Best Ice Packs for Coolers
Quick Answer: Best Ice Packs for Coolers
One of the best and efficient ways of keeping food cold in camping coolers for longer is to use ice packs. Ice packs come in different sizes and shapes. They also vary in prices and brands. Due to this heap of varieties, it becomes a bit difficult to choose the best ice packs for coolers.
But don’t worry, we are here to help you. We have gathered a list of the best ice packs out there and are going to share reviews of each reusable ice pack. In addition, you will find a detailed buying guide on how to shop for the best ice packs for the money.
Health Packers Ice Pack for Lunch Box
Cooler Shock Reusable Cooler Ice Packs
YETI ICE Reusable Cooler Ice Packs
Thrive Ice Cooler Pack for Lunch Boxes
Cooler Shock Hard Ice Cool Packs for Coolers
Lunch Ice Packs TrekProof
Igloo Maxcold Ice Block
Best Ice Packs for Coolers – Reviews
The first product on our list is from Health Packers. Here, you are getting a set of 4 or 8 ice packs. Of course, depending on the package you are getting, the price will vary. The size of each ice pack is 7 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches, so they are perfect for small coolers or lunch boxes. The design reminds us of those old-school cassette tapes.
These hard-sided ice packs are BPA-free and toxic chemical-free, so they freeze very fast. On the other hand, they can stay cold for around 6 to 8 hours. For the price, this is a great set of ice packs for small coolers or short camping trips.
What Previous Buyers Said?
Previous buyers have had mixed feelings about these ice packs. For instance, a few of them said that they should last a bit longer. On the contrary, most former buyers have praised the ice retention capacity of these ice packs.
They have also liked the size, weight, and shape of these ice packs. Some customers stated that it is a reasonably priced ice pack set.
- Cheap price as you are getting a set of ice packs
- Lightweight, slim, and long-lasting
- Not long-lasting. Only good for short trips
If you are looking for an ice pack that will last longer without breaking the bank, then this should be it. The Cooler Shock reusable ice packs are available as both hard and soft-sided ice packs. But in this section, we will be reviewing the soft-sided ones.
They come in 3 sizes: large, medium, and lunch. The large Cooler Shock ice pack measures at 10 x 14 inches and is available in a set of 3-pack. Alternatively, the medium sized one measures at 10 x 10 inches. You are getting a set of 4 ice packs in this package.
The lunch bag size ice packs have net dimensions of 6.75 x 7.75 inches. This size is available in a set of 5 packs. As per Cooler Shock, the freezing time of the large, medium, and lunch size ice packs are 48 hours, 24 hours, and 12 hours respectively.
You will have to add water only once to the dry gel mixture, and then you can reuse it over and over. They are primarily offering two types of sealing technology in these non-hazardous ice packs. Both the large and medium-size ice pack comes with both zipper and screw cap sealing, while the lunch box size has only the zip sealing feature.
The screw cap version ice packs will come with a funnel for filling the water. Then you can use the screw cap to close the ice pack. In contrast, the zipper version needs to be permanently sealed using an iron. These ice packs have a freezing point of 18-degrees Fahrenheit (-8° C), so they can stay cold for up to 48 hours or more.
What Previous Buyers Said?
According to current owners, this is one of the best ice cooler packs on the market. Almost all users have said positive things about these ice packs. They have stated that they truly stay cold for days, and have liked that they are available in various sizes, shapes, and price ranges.
- Keeps ice for a long time
- Available in multiple sizes and designs
- Easy on the wallet
- Very low freezing point
- Might be very cold for short trips
Yeti Cooler has been in the camping coolers and cooler accessories industry for a long time. They are regarded as one of the best brands in the world for such products. This is no exception in the case of these ice packs as well.
These hard-shell ice packs from Yeti are available in 3 sizes. The Yeti Ice 2 lb version measures 7.9 x 5.4 x 1.7 inches, whereas the 1 lb version has net dimensions of 8 x 2 ⅝ x 1 ⅝ inches. Likewise, the 4 lbs. version has dimensions of 10.6 x 8 x 1.7 inches.
The unique custom shape of YETI ice packs allows them to freeze faster. Also, they are easy to move around if needed. These freeze packs are virtually break-resistant.
They come with a freeze temperature of 28°F or -2°C. According to Yeti, if used properly, these ice packs can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 5 days in a top-quality cooler.
What Previous Buyers Said?
Honestly, most of the former buyers have said that they are amazed by the performance of these ice packs. A few of them also stated that the price could be a bit lower. Other than that, they have mentioned that these are high-quality ice packs with long-lasting ice retention capability.
- Unique and durable design
- Very low freezing temperature
- Freezes faster than usual ice packs
- Non-toxic and food safe
- A bit expensive
Interestingly, this soft reusable cooler ice pack comes with a different outlook as they have unique prints on them. Those prints are based on 5 different themes such as blue print, boys print, girls print, trendy print, and nautical print. This ice pack for coolers is made with high-grade vinyl and has non-toxic gel.
They come in a 4-piece set. Each of the ice packs will have a different pattern of print of the same theme. The size of the ice gel pack is 6.7 x 4.3 inches. According to many users, these can stay cold for up to 10 hours.
What Previous Buyers Said?
Many customers actually liked the unique prints on these ice packs, while some others didn’t like it. Otherwise, most users have stated that they can keep the cooler or lunch box cooler for several hours without any problem. They have also liked the budget-friendly price.
- Comes with attractive prints
- Very cheap price
- BPA-free and non-toxic
- Not sweat-proof
We have already talked about soft-shell ice packs from Cooler Shock above. Then again, we could not leave out their hard-shell ice packs to review.
Like their soft ice packs, these are also some of the best cooler ice packs out there. They are available in a set of 2 or 3 packs. The freezing point of these ice cooler packs is 18-degrees fahrenheit. As per the users, they stay cold for 24 to 48 hours.
The size of the ice gel pack is 10 x 13 x 1.25 inches. These ice packs are made with high-grade HDPE polycarbonate material, so they will not break or burst out. They are also BPA-free and non-toxic. Plus, these ice packs are available in clear and gray color.
What Previous Buyers Said?
The majority of previous buyers are greatly satisfied with these ice packs. They liked that these ice packs last for up to 48 hours, and have admired the construction quality of these hard-sided coolers.
- Food safe and toxic chemical-free
- Rugged build quality
- Lasts for hours
- Easy to reuse
- A bit pricey
These TrekProof ice packs are another set of products that are affordable yet effective. These hard ice cooler packs are available in various different colors.
You can find them in 6 colors such as blue, red, pink, purple, orange, and green. Here you are getting a 4 or 6-piece set. The net dimensions of the freezer pack is 6.3 x 4.2 inches.
As a result, it can be used in lunch boxes or camping coolers to keep the camping recipe fresh. As per the customers, it can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 12 hours. If you want a cheap, effective, and colorful ice pack set, you can check this out.
What Previous Buyers Said?
Most buyers have said that these are the best cooler ice packs for their kids. Due to the slim size and the kid-friendly patterns/colors, it has become a popular product among parents. They have also liked the affordable price, build quality, and ice retention capability of this ice cooler pack.
- Unique colorful design with icicle pattern
- Easy to clean and reuse
- BPA-free and food safe
- Stays cold for longer
- The design and pattern might not be for everybody
Igloo is another popular brand for offering high-quality camping products for a very competitive price. For instance, these ice packs from Igloo Store come in 3 sizes such as small, medium, and extra-large.
The small size weighs about 0.5 lbs. and measures at 4.33 x 0.7 9x 5.12 inches. Whereas the medium size reusable cooler ice pack has overall dimensions of 4.33 x 0.79 x 7.87 inches.
Lastly, the extra-large one comes with dimensions of 11.88 x 1.68 x 10.5 inches. These ice packs feature high-performance non-toxic Ultratherm gel. The unique design of these hard-sided ice packs makes it easy to hold onto them.
What Previous Buyers Said?
Customers have said that if you want to get the best bang for your buck, then you should go with this good ice pack. As per them, these ice packs can stay cold for up to a couple of days. Also, they have mentioned that they are built ruggedly.
- Come with non-hazardous Ultratherm gel ice
- Very cheap compared to other top brands
- Build quality is top-notch
- Available in various sizes
- Nothing major to mention
Buying Guide – Best Ice Packs for Coolers
What is a Reusable Ice Pack?
As the name suggests, reusable ice packs can be reused multiple times. Normally, there are two types of reusable ice packs: soft-shell and hard-sided ice packs. Usually, ice packs are portable plastic bags that come filled with water, food coloring, refrigerant gel, silica gel, or liquid.
The refrigerant gel is there to keep the temperature of the ice pack very low. Interestingly, there are various types of refrigerant gels out there. All of those have a similar effect on the ice pack. Plus, they are non-toxic as well. At the same time, they don’t make a mess while the ice melts.
What to Look for in an Ice Pack for Coolers
While shopping for your next ice packs, you need to be familiar with the freezing temperature of the ice pack. This particular term indicates the temperature around which the ice packs will freeze. Different ice packs come with different freezing points.
For example, one particular ice pack can freeze around 20ºF or -6.7ºC, while the other option might freeze at 32ºF or 0ºC. In this case, the ice pack with a lower freezing point will stay cold longer, as it will need to absorb more heat to melt compared to the other pack with a higher freezing point.
On the other hand, freeze packs with very low freezing points could actually freeze items that are very close to the ice pack. So, if you don’t want to freeze the food items or drinks and just want to keep them cold, then you can avoid using those ice packs with very low freezing points.
Similarly, if you want to keep your cooler cold for longer than usual, then you can use ice packs with low freezing points.
Size, Shape, and Weight
Different brands manufacture different kinds of ice packs in terms of size, shape, and weight. Typically, larger ice cooler packs tend to last longer than smaller ones.
Even though the heavier and larger ice packs stay colder longer, they also make your cooler heavyweight. They can also take up a lot of space inside the cooler, which is not good for portability. On the other hand, smaller ice packs would be handy for lunch boxes and small coolers.
Type: hard-sided packs or soft packs
When it comes to the construction of the ice packs, you can get them in two types such as hard-sided and soft-shell ice packs. Like a camping cooler, you can guess that the hard-sided ice packs are heavier than their counterparts.
While the soft ice packs can’t hold ice for a long time, it is very easy to wrap them around the food items in coolers, even if it is a smaller cooler. In contrast, hard-sided ice cooler packs are harder to pack, specifically in smaller coolers.
However, hard-shell ice packs can handle heavy abuse, whereas soft-sided ice packs are prone to punctures or bursting out under pressure. If you have a larger cooler, then hard-sided ice packs can be a good option, because their flat and slender design makes them suitable to fit on large coolers better. They can also keep ice cold for longer than soft ice packs.
But hard ice packs are pricier than soft ones. Because of this, if you are a frequent camper or outdoor enthusiast, you should buy hard-sided ice packs, as this will be a great long-term investment. On the flip side, if you don’t go on trips regularly or have smaller coolers, then you can get the soft-shell ones.
Ice Pack Longevity
You will want to get ice packs that can stay cold for a long time. Many brands are implementing various types of features for keeping the ice packs cold as long as possible.
However, the most important factors to consider when you are researching the longevity of the ice cooler packs would be the freezing point and the size of the ice packs.
Usually, the larger the ice packs will be the longer they will last. So, if you are looking for ice packs for long overlanding or camping trips, then you should go with the larger ones. The lower the freezing point, the better. An ice pack with a very low freezing point will take a longer time to melt compared to one that has a high freezing point.
Modern reusable ice packs come with various unique features. For instance, there are modular ice packs on the market. In that case, you can connect multiple ice packs to make larger packs. You can also customize the shape of the ice pack depending on the size of your cooler.
Conversely, there are many ice packs that can be cut to fit your cooler accordingly. Some ice packs also come with anti-sweat covers that protect all the items inside the cooler from getting soggy.
Ice Packs Vs Regular Ice vs Dry Ice – What’s The Difference?
As you know, ice packs are portable plastic bags of ice. Typically, they are reusable and consist of water, refrigerant gel, silica gel, food color, etc. Once you buy a reusable ice pack, you can store it in the fridge. After a few hours, the ice pack will be frozen and ready to go into the cooler.
Depending on the type and brand of the ice pack, the time to freeze an ice pack will vary. Reusable ice packs are usually BPA-free and non-toxic. They tend to be expensive. But as you can reuse them, they are worth it if you are a frequent camper.
Alternatively, regular ice is simply frozen water. You can purchase it at grocery stores or gas stations. As a matter of fact, you can make regular ice yourself. Just pour water on a leak-proof bag and throw it on the fridge.
The problem with regular ice is that it will melt very quickly. Upon melting, it will make a mess and you cannot reuse the ice. Although, regular ice is cheaper and available in most places.
In contrast, dry ice is actually frozen carbon dioxide. When dry ice melts it will directly turn to carbon dioxide gas. Yes, it will not turn to water and make a mess. As a result, dry ice is used in shipping.
But dry ice is very expensive compared to the other two options above. Also, dry ice is extremely cold, so it could hurt you if you are not handling it with caution. You should always use gloves while working with dry ice.
Which Ice Packs Stay Cold The Longest?
In general, you can say that the larger and heavier the ice pack, the longer it will stay cold. There are several external and internal factors that impact ice life.
For example, hard-sided ice packs will stay cold longer than soft ice packs. To be noted, the quality of the coolers or the lunch boxes will also affect the longevity of the ice pack.
The better the cooler, the longer the ice pack will stay cold. So it is not easy to single out the ice pack that stays cold the longest.
Do Ice Packs Go On Top Or Bottom Of Cooler?
In short, if you want to keep your cooler or lunch box cool for longer, then you should keep the ice packs on top. Remember, hot air rises, and cold air sinks.
As a result, by keeping the ice packs at the top of the cooler, the cold air will fall along with the food and drinks while keeping them cold in your cooler for camping.
Are Yeti Ice Packs Worth The Money?
Yeti is known for its expensive products, unlike the Ozark cooler or other competitors. At the same time, people also can’t deny the high-quality products that Yeti is offering. In short, you can say that Yeti is offering premium products for a premium price.
According to most Yeti users, Yeti ice packs have a great ice retention capability and take very little time to freeze. The build quality of their ice packs is top-notch making them virtually break-resistant. From all this information, it is evident that Yeti ice packs are definitely worth the money.
Final Verdict – Best Ice Packs for Coolers
It is very easy to choose the wrong ice packs if you are not familiar with all the ins and outs of reusable ice packs. To help you with this process, we have shared the reviews of the top ice packs and a buying guide as well. We hope this post will help you find the best ice packs for coolers for yourself.
Still, if you are not sure about your decision, we would suggest you go for the Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Packs. This soft ice pack has great ice retention capability and it doesn’t take a long time to freeze. Moreover, you are getting it without breaking the bank. But if you want hard-sided ice packs, then you can go with either the YETI ICE Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack or the Cooler Shock Premium Hard Ice Packs.
Ferenc Elekes has been a devout Overlanding enthusiast for many years. During that time, Ferenc has explored 75 countries on six continents, with overland travel involved in 40 countries on three continents. From his trusty 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with a roof-top tent, he’s blogged about experiences that can only be found in the remotest regions on Earth. Along the way, he's gained in-depth knowledge of the novel challenges overlanders encounter and practical ways to meet them. On his website, he shares informed opinions about everything from the best overland gear to how to get a vehicle unstuck. Ferenc has also written for Ih8mud, the Expedition Portal, the Overland Journal, and he is often invited as a guest to outdoors-related podcasts.
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