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How Long Will Dry Ice Last?

Dry ice

With a little planning and a few blocks of dry ice, you can bring your favorite frozen foods just about anywhere – even on a summer camping trip.

But how long will that dry ice last?

As you might know, dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide, the same gas that we breathe) does an amazing job at not just keeping food cold, but actually keeping it frozen – and if it is packed the right way, it will last a surprisingly long time.

How long dry ice lasts depends primarily on two factors: how it is stored and the size of the brick. The following table for how long dry ice lasts is based on an average five-pound brick of dry ice that remains whole (not broken into pieces):

  • In a cooler – 18-24 hours
  • Outdoors – 3-5 hours
  • In liquid – 15-45 minutes

To put it another way, if stored properly (that is, in an insulated cooler…see below), dry ice sublimates (turns from solid form to gas form) at a rate of about 5-10 pounds every 24 hours. That means that if you need about 15 pounds of dry ice for the next day, you need to buy 20-25 pounds the day before. This is why it’s important to buy your dry ice as close as possible to the day you’re going to need it. Plan accordingly!

Dry ice safety reminders

  • Always follow dry ice safe handling practices!
  • Store dry ice in a cooler with the loosely closed. NEVER use an airtight container: the build up of carbon dioxide gases as the dry ice subliminates could cause the container to burst!
  • Keep the cooler in the coolest, most well-ventilated area possible.
  • NEVER store dry ice in your freezer! It will cause the thermostat to shut the freezer down.
  • NEVER leave dry ice in your closed vehicle or in a closed room. Also keep your windows down in the car as you are transporting any of this substance.
  • To dispose of dry ice after storage, leave it outside or in a bucket of water in a well-ventilated area.

Need dry ice for your next summer camping trip? We’ve got you covered! Visit one of our convenient locations to pick up yours today.

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