Summer is the ideal time of year for family outings, beach days, picnics, adventures in the park and so on. You probably bring along an ice chest to keep your drinks and a few snacks cold, but in the hot sun, that ice will be melted in no time. One sure-fire way to make the ice in your ice chest last longer is to add a simple household item...salt. Rock salt, to be exact. Much like salt helps freeze ice cream as it churns, it can help the ice in your cooler last longer because salt lowers the freezing point. Here's how this technique and several others can help the ice in your ice chest last longer!
1. Add Rock Salt to your Ice Chest
You can either add rock salt to a cooler full of ice, or you can actually make ice by freezing salt water. Either can help reduce the freezing point so that the ice lasts longer. However, this will only help if you follow a few other tips as well.
2. Maintain Ice and Water Levels
Don't drain your cooler as the ice melts! Keeping the water inside the cooler means that air won't get between the ice, reducing melting. If possible, add more ice halfway through the day.
3. Bury your Ice Chest or Raise It
Avoid having the ice chest directly on hot ground if you can. Raise it to encourage airflow underneath or bury it into the sand at the beach (where it's cooler).
The other obvious way to keep your ice frozen is to open your ice chest as little as possible. You know when your dad yells at you for "air conditioning the whole neighborhood?" Well, the same is true for your ice chest. Keeping the lid closed keeps the coldness inside, so only open it when you need something!
If you combine these three tricks, your ice will (hopefully) last all day or for the length of your event. Remember, the quality of your ice chest also makes a difference! The more insulated and high-end the cooler, the better it will cool your food and drinks, so don't skimp if you really need something that will last. You can also help your cause by purchasing a lighter colored ice chest as it will reflect the light rather than absorb it. Personally, my mini cooler works perfectly for me, and as long as it's kept in a cool place, my ice lasts more than a full day!
PS, you can find this DIY holographic cooler on my blog!