Why You Should Replace Cooler Ice With Frozen Water Bottles

As summer comes into full swing, many of us will be relying on our trusty rolling coolers to keep our drinks and lunches cold as we head out for picnics, days at the beach, and even just backyard barbecues. Unfortunately, everyone is familiar with the pitfalls of that plan: The sandwich bag that wasn't sealed quite tight enough, struggling to find what you're looking for under 5 pounds of ice, or the wet labels peeling off bottles when the ice melts, making beer and light beer indistinguishable. Luckily, there is a better way — and all it takes is a little pre-planning.

The next time you're planning a summer outing where you're going to need to carry your own refreshments, spare a few minutes the night before and pop some water bottles in the freezer. According to The Kitchn, you can pop these frozen beverages in the cooler, creating your own drinkable ice packs that keep the rest of your food cold while saving space. Hunting Waterfalls notes that nearly every cooler's instruction manual and website recommends using a ratio of 2:1 ice to food in order to keep things cool. And, while the site argues that a 1:1 ratio works just as well for short outings and parties, that's still a lot of cooler space you could instead be filling with more beverages.

Drinkable ice packs

If you want to give this space-saving cooler hack a try, The Kitchn recommends a couple of tips to make it go smoothly. Most importantly, you need to make sure all the bottles are sealed up tightly before they are put in the freezer, and they advise taking off paper labels ahead of time. Looks Like Homemade notes that you don't need to limit your frozen bottles to water, as juice and Gatorade can also work and provide a little more variety in your drinks.

No matter what you choose to use, not only do the frozen bottles provide refrigeration for the other food and drinks in the cooler, they also give you more supplies because when they finally defrost at the end of your day, you will have even more cool beverages to enjoy — instead of the typical dirty water and soggy labels you're likely used to.