The Best Reusable Ice Packs for Coolers

The Best Reusable Ice Packs for Coolers Reviews

A cooler is only as good as the best reusable ice packs for coolers reviews you place inside. If you are out camping, fishing or hunting a cooler that cannot keep your food and drinks cool is useless. You can load your cooler with ice cubes or ice blocks but they can get messy when they melt.

The best ice packs for coolers is probably your best option to maximize the ice retention level of your cooler. Note however that there are ice packs specific for certain cooler types. This review will help you match the best ice packs with your cooler.

Reviews and Comparisons of the Best Reusable Ice Packs for Coolers

  • The Zero°F Cooler Freeze Packs last longer than ice because it maintains coolness at 180.
  • The Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers are ideal for insulated lunch boxes and soft and hard coolers up to 25 quarts.
  • The Rubbermaid – Blue Ice Brand stays frozen longer than ice and since it is made of hard plastic it will not burst easily.
  • The Yeti Ice features a unique shape that allows it to freeze faster.
  • The Arctic Ice Chillin Brew keeps cooler contents colder than ice could and keeps canned beverages at its coldest possible.
Zero°F Cooler Freezer Packs The  Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Rubbermaid – Blue Ice Brand Yeti Ice

(2 lb)

Arctic Ice Chillin Brew
Packaging 3 pack 4 pack 3 pack 1 pack 1 pack
Size 10” x 14” 4.75″  x 4.75″  x 2″ (LxWxD) 7″ x1.63″ x 6.75 8 “ x 5 3/8 “ x 1 5/8” (LxWxH) 7.5” x 9.5” x 1.25” (XL)
Function Add water 7 freeze Freeze Freeze Freeze Freeze
Type Gel Gel Gel Gel Animal food stocks
Best For Hard and Soft Coolers Lunch Boxes

Small Coolers

Hard and Soft Coolers Lunch boxes and coolers Hard and Soft Coolers


Zero°F Cooler Freeze Packs 10″x14″ – Reusable

These cooler freeze packs are non-hazardous and non-toxic. They are highly efficient and easy to use.

These cooler freeze pack has a three layer nylon foil construction.  They freeze at 180F making them last so much longer than ice when placed in a cooler.

These extra-large 10 x 14 reusable cooler freeze gel packs come in packs of three and are equivalent to 20 pounds of ice. It ships along with CS dry mix. Each pack comes with a screw cap.

To use just add water to the formulation and it will turn into a gel. Screw the cap. Place in the freezer and in 15 minutes it is ready to use for 24—48 hours.

Things We Liked

  • No mess
  • Just add water and freeze.
  • Child friendly with safe round edges
  • Colder than ice
  • Last for 48 hours
  • Takes only about 15 minutes to freeze

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Cannot be placed directly with canned drinks.


Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Slim Lunch Ice Packs

This slim ice packs are ideal for the lunch boxes of your kids. It is also best suited for small coolers. It is so thin it will not take so much space in a lunch box or cooler. Place it in the lunch box in the morning and food and drinks remain cool until about lunch time.

It is an efficient but budget friendly set of ice packs. They are so durable you can re-freeze them every day and they will still be efficient. They are available in four colors and are made of BPA free and non-toxic materials.

What We Liked

  • Cheap and efficient.
  • Durable hard plastic outer shell
  • Easy to clean as it is dishwasher safe

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not effective for coolers above 30 quarts.


Rubbermaid – Blue Ice Brand Weekender Pack, 3 Pack

This Rubbermaid ice pack features a liquid gel enclosed in a hard plastic shell. It does not sweat so much and it remains frozen longer than ice. Place it in the freezer and the gel will get frozen. There is no worry that the shell will burst because it is made of durable hard plastic.

This ice pack will keep your food and canned drinks cold in your cooler with the mess traditional ice would produce.

What We Liked

  • Easy to Clean
  • Durable hard plastic shell will not easily break
  • It is a budget ice pack
  • No mess when gel melts
  • Non-toxic


What We Didn’t Like

  • Bulges when frozen

Yeti Ice

Place this ice pack in your cooler and it will keep your food and canned drinks cool. It will also extend ice retention in your cooler and make it colder. Its unique shape allows it to freeze fast. Its shape also contributes to its portability and durability as you can hold it in the hallow space in the center.

This ice pack is available in 2 pounds and 4 pounds so there is one for your lunch box and another for your cooler. It is also so durable it can withstand crushes, and bumps. It comes with a leak-free design so you will never have soggy sandwiches in your lunch box and a messy cooler.

What We Like

  • Touch and durable
  • Unique shape makes it freeze fast
  • To messy melted ice in your cooler

What We Didn’t Like

  • A little pricey


Arctic Ice Chillin Brew Series Reusable Cooler Pack

This reusable cooler pack is perfect to keep your canned beverages ice cold for a lot of days.  Place it on the freezer and within 6-10 hours it is frozen and ready to use. Tests show that it can be reused for up to 100,000 times.

This cooler pack does not only keep canned beverages cold for days but also anything you place on the cooler. Its freezing point is at 280F making it possible to keep canned beverages at their coldest. Add this cooler pack to your cooler and it will keep all its contents colder than ice could.

Place Chillin Brew cooler packs in your cooler and it will keep the temperature below 320 for a couple of days. Use it with ice and it will extend its retention level by as much as 50%. These cooler packs are easy to clean as they are dishwasher safe (top rack).

What We Liked

  • Comes with an easy to hold handle
  • Available in a lot of sizes
  • Keeps cooler contents colder than ice could
  • Keeps canned beverage at its coldest possible
  • Made of biodegradable materials

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bulky

Ice Packs versus Ice

Both ice packs and regular ice serve the same purpose: they keep food and beverages in coolers cold and fresh. There are however certain conveniences that one has over the other. More importantly there are instances wherein one is more efficient than the other.

The Inconvenience of Melting Ice

Some coolers have been proven to retain ice for a good number of days. Fact still remains though that ice inside your cooler will eventually melt. Same goes with ice packs. The water or gel inside ice packs will eventually melt too. Here lies the difference.

  • When ice melts inside the cooler, you may have to dip your hands in cold water to get your food or beverage.
  • When water or gel in ice packs melt, there is an outer shell that catches the liquid.
  • Melted ice may get into contact with your food and ruin them.
  • Melted freezer components of ice packs will never get into contact with your food.

The Convenience of Ice Packs

Most ice packs are reusable. You simply allow them to freeze in the freezer and they are ready to use. When you opt to use ice, you have to keep on buying ice each time you need to keep stuff inside your cooler fresh and cold. Ice packs are completely mess free, too.

Keeping the Cooler Cold Inside

Although cooler construction and design can keep ice longer, still ice packs remain frozen longer.

Packing the Cooler

In this aspect, ice wins over packed ice. Unless you are using ice pack sheets, ice packs are bulkier and less flexible than ice is so far as packing is concerned. It is easier to pack ice when you are loading so much food and beverages in your cooler. If you are filling your cooler more with beverages, traditional ice is still your best option.

Cooler Size

Ice packs work more efficiently in small coolers and lunch boxes. For bigger size coolers, you can have a combination of traditional ice and ice packs. Ice packs decrease the temperature inside your cooler and will extend to as much as double the ice retention level of your cooler. In short, ice will melt longer with ice packs in your cooler.


Traditional ice keeps the contents in your cooler cold. When ice melts, the cold water keeps the cooler colder. This is why some opt to still use ice over ice packs.

Ice packs on the other hand while melted will still keep a small area cold. However, if you position your ice packs well, the entire cooler will remain cold but not as cold as cold water from melted ice. This is especially true when your cooler is loaded with beverages and foodstuff.

If you are using ice packs, there is a remedy for this issue.

  • Chill your beverages in the refrigerator before placing them in the cooler.
  • Layer your ice packs between your beverages so that all of the beverages are in direct contact with the ice packs.
  • Chill foodstuff before placing them in your cooler with ice packs.

Best Uses

To finally end the debate on which traditional ice and ice packs are better, here is a general rule. Reusable ice packs work great with food in a cooler or lunch box. Traditional ice remains to be your best option for beverages. Use traditional ice and ice packs together and you will have cold food and beverages for longer days.

Choosing the Best Ice Packs

There are ice packs suitable for each situation. It is therefore important that you specifically define why you are getting some ice packs. Before finally choosing the best freezer packs, there are two important questions you need to answer.

How are you going to use the ice packs?

There is an ideal ice pack for every scenario. Do you need an ice pack for your lunch box? Do you need an ice pack for your cooler for your overnight camping or fishing trip? If you only need ice packs for your lunch box, ice pack sheets or smaller ice packs may be what you need.

If you need ice packs for an overnight trip, you may want to choose the more heavy duty ice packs.

What size are you looking at?

The answer to this seems pretty obvious. However, you need to consider the size of your cooler and the amount of food and beverages you are placing inside. An ice pack that is too small for your cooler will not make the cooler cold enough. An ice pack that is too big for the cooler will leave you a little space for your food stuff.

Ice packs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and performance. Always take into consideration your cooler type and size and the contents you are going to be loading in it.


Which ice packs stay cold the longest?

An ice pack that weighs 4 pounds will stay cold longer than one that weighs 2 pounds. A 5-pound ice pack used inside a quality cooler can stay cold for up to two days. Since they’re thicker, hard-sided blocks also stay cold significantly longer than soft ice packs. (See more)

Are gel ice packs better?

Gel ice packs actually warm up faster than regular ice. This is because the solid state of frozen ice takes more energy to warm up and melt than the already liquid state of an ice pack. Heat can travel more easily through the liquid so the ice pack gets warm faster. (Reference)

Do reusable ice packs work?

How Reusable Gel Ice Packs Work. Gel ice packs work because the special material used on the inside allows it to stay cold and flexible. The key ingredient that allows the ice pack to remain cold without freezing solid is propylene glycol. Without it, our ice packs wouldn’t stay cool! (Source)

How do you make a long-lasting ice pack for a cooler?

The addition of alcohol to water will keep it from freezing completely which makes it an easy way to create a homemade ice pack. To make this method in a quart size ziploc bag, combine 1½ cups of water with a ½ cup of rubbing alcohol. Seal and put in the freezer for several hours or overnight. (See more)

How can I make my cooler cold for 3 days?

7 Tips How To Keep A Cooler Cold For Longer

  1. 2) Fill with cold or chilled contents whenever possible.
  2. 3) How to Keep A Cooler Cold – Pack Items Densely.
  3. 4) Keep the ice chest closed.
  4. 5) Insulate the cooler exterior.
  5. 6) Run with multiple coolers like a pro.
  6. 7) Use ice, ice packs, frozen jugs, or try dry ice to keep items cold.


Do ice packs go on top or bottom of cooler?

Food cooler tips:

Always place ice-packs/ice blocks bottom of the cooler. Always pack perishable foods directly from the refrigerator into the cooler. Keep foods dry and safe from cross contamination by placing in air tight bags or sealed plastic containers. (Reference)

Do PVC ice packs work?

Salt ice packs made with PVC pipe are a great way to keep your cooler cold for longer. They are reusable and can be made to the exact size of your cooler, making them the perfect addition to your next adventure. (More…)

Are instant cold packs Reusable?

As their name suggests, these packs can only be used for cold therapy, and not the other way around. They’re also single-use packs, so once the chemical reaction is done, you have to dispose of the packs properly. You can’t refreeze or reuse them after that. (Full answer)

Can gel ice packs be reused?

Can I reuse the pack? A: Absolutely! Cold Ice and Evercold gel ice packs can be reused to chill food and beverages, but they are not intended to be applied to the body due to the extreme low temperature. (The full answer)

What is the gel inside ice packs?

The gel beads in ice packs are usually made of sodium polyacrylate, which can be irritating if swallowed. Some early reusable ice packs contained very toxic substances such as diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol (antifreeze). These types of ice packs have been recalled and are generally no longer available. (Full article)

What is the gel in freezer packs?

The gel in most freezer packs is usually a polymer or cellulose mixed with water. Some products may also include additives like preservatives, sodium chloride, minerals, water, or dye. (See more)

What material would make the most efficient cold pack?

Ammonium nitrate, NH4NO3, is commonly used in commercial cold packs. … Ammonium chloride, NH4Cl, also gives a large temperature drop and is safer to use. (See more)

How do you make a reusable ice pack?

To make gel ice packs, all you need is a quart or gallon of plastic freezer bags, two cups of water, and one cup of rubbing alcohol. Once you fill the freezer bag with the water and rubbing alcohol, get the air out of the bag and close it. Then, place it in another freezer bag and leave it in the freezer for an hour. (Full article)

How do you keep ice cream solid in a cooler?

To do this:

  1. Step 1: Put The Ice Cream Bucket In Freezer Bags.
  2. Step 2: Put The Ice Cream At The Bottom Of The Cooler.
  3. Step 3: Cover The Ice Cream With Ice.
  4. Step 4: Pour Salt Over Your Ice.
  5. Step 5: Close Your Cooler And Let It Do It’s Thing.
  6. Step 6: Add More Ice and Salt Where Required.


How do you make super cold ice?

Super Ice!

  1. Step 1: What You’ll Need. -1 cup of water.
  2. Step 2: Shake It Up. Put the lemon juice, water, and salt in the water bottle and shake it up.
  3. Step 3: Freeze It. Pour the concoction into the resealable bag and throw it into the freezer.
  4. Step 4: Use It.


What makes ice stay frozen longer?

One of the best ways to keep your ice colder for longer is by chilling your cooler before you place the fresh ice in it. You can do so by adding ice a couple hours prior or even the day before, and allowing the cooler to chill as much as possible. (The full answer)

How do you pack a cooler for a week?

How to Pack a Cooler for Camping | OARS

How do you keep an ice cube from melting for 24 hours without a freezer?

How to Store Ice Without a Freezer

  1. 1 Store your ice in the fridge if you’re in a pinch.
  2. 2 Put your ice in a plastic cooler or bucket.
  3. 3 Line your container with aluminum foil.
  4. 4 Wrap the container in a kitchen towel.
  5. 5 Add salt to your ice to lower the freezing temperature.
  6. 6 Use a lot of ice so it keeps itself frozen.

(Click here)

How many bags of ice do I need for a cooler?

When using dry ice in a cooler a few pounds of dry ice is usually enough to keep things cold/frozen for 3-6 hours. To keep things frozen for multiple days you’ll want to fill your cooler a third to a half full with dry ice. (Read more)

What is the best way to pack a cooler?

On top of the first layer of ice, place the items that need to stay the coldest: meat, eggs, dairy, etc. Sandwich those items by adding another layer of ice before you pack lunchmeat and produce. Continue alternating layers of food and layers of ice until everything is in the cooler. (Source)

How do you make a leak proof ice pack?

How To Make A Homemade Ice Pack (That Doesn’t Leak)

How long do polar bear tubes last?

They are good for day trips and weekend trips. If you had a deep freeze and could do ~40″ long and use 3″ pvc they would maybe last long enough for a week long trip. (Full article)

How well do polar bear tubes work?

Cooler Hacks : Super Polar Bear Tubes

Can you put instant cold packs in the freezer?

Instant cold packs do not have to be stored in freezers, and can stay cold for as long as 20 minutes. These packs have two bags inside them; one has a chemical such as calcium ammonium nitrate and the other has water. (Reference)

How long do instant cold packs last?

Instant cold packs and instant warmers are staples of many first aid kits, and they both have limited shelf lives. Instant cold packs typically last about 18 to 24 months, while instant warmers will generally last about five years. (Click here)

Do gel ice packs expire?

Most gel ice packs don’t expire and display no expiry date. While some suggest they expire after 18-24 months they are not being used for consumption and are protected by thick plastic exterior so even if they expire they pose no health issues if you continue using them. (Reference)

Are freezer packs recyclable?

Empty Flexible Ice Packs

If your ice pack has a flexible plastic shell, thaw the ice pack and then cut it open and squeeze the gel into the garbage. Afterward, rinse out the plastic film, dry it and recycle it with plastic bags. (The full answer)

Why do ice packs say do not apply?

Putting ice or any kind of chemical cold pack—homemade or otherwise—directly on the skin can lead to frostbite in minutes. Ice crystals form in the skin cells and blood flow slows, depriving the tissues of oxygen. As it progresses, the ice burn causes permanent damage to your skin and underlying tissues. (See more)

Can I reuse Hellofresh ice packs?

8. What should I do with the Hello Fresh ice packs? If you wish, you are able to save the Hello Fresh ice packs and reuse them. They’re perfect for picnics and road trips, so they’re sure to come in handy for keeping your food and drinks warm while away from home. (More…)

Is the gel in freezer packs toxic?

The gel in most freezer packs is non-toxic and biodegradable; it is usually a polymer or cellulose. Some products may also include additives like preservatives, sodium chloride, minerals, water, or dye. (Full answer)

Is the blue gel in ice packs poisonous?

The blue liquid in ice packs is considered non-toxic and can come in contact with your skin without any major issues. Most ingredients used are considered to be non-irritating to skin and only mildly irritating to the eyes. (Read more)

Which vaccine puts ice pack?

1. Maintaining cold chain by using frozen ice packs in vaccine carriers and cold boxes. 2. For keeping reconstituted BCG, measles containing vaccines, rotavirus, JE and OPV during the immunization session if no other option is available. (Reference)

How long will gel packs stay frozen?

For the most part, gel packs are the easiest solution for cold shipping. Because they freeze at a lower temperature than ice, they tend to last longer, usually about 24-36 hours (depending on how well insulated a package is). (More info)

How long does it take gel packs to freeze?

The time to freeze gel packs is dependent on the quantity and the type of freezer used. Individual packs can freeze as quickly as a few hours. Pallets quantities can take up to 28 days. (Reference)

How long do ice packs last in Styrofoam?

Water ice will last 12-24 hours in a styrofoam cooler, with larger coolers able to hold ice for longer if completely filled. Dry ice stored in a styrofoam cooler will last approximately 18-24 hours before it completely disappears. (The full answer)

How do you make an instant cold pack?

How do you make an instant cold pack?

  1. Fill the plastic freezer bag with 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and 2 cups of water.
  2. Try to get as much air out of the freezer bag before sealing it shut.
  3. Place the bag and its contents inside a second freezer bag to contain any leakage.
  4. Leave the bag in the freezer for at least an hour.

(The full answer)

What salts are used in cold packs?

Commercial instant cold packs typically use either ammonium nitrate or urea as their salt component; hot packs often use magnesium sulfate or calcium chloride. (Read more)

What’s in instant cold packs?

An instant cold pack is a single-use device that consists of two bags; one containing water, inside a bag containing ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate or urea. When the inner bag of water is broken by squeezing the package, it dissolves the solid in an endothermic process. (More…)

Will a yeti keep ice cream frozen?

Yeti coolers (or similar) can keep ice cream frozen longer than a cheap cooler but the ice cream will still melt quickly. You may get 4-12 hours of frozen ice cream before it starts to melt. (Full article)

Do Yeti coolers keep things frozen?

A major benefit of the Tundra® and Roadie® Hard Coolers, or YETI TANK® Ice Bucket is its dry ice compatibility. When used in your YETI Hard Cooler, dry ice can keep food and drinks cold and frozen longer than regular ice. (See more)

How do you keep ice cream frozen on a road trip?

With the right prep it’s actually pretty easy to deliver ice cream without it melting.

  1. Wrap in Aluminum Foil.
  2. Keep It In a Cooler.
  3. Keep It Separate From Hot Food.
  4. Keep Your Car Cold.
  5. Keep It In The Coldest Part of Your Car.
  6. Add Salt To Ice Surrounding Ice Cream.
  7. Use Dry Ice To Keep Ice Cream Frozen For Long Deliveries.

(Full answer)

What stays frozen the longest?

For example, Tungsten at 3422 degrees centigrade, will stay solid longer than any other metal. Or Gallium, liquid in your hand but will solidify at about 30 C. So what exactly are you trying to do? If you are looking to keep something cold, water has a high latent heat of fusion and is therefor very effective. (The full answer)

Does salt make ice last longer in a cooler?

Rock salt, to be exact. Much like salt helps freeze ice cream as it churns, it can help the ice in your cooler last longer because salt lowers the freezing point. (Reference)

What is super cold ice called?

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. A block of dry ice has a surface temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C). Dry ice also has the very nice feature of sublimation — as it breaks down, it turns directly into carbon dioxide gas rather than a liquid. (Reference)



Hands down, the Zero°F Cooler Reusable Freeze Packs is a winner. Should you decide you need ice packs for your next outdoor adventure or if you need to keep your lunch box fresh and cold this ice pack can for 24 hours. It is also easy to use as you only need to add water, screw the pack and place the pouch on the freeze. In about 15 minutes it will turn into gel and your ice pack is ready to use. It is also durable enough to withstand numerous re-used.

This ice pack is such a game-changer. It is colder than ice and will not mess your cooler as melted ice.  Have it and you may never have to look at any other ice packs. Because this is probably the best reusable ice pack for coolers available.

Megan Ann

I’m Megan Ann, mama to 2 and wife to James F. Core. I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. In this blog, I try to write useful and informative articles to help you as much as I can with my knowledge.

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