Getting the Right Cooler
Not every cooler is created equal and even the very best cooler may not be the right size for the crew you are packing for.
The first consideration in selecting a cooler is how you will store it over time. Coolers can be expensive and, like a suitcase, they take up precious storage space. If space is a big issue, consider a cooler that collapses.
The second consideration is to make sure you have enough space to pack for the people (and pets) that will need supplies for the trip. The messaging on a cooler will list how many quarts it will hold. One or two people should be able to go for a day trip with a 16-quart cooler. A family of 4 will need 30-40 quarts. There are larger sizes, but it may make a lot more sense to get a couple of smaller sizes.
Docks can be tricky to navigate and the distance between where you will need to park from your boat can be something of a hike – frequently involving a slope down from the car park areas to the floating docks.
Many coolers are made with wheels. These are great if you have no steps or rocks to pull it across. Remember that docks are narrow, they sometimes rock with the water movement and are bumpy. Packing coolers that you care either carry or roll easily is important. We believe that it is often better to bring several (lighter weight) coolers than one that is so large it will be hard to get onto the dock and then to lift onto the boat.
When packing the cooler, load your drinks first, then add a heavy layer of ice and top it with your food. Know where you’ve put everything in the cooler so that you can open it quickly, grab what you want and get it closed again. Ice melts quickly in the sun.
Save on Ice (and save space in the cooler)!
Remember that frozen water bottles are a great way to save space in the cooler and to help keep other supplies cold. Over time, the frozen water will melt so you can drink the water as you use up the other supplies in the cooler.
Get drinks cold faster.
If you are buying drinks on your way to the lake, they may not be cold when you arrive.
You can make your cooler work a lot faster to chill down your drinks by making layers of water, ice and salt inside your cooler. Keep it slushy and then make sure that all the drinks are under the water, ice and salt mixture.
In about 20 minutes all of the drinks will have chilled down.