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Keep food cold while backpacking

Time to make dinner
Time to make dinner
Author copyright, 2009

When people go on vacation, they want to 'get away from it all'.  While to some, that just means getting away from work, household responsibilities and the repetition of daily life, to others it means getting away from everything. For those people, camping, especially backpacking, is the answer.

The only problem with getting away from everything is the everything part. Refrigeration is imperative for safe food.

When you backpack, the limited room makes taking a big cooler full of ice impractical at the very best. Keeping meats cold is a challenge, but well worth the extra effort when you are enjoying a hot, campfire meal at the end of the day.

Before you leave on a backpacking trip, freeze all meat and any other perishable item that is freezer safe. Pack it into a cooler filled with ice for the drive to the head of the trail.

At the head, repack all perishables into your pack. Put meats in insulated containers and surround perishables with frozen drinks and ice packs. Keep all perishables in the center of your pack. If they are too close to your body, the heat will thaw and warm them faster. If they are too close to the outside of your pack, the sun will warm them faster. Be sure to surround them with material that insulates well, like denim. Make sure you cook everything thoroughly at the campsite.

Now, go out and enjoy that trip!


  • Willi Gutmann 5 years ago

    Some people go winter hiking in Michigan with snowshoes, pulling a sled connected to their backpack and sleep in quinzees.
    We bring all sorts of foods deep into the Michigan woods

    Check out SOLAR - School Outdoor Leadership Adventure Recreation
    Google "solar enjoying michigan winters"

    Detroit Kayak Examiner (under the recreation tab)