Ice packs are a necessity when packing up your cooler for your next adventure! We have compiled a list of the best ice packs for custom coolers to help you easily decide what the best choice is for your needs. Whether you are packing up for a day on the beach or a weekend camping trip, you’ll want an ice pack that will work best with the type of cooler you are bringing along with you. Here are the best ice packs, tried and tested, keep scrolling to find the right one for you!
Ice packs come in all shapes and sizes, it is best to take into account the size of your cooler and the amount of food you will be packing before deciding what shape will work best for you. Ice packs that have a large, flat shape are best for lining the walls and floor of larger coolers, while smaller packs that have a soft exterior are best for fitting in-between the items that are inside your cooler.
It is important to consider the size of the ice pack as well as the size of the cooler you will be using. The bigger the ice pack, the less space you will have in your cooler to store your food and drinks. Larger ice packs do tend to last longer and offer more cooling power, but if you are on a tight budget or using a cooler on the smaller side, a smaller ice pack should get you the most bang for your buck.
A basic rule of thumb for storing ice packs inside a cooler is that you’ll want twice the amount of ice packs as the amount of food or drinks. By measuring the food and ice packs by weight and adding them into your cooler with the 2:1 ratio, you’ll ensure that your food stays nice and cold and ready to serve!
Every ice pack has a certain freezing temperature which directly affects its performance. Most packs have a freezing point of 32ºF (0ºF) while some have a freezing point below 20ºF (-6.7ºC). Ice packs with a lower freezing temperature will last longer because they need to absorb more heat before they reach a melting point. Ice packs with a lower freezing point are best to use for longer trips where you will need food to stay cold for days on end.
Soft ice packs don’t keep food cold as long as hard packs will but soft packs tend to be lighter and more affordable. The main downside of soft packs is the durability, because of the flexible, soft exterior, they are prone to being punctured. Ice packs with a hard exterior on the other hand are very durable and will last a lot longer than soft packs. Hard shell packs are usually more expensive because they tend to be larger and more bulky, but they are more sought after because of how long they keep food and beverages cold.
Petroleum based ice packs were a common ice pack back in the day until it was found that this type of gel could cause illness if ingested, and this type of ice pack is not durable so can easily be punctured which is never a good thing. These specific ice packs aren’t as common nowadays, but it is still better to be safe than sorry and double check before making your ice pack purchase. Most ice packs are non-toxic and free from poisons nowadays, and if they are, they will be labeled as such. Some packs are labeled as non-hazardous which just means it does not contain chemicals or gasses that are a danger to you or the environment, which is always a good thing. If the ice pack you are looking into buying isn’t clearly labeled as one of those options it is best to check the product label or the manufacturer’s website.
Our top choice for ice packs is this Cooler Shock Ice Pack. Keeping food and beverages cold for up to 48 hours (perfect for road trips), and keeps your food colder than ice with a freezing point of 18° F. They are a bit different from your typical ice pack since they take a little prep work.All you need to do to prepare this pack is add some water through the included funnel to the bag, shake, screw the cap on, freeze and it is ready to use! These packs have very little condensation build up, are durable to prevent any leaks and messes, and super affordable. Hands down our favorite ice pack at the moment!
Our most sustainable choice for ice packs is by far the Minus Works brand ice packs. These packs are made from biodegradable, non-toxic, plant based gel that keeps food cold throughout your day. Another bonus, the puncture resistant film is made from recycled plastic. The only downside is that these packs take about 12 hours to freeze so you’ll want to make sure that you freeze them ahead of time. For an environmentally friendly ice pack that is great for smaller budgets, this pack is a keeper.
This reusable ice pack from Yeti is perfect for large and small coolers alike. This pack features a durable break-resistant exterior with a hole in the middle to reduce freezing time, which takes about 4 hours for this pack, the design also helps to prevent the pack from puffing out when frozen. It has a freezing point of 28 degrees, doesn’t sweat, stays frozen for about 24 hours, and comes in three different sizes. If you are looking for a pack that you can take with you on all of your adventures, knowing it will last a long time, this is the pack for you!
Our top pick for small coolers is by far these Fit & Fresh slim packs. We recommend these because they can be easily stored inside small coolers between your food and drinks and they should stay cold for about 12 hours. These packs are reusable, easy to clean, and the slim design gives you more space in your cooler than the average ice pack. These are great for packing inside your kids lunch boxes for school or for quick trips to the beach with your friends!
No matter the size of your cooler the Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew Series has got you covered. With four different sizes available, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your cooling needs. This pack takes about eight hours to freeze and can keep food and drinks cold for days on end making them perfect for camping trips! They are reusable, dishwasher safe and super durable. Though these are more on the pricey side, you really do get the most bang for your buck with this ice pack.
Eliminate soggy food and a dirty cooler with this Nordic Ice Gel Pack featuring a multi layer construction that prevents sweating. This set of three ice packs keeps food cold for up to 7 hours, is biodegradable and non-toxic, and inexpensive. The multilayer construction also protects it from getting punctured and creating a huge mess inside your cooler. So, if you are looking for an ice pack that is inexpensive, friendly to the planet and great for day trips, this one's for you!
We hope you found the best ice pack for your cooler and that you learned something along the way! Still on the hunt for a cooler best suited for your needs? Take a look at our ultimate custom cooler buying guide.