Dry Ice for Camping(All FAQ’s Answered!)

Dry Ice for Camping

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How often have you spent the night on an empty stomach while camping because the food went bad?  

There are several ways to store food, but one of the most efficient methods is using dry ice. However, given its volatile nature, many people shudder at the thought of what might go wrong. 

So, today we’ll tell you about using dry ice for camping, helping you make an informed decision. 

Can You Use Dry Ice In A Cooler For Camping? 

Yes, you can use dry ice in a cooler for camping, but there are several factors you need to keep in mind. For starters, the cooler should be compatible with dry ice, meaning it mustn’t malfunction at low temperatures. 

Dry ice has a temperature of -109 degrees Fahrenheit, while normal ice doesn’t fall below -32 degrees Fahrenheit. Understandably, the cooler must be capable of dealing with extreme conditions. 

Now, some people also use a regular cooler to cut costs, but you need to be careful. It would be best to open the lid a few times for ventilation so that the dry ice doesn’t explode due to pressure build-up. 

Regular Ice Vs. Dry Ice For Camping. Which Is Better?

There are both advantages and disadvantages of using dry ice or regular ice for camping expeditions, which we’ll discuss next. 


Dry ice is expensive compared to regular ice, so it might be difficult for you to acquire large blocks of it. Moreover, storing dry ice isn’t easy either, and you’ll need a special cooler to hold it for long durations. 

In contrast, all regular coolers and refrigerators allow you to keep normal ice without any hassle. All you need is water and low temperature to form the ice. 


If you’re looking to freeze things for storage, we would suggest opting for dry ice. It’s much colder than regular ice, made by freezing carbon dioxide at -109 degrees Fahrenheit. 

That said, regular ice also helps freeze food items, but it takes longer. Therefore, dry ice has several practical applications because it doesn’t melt quickly, allowing you to transport edibles like ice-creams and drinks over long distances. 

What’s more, it’s possible to use dry ice along with regular ice, maintaining your cooler in top shape. As dry ice changes to gas, it helps keep the regular ice at much lower temperatures, proving highly beneficial. 


You may have noticed that regular ice melts into a puddle at the bottom of your cooler, leaving a mess.

In comparison, dry ice doesn’t melt but undergoes sublimation by turning into gas. So, while regular ice can often get messy, submerging your cooler and edibles in water, you won’t face any such problem with dry ice.

To dispose of dry ice, all you need to do is leave it in the open, and it’ll eventually blow away.

How To Pack A Cooler With Dry Ice For Camping? 

Using dry ice is dangerous, and any negligence on your part could lead to an explosion. Understandably, dry ice coolers are expensive and have a pressure-release valve that prevents gas build-up inside the chamber, keeping you safe.

Moreover, you should keep kids away from dry ice as the lower temperature and rising gas lead to ice burns. But notwithstanding its dangers, there are ways you can pack a cooler with dry ice for camping. 

A simple yet effective method is to wrap the dry ice with paper or put it in a paper bag before placing it inside the cooler. This ensures that it will last longer while also protecting you from freezer burns. 

Moving on, you need to tightly pack empty spaces inside the cooler, preventing the ice from sublimating faster. And don’t forget to wear protective clothing like leather gloves and goggles. 


Where To Buy Dry Ice For Camping?

Dry ice is available in the supermarket, but you could also purchase it online. In case you want to purchase it physically, contact the store beforehand to see if they have it in stock. Additionally, ice-cream dealers and chemical stores are licensed, dry ice sellers.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler? 

Several factors, including the quantity of ice, size of the cooler, and items in storage, determine the longevity of dry ice. Usually, a standard cooler of 25 quintals that can accommodate 10 pounds of dry ice will last for a day.

Bigger coolers, hold more dry ice, and if you pack the blocks together, they will last up to 3-4 days.

How Much Dry Ice Do I Need For Camping? 

The amount of dry ice you need for camping depends on the duration of your stay. If you’re camping for one night, you’ll need 7-10 pounds of dry ice. However, for longer intervals, such as a week, 20-30 pounds of dry ice may prove sufficient based on the insulation capacity of your cooler.

Can You Mix Dry Ice And Regular Ice In A Cooler?

Yes, it’s possible to mix both regular ice and dry ice in a cooler. Using dry ice prevents the regular ice from melting quickly, maintaining the latter at lower temperatures. Hence, you can store numerous food items and keep them fresh for long intervals.

Is Dry Ice More Expensive Than Regular Ice For Camping? 

Dry ice is more expensive than regular ice though smaller quantities of either product aren’t difficult to purchase. When you need large quantities of dry ice, affordability issues arise, as you’ll also have to buy a compatible dry ice cooler. 


That’s all there is to know about dry ice; hopefully, you have a better idea about how to use it.

The quantity of dry ice varies, depending on your needs, so don’t purchase a large cooler beforehand. Also, keep track of your expenses, ensuring that you know when to use more or less ice.

Until next time. Take care and see you soon!

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Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

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