Looking for the right ice packs can be confusing. Ice packs are very handy and are used for various purposes, from relieving muscle pains and headaches to keeping food cold. Brands like Cooler Shock and Rubbermaid may be the go-to brand when looking for ice packs for coolers: they are long-lasting and are very sturdy. However, some may find the designs of these heavy-duty ice packs bulky, and they may take up a lot of space or may not be ideal if you are just carrying a small lunch box.
In this article, we list down the things you need to consider before buying an ice pack that will suit your needs.
Is the ice pack safe to use?
The very first thing that you have to keep in mind when choosing for the best ice pack for lunch is safety. A safe ice pack should be made with non-toxic and non-flammable materials. Also, it should be made with sturdy material to keep it from leaking into your food.
Some reusable ice packs typically contain water, propylene glycol (an ingredient that lowers the freezing temperature), a thickening agent, silica gel and non-toxic blue coloring. Ingesting the liquid contents of the reusable ice pack typically only causes mild irritation, while large amounts could possibly lead to symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication such as severe drowsiness, unresponsiveness and slowed breathing.
Some reusable ice packs are filled with small gel beads that are made of sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacrylate, when inhaled or ingested, can cause damage to your eyes, skin and lungs.
Other ice packs are filled with a gel or liquid that remains cool hours after it is taken out of the freezer. The contents of most gel packs are made with hydroxyethyl cellulose, which is non-toxic and biodegradable.
Be sure that you use packs that are BPA free. BPA is an abbreviation of Bisphenol A, a common building block in resins and some types of plastic. It’s been demonstrated to have adverse impacts such as fertility and cardiovascular troubles.
Hard casings are very likely to survive more than nylon choices and a foil, even though they’re much less flexible.
Is it long-lasting?
Ice packs have a freezing temperature of 18 degree Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius), much cooler than normal ice. They could keep food and beverage ice-cold for hours even in hot weather, which makes it ideal if you plan to bring meats and whole fruits and vegetables on your trip.
If you are going on an outdoor trip, like camping, fishing, hunting, boating or tailgating, it is important to use an ice pack that lasts long to keep your food fresh for the whole duration of the trip. It is also important that they stay cold even when left outdoors.
At room temperature, gel ice packs will stay cold for three to four hours at best. When used against your skin (for cold therapy purposes), frozen gel packs will last for one to two hours. They can last for 12-36 hours in a cooler depending on the ice pack and quality of the cooler. Cheap, little lunch coolers will help your ice pack stay cold from breakfast until lunchtime, somewhere in the four to eight hour mark depending on how hot the day is, while larger ice packs stay cold for much longer.
Is it storage friendly?
When choosing the right ice pack, you will want to ensure that you have enough space left for the food and drink you need to stay cold in your cooler. Always consider how much space your ice pack will consume. Check its height, width and thickness, and always keep in mind that there will be irregular gaps on your cooler that will not fill, so it is best to use ice packs that are thin or flexible.
There are different ice packs that are ideal for lunch boxes, coolers or other unusually shaped containers. Also consider the weight of the ice packs when they are frozen. Some ice packs may become heavy when frozen and will add to the burden. This is something to consider if you may have to haul your cooler for extended distances.
Again, it is important to use ice packs that have tough outer casings. When you are out hunting or fishing, your cooler is very likely to be shaken or dropped. You will need your ice pack to be durable, as this can help prevent leakages and breakages.
Of course, there are other things that you may be looking for in an ice pack, such as the price, the colour or the flexibility. Our own Magic Gel Lunch Box Ice Packs, for instance, have their own unique features that you can check out. The truth is, you do not need to be extra fancy when looking for ice packs. The most important thing to consider when buying these ice packs is that you get value for your money.
Got a question, or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at Gelpacks.com. You can drop me a line here. Good luck!