Getting one of the best ice packs for coolers should be a sure-fire way to keep your food and drink cool and make sure that it all stays fresh for any long trips you happen to go on.
Ice packs are a convenient method by which to bring the cooling power of ice with you on your travels, without the need for physical ice cubes.
Using them in one of best cool boxes for camping if you're off on a camping trip is one of the best ways of keeping your food and drink extra fresh.
They can come in different sizes, and for the best performance, you may wish to choose some larger ice packs, as they should last longer.
And if we want to get slightly nerdy about it, it comes down to 'fusion rates' and how the larger the surface area, the more difficult it is for heat to break down.
So, smaller packs are likely to give you around 8 hours of preservation, while larger ones can go above this into double digits, with some lasting up to 24 hours.
We've taken a look at what's available on the market today, aligned them with what we think makes some great ice packs for coolers, and selected a number of options based on everything from specs to reviews.
So, let’s get to it – here are some recommendations for the best ice packs for coolers out there today.
Best Ice Packs For Coolers
- Arctic ICE Chillin' Brew Series
- Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack
- Yeti Ice Pack
- Fit & Fresh XL Cool Coolers Ice Packs
- Igloo Maxcold Ice Freezer Block
Best All-Round Ice Pack For Coolers - Arctic ICE Chillin' Brew Series
The Arctic ICE Chillin' Brew Series looks to be a fantastic all-round choice when it comes to an ice pack to use in your coolers.
This particular pack claims to keep drinks cold up to 50% longer than standard ice and will freeze in around six to eight hours. This means you should be able to keep your food and drink cool for daylight hours, while you're out.
The Arctic ICE Chillin' Brew Series packs are also available in a good range of sizes and weights to fit different cool boxes, and of course, your own freezer - Arctic Ice sells them in 0.75, 1.5, 2.5, 5, and 10 pound weights.
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These are also safe to put in the top rack of your dishwasher, too, which is rather handy.
Best Compact Ice Pack For Coolers - Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Packs
A compact ice pack is going to be an excellent choice to use in smaller coolers, and the Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack should be a good example of one.
They come in a couple of different sizes, but the smallest 1.5 cup capacity option will be especially handy for lunchboxes and smaller coolers.
The Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack is rated to take between 12 and 48 hours to freeze, and utilises a cooling gel mixture that you'll need to add water to in order to get them to freeze up. The process looks to be pretty easy to follow, which is useful.
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Cooler Shock rate these ice packs to keep your food and drink cool for around 48 hours themselves, giving you up to 2 days' worth of freezing power.
Best Long-Lasting Ice Pack For Coolers - Yeti Ice Pack
The Yeti Ice Pack looks to be a rather good choice if you're all about a long-lasting ice pack.
Yeti claim you'll be able to keep your food and drink fresh for up to 24 hours, giving an entire day's worth of cooling power. In addition, it should also take between six and eight hours to freeze, which is one of the shortest times on this list.
The Yeti Ice Pack also features quite a flat profile, and its rectangular shape should also mean it's pretty easy to store in the bottom of any cooler you happen to use.
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They also come in a variety of sizes, with 1, 2, and 4-pound options available, giving you a fair bit of choice.
Best Slim Ice Pack For Coolers - Fit & Fresh XL Cool Coolers Ice Packs
The Fit & Fresh XL Cool Coolers Ice Pack should be an especially handy option if you want an ice pack that won't take up too much space in your cooler.
These feature a total width of just half an inch and a generally slim profile, which means you'll almost be able to fill your up cool bag without fear of ice packs getting in the way.
Moreover, the Fit & Fresh XL Cool Coolers Ice Pack should be able to keep food and drink fresh for a few hours at a time, and while it may not be as long as some of the thicker packs out there, it's still serviceable for most people.
In addition, these packs are made with BPA-free plastic and should be able to be conveniently washed with soap and water before you can use them again, which keeps things simple.
Best Gel Ice Pack For Coolers - Igloo Maxcold Ice Freezer Block
If you prefer handy gel ice pack for your cooler, the Igloo Maxcold Ice Freezer Block is a great choice.
It should be able to keep your cooler packed items cold for a rather long period of time, with Igloo rating its freeze time between 12 and 24 hours, potentially giving you a day's worth of cold food and drink.
Moreover, the Igloo Maxcold Ice Freezer Block, standing at around a foot long or so, is likely to work especially well in larger coolers, as it may not be able to fit into smaller ones.
A plastic outer shell should make it easy to clean, with a simple wash and wipe overlooking to be all you'd need to do to get it back in optimum shape.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are ice packs for coolers worth it?
In short, yes. Ice packs certainly can be considered worth it to use in a cooler, but not only in the general sense of keeping your food and drink chilled. As well as lasting longer than regular ice, they'll also save you the clean-up.
Do ice packs last longer than ice in coolers?
Generally speaking, ice packs are deemed to last longer than actual ice in coolers. This is because, in some cases, larger ice blocks have much less of a surface area exposed to hotter outside air than smaller ice cubes. As a result, because there's more to break down, they won't melt as quickly.
How much should I spend on ice packs for a cooler?
As a ballpark figure, spending between $15 and $30 is likely to get you some decent ice packs to use with a cooler.
Spending more should be able to get you thicker ice packs that have the potential to last longer, although they may well be bulkier than some more affordable ones, and potentially a little bit more difficult to store, although this of course depends on the size of the cooler you're using.