When you are out on a camping or outdoor activity or are traveling with family, and you have kids, and you are uncertain of the availability of good hygienic food at the place or on the road, what is the first thought that crosses your mind?
Yes, you said that right, you will have to pack your food and carry. But won’t it be unfortunate that you did carry your food, but it got spoiled by the time you are eating? The heat and humidity together can damage the food.
Here’s a solution, and we may all know it by now, Ice packs. Now there is a way that ice packs are traditionally utilized. Ice packs are alternatives to ice, just a lot less messy.
So, you refrigerate them in the freezer, and when you are leaving for outdoors, pop them out of the fridge and put it in the cooler or commonly known as an icebox, along with other food and drinks. But why use an ice pack in the first place.
Ice packs are most widely used to store raw and processed food and beverages without melted ice messiness. Ice packs are cleaner as they do not mess with your food. For instance, you cannot keep just ice along with your raw meat. Eventually, when the ice melts, the meat will be lying on a water bath, and that can mess up the taste.
Since it is a widely available product in the market, it is only justified to compare the different ice packs and choose the best. Let us discuss the various products and their features in this cooler ice pack review.
After a lot of research, we have prepared this ice pack list according to our preferences and choice.
1. Best Overall: Yeti Ice Refreezable Reusable Ice Pack
Yeti is one of the leading brands that manufacture high-quality reusable ice packs. All their cooling products are high performance and rugged. Hence, it’s evident that the ice packs too are incredible.
These ice packs come in a particular size designed to time take to freeze and harden. Ranging from 1 lb to 4 lbs, these ice packs, when frozen, are a perfect replacement for ice, or ice supplement, or the way you wish to use it. Each pack can be easily replaced with a large chunk of ice and compact and easily fitted into all kinds of standard coolers available.
Yeti ice packs can stay frozen for up to 6 hours. It is a hard case with a screw cap, weighing around 2 lbs each pack. But most people find Yeti products expensive but are satisfied with the quality. You must also note that this ice pack is more extensive than most other conventional ice packs. This is amongst the best cooler ice packs available.
- They are easy to hold and carry during trips
- A variety of sizes available from 1 lb to 4 lbs, all with outstanding performance.
- They have a solid build and a very rugged look.
- They can freeze very quickly and reach extreme temperatures, which can even freeze water if kept in touch constantly.
- They are quite expensive if taking one unit into account.
- They are best known for their intensity and not for longevity as the ice melts pretty quickly.
2. Best In Portability: Healthy Packers Slim And Long Lasting Ice Packs
Healthy Packers Slim Ice Packs fall under the category of simple, nice, cheap ice packs. They are thin and hence do not last very long, which is an advantage. But the advantage is it can be used in most medium to large-sized lunch boxes and other flexible cooler containers.
The best feature of this ice pack is that it’s incredibly lightweight, and you can stack it up in your cooler without adding any weight or bulk. The life of the ice pack is something of concern.
Although it is not very bad, the ice packs’ average longevity is about 6 hours in hot and humid climates. For short durations, or day trips, or even for lunch boxes, these ice packs are pretty good and reliable to stay that long.
They weigh around 1.75 lbs in total and come in sealed hard cases. They come in a combined case of 4 thin ice packs. This is a top-rated cooler ice pack, in which we genuinely believe.
- They are affordable and comes in a multi-pack set
- Lasts as long as 6 hours and can be utilized individually.
- As they are slim and lightweight, they can be added to the lunchbox or cooler’s shape.
- You can easily carry them through airport security, so they are frozen.
- They are thin, and hence do not last as long as we want them to.
- Can be carried individually for any kind of sport as an alternative to ice.
3. Best Ice And Temperature Retention: Cooler Shock Large Cooler Freezer Packs
The cooler shock large freezer packs are said to be one of the best reusable ice packs. The best part being 100% non-toxic component and non-hazardous to the environment. They can last up to a surprising 48 hours if kept under preferable circumstances.
They can be easily packed in the lunch boxes due to their flexibility, packability, and efficiency. The packs consist of nylon foil and come in soft packs with screw caps to talk about the material. In total, all three gel packs weigh around 1.4 lbs without the contents of the pouches.
They are just ideal for ice packs, as they rapidly drop the temperatures which are surrounded by them. The drawback of this product is that the gel contents of the packs come separately as dry ingredients. You will have to mix it with water and pour inside the packs, which can be nasty and annoying.
- An excellent replacement for dry ice.
- Lightweight, re-enforced, and durable package made up of nylon foil.
- High potential of freezing and is one of the top-rated products.
- Comes at a great price.
- The initial set-up by all the water and ingredients is annoying.
4. Best In Availability: Thrive Ice Pack For Lunch Boxes
The Thrive Ice packs are readily available in the markets and are pretty to look at. But that does not mean that they do not function well. They come in cute, soft packs in a bunch of 4 ice packs and at very affordable rates.
Each gel pack can last up to 9 hours, and the total weight of all the packs together is 2 lbs. Not only that, they are non-toxic, BPA free, and the contents are non-hazardous even if they leak out.
That does not mean they can be eaten, just that they are safe to touch. The only concern for this pack is durability. They are not made up of high-level plastic or any rigid material. They need to be replaced quicker than other ice packs, which is not very important, but worth considering.
- Can be found widely and are very cheap.
- The ice stays cooler for almost 9 hours, which is very impressive compared to the price.
- When they melt, they do not tend to create a puddle.
- The contents of the device are non-toxic and BPA free.
- Can easily wear out and needs to be replaced frequently.
5. Best In Portability: Live 2Day Nice Packs Dry Ice Packs For Coolers
Live 2Day Nice Ice packs are a uniquely designed ice pack. Despite the name, it does not use any carbon dioxide or dry ice for cooling. Instead, it is a sheet with multiple cubes and in which the chemical compound is inserted. This chemical compound tends to expand when kept in water and then transferred to the freezer to solidify.
They can freeze until 24 hours and lay straight flat until used. If kept in a high-quality insulated cooler, it can stay up to 48 hours. After the freezing is complete, they go back to their original sheet, which is just amazing. When not in use, the total weight is 13.6 ounces, and each pack comes with ten sheets of ice packs.
This product is highly versatile as it can be used anywhere, anytime; all you have to do is take out a sheet, dip in the water, let it rise, and then freeze to get the perfect ice pack.
They are just ideal ice packs for coolers and to be carried in lunch boxes for daily use and beach parties, where you have to keep the maximum amount of food and drinks cold.
The only drawback that this ice pack has is that it is not durable. It can be used only for a few months and then you will have to change the product.
- Easy to store and carry if not in use.
- Comparing the price, it comes in a considerable number.
- Freezing time is good, and the ice retention time is around 24 hours.
- Option to decide the thickness of each packet.
- It wears off easily within just a few months of use.
6. Best For Parties: Lotfancy 4 Pack Ice Packs
LotFancy 4 Pack Ice packs do not show an excellent performance but have a great design. And thus, it has made it to our list. The unique contour designs are best fit to hold baby bottles or soda cans. The number of ice packs is four and weighs around 2. 34 lbs.
It is made up of a hard-plastic case designed to carry food, lunch box, bottles, and cans in the cooler. Contoured on both sides, you can make it stand upright and stick the soda cans to both the side and let it chill.
It is BPA free and is made from polyethylene, which gives it a robust built. However, it isn’t something every exciting, except that each person at the beach party will get a cold soda can.
- BPA free and polyethylene plastic body which is hardy
- Is designed to carry bottles and cans
- It is durable and will last longer than most other ice packs.
- It is not versatile to use.
- The price is on the higher side.
7. Best In Versatility: Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers
Fit and Fresh Cool coolers are the right choices when deciding to use it in lunch boxes to work or school. They are tiny and thin and can comfortably fit inside the lunch bag. They take very little space in the freezer and a kid or adult lunch bag or cooler to make them perfect for daily use.
The thin, compact designs are compelling and can fit into tiny spaces, making it very versatile. They come at a very affordable price and also can be used for a long duration as they do not wear off easily. The materials used in construction are four reusable, non-toxic, and BPA free plastic.
The ice freeze lasts for up to 5 hours, which, when made a comparison, is lesser than other ice packs. Although if you talk about individual sheets, then you always have a backup.
- Slim and easily adjustable ice packs, best made for lunch boxes and picnic baskets.
- Lasts long due to the high-quality build of the product.
- The ice packs are compact but powerful.
- Do not have a long ice retention period.
8. Popular Choice: Arctic Ice Chillin Brew
A lot of people have been using the Arctic Ice Chillin Brew and claim it to last long. It is a reusable PCM material which is a plant-derived vegetable. This product’s ice retention capacity seems to be very good, and it can cool down to 28 degrees; it lasts incredibly and perfectly fits perfectly in a reusable cooler.
There are two other coolant series under this brand: Tundra Series and the Alaskan Series, apart from this Arctic series. The temperature does not seem to go below 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Another significance is that it comes in tons of colors.
The brand also promises that you can refreeze the product up to 100000 times. Keep them counting.
- They are made to last very long.
- The material is made up of non-toxic.
- The capacity to freeze up to 28 degrees is unique.
- The product does not have an impressive and versatile use.
9. Best Environment Friendly: Nordic Ice No-Sweat Reusable Long-Lasting Gel Pack
If we choose an environmentally friendly, long-lasting ice pack, it has to be a Nordic Ice No-sweat reusable gel pack. These come in a pack of 3 and are highly layered. They are designed not to contaminate the food or items that can come in tough and moisturize.
The ice pack does not sweat in simple words, which means it gives pure cooling without wetting the items around.
There are two versions available online- one is the original version, and one is the exclusive version.
The exclusive version is tax-free and biodegradable. It is best to be kept around medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, and sometimes food. They can also be used to relax sore muscles and even carry in your lunch bag for long hours of cooling.
The original version is also similar to the exclusive arrangement but differs only on the price point. There are two prices available for the original version. Each pouch weighs around 1 lb. They are said to retain freezing temperatures for at least 10-12 hours, which is useful compared to the other ice packs.
- It is made up of biodegradable materials, which are toxin-fee.
- Can last up to 10-12 hours
- Versatile, it is used in different fields.
- Does not sweat, which means the items surrounding it will also not sweat
- Multiple layers prevent leakage and spilling
- The material is not very strong, hence not very durable.
- The price range is a little high.
10. Best In Reusability: Flexifreeze Reusable Ice Sheet
Similar to Live 2Day Nice packs, these sheets from FlexiFreeze Reusable Ice Sheets or cooler packs is another revolutionary product. It comes in a pack of 3 sheets. This innovative design is water-based and can be refreshed and reused multiple times.
Although they look like regular ice sheets, they do not mess like ice after melting or de-freezing.
The most wonderful part being, you can cut these sheets into small cubes like real ice and be as versatile as possible. They come in a couple of sheets together in a pack. Again, the drawback is not so durable due to the material they are made up of.
These chemical-free and convenient sheets are genuinely worth the price. They are slightly in the higher range.
- The sheets are chemical-free and come in a set of 6 sheets.
- You can cut the sheet into pieces and use it just like real ice, but only better.
- Each sheet has 88 cubes and weighs around 2.5 lbs.
- Slightly on the higher price range.
Although every second ice pack has the same function and the bag contents are somewhat similar in function, they differ slightly in various other factors.
Keeping every detail aside, do you want the ice packs to work for long hours? If yes, then read ahead. Now staying for long hours also depends on the size of the ice pack. A 10 lbs ice pack will last longer than a 5 lbs ice pack.
As explained earlier, ice packs or cooler packs do not melt and mess up the cooler. The contents of the pack are, at times, similar, but the size does differ. For instance, a 10 lbs ice pack can stay cold for up to 2 days if kept in a good cooler. The reason is that they are thicker, hard-sided blocks; they tend to last longer than soft ice. Similarly, you can trust the ice packs to do their job effortlessly for long hours with raw meat or fish or snacks. Keeping all these requirements in mind, you should be choosing an ice pack.
Of course, you need to understand how frequently you will need this before buying an ice pack cooler. Reusing an ice pack is the best you can do to nature. You must choose a product which will last you at least a few years if not more.
Depending on the frequency, you may want to get a new one. This way, you do a lot of favor, both on yourself and also on nature. Most ice coolers are used either during summers or during any outdoor activity. So, get the product according to the season, climate, and frequency of use.
Ice packs are to be considered; the bigger size lasts longer.
Choosing the ice pack’s right size is very important, as it may or may not fit your cooler. You do not want to overcrowd the cooler, stacking multiple ice packs, which will again decrease the ice packs’ efficiency.
Small ice packs can be useful for packing in lunch regularly or giving along with a kid’s bento box. If you choose a large ice pack compared to your cooler, that will take the real space and have only a little left for food and drinks. That defies the entire concept of keeping available quantities of food and beverages for a long duration.
There are two types of iceboxes. One soft pack and another hard-sided pack. Soft packs are those, which can be easily bent and wrapped around the food items. While the hard-sided ice packs are a much reliable and hardy block that fits perfectly in a cooler.
- Freezing Point
The freezing point in an ice pack determines how long it will stay colder in the cooler and how long the air inside stays cooler. Most ice packs have the same, non-toxic materials, sodium polyacrylate, hydroxyethylcellulose, and silica gel. This amalgamated gel is then filled in these vinyl or plastic shells or bags.
The freezing point of these gels is much lower than water. For instance, the freezing point of these gels is 32 degrees Fahrenheit compared to water, for which the freezing point is 10 degrees. If you have shortlisted the ice packs, you must consider some of these characteristics. Gel-based ice packs tend to pack in air bubbles.
Water is much less viscous than these gels. Higher- quality ice packs feature durable and tough plastic shells that can resist ballooning.
When you are trying to make the best choice for ice packs, you must also consider its different forms and uses. For instance, will the ice back be bendable, or is it a tough cover?
The ice pack must fit anywhere and adjust anyhow; only then can it be called the perfect fit. Versatility is essential in an ice pack as it gives us the flexibility for multi-use and hence makes it worth the money.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Cooler Ice Packs Well as Regular Ice?
Although there has been no permanent evidence to prove this, cooler ice packs demonstrate lower freezing temperatures than regular ice. Which means that they can maintain or freeze other objects in constant touch with them.
Ice, which melts eventually and mixes with the objects or items in the cooler, can be trouble when there are raw items to be kept cold. It can either spoil or mess with the object, which is not so advisable.
Which Ice Packs Stay Cold the Longest?
Although longevity depends on how thick or thin an ice pack is. The Cooler Shock Large Screw Cap Cooler Freezer Packs remain frozen as long as 48 hours under the best conditions. We have discussed the product in detail above. Do check it out. It also comes at a budget-friendly price. But the drawback is, they will need to be replaced within one year of usage.
Do Ice Packs Go on Top or Bottom of The Cooler?
The beauty of ice packs is that they are portable, flexible, and can be used anywhere, anyhow. Top, bottom, sideways, or even wrapped around, you can use ice packs any way you want. That will not affect the longevity of the ice packs.
Are Yeti Ice Packs Worth the Money?
Yes, they are worth each penny. We agree that they may be a little expensive compared to what other choices in the market, Yeti Ice Packs, have great longevity and promise to last for hours.
The rugged structure that keeps your food and drinks cold for several hours without adding extra ice or ice packs, this product should be tried by everyone, without thinking much about the cost.
What Are the Best Instant Ice Packs?
One of our top choices of instant ice packs is Cool packs, Fit and fresh coolers, Yeti. Each of these ice packs has its unique characteristics. Depending on the purpose, there are multiple designs available. You can choose one from these three brands mentioned above.
How to Discard Ice Packs?
Most consumers worry about the blue gel inside the ice pack and its impacts on the environment. We must tell you that, to our relief, the gel may look toxic and hazardous, but these gels are non-toxic and biodegradable.
However, the actual problem lies with the hard-plastic covering, which we know is non-biodegradable. To be more mindful, you can take the contents out of the pouch and take the empty pack to a plastic recycling center.
After mentioning all the details and going through multiple other cooler ice packs reviews on the internet, we can assure you that Yeti Ice Refreezable Reusable Ice Pack is our top-rated cooler ice pack. You must be wondering if it is truly worth getting an ice pack for coolers. The answer is going to be obvious, yes.
If you use it with regular ice or even dry ice, you will notice the ice retention is more prolonged than under normal circumstances. It is a significant saving mode as they save you a lot of money and hassle. There are a variety of uses for a good quality ice pack, like to take it with you to the beach to keep your beer cans chilled, to take it in your lunchbox to prevent food from spoiling, to carry it to soccer or cricket field to immediately apply ice pack in case of injury.
Therefore, if we think about the versatility, uses, and frequency, we believe it is worth getting a cooler air pack. And Yeti stands tall on all these qualities. The company or brand and size can be of your choice and preference.
A good quality, reusable, versatile, and durable ice pack for multiple uses will be available for $20.
Do not spend more money on analyzing. There are many options available, so go with a product with a maximum star rating and good user reviews on the product. It is always advisable to buy these products online from a trusted site or medical stores and supermarkets.
Did You Know?
To de-freeze the ice packs, you should never microwave them, as the gel inside the packs may expand and burst. Another interesting fact is that all these products mentioned above are made in the USA.
- EXTRA LARGE ICE PACKS - Measuring at 7" x 4.5" x 0.50” and designed to keep your items cold for hours. These ice blocks are perfectly designed to fit lunch boxes, beach bags, picnic baskets, cooler and more!
- VERSATILE DESIGN -These extra-large ice packs help keep food and drinks cool & fresh even longer. The versatile design allows you to pack them on the bottom and/or sides of your lunch bag or cooler. Tip: use several blocks for greater cooling power.
- SLIM ICE PACKS: Whether you’re headed back to work, school, or just want to escape the house for a picnic, these Cool Coolers Slim Ice Packs are perfectly sized for all types of bags. Pack them in lunch bags, coolers, beach bags, picnic baskets and more!
- COMPACT DESIGN: These ice packs are slim and compact, yet powerful. They are perfect for tight spaces or stacking together for even greater cooling power. Included in this set are 4 multicolored ice packs.
- Works as an ice substitute or addition to your ice stash to make sure your contents stay colder for longer
- Durable design that is break-resistant to withstand the toughest of tumbles