Are you planning to go camping or have a party at a hot location like the beach?
If the answer is yes, then a cooler is definitely a must for your journey. But, the most concerning matter of people using their cooler is that ice can melt quickly, especially when it’s placed under the burning weather. It would never be good if leaving your food and drinks soaking in a pool of water.
Due to that, many have recommended to use dry ice in your cooler instead.
How long will dry ice last in a cooler?
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The Lifespan of Dry Ice in Your Cooler
Dry ice is actually quite common these days – it can be used to cool and preserve all kinds of food and drinks stored in the cooler. This is a good option if you are on the move, like on road or camping sites. Sometimes, dry ice is okay for maintaining the refrigerator temperatures in case the power outage occurs.
The thing is – how long can it last?
See also: Best generator for power outage
The length of time for dry ice to last in your cooler before it sublimates depends on various factors, such as the volume as well as the surrounding environment. Typically, the dry ice can last from a few hours to 24 hours anywhere.
If you’re using the standard 25-quart cooler, the dry ice will last about 18-24 hours. But, like I said, the amount of time can range based on the amount of dry ice you use and the size of your cooler.
Wondering if you can lengthen its lifespan?
Here are a few ways to try:
1. Adding more dry ice
The easiest way is to increase the amount of dry ice to your cooler.
For example, pour 10 pounds of dry ice into a 25-quart cooler, and your food can be kept in good condition for 24 hours. If you add 5 more pounds there, then the total will be 15, and you can double the amount of time for it to last to 48 hours.
If you have a larger cooler, of course you will have to use more dry ice. The 100-quart cooler with 15 pounds of dry ice only lasts 4 hours. If you want it to extend the time to 48 hours, then the needed amount is 35 pounds. Please note that the more dry ice you use the less room you have for food and drinks.
Consider it well before packing!
2. Adding regular ice with dry ice
With this way, your dry ice may not last longer as you may think. However, it can keep your food and drinks staying cool longer. Put it simply, when putting both the dry and wet ice together, the natural melting process of wet ice will be slow down. Even after the dry ice dissolves, you will still have ice left in the cooler.
In case you’re searching for a durable, high-quality cooler for camping or whatever purposes, check out top 5 choices here. We did a research on a variety of coolers in different designs and sizes, and finally we can present options most suitable to your needs.
In general, how long dry ice lasts in a cooler?
As mentioned above, if it’s stored in a quality cooler, then 10 pounds of dry ice can last for 24 hours before subliming.
- 5-7 pounds last 18-24 hours
- 8-12 pounds last 24-40 hours
- 13-20 pounds last 40-60 hours
Read more: What are Pelican coolers with wheels?
4 Things to Avoid When Using Dry Ice
Before using dry ice, you need to know what it exactly is.
Dry ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide. Instead of melting into water like wet ice, it turn into gas when being placed outside. Some think that dry ice can be handled normally like how we usually do with wet ice. But, as it sits at an exceptionally cold temperature of -109.3°F (-78.5°C), there are a few things to notice.
We’ve selected 4 mistakes that we should avoid now when using dry ice:
1. Buying it too early
Please keep in mind that dry ice doesn’t last very long. Usually 5 pounds of dry ice can only last 24 hours, even if you put it in a cooler. Therefore, you shouldn’t buy it a few days before you need it, or it won’t last.
Just purchase a few hours right before your camping starts.
2. Putting it close to your skin
Don’t put the dry ice close to your bare skin or mouth.
As you know, it sits at an incredibly cold temperature. If your skin has contact with the it for over 10 seconds, that spot will get serious frostbite. Also you shouldn’t place your mouth close to dry ice. For example, be careful of any smoky drink – internal frostbite will happen if your lips touch the ice.
Use heavy gloves, tongs, or both when handling it.
3. Storing it in freezer
We tend to put dry ice in the freezer or an airtight container right after buying it home. However, did you know that it will melt into gas quickly if being kept there?
According to experts, the freezer is much warmer than the dry ice temperature. Placing the dry ice in the freezer can only make the freezer to shut down. Not to mention that it can cause an explosion in an airtight container because the gas is unable to escape.
For storage, it’s better to use styrofoam or insulated coolers.
4. Throwing it in the sink or trash
Many often toss away the leftover everywhere which is not good.
Again, dry ice is very cold. When you leave them in the sink to melt, a great damage could happen to your sink and drains. Don’t think about throwing it in the garbage, as the trash bin is a ventilated space, it could possibly explode if the gas builds up.
If you want to speed up the sublimation of the dry ice, my advice is to pour warm water on it.
So, how long will dry ice last in a cooler?
If being stored properly, dry ice can keep the freshness of your food and drinks for at least 18-24 hours. If you use it to preserve frozen food over 24 hours, then it’s a must to add a larger amount.