A family outing to the beach gets everyone excited. Mum and dad get a chance to sit back and relax while the waves and beach treasures entertain the children. Sunshine, sand and surf is all wonderful… so long as your tummy isn’t rumbling.
A well-stocked cooler really makes the beach day a success, and these cooler hacks will ensure that all goes to plan.
- Pack foods that travel well. Hearty salads such as pasta, potato and grains all hold up well. Look for bread with a good crust on it. Instead of baked goods that will squish, bring oatmeal cookies or something equally substantial.
- Pick a great cooler. Having a lid that locks in place, like on the Coleman 62Qt Wheeled Xtreme Cooler, helps to preserve icy cold temperatures the whole weekend long. I pre-chill the cooler with a block of ice so it is ice cold when I pack it full of food. If you have a big group of people, consider designating an additional cooler just for drinks. This will cut back on the use of the food cooler and preserve the chill for longer.
- Pack foods in clear containers. Wash fruits and vegetables at home, then dry them well and package everything in clear, re-sealable bags or containers so you can see at a glance what is inside. Salads, cold meats, cheese – everything can be safely stored in a clear plastic container.
- Pack only cold food and drink. Pre-chill as much food and drink as possible before loading the cooler. Freeze drinking water in plastic jugs to use in place of ice blocks. You’ll have drinking water when they melt!
- Make a packing list of cooler contents and tape it to the top. This helps you remember what you packed, and you can scratch off items as they are removed.
- Pack smart and pack full. I follow this order: a layer of ice packs at the bottom of a clean, pre-chilled cooler, followed by meats (cold cuts, cold chicken, etc.). I shake a bag of ice around the meat, then add dairy, salads and condiments on top. Produce goes in next, with the most delicate items on top. Lastly, I tuck drinks in and around the produce with a few more small ice packs. It’s always best to fill a cooler to the brim and avoid pockets of air. Empty spaces can be filled with clean beach towels or a picnic blanket.
- Keep the cooler out of the sun. When possible, store the cooler in the shade to help it stay cool. We love our Coleman Eaved Canopy for sun shelter at the beach.
- Clean up for next time. Upon returning home, wash the cooler with warm soapy water once it has been emptied. Disinfect if necessary, then rinse and dry well before putting it away. Now you’re ready for the next adventure!