Tips for Packing Your Cooler

Tips for Packing Your Cooler

We’ve all been there.  You’ve packed your cooler, spent the day outdoors working up an appetite, you finally find your perfect oasis and open up your cooler, just to find everything smashed or spilled.  Nothing is more disheartening.   I’m here to give you a few of my tried-and-true tips to ensure this will never happen again.  A well-stocked cooler isn’t anything if it’s not well packed.

Lucky for me, I have the REI Pack & Prep cooler handy.  It comes with three separate storage bags and a pop-up table that’s great for laying out your spread or finishing your food prep.

I started my day at the market, grabbing a few staples: fresh fruit (apples, peaches and blueberries are my personal favorites), trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate biscuits, granola bars, pretzels, waters and everything I needed to make a light and refreshing salad.

Tip #1: place all of your items next to the cooler, this way you can see everything you need to pack and can organize accordingly.  Also, it ensures that you won’t forget anything.

Tip #2: pack from the bottom up.  Put the heavy, sturdier items on the bottom and add folded pieces of cardboard in between each layer of food, for extra cushion.  I always have cases of water at my house, so I like to use the bottom piece of cardboard.  Soda boxes also work well.

Tip #3: any items, like chips or pretzels, that come in bags that pop or can easily break, should be put into separate storage containers with lids.  This way you don’t end up with a bag full of crumbs, or even worse, bits of food all over the bottom of your cooler.  You should do the same with fruits, as they can bruise.  Since my REI cooler comes with storage containers, I used those for my fresh fruits and put my pretzels in plastic containers.

Tip #4: wrap fresh herbs (which I used in my salad) in a damp paper towel, so they can retain moisture and stay fresh. 

Here’s a peek at my packed cooler.  What a beauty!

As I mentioned before, the REI Pack & Prep cooler comes equipped with a table, which I used as a prep area to put the finishing touches on my salad.  Hope these tips come in handy on your next great adventure!


Post in partnership with REI. All opinions shared here are my own.