Although we have been to many camping trips in the past, we never realized the importance of ice until this trip. For 112 days, we were completely dependent on ice to keep our food fresh. I used to think whenever people bought ice at a grocery store they probably were having a party. It may still be true but now I realize the important of the ice for people on the go.
We have a 20-cubic-feet refrigerator at home. It was always full and we had thought of getting a bigger one. For the trip, we brought 1 large ice chest of 2 cubic feet and 2 small ice chests each about 1/2 cubic feet. It was a tall order to go from having that much room to a limited space. It took us a couple of weeks to maximize our usage of ice chests. Here are some tips:
- Have at least one big and one small ice chests. We had 3, 1 large and 2 small. We kept box drinks in one of the small ones. It was a luxury that you can have if you have extra room.
- Put all food in the big ice chest and only take the day’s lunch out into a small ice chest. By doing so, we limit the number of time of opening the big ice chest to early in the morning and evening when the weather was cooler to keep the ice chest cool.
- Berries spoil fast so buy them freah and eat them right away
- Yogurt drinks are easier to keep and consume than regular yogurt containers
- Broccoli, carrots, tomatos, and corn keep well.
- Vinaigrette salad dressing is good for traveling
- Freeze drink when possible and use it as ice as well
- Freezer food is not meant for an ice chest
- Make sure things are waterproof in the ice chest to protect them from the melting ice. Most tupper wares are not waterproof.
Now we are back home and realize how big our refrigerator is. We didn’t understand why it was always full before. We can barely fill up half of it now and, to save energy, we fill out the rest with empty boxes so we don’t lose too much cold air every time we open the refrigerator. Now we don’t go grocery shopping until we almost finish what we have already. It is amazing that we can often squeeze out a couple of extra days of food when the refrigerator is almost empty. We like this change in our life for the following reasons:
- our food is fresher now;
- we have less spoiled food therefore save money;
- we always have room in our refrigerator; and
- we did not spend money to buy a bigger refrigerator.
Actually, if possible, we may get a smaller refrigerator in the future. Hopefully we can keep this up forever.