DUN Take Away - Take Away department articles for the digital editions

The dog days of summer may be almost over, but we all still need to keep our food and drinks as cool as possible. I'm a Yeti cooler fan, but this trick works with any cooler.  I've learned that if I use the reusable gel freezer packs in combination with a quality cooler, my drinks and food stay not only cool, but dry as well. Keeping up with sanitizing my cooler is a much easier job without ice. Cleaning up the gel ice packs is a snap. You can wipe the freezer packs down after use while still partly frozen or wash with dish detergent and pat dry, then back into the freezer they go ready for the next day.

With this method, some preparation is needed the night before. I pre-chill my coolers with ice packs that remain at home base. I pop them in just before going to bed, making sure all content that will be in the cooler is pre-chilled as well. When packing in the morning, I make sure everything is covered by gel packs to allow the cold to fall down to the cooler contents. After an 85 degree, 10-hour day, the freezer packs are only 1/4 to 1/3 thawed. No running to the store daily for ice!

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