Camping trips are a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But one of the biggest challenges that campers face is how to keep food cold when camping. Milk especially is a perishable product, which means that it can only last for a certain amount of time before going bad. When left outside in warm temperatures, milk will spoil much faster than if kept in the fridge.
The best way how to keep milk cold when camping is to freeze it and store it in an insulated cooler. The only downside to this is that you have to thaw, or heat the milk before use. Pouring small servings of milk in separate containers before freezing it is a great option if you don’t want to thaw everything at once.
This article will teach you how to keep milk cold for camping, as well as some other drinks that you can store in your cooler for a long period of time.
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Can you take frozen milk camping?
Yes, it is possible to bring frozen milk camping, it is actually one of the easiest ways how to keep milk cold when camping. However, there are some things you have to keep in mind. For example, how long will your milk last? What type of cooler do you need? How much milk will you need for your camping trip?
How long will milk last in a cooler?
How long milk will last in a cooler depends on so many factors, will you be freezing your milk or simply just keeping it cool? Which type of cooler will you bring? Do you have access to electricity? Are you packing smaller servings or one single bottle of milk?
Get a high-quality cooler
The most important factor for keeping your milk cold camping is which cooler you will be using. There are two different types depending on your situation and needs, which all work differently. Let’s have a look at which coolers are available and hopefully you will learn which one will be best suited for you.
The most common type of cooler for camping is the passive cooler, most of you have probably had some experience with a passive cooler box before. It is a simple cooling system that relies on ice blocks, if it’s well insulated it will keep your milk frozen for a long time.
Make sure you keep your cooler in a shaded spot, you do not want the sun shining on your cooler for an extended period of time as this will quickly heat up the inside content. Opening the cooler often will also let the heat in, which will spoil your food and drinks quicker.
Active coolers, on the other hand, require electricity to power the cooling fan inside. This type of cooler will not require any ice blocks, as the fan will lower the temperature inside the box. Usually, it can only keep the inside content 60-70°F (15-21°C) below the outside temperature.
You do not want to be running an active cooler in your car all day long, as it will drain the battery very quickly. But if you do have access to some form of electricity, at a campsite or from solar panels on your van, then the active cooler is the best option for keeping milk cold.
8 Tips to help keep your Milk cold while camping
1. Keep your cooler away from the sun
The sun can heat up anything in a very short period of time, this is true even for the colder months of the year. If you instead place your cooler in the shadows it is more likely to keep your milk cool for a longer period of time.
2. Use ice blocks or frozen water bottles
In order to keep your milk cold, you should pack some extra ice blocks with it. Another great alternative if you don’t want to use ice blocks or ice cubes is to freeze bottles of drinking water. When out camping you can never get enough water, it’s the best way to stay hydrated after all.
3. Put foil on the inside of your cooler
Foil is perfect for reflecting heat, this will help keep your cooler at a lower temperature. It works pretty much the same as a thermos bottle, keeping hot contents hot and cold contents cold.
4. Pack your cooler properly
Depending on which type of cooler you are using, you should pack them differently.
A passive cooler will keep the contents colder if you pack everything tightly. For example, if you pack a couple of frozen water bottles and ice cubes close together with your milk it can stay cold for days.
However, an active cooler needs good airflow in order to properly cool the inside with the fans, thus you should make sure you pack everything loosely.
5. Wet towel around the box
If you have a passive cooler you can try putting a wet towel around the box, do not do this if you have an active cooler as water is bad for electronics. The wet towel will keep the outer temperature of your cooler down and thus also the inside temperature.
6. Only open your cooler when you really have to
When you open a cooler you will let the cold out, even if it’s just for a few seconds. By simply limiting the times you open the cooler you can be sure the temperature will stay low for a long time. Always make sure the cooler is properly sealed when you close it again.
7. Store your milk in water
One cool trick that you might have tried before is to lower your food and drinks into a nearby body of water. This may be a stream of water, a lake, or simply just a bucket of water with a damp towel on top.
Do not put your cooler in the water, especially not if it’s an active cooler. Instead, you should put your milk bottle in a strong canvas bag where the water will flow right through the fabric. Make sure you store your milk bottle in a waterproof bag, just in case the water will get inside the bottle somehow.
It is important that you properly secure the canvas bag with a strong knot and piece of rope, the best place to tie the other end of the rope is to a large, solid tree.
8. Avoid bringing milk when camping
The best would be if you can avoid bringing milk with you altogether. Powdered milk can be stored at any temperature and is easy to mix up whenever you need milk for either cooking or drinking.
If you must bring milk on your camping trip, you want it to stay fresh for as long as possible. The best way to do this is to freeze the milk and use a well-insulated cooler. Pack the cooler tightly with frozen water bottles and ice cubes to keep the milk frozen for a longer period of time.
Pack your milk in smaller servings that are just enough for your needs. Also, you don’t want to open the cooler unless it is absolutely necessary, as this will let the heat in and spoil your milk quicker.
Hi I’m Tom! I have been a camper enthusiast ever since I went camping with my family as a kid, love everything that brings me closer to nature. Photographer, RV owner, husband and father, trying to help others interested in camping on this blog.