Keep Ice Longer

Engel Ice Retention Tips

Engel’s Tips for Maximizing Ice Retention

The best way to measure the effectiveness of a cooler is how long it keeps ice. Most Engel Hard Coolers retain ice for up to 10 days. This is due not only to the rotomolded construction, but to the fact that there is a full two inches of insulation in the lid, the sides and the bottom, as well as the all silicone gaskets that create a nearly airtight seal. Whereas other companies use low-cost, therefore more brittle, rubber for their gaskets, Engel uses the best quality silicone available. Additionally, Engel’s latch system is like no other, using easy open and close compression latches in rubber or stainless steel, creating an air tight seal –with less loss of cold – than other latches.

Use the following information to get the most out of your Engel hard cooler.

First, Cool Your Cooler

If you start with a warm cooler, you are going to waste a bunch of ice cooling the cooler itself. Buy an extra bag of ice that you can use to just prepare your cooler for use.

Mind Your Ice to Contents Ratio

We recommend using twice as much ice as you have contents in your cooler. That means that two-thirds of your cooler should be ice while one-third of your cooler should be your drinks and food. And remember to fill your cooler up with ice for maximum retention.

Ice Temperatures Can Make a Difference

Warmer ice (i.e. ice that is at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above) is usually wet or dripping so you’re already starting with a deficit. Ice that is colder than freezing is ideal because it is dry and will last longer.

Should I Use Block Ice or Cubed Ice?

Both cubes and blocks have their merits. Cubed ice chills a cooler and its contents more quickly than block ice, but block ice melts more slowly. The real pros use a combination of both: cubes to cool things quickly and block to keep everything cool.

Air is Great for Breathing but not for Inside Your Cooler

Always pack your cooler as full as possible without over-filling it. This makes it more efficient and makes your ice last longer. A good trick to use is to fill the empty spaces with crumpled newspaper. This will eliminate the air pockets without adding additional weight to your cooler.

Note: Over-filling your cooler and forcing down the lid could compromise your seal, letting in air which will adversely affect ice retention.

Refrain from the Drain

Each time you use your cooler, resist the urge to drain the water from your melted ice until you are finished using your cooler. That ice cold water actually helps to insulate the remaining ice. That being said, keep your exposed food and especially your meat out of that water.

Have Fun in the Sun but Keep Your Cooler Out of It

You can prolong the life of your ice by keeping your cooler in the shade; in some cases by twice as long. If you aren’t in a position to keep your cooler in the shade, put a towel or a tarp over it to keep it out of direct sunlight.

Keep a Lid on It

The more you open your cooler, the more the faster the ice melts. It makes sense, right? An open cooler lets in the warm air causing ice to melt faster.

Is Dry Ice My Best Option?

Engel Rotomolded Hard Coolers are dry ice compatible. And dry ice can keep the contents of your cooler cold, and even frozen, for a longer time than regular ice.

What, Exactly, Is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide. It’s perfect for quickly freezing and keeping items quickly. In fact it’s -109 degrees Fahrenheit and gives off more than twice the cooling power per pound than regular ice made from water. In addition it’s a fraction of the weight of regular ice, so there’s more room for your stuff when packing your cooler.

Is Dry Ice Safe to Handle?

It is completely safe, but there are some precautions to keep in mind. Because it’s so cold, we recommend using leather of cloth gloves when handling it. Oven mitts or hand towels will also work just don’t use your bare hands. You’ll want to keep it out of reach of small hands to prevent them from getting freezer burn.

Another precaution to keep in mind is ventilation. Because dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, when it melts, it gives off carbon dioxide gas. This process is called sublimation. Without the proper ventilation, carbon dioxide will displace oxygen which, as you know, is what we breathe. Breathing in carbon dioxide gas could cause shortness of breath and prolonged exposure could make you lose consciousness. However, if you store your cooler in a well-ventilated are and make sure there is proper ventilation in your vehicle during transport, you won’t have any issues.

Make It Work for You

  • To ensure that everything, including regular ice, is kept frozen for at least 24 to 48 hours, use one 10 inch/10 pound block of dry ice per 15 inch length of coolers.
  • Before packing your cooler, wrap each block of dry ice in several sheets of newspaper.
  • You can pack your dry ice either on top or the bottom of your coolers. It’s convenient to pack it on the bottom, but it will last longer packed on top.
  • Remember to minimize those air pockets when packing your cooler. You can fill in these air pockets with regular ice, or, if weight is an issue, you can fill them in with crumpled newspapers.
  • Just like with regular ice, keep your cooler out of the sun to make your dry ice last its longest. If it’s not possible to keep your cooler out of the sun, cover it with a blanket, sleeping bag, towel or a tarp.
  • Dry ice can be used with cubed or block ice.

Ice Supplements from Engel

To extend the life or your regular ice, use Engel Cooler Packs & Freezer Packs . These come in multiple sizes and temperatures and can also be used in place of any other ice altogether. This is especially helpful if you want to make sure that the contents of your cooler stay as dry as possible.

Buy them here:


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