Camping is easily one of the most popular ways for Americans to holiday. With more than 77 million households in the United States reporting that at least one person camps "occasionally" (and that is number rising), it's clear that Americans love the great outdoors. Camping gives people a chance to discover the beauty of their local towns and cities, and explore the country on cross-country treks if they so choose. For many people it’s also an affordable way to vacation since campgrounds tend to be much more cost-effective than hotel accommodations.
But for all its pros, there are some negatives associated with camping. One of the biggest challenges that campers have is figuring out how to pack their food in a way that prevents spoilage and keeps it fresh for their whole trip. Here we’ll take a look at some really simple and inventive ways to reduce vegetable spoilage when you are camping and using coolers.
Do Your Research on Various Coolers
First things first, you want to invest in a quality cooler that is specifically for camping. That basic cooler that you take with you for a day at the beach that keeps your beverages cool just isn't going to cut it for a multi-day camping trip.
Some of the factors to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect cooler include the size, the thickness of the insulation, the type of insulation, whether there are different compartments, how the lid is sealed (keeping contents secure and the temperature consistent), and how easy it is to move around.
I wrote a great blog post that takes a look at some of the best coolers for camping and hiking, giving an in-depth analysis of each one. This can certainly help you to narrow down your options.
Pre-Chill Items before Putting Them in the Cooler
You can also take some preparation steps before even filling the cooler. Start by chilling the cooler itself for about a day - this means just putting some ice in it to get it nice and cold. You will also want to pre-chill the vegetables in the fridge the day before. On the day of your camping trip, replace the ice with fresh supplies and place your pre-chilled vegetables inside.
Reduce the Amount of Times You Open the Cooler
Another tip is to reduce the amount of times you open the cooler. Each time you open the lid you will speed up the warming process. You may find it helpful to make a list of all the items in the cooler that you can tape to the lid. Cross off each of the items as you use them so you can keep a running inventory without having to open it up and look around.
Fill All the Air Pockets
Ideally you don't want any air pockets in the cooler, so this means filling it to about 2/3 full of food and then 1/3 full of ice.
Keep Drinks and Vegetables Separate
Because you will be reaching for cool drinks much more often than your vegetables, it’s a good idea to store them in two different coolers.
By using each of these tips and researching some basic veggie tips for campers, you’ll be able to reduce the spoilage.