Should You Use Dry Ice When Camping?

dry ice

Nothing can spoil an otherwise perfect camping holiday other than food going soggy or even rotten. Have you ever considered using dry ice? It could solve your food storage problems, but beware of the dangers dry ice pose. Let’s look at the pros and cons of taking dry ice on your camping trip.

What are the pros of using dry ice when camping?

If you freeze water, it will become ice when it reaches 32°F or 0° C. In contrast, dry ice is not water. Instead, it is a frozen gas called carbon dioxide with a freezing point of -109.3°F or -78.5° C. It is much colder than your ice cubes and significantly more efficient at keeping the contents of your cooler fresh.

The fact that dry ice does not melt and leaves a puddle of water in your cooler is another advantage. However, read on to see why that is also a disadvantage.

What are the cons of using dry ice when camping?

The typical temperature of a home freezer is 0° F (-18° C). As mentioned, carbon dioxide must be kept at -109.3°F or -78.5° C to prevent it from changing back into a gas, and disappearing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pick it up from your supplier at the last moment before you embark on your camping trip. Within 24-hours your dry ice would be reduced by five to 10 pounds.

Is it safe to use dry ice when camping?

Carbon dioxide is a deadly gas that is often referred to as the silent killer. However, if you know the dangers, you can mitigate them. If possible, transport your cooler holding the dry ice separate from the vehicle occupants. It will give off dangerous fumes in the heat of an enclosed vehicle. So it would be safer to transport it on the bed of a pickup truck or in the car’s trunk.

Once you set up camp, find a spot for your cooler away from your camper or tent, and remember that carbon dioxide pools in lower areas because it is heavier than oxygen. It could affect your pets before it affects you.

Dry ice could cause burns similar to fire damage if it touches your bare skin. See it like a red-hot iron and wear gloves when you handle it.

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    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.