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Ice Cream on a Camping Trip? The Cool Wonders of Using Dry Ice for Travel

Kid eating popsicle

Planning a summer camping trip or vacation, but want to take some of the more perishable comforts of home with you?

Why not give dry ice a try?

Dry ice makes it possible for you to transport frozen or perishable food in a sturdy, quality cooler, helping you to avoid the leaks, mess, and constant need for replenishment that comes with using wet ice (when dry ice melts, it simply turns to gas, or sublimates, so there’s no puddling).

Here are some dry ice basics for your next trip to the woods – or anywhere else the spirit may take you.

10 tips for traveling with dry ice

  1. Always follow safe handling instructions for dry ice!
  2. Plan on using 10 to 20 pounds of dry ice for every 24-hour period, depending upon the size of the ice chest. Dry Ice will keep everything in its container frozen, including extra ice – so keep non-frozen goods with regular ice in a separate cooler.
  3. Dry Ice normally comes in 10-inch squares that weigh about 10 pounds each; plan to put one square per each 15 inches of ice chest length (that’s approximately two squares, weighing 20 pounds, for an average 40-quart cooler). For larger containers and longer travel times, multiply dry ice quantities by these rates.
  4. At -109.0°F, dry ice will continue to freeze everything in its container until it is completely sublimated. These frozen items will take some extra time to thaw because they have been so cold, so plan accordingly.
  5. Since cold sinks, keeping dry ice on top of items you wish to freeze will work better.
  6. When packing items in a cooler or any other container, fill any empty space with wadded newspaper or some other insulating filler; open space in your cooler will cause the dry ice to sublimate faster.
  7. The best storage container is a three-inch thick urethane insulated box.
  8. Lining the inside of your ice chest with sheets of Styrofoam will increase the life of dry ice. Sublimation will vary depending on the temperature, air pressure and thickness of insulation; the more dry ice you have stored in the container, the longer it will last.
  9. If transporting your dry ice by car, try to insulate the ice chest with sleeping bags; this will make the dry ice last longer. If the dry ice is inside the car (not in the trunk) for more than 10 minutes, keep windows slightly open to avoid overexposure to CO2 (signs include rapid breathing, headache, and blue fingernails or lips). Open windows immediately if you or anyone in the car experiences these symptoms.
  10. If transporting your dry ice by plane, try to pick it up as close to departure time as possible, and carry it in a well-insulated ice chest or soft pack. Most airlines will not let you carry more than two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of Dry Ice on the airplane without special arrangements.

Need dry ice for your next travel adventure? We have it! Visit one of our convenient locations to pick up yours today.

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