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Let's Pack a Cooler

What do you bring to the beach to stay hydrated and fueled on your swim trip to Lake Champlain? What do you bring to a BBQ and how can you keep your food safe from going bad?

There are endless possibilities when it comes to packing a cooler. There are also the questions of what cooler to buy;

How much ice do I need?

Do I put my drinks on the bottom or top?

How much water do I need?

The list goes on. However, there are some simple tips that you can use when packing a cooler for your summer adventures, and can make all your summer activities fun!

How long will you be out in the sun?

This is a crucial question to ask because if you are just heading to the beach for an hour or so, you could probably just bring a lunch box with a few snacks and a large water bottle. However, if you are going to the lake for the whole day, from 10 am to 5 pm, that means there are some things you need to consider.

  • You are going to want a large cooler, one that can fit a few meals, snacks, and plenty of drinks.

Try to drink water before having any alcoholic beverages. If you are drinking alcohol, make sure that you are pairing that with fresh water as well as hydrating fruits and vegetables (watermelon, cucumber, coconut water, etc.)

  • It is also important to know how long you will be in the sun to know how much ice you should have in the cooler. Starting with a layer on the bottom, a layer of food/drink, and then a layer of ice, and so on. Making sure your food and drink stay cool is very important.

What activities are you doing?

It is very important to know exactly what activities you are doing. Going for a lake swim, hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, etc. will need more water and fuel compared to just floating in a pool or sitting on the beach.

  • Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated. Being in the water can mask your dehydration symptoms, so it is important that when you are out of the water or taking a break from your activities, you are drinking plenty of water.

  • If you are going to an outdoor BBQ, you might have to pack two coolers, especially if you are bringing meat. One cooler should be designated for your meat, and this should have plenty of ice below, around, and on the meat. Your other cooler can be for your drinks, beverages, and other food items. This ensures that there is no cross-contamination between the meat and the food/drink items that you are consuming.

How much food do you need?

When you know how much time you will be in the sun and what activities you are doing, it is then important to know how much food you need. Are you leaving early in the morning so you have to pack a breakfast and eat it when you are outside, or can you make a nourishing breakfast before you leave? Will you be gone for lunch and dinner as well?

  • You should know how long you are going to be out so you know how many meals you need to pack. You should also bring plenty of snacks that have high water content so the snacks that you are eating are also giving you hydration.

  • For your meals, sandwiches and wraps are easy and portable to bring. You get your carbs from the wrap, add a protein if that be meat or a plant-based source, add a fat source like hummus, avocado, or cheese, and then add in your vegetables of choice.

  • For snacks, you can bring a mixture of cooled snacks as well as dry snacks.

  • Fruits and vegetables that are packed in air-tight containers are always a good option, as well as having hummus and peanut butter for some of those fruits and veggies.

  • For dry goods, packing crackers, mixed nuts, dried fruit, popcorn, granola bars, and pretzels are some great options to supplement your cooled food.

  • For drinks other than water, packing sparkling water, low-sugar electrolyte drinks, and coconut water are great additions to your cooler.

Packing a cooler for your outdoor adventures is an adventure itself, but it allows you to have your very best time outside hydrated and fueled for all your activities.

Even if it’s just floating and relaxing. Asking these three questions when packing your cooler will allow you to pack all the necessities for whatever you might be doing and keep you safe and healthy!

Check out the picture below of what I like to put in my cooler! Want to share with us what you pack in your cooler? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook @snowbeastperformance

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