Don’t “Spoil” a Great Labor Day Weekend: 8 Tips for Packing a Safe Cooler

Packing your cooler for a long weekend can sometimes seem like a daunting task, but with these helpful tips and a little bit of prep, you’ll be ready to head out for a fun-filled weekend in no time.

1. Take the time to wash out your coolers before packing up. You want to ensure you’re starting out with the cleanest environment for storing your food.

2. There’s no need to bring a huge cooler for your snacks. A full cooler will keep everything cold much longer than a half-empty one. If you’ve got room left over once you’re packed up, add some ice to fill it up and keep things cold longer.

3. Make sure your foods are stored in watertight containers that won’t let melting ice into your lunch.

4. Keep raw meats separate from your drinks and other foods. Use a separate, smaller cooler that won’t need to be opened as frequently. Make sure these and other perishable items are stored directly on ice.

5. You may love crushed ice in your drinks, but it’s not the best choice for putting in your cooler. Bigger blocks of ice will keep your food and drinks chilled much longer.

6. Bring along an appliance thermometer so you can be sure your food is safely stored at the proper temperature.

7. If you don’t want to lug around more than one cooler, try packing in layers. Place those items that you need to keep coldest at the bottom and cover with ice. Alternate with layers of food and ice until you get close to the top. Top off the cooler with those drinks you’ll be reaching for first.

8. Don’t pack warm or room temperature items. Place everything right from your fridge or freezer into the cooler.

Follow these tips and enjoy your worry-free weekend of fun and food!