If you’re traveling, bringing good food or refreshing beverages is essential on any road trip!
However, the problem of making perishable foods last the whole day while sunbathing or enjoying the goodness of nature is always prevalent with any outing.
I have a solution to that problem. In this article, we’ll get to know the ten best ice packs for coolers on the market, why you need them, and which one’s the best for you!
The 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers on the Market
The best ice packs for coolers are safe, long-lasting, cost-efficient, and storage-friendly. With these factors in mind, I present ten of the best ice packs for coolers you can choose and use!
1) Yeti Ice Cooler Ice Supplement – Best Reusable Cooler Ice Pack Overall
Are you YETI to choose your reusable ice pack for keeping drinks cold during a beach day? Well, get a Yeti ice pack, and keep everything in your cooler cool and edible for the entire trip.
Although these prices may seem costly for some, we cannot deny that buying these ice packs can be of great benefit because they’ve been durably designed to be break-resistant and impact-resistant.
These features, which have been tested multiple times, mean that you can bring them on bumpy road trips without fearing that your packs might break and leak through. It is also labeled as food-safe, which means you do not have to worry about food spoilage as it keeps food and drinks cold for at most 12 hours.
You can also spot Yeti ice packs from afar because of their unique design, with an open slot or an oblong hole in the middle.
With this design, you can get a comfortable grip when transferring packs from a cooler (cold) to another, and it even contributes to the longevity of coolness and a quicker freezing time.
- The varied sizes and weights of 1lb., 2 lbs., and 4 lbs. offer more choices.
- The durable design is meant to be break-resistant, impact-resistant, and easy to carry with the oblong hole in the middle.
- The unique shape makes it easy to freeze by reducing freezing time.
- It may be a bit expensive
2) Tourit Vapor Flat Ice Packs – Best Value for Money
Tourit like you mean it!
The Tourit ice packs mean business with their two-packs-in-one feature. They also have a four-pack option and a six-pack ice pack option.
Tourit ice packs are not just the best ice for coolers in terms of value for money because of the feature mentioned above, but also because these packs are BPA-free, making them safe and non-toxic.
However, you need to put these packs at a very low freezing point before transferring them to coolers because they tend to thaw faster.
Nonetheless, it’s the best ice pack that can fit in your children’s lunch bags or your breastfeeding bag if you need to pump while on the go.
- The price point is very affordable considering the two-pack of ice in one.
- The space-saving design is convenient as it doesn’t take too much space when put into coolers
- The cost-efficiency, as a single package comes with two ice packs
- Beed to put the vapor flat ice packs at a very low freezing point to get the right longevity
3) Polar Tech Ice Brix Leakproof Cold Pack – Best Budget Option
If you are looking for the best budget option that’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), I suggest you try the Polar Tech Ice Brix at $17.38 for 48 pieces of 12 oz ice packs.
The Polar Tech Ice Brix ice packs are designed to be leakproof, so after using these packs, there is no need to drain excess water (which is very strenuous!).
Aside from that, Polar Tech also offers reusable ice packs. So, yes, you can use it for as long as possible on different occasions and even on different coolers.
However, do not expect it to be as flexible as other ice packs. When the gel inside solidifies, the Polar Tech ice packs become firm, too.
- The FDA GRAS certification means that the materials used are safe and on par with the national standards
- The leakproof and moisture-resistant features ensure that no alien ingredient can slip through your food into the cooler.
- The budget-friendly price while having premium safety, ingredients, and product
- It becomes rigid after freezing
4) Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Packs – Most Compact Ice Pack
Be cool like the Cooler Shock packs specifically designed to fit your lunch bags and keep your drinks and other lunch preparations cold and fresh.
This good ice pack from Cooler Shock ensures you can get a cool lunch for about eight hours. Cooler Shock offers 24 to 48-hour products that come in multiple ice packs if you want higher longevity.
What’s nice about the Cooler Shock ice packs is that they can be frozen and thawed 100 times. This cycle count indeed screams this: freezable reusable cooler ice packs work!
However, if you put the Cooler Shock in larger coolers, you may need more than five packs to ensure cooling power.
Nonetheless, if you have small coolers (lunch box), one Cooler Shock ice pack is more than enough.
- The compact packaging is made of foil and nylon, which ensures durability, and a long-lasting, robust design
- The easy fill and freeze feature make refilling, reusing, and refreezing easier.
- The affordable five-ice pack option
- You may need multiple packs to ensure premium cooling power
5) Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Ice Packs – Most Slim Ice Packs
Stylish, slim, and freezable reusable cooler ice packs are always perfect for a kids’ lunch box or even for moms and dads. You’ll indeed be fit and fresh with the Fit and Fresh Cool Coolers soft ice packs!
The Fit and Fresh Cool Coolers soft ice packs come in pairs for $9.99. They are non-toxic, BPA-free, and freezer-safe.
These reusable freezer packs are made of nylon fabric with the slimmest design possible to fit right into small coolers and lunch bags.
These freezer packs also come in many different patterns and designs. Other soft packs designs are as follows:
- Berry Geo and Navy
- Blue Tie Dye
- Fruit Dot
- Happy Dogs
However, these freezer packs may thaw faster than other thicker ice packs. But if you only need it for lunch, there’s nothing to worry about.
- The slim design fits and is perfect for smaller coolers and on-the-go lunch bags.
- The stylish details can level up the ice pack game.
- The financial convenience comes with a low-cost but premium product with two pieces in each packaging (some also come in four ice packs).
- It can thaw faster than other ice packs
6) Flexifreeze Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack – Most Flexible/Soft Ice Packs
Flex your way out on your child’s football or volleyball games with the FlexiFreeze refreezable reusable cooler ice pack in your cooler (chilled) all day long!
This ice pack comes in three ice sheets per package, which means 264 ice cubes and 24 ice strips made of water that are freezable for a long duration.
Aside from this feature, you are assured that the ice sheets, especially the center lines that separate each cube, remain flexible even after being under the freezing point for quite some time.
With this optimum flexibility, you can cut the ice sheets into ice cubes depending on your need to fit right into your coolers or lunch bags.
Since it’s made of water, you don’t have to worry if it leaks due to incorrect cutting because it’s chemical-free.
However, there may be better ice pack options to keep your drinks cold for too long because this one thaws fast.
- The flexibility of the ice sheets even when frozen.
- The 264 ice cubes you can get in one package as it includes three ice sheets.
- The easy-cut feature resizes the ice cubes to fit your daily needs.
- They may not be good at keeping drinks cold for too long
7) Nordic Ice No Sweat Gel Packs – Longest Lasting
Ensuring that your cold drinks remain as they are is a no-sweat activity, especially when you do it with the Nordic Ice No Sweat gel packs!
This gel pack is not your regular ice. It is designed with longevity and durability to make it long-lasting, along with the biodegradable and non-toxic multi-layered exterior that coats it for lower surface condensation.
This feature makes the Nordic Ice gel pack essential when preparing a lunch box in an environment-friendly manner (i.e., wrapping sandwiches in paper) because the gel ice packs will save your food from dampness and sogginess.
However, the multi-layered exterior can rip off, mainly when it sticks to different things inside your freezers.
- The no-sweat feature prevents dripping inside coolers and freezers.
- The budget-friendly price at such a long-lasting quality.
- The multi-layered exterior can easily rip after sticking to freezer items.
8) SoYoung Ice Packs – Best Gel Pack
Feel so young with some SoYoung gel-based ice packs that come in a stylish ink-splatter exterior design.
The SoYoung gel pack has water and non-toxic cellulose inside in compact packaging made of polyester fabric. Aside from this, the SoYoung ice pack also has the following characteristics:
But what makes these thin ice packs the best with a cooling gel mixture is that they keep food and drinks ice cold while having a removable outer sleeve for easy cleaning.
These sleeves come with trendy designs, such as:
- Tropical rainforest
- Papaya party
- Ink confetti
Yet, to get the maximum benefit from these slim ice packs, you need to put them inside a freezer overnight before using them.
- The creative designs incorporated in the sleeves are fitted for every lunch box (those used by kids and kids at heart)
- The fact that the ice pack is made without PVC, BPA, Lead, and Phthalates
- You need to prepare it the night before for maximum benefits
9) Kona Large Ice Packs – Largest Option
If you have extra large coolers, you do not need to worry because the Kona ice packs can surely cater to your needs.
The Kona Large ice pack comes in these dimensions:
- Length: 13 inches
- Width: 10 inches
- Thickness: 1/2 inch
The mentioned dimensions easily make this the best large ice pack on the market, but it still has more to offer.
By this, I mean you can burst to freeze the product in 25 minutes, and the larger ice packs are ready to be used instantly to keep your food cold inside a cooler.
Not just that, this pack, one of the best large ice packs from Kona, will only occupy a smaller space on your containers and instead will leave you with enough room for all your needs, such as meat, fish, and vegetables!
However, some ice packs may expand upon consistent freezing, which will unflatten the slim ice packs.
- The XL ice packs can keep beverages cold even in hot weather.
- The 255-minute rapid freeze feature makes it convenient to use.
- Some ice packs may expand with regular freezing, which can alter the slim design
10) Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew – Most Durable
Chillin’, bro? Level up your chill time with some cold beer with the help of the Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew ice pack!
Arctic Ice has made this Chillin’ Brew ice pack variant with a rugged UV-stabilized color container to stay cold even under the sun’s heat and maintain maximum durability.
Additionally, the Artic Ice has a leakproof ultra sonic spin welded cap to ensure that the liquid stays inside without having to fret at water leakages that can wet your meat, fish, beverages, and vegetables.
Artic Ice Chillin’ Brew also comes in different sizes to suit your specific needs during day trips and tailgating, and these Arctic Ice sizes are:
- Small (.75 lbs)
- Medium (1.5 lbs)
- Large (2.5 lbs)
- Extra large (5 lbs)
- XXL (10lbs)
The Artic Ice is made in the USA and designed with non-toxic materials for longevity and reusability.
However, the Arctic Ice, in its big and durable sizing, also has a downside because it may not fit small coolers, freezers, and those containers holding a lot of food and beverages.
- The durable design is characterized by the rugged UV-stabilized color container and leakproof sonic spin welded cap.
- The different size choices that can fit your ice pack needs.
- The non-toxic materials ensure safe, reusable ice packs.
- The Arctic Ice may be too big for small coolers or coolers with a lot of things inside
What are Reusable Ice Packs?
Reusable ice packs are water or gel-based products stored in nylon, plastic, or polyester to keep things inside coolers cold and edible.
Cooler ice packs are used for different tasks without having to deal with water leaks or extreme wetness all over the coolers, such as:
- Storing perishable food (e.g., meat, vegetables, fish, dairy products)
- Keeping a beer cold
- Conserving and keeping your lunch cold inside your lunch box
- Protecting products (e.g., makeup) during transportation or shipping
Moreover, every reusable ice pack has different sizes and designs, making them fit inside small coolers, large coolers, and even lunch bags.
What are the Benefits of Reusable Ice Packs?
The benefits of reusable ice packs are encapsulated in this list:
- Cooler ice packs keep the cooler cold for 8 hours to 24 hours.
- A reusable ice pack can protect food from the melting point while inside coolers.
- Buying ice packs, especially those with a flat shape, can keep a cooler colder than ever while giving you enough space for all your essentials.
- Many ice packs stay cold for a longer time than regular ice.
DID YOU KNOW: Most ice packs can also be used for pain and swelling prevention, not just for keeping beverages and food cold and edible.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Ice Packs for Coolers
In choosing the best cooler ice packs, you must consider the design, type, size, ice pack-to-cooler ratio, freezing point, cleaning, maintenance, and storage.
To help you, read through this section to know the importance of each of the mentioned factors!
Before buying an ice pack, always check the design because it will define if it suits your needs and if it is compact, slim, and convenient enough for using an ice pack.
An ice pack can come in the form of disposable or reusable packs. When checking out different products, get the reusable ones for these reasons:
- Premium quality
An ice pack can go from as small as .75 lbs to as big as 5 lbs depending on the goal you want to achieve when buying one.
You can choose a small ice pack that can fit into a lunch box for everyday use or a big ice pack that can get you through road trips, tailgating, and beach days with cold beverages and frozen foods.
Ice Pack to Cooler Ratio
The ice pack-to-cooler ratio defines how many ice packs you need to fill and cool bigger or smaller coolers. You can follow the 2:1 ratio, which means doubling the number of ice packs based on the total food stored.
In this factor, the general rule will always be that the fewer ice packs you need for coolers to stay cold, the better.
When the contrary happens, your coolers may be filled with packs and will leave you little to no space for your meat, drinks, fish, vegetables, and other essentials.
Freezing Point/How Long It Stays Cold
Identifying how long an ice pack stays cold and the freezing point and time needed to maximize all the benefits is essential.
There are products in this article that only need 25 minutes at a reasonable freezing point, whose coldness will already last a whole day or two.
However, some also need overnight freezing to be helpful the next full day.
The choice will still depend on whether you need the packs instantly for longer or only need them to last until lunchtime.
Another factor that needs to be considered is cleaning. Cleaning is vital because it will determine your safety, as the packs can get in touch with the food inside the freezer or coolers.
With this, make sure to choose packs that have accessible designs for cleaning.
Maintenance goes hand-in-hand with cleaning. But for clarity, I separated them into this list.
Considering the maintenance of packs means considering how easy or difficult they are to clean and take care of. It also pertains to how often you need to clean the packs for coolers.
The best option will always be the low-maintenance packs that can deliver for an extended period with maximum safety (e.g., without leaks) and durability, even with standard maintenance processes.
The last thing on this list that you must consider before buying an ice pack is storage. The storage pertains to the most efficient place where you can put your products every after Ice sheets and packs that need a very high freezing point to maintain their useability, but some only require the standard freezing point.
If you choose the latter, you can also save on electricity bills which is a perfect sign of cost-efficient ice sheets and packs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I know you are not just here to read but also to ask questions! In this section, I’ll directly answer some of your FAQs.
Are Reusable Ice Packs Better Than Regular Ice or Dry Ice for Coolers?
Yes, a reusable ice pack is better than regular ice or dry ice for coolers because most of the former are gel-based, which means better cooling power.
Also, a reusable product ensures durability and cost-efficiency and is a more environment-friendly option.
Do Ice Packs Go On Top or at the Bottom of the Cooler?
The general rule is to always put your cool packs at the bottom of the cooler. However, you can also put some spare on top, especially if the packs are compact-sized or in cubes.
How Many Ice Packs Does it Take to Keep Coolers Cold?
It depends on how big or small your cool packs are. The male that I use is the 2:1 ratio of food and ice packs, meaning the amount of ice must be twice the amount of food and beverages inside your coolers.
Is a Gel Pack Better than Ice Packs for Coolers?
A study shows that gel packs are more effective in cooling than other cooler packs because they freeze at a much higher point which means longevity in a cold state while ensuring flexibility even when frozen.
My Top Ice Packs
For your convenience, here is a recap of my top ice packs!
Polar Tech Ice Brix Leakproof Cold Pack – Best Budget Option
The Polar Tech Ice Brix cold pack is the best budget option, providing 48 pieces of each 12 oz pack with FDA GRAS certification that ensures safety and premium quality.
It’s also designed to be leakproof, so you don’t have to fret about water and gel seeping through the food you put inside the coolers.
Tourit Vapor Flat Ice Packs – Best Value for Money
The best value-for-money from this list is the Tourit ice for a two-in-one packaging.
More than that, it is also made without BPA and other toxic substances and is designed to be a space-saver to fit in every cooler style and design.
Yeti Ice Cooler Ice Supplement – Best Reusable Cooler Ice Pack Overall
Yeti Ice Cooler Ice Supplement has the best reusable cooler packs in this list because of its price range, break and impact-resistant construction, and its easy-transfer design with the open slot in the middle.
The unique shape also contributes to how quick the Yeti Ice is to freeze and how long the cold lasts for your food and beverages.
Now that you know the choices for the best ice pack for coolers on this list, you can surely find the one that suits your preferred lunch box preps, breakfast at the beach, or snacks while on a spontaneous road trip with friends.
Whatever pack you pick should have your food and drinks staying cold and edible for 8 to 24 hours!