DryiceInfo

Dry Ice for Camping

EXTEND THE DURATION OF YOUR ICE

DRY ICE HAS TWICE THE COOLING POWER

ENJOY ICE CREAM ON YOUR CAMPING TRIP

Dry ice can keep your ice and frozen goods for days at a time. Heading for the wilderness or far away from civilization where your supplies need to last for days – dry ice gives more than twice the cooling energy per pound of weight and three times the cooling energy per volume than regular water ice. 

 

USING DRY ICE

Plan on using 10 to 20 pounds of dry ice for every 24-hour period depending upon the ice chest size. Dry ice will keep everything frozen in this ice chest, including extra ice, so consider refrigerating non-frozen goods with regular ice in a separate ice chest. Dry ice sometimes comes in 10-inch squares, 2 inches thick, weighing about 10 pounds each square. Plan to put one square per 15 inches of ice chest length. This will work out to 2 squares (20 pounds) for an average 40-quart cooler. If you can only get pellets, separate them into 10-pound paper bags to spread them around and keep them from falling to the bottom. If you use plastic bags, make sure they are not sealed tight, or they will burst. For larger containers and longer camping or traveling times, multiply dry ice quantities by these rates. At -109°F or -78°C, dry ice will freeze and keep everything frozen in its container until it is completely sublimated. These frozen items will take some extra time to thaw because they have been so cold.

HOW TO PACK DRY ICE

It will work better if the dry ice is placed on the top of the food (cold sinks). However, moving the dry ice is hard, so many people prefer to keep the dry ice on the bottom of the ice chest for convenience. When packing items in the container, fill all the space, if possible. Any “dead air space” will cause the dry ice to sublimate faster. The best storage container is a three-inch thick urethane insulated box. Lining the inside of your ice chest with sheets of Styrofoam will increase the life of dry ice. Dry ice sublimation (changing from a solid to a gas) will vary depending on the temperature, air pressure, and insulation thickness. The more dry ice you have stored in the container, the longer it will last.

CAMPING STORIES

OUTFITTER’S SECRET
Jenifer Trout of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reveals John Judson of the Quartercircle-Circle Ranch’s secret:
My family went with an outfitter on a horse packing trip in Colorado last summer. On the second night in the wilderness, John lamented that our menu was screwed up because the ice cream was “too frozen.” He pulled it out of the cooler and bounced it on a slab of wood. It was a brick! He’d brought the food in 2 small coolers, which doubled as stools. One was for refrigerated food, and the other was for frozen food. He’d move some food (mostly meat) from the frozen cooler to the refrigerated cooler each day. He used no wet ice or ice packs at all. We had ice cream on our third night out – after it had thawed to an appropriate temperature in the refrigerated cooler. His trick was a block of dry ice wrapped in newspaper – and it worked unbelievably well!

FROZEN LETTUCE
When camping, my wife and I had too many leftovers to keep in our regular ice chest. So we put the salad in our freezer ice chest. The dry ice was only 15 pounds at the beginning of the trip on the bottom of the ice chest, and extra ice was on top of it, and then the salad was at the very top. We thought that the ice would be plenty of insulation, but we had a real crispy salad the next morning. A true ice lettuce salad!

HOW TO KEEP ICE FOR WEEKS
A camper reports: “I have a 100-quart Coleman that I pack before leaving with a 50-pound block of dry ice and two 25-pound blocks of regular ice on either side of the dry ice. The dry ice is wrapped in many layers of newspaper, which is a marvelous insulator. If the cooler is kept in the shade and covered with a heavy blanket, the dry ice will last from 8-10 days, at which time the wet ice first begins to melt. This will then last another 4-5 days. I would be willing to bet that using another method I heard (burying the ice chest in sand) in conjunction with mine would keep the wet ice available for 2-3 weeks. However, there is a downside. (1) Keep only frozen foods in the cooler until the dry ice is gone (no beer). (2) Lots of weight — the whole shebang weighs 100 lbs. sans food. Dry ice is very dense – a 50 lb. block is the same size as a 25 lb. block of wet ice.”