Three Things Consider Before Buying a Reusable Ice Pack

Re-freezable ice packs remain frozen longer than ice cubes and are perfect for any cooler.

It used to be you filled a cooler with ice, then dealt with the melty, yucky mess all day long. That’s no longer the case with reusable, re-freezable ice packs. These tough ice packs freeze quickly, hold their cold longer than standard ice, and are ready for service day after day. Any reusable ice pack works better than a cooler full of half-melted cubes, but not all ice packs are the same. Here are three things to think about when you’re shopping for a reusable ice pack.

Classic Pick

Pick from multiple sizes depending on what you’re chilling. Yeti

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Reusable ice packs come in two varieties: hard shell and flexible softshell, and there are pros and cons to each. The thin walls of most flexible cooler packs can refreeze rapidly and transfer their cold properties quickly, and soft-sided coolers (like lunch sacks) make it easy to freeze the packs in different shapes for efficient cooler packing. Hardshell freezer packs stand up to knocks, drops, and sharp edges inside and outside a cooler, so there’s less chance of it puncturing and leaking.

Soft Gel

These sachets arrive empty, so add H2O before use. Cooler Shock

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The freeze time of thawed freezer packs varies. If you use freezer packs day after day, you’ll want to look for something that posts shorter freeze times. To speed up the freezing process, some hard-shell freezer packs have cutouts to maximize the surface area and minimize refreeze times.

Narrow Shape

Available in seven colors to really up your cookout game. TOURIT

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Hardshell freezer packs come in a wide variety of shapes. Some are slim and tall so you can cram them between items inside a cooler. Others are rectangular, which makes them ideal for lining cooler bottoms and sides. It’s a good idea to have freezer packs in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can efficiently pack a cooler for a long-term chill.