Where to put ice in a cooler?

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A cooler with drinks and ice in it - Where to put ice in a cooler?

When loading ice into a cooler, there are usually three different methods people use. One of those methods is considered to be the correct way to load ice into a cooler. However, one is incorrect, and one is considered to be more efficient than the other two.

Ideally, you will always want to start with placing ice in the cooler first, before anything else. Placing the ice at the bottom of the cooler will keep your foods and drinks cold – and more accessible. 

Of course, there’s also always layering your foods and drinks with ice, which is more efficient.


How Should You Put Ice in a Cooler?

Method #1: Begin by placing a layer of ice over the cooler’s base; do not place the entire bag directly in the cooler. Remove the ice from the bag and dump the contents into the base of the cooler. Spread it out evenly and add ice until the blanket of ice is at least an inch thick.

Once the bottom layer of ice is set, begin placing your desired items to chill on the base layer and continue filling and layering your foods and drinks throughout the entire cooler. Place those that you want to keep colder or colder for longer towards the base of the cooler.

Method #2: Begin by dumping the entire bag of ice into the cooler, followed by filling the cooler with water over the ice. Simply stick food and drinks into the ice and water concoction within the cooler. This method works better for shorter outings, lasting a day max.


On Which Side of a Cooler Does Ice Go?

The ice is not to be placed exclusively on the right or left side of the cooler but instead on the bottom. Laying a layer of ice over the base of the cooler is best. Cold air does not rise, so the job of the cooler itself is to keep the inner contents of the container cool.

You’ll find that if you place all your food and drinks into the cooler, then follow with ice. It will not keep those contents at the desired temperature, even if they are under the layer of ice. 

If there is no base layer, you are not getting your money’s worth for the cooler you’ve purchased.


When Should You Put Ice in a Cooler?

Many individuals will place the ice in the cooler the night before the outing or event in which the cooler will be used. This method will require more ice than usual, but it is ideal if you are spending the entire day out and about with the cooler.

If that method is not ideal for you, simply fill the cooler with ice the morning of the event or outing. Or when the ice is purchased for the day, simply fill the cooler then. Either way, there will not be a dramatic difference in both of these methods.


What Places in a Cooler are Not Good for Putting Ice?

If you are ensuring that there is a layer of ice on the base of the cooler, there is no wrong way or place in the cooler to place the ice unless the ice is also still in the bag! It’s important to ensure that the cooler is filled to the top, which means no extra space within the cooler.

It’s also important to note that using commercial bags of ice that can be purchased from your local grocery outlet is considered to be more effective than the ice you will have at home. The commercial ice is cooler and has a longer lifespan than the ice from your deep freezer.


Why are Only Certain Places Inside of a Cooler Good for Putting Ice?

Heat rises, and cold sinks. If you do not have a base layer and all of your food is placed at the bottom of the cooler, the warmth the food accumulates will rise, resulting in the ice above melting at a faster pace. This is why it’s important to also have ice at the base of the cooler.

Why would a base layer of ice even matter if cold air sinks? Ideally, we are using the cooler to keep food and drinks cold in the warm weather. 

If the cooler is sitting in or on a hot surface or environment, the base of the container, eventually the container itself will warm up.


Final Thoughts on Where to Put Ice in a Cooler

Always load the ice into the base of the cooler before placing any food or drinks within the container. The base layer of ice will always come first, and then you can layer your food and drinks with the ice throughout the cooler.

Always remove the ice from its bag before placing it into the cooler. The cooler can be prepped ahead of time or the day of by simply placing the ice in the container overnight. 

Always be sure that when in use, the cooler is filled to the top with ice and other contents for the best results.


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