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How to Pack Dry Ice In a Cooler

Summer means trips to the beach, long hikes, long drives, and picnics outside. Conventional ice is a common means people use to transport food in a cooler, but with proper precautions and some planning, dry ice can keep food and drinks cold or frozen much longer. This blog will cover what dry ice is and how to handle it properly and safely.

What Is So ‘Dry’ About Dry Ice?

“Dry” ice is carbon dioxide that is frozen at -109 degrees. It gives off an incredible amount of cooling power compared to regular ice, and when properly cared for, can last much longer. Dry ice is commercially available and can be combined with wet ice. One of the benefits of dry ice is that as it “melts” it goes from frozen form to a CO2 vapor. This is called sublimation and eliminates the water from regular ice melt. 

How to Use Dry Ice in Your Cooler

Use any cooler – You may choose to use the cooler you already have with dry ice. This is perfectly fine, but it is important that the cooler does not have an air tight seal or lock. Also,  cheaper grades of plastic can become brittle when they come into contact with super-cooled dry ice.  

Protect your skin – Since dry ice is so cold, it must be handled with protective leather or cloth gloves to prevent freezer burn. It’s also a good idea to keep dry ice away from small children to prevent frozen tongues and toes.

Remember to ventilate – As dry ice sublimates, or turns into vapor, it gives off carbon dioxide gas. This isn’t immediately harmful, but without proper ventilation, in a vehicle with closed windows, for example, it can cause shortness of breath and even unconsciousness in extreme cases. Store your dry ice cooler in a well-ventilated area and make sure it is properly ventilated during transportation. 

Insulate the ice with newspaper – Before you put the dry ice in your cooler, wrap it in several sheets of newspaper, towels, or put dry ice in a paper bag. This protects the ice surface from being accidentally touched, reducing the risk of freezer burn. It also adds a few layers of insulation, which allows the ice to last longer. 

Keep food below the ice to keep frozen, on top for convenience – Most people pack the ice at the bottom of the cooler so they can easily access food on top. But if you have frozen meat or other food that you won’t immediately need, you can pack this beneath the ice to keep it frozen. 

Eliminate empty space – Open-air in your cooler allows dry ice to sublimate faster, so to make it last longer, fill voids with wadded newspaper or blocks of styrofoam. 

The difference between keeping foods cold and frozen – Dry Ice can be used to accomplish both but it is important to note that there is a distinction between the two. 

Cee Kay Has Dry Ice for Any Occasion

Whether a trip to the beach or to pack products for shipping, our dry ice is the high-quality, safe coolant you need. Contact us today for pricing and location information and let us know your dry ice needs. We are confident that we have the solution.