Heading to the lake or the beach or camping this Memorial Day weekend? You’re going to have to pack your coolers and what better way to keep your food and drinks cold and fresh than with dry ice?

Of course, you need to know the best way to pack your cooler, and we are here to tell you how!

To keep things cold with dry ice, you have two options. The first is to place the dry ice on the bottom of the cooler, cover it with a piece of cardboard with holes in it or a towel, and place your supplies on top. The second is to place all your supplies in first, filling any spaces or voids with newspaper or towels, then cover them with a towel or a piece of cardboard with holes in it, and add your dry ice on top of that. Note that the items closest to the dry ice will likely freeze. If you have supplies you want to keep frozen, simply place your supplies in your cooler and put the dry ice directly on top of them.

Remember, the lid of your cooler should not be shut air tight but loosely in order to allow the dry ice to sublimate, or turn from a solid to a gas, and always take care to handle the dry ice safely by wearing gloves or using a towel. You can find more safe dry ice handling advice in our Dry Ice Safety  blog post.

How much dry ice will you need? According to our experienced branch manager at our Decatur, Illinois location, a good rule of thumb to go by is “10 lbs. of dry ice per cooler per day.”

You can also take a look at the chart below as a reference for how much dry ice you will need based on the size of your cooler and the length of time you will be keeping your food and drinks cold. Ask anyone at any of our 40 branches  to advise you on how much dry ice you will need.Frozen Food Packing Chart