Keep Your Cooler, Cooler!

To help foods stay frozen in your ice chest, freeze a brine solution in a reusable container and place it into the chest. A frozen brine solution is slower to melt than ice and will keep food frozen longer.


Fill a clean milk jug with water, leaving about 1″ of space for expansion. Add 1/4 cup of salt to the water, replace the cap and shake well. Mark the jug as “brine” or “non-drinkable water” so there isn’t any confusion in camp. If you have a large cooler, make two jugs.


Freeze the brine solution, shaking it several times during the freezing process to redistribute the salt. Place the frozen jug into the bottom of the cooler and pack frozen meat and other frozen items around it. Add more ice and the other items that don’t need to be frozen.


Keep the cooler in the shade and open it as little as possible. It might even be wise to have a second cooler for non-perishables,

like canned or bottled beverages, so you aren’t getting into the frozen food cooler as much. Remove the meat and let it thaw before the planned meal. If this works properly, the meat will not thaw in this cooler.


There is no need to make this solution every time you use the cooler. Just put the jug back into the freezer when you get home,

and it will be ready for the next trip.


About the Author:

Robin Conrads


  1. Robert Laiche June 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Glad to see that this bit of wisdom is being passed on. Any hunter/camper worth his salt (pun intended) knows this “trick” but I’m happy to see that someone thought enough of it to pass it on.

  2. Charles Potvin June 28, 2017 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Just another obvious add-on to your tip. You can really extend the life of your perishables by placing a 1″ piece of rigid styrofoam insulation on top of the contents prior to closing the lid which, in many cases, is uninsulated.

  3. Greg Ragan September 14, 2017 at 5:29 am - Reply

    Not only your cooler, but filled jugs of brine in an empty chest freezer also help to keep food during an extended power outage, it more efficiently freezes any meat you put in there, works more efficiently, and the jugs can be easily removed and thawed as you are successful in the field. A full freezer is a happy freezer.

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