If you're looking for some high-level tips on how to prep your cooler for hunting, you've come to the right place. A lot of hunters don't realize that there's a correct and incorrect way to prepare your hunting cooler, and by doing it wrong you can put yourself and your game meat in a tough position.

Take a look at these 6 easy steps for preparing your hunting cooler, and I promise you you'll be much better off!

Hunting Cooler Prep Steps

1. Choose A Roto-Molded Cooler

While this isn't really hunting cooler prep material, I thought it might be beneficial to highlight that a roto-molded cooler is going to be the best possible choice for your next hunting trip.

By utilizing a roto-molded cooler with much thicker plastic, you're going to maximize the efficiency of the following steps - leading to more protection for your game meat.

2. The Night Before - Leave The Cooler Open Outside

The night before a hunt, try your best let the cooler cool down to the ambient temperature around you by leaving it outside with the lid open. Of course, if you're hunting in an area that's still relatively warm outside, and your inside temperature is colder, keep the cooler inside and open the lid.

The main point is to help your cooler reach the lowest possible temperature naturally in preparation for the next step. 

3. The Morning Of - Utilize Freezer Blocks

Right when you wake up, take freezer blocks that have been in your freezer all night, and place them in the bottom of your cooler for 30 minutes or so.

According to Nice Packs, freezer blocks have a much lower freezing temperature than ice cubes (-13°F vs. 32°F), and they stay colder much longer than ice cubes. Additional benefits include the fact that freezer blocks do not melt, therefore they will not get your cooler or meat wet.

4. Pack Your Cooler Before The Hunt

As mentioned earlier, you're going to want to start packing the cooler by adding freezer blocks to the bottom - creating a foundation for everything else. From there, you can use frozen water-milk jugs, and top it off with bags of ice cubes.

If possible, try to keep the ice in the bags to avoid water from entering the cooler. 

Additionally, do your best to pack it as much as possible - no matter the size of your hunting cooler. The more air you have in your cooler, the more susceptible it is to temperature fluctuations. By eliminating this air, you can maximize the coolers ability to stay cold.

5. Keep Your Cooler Away From The Sun

Once everything is packed and your heading out into the woods, try to cover your coolers with a blanket (if possible) and place it in a shaded area... or keep it inside.

Some hunters might pack their cooler and not come back for days until they finally bag their prey. By keeping your cooler unopened, covered, and away from the sun you can pretty much guarantee your cooler is going to be cold and still full of ice. Of course, that's also contingent upon the quality of cooler you purchased.

6. After The Kill, Hang Your Meat (If Possible)

I know this isn't possible for everyone, but if you can, try to let your game meat temperature come down before placing it in the cooler. 

By taking game meat that's relatively warm, and placing it in your cooler, you're speeding up the melting process of your ice and raising the temperature of your cooler. 

Letting your game meat temperature cool off is going to prolong the life of your ice and freezer blocks, leading to cooler temperatures for longer periods of time.

Hunting Cooler Prep Video


In a somewhat related topic, if you're interested in learning more about How Long To Hang A Deer Before Butchering, we have that too!