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How Do I Keep Meat Cold On a Long Trip?

I am going on a week-long trip at around 10,500 feet elevation and we'll be using mules to carry our gear. Any suggestions on how to keep our food cold so we can carry perishables such as steak/chicken etc?

Question:

I am going on a week-long trip at around 10,500 feet elevation and we’ll be using mules to carry our gear. Any suggestions on how to keep our food cold so we can carry perishables such as steak/chicken etc?

Submitted by - Jim, San Diego, CA

Answer:

Lucky you…I’m usually the mule in my family!

For starters, freeze all your meat before the trip. If it goes into the cooler frozen, it will stay frozen longer. Ask your outfitter if they’ll be providing the coolers or if you can pack you own soft-sided one.

There are loads of good coolers to use, but one of my current favorites is this one, the REI Weekend Cooler (left). Another good one is Fishpond’s Ice Storm Soft Cooler.  

Next up is ice. Dry ice will last longer and you won’t have to deal with the messy, heavy meltwater. You can buy dry ice blocks by the pound at many supermarkets and Wal-Marts. I also like to freeze a couple of water bottles and tuck those inside. As they melt, you get cold water to drink, which saves you from having to pump from rivers or otherwise treat your backcountry water. —KRISTIN

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