmer models, such as the TOURIT Ice Packs, are easier to put into smaller coolers. Options with a large, flat shape, such as the Orion Frostbite Arctic Ice, on the other hand, are excellent for lining the floor and walls of a larger cooler.

Outer casing (hard vs. soft)

Soft ice packs, such as the Cooler Shock Freezer Packs, are lighter and less expensive. While they do not keep food as cold as hard-sided coolers, they are easier to pack in and around food, especially in small coolers. However, keep in mind that soft models are more prone to punctures.

Like the YETI Ice Packs, hard-sided ice packs are typically heavier, thicker, and more expensive. Although they are excellent at keeping food cold, they can be difficult to transport, especially larger models.

As a result, unless you choose a hard-sided option that’s thin and compact, like the TOURIT Ice Packs, they’re preferable for usage in high-volume coolers on extended camping trips.

Cost

As with most things in life, a higher price usually equates to higher quality. When you buy an inexpensive ice pack, it may appear to be a decent alternative, but it may not last long.

A high-quality ice pack will most likely last considerably longer and cost you less money in the long run. Even the most expensive ones will not break the bank but will last longer.

Additional features

Different ice packs offer different supplementary features. Some of them offer a “no-sweat” option. The “No-sweat” technology eliminates moisture buildup, keeping everything inside the cooler dry even as the ice packs begin to thaw. Others may feature a design that requires you to fill them with water before you can use them.

FAQ

How long do ice packs take to freeze?

It takes between 8 and 24 hours for an ice pack to freeze. Some larger models with lower freezing points, on the other hand, can take up to 36 hours to solidify.

How long do ice packs last in a cooler?

The majority of ice packs can keep a cooler chilly for 8 to 24 hours. In high-quality rotomolded coolers, some larger options with lower freezing points can keep food refrigerated for considerably longer – sometimes up to 1 to 3 days.

Is the blue liquid found in ice packs poisonous?

No, the blue liquid in ice packs is not toxic in general. It is normally non-toxic and causes only minor irritation to the eyes and skin. Anyone who inadvertently consumes it, on the other hand, should seek medical attention.

Is it possible to reuse ice packs?

The majority of ice packs sold for cooler use are reusable and re-freezable. The only exception is ice packs supplied in pharmacies for use on injuries, which are usually single-use, disposable models.

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