• Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers in 2021 (Pelican, Yeti, and More)

Wet beverages and ice floating in a pool of water in a cooler getting on your nerves? It might be time to switch to an ice pack designed for coolers. Not only do these chill your items optimally, but they keep things nice and dry too. There are plenty of types of ice packs, too, such as ones filled with gel, water, or refrigerant and they may come in different sizes.


We've looked for some of the best ice packs for coolers and came up with a top 10 list. Cooler Shock's reusable version is great because you can easily refill them for future use. After considering the nine other options, you can read through the buying guide to help you pick out the best ice pack for your cooling needs. Check out the end of the article for a video on how to efficiently pack a cooler, too!

Experts featured in this article

Sara Tercero
  • Last updated: 08-12-2021
  • 255 views
Table of Contents

Should You Get Ice Cubes or an Ice Pack in a Cooler?

Should You Get Ice Cubes or an Ice Pack in a Cooler?

You might be wondering if you should choose ice packs or ice cubes for your cooler. Ice packs are denser than the pure water used in regular ice cubes and therefore don't melt as quickly. Plus, ice cubes have more sides reacting to heat, thus speeding up the melting process.

 
Plus, the refrigerants in ice packs absorb heat from the items in the cooler, resulting in a more even interior temperature. Another benefit is that they’re more organized than ice cubes, giving you more space inside your cooler. 


Ice packs also take up less space in your freezer, and you won't have to deal with a bunch of melted water! If you typically buy ice cubes, ice packs can also save you money in the long run.

Top 10 Best Ice Packs for Coolers

Check out our lineup to find an ice pack that suits your cooler type and your desired cold retention capabilities!

1

Cooler ShockReusable Ice Pack

5 pack

$27.95

Dimensions6.5 x 7.5 in.
ContentsGel, water (needs filling)
Cold retentionUp to 48 hrs.
2

TouritIce Pack

4 pack

$13.99

Dimensions8.75 x 1.5 x 1.25 in.
ContentsGel
Cold retentionUp to 12 hrs.
3

YetiRefreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack

$19.98

Dimensions8 x 5.4 x 1.6 in.
ContentsGel
Cold retentionNot specified
4

KomaxIceTank Pack

3 pack

$16.99

Dimensions11.5 x 7 in.
ContentsGel
Cold retentionUp to 15 hrs.
5

KonaExtra Large Slim Ice Packs

20 pack

$144.95

Dimensions13 x 10 x 0.5 in.
ContentsWater-based solution
Cold retentionUp to 6 hrs.
6

Fit & FreshCool Coolers Ice Packs

4 pack

$7.99

Dimensions4.75 x 4.75 x 0.25 in.
ContentsLiquid refrigerant
Cold retentionNot specified
7

Arctic IceTundra Series

Medium

$14.29

Dimensions6.75 x 1.25 x 7.75 in.
ContentsGel
Cold retentionNot specified
8
Dimensions8.6 x 2 x 11 in.
ContentsGel
Cold retentionNot specified
9

Cooler ShockIce Packs for Coolers

2 pack

$32.95

Dimensions10 x 13 x 1.25 in.
ContentsGel, water (needs filling)
Cold retentionUp to 48 hrs.
10
Dimensions9.5 x 8 x 1.25 in.
ContentsNot specified
Cold retentionNot specified

Compare the Best Ice Packs for Coolers

Image
1
Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack 1

Cooler Shock

2
Tourit Ice Pack 1

Tourit

3
Yeti Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack 1

Yeti

4
Komax IceTank Pack 1

Komax

5
Kona Extra Large Slim Ice Packs 1

Kona

6
Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers Ice Packs 1

Fit & Fresh

7
Arctic Ice Tundra Series 1

Arctic Ice

8
Pelican Ice 1

Pelican

9
Cooler Shock Ice Packs for Coolers 1

Cooler Shock

10
RTIC Ice Pack 1

RTIC

Name

Reusable Ice Pack

Ice Pack

Refreezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack

IceTank Pack

Extra Large Slim Ice Packs

Cool Coolers Ice Packs

Tundra Series

Ice

Ice Packs for Coolers

Ice Pack

Features

Refillable Soft Ice Packs That Chill Quickly

Slim Ice Pack Sticks for Tight Spaces

A Break-Resistant Ice Pack

Large, Flexible Ice Packs That Are Ready to Use

Quick-Freezing Ice Packs Ready in 25 Minutes

Compact Ice Packs for All Cooler Types

An Ice Pack for Chilling Meat and Ice Cream

Ice Pack With a Wide Cooling Surface and Handles

Long-Lasting Ice Packs That Easily Slide Into Large Coolers

Quick-Freeze Ice Packs That Keep Coolers at 23 Degrees

Price$27.95$13.99$19.98$16.99$144.95$7.99$14.29$29.95$32.95$35.51
Dimensions6.5 x 7.5 in.8.75 x 1.5 x 1.25 in.8 x 5.4 x 1.6 in.11.5 x 7 in.13 x 10 x 0.5 in.4.75 x 4.75 x 0.25 in.6.75 x 1.25 x 7.75 in.8.6 x 2 x 11 in.10 x 13 x 1.25 in. 9.5 x 8 x 1.25 in.
ContentsGel, water (needs filling)GelGelGelWater-based solutionLiquid refrigerantGelGelGel, water (needs filling)Not specified
Cold retentionUp to 48 hrs. Up to 12 hrs. Not specified Up to 15 hrs. Up to 6 hrs. Not specified Not specified Not specified Up to 48 hrs. Not specified
Link

How to Choose an Ice Pack - Buying Guide

When choosing an ice pack for your cooler, the outer material should be durable and not leak, the defrosting process should not lead to too much sweating, and the ice pack should retain cold for as long as you need it. 

Pick a Soft or Hard Ice Pack

Pick a Soft or Hard Ice Pack

Ice packs have a soft or hard casing. Soft packs are great for limited space because you can manipulate the shape of the ice pack according to the items inside your cooler. They’re also ideal for soft coolers, which often don’t have much capacity for bulkier ice packs.

 
On the other hand, hard ice packs are rigid blocks that can easily be stacked along the walls of a hard cooler for optimal insulation. 


Soft or hard ice packs also come in sizes ranging from five to over 13 inches long. They may also have different widths and thicknesses. We recommend pairing the ice pack with what you’re working with: larger ones for big coolers and small ice packet-types for lunchboxes

Check Out the Ice Pack’s Cold Retention

Check Out the Ice Pack’s Cold Retention

The ice pack you choose should retain its coldness, even under direct sunlight or hot temperatures. Ice packs help keep perishable goods within safe temperatures (41 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit) during transport. This is especially good for items like meat! They also keep beverages chilled. 

 
Most cooler ice packs last about 24 to 36 hours, but some made for shorter cooling need around four to six hours. If you need cold beverages for a day trip, then this time frame would suffice. For camping or overnight trips, however, you will need longer-lasting ice packs. 


We recommend going through the product description for cold retention duration and double-checking company claims by reading reviews to ensure your ice pack performs reliably. 

Consider the Ice Pack Design and Contents

Consider the Ice Pack Design and Contents

Not all ice packs are created equal. Although most are filled with a mixture of vinyl-coated silica gels, water, and refrigerants like hydroxyethyl cellulose and sodium polyacrylate, some require more maintenance than others.

 
We recommend checking if the ice pack can be placed directly to the freezer until frozen before use or requires pre-filling with water. Ice packs that need filling will have a required quantity, a funnel for convenient pouring, and a screw-on cap for sealing. They often need shaking or squeezing before freezing or using to activate the refrigerants.

 
You should also check the required time it takes to freeze the ice pack to ensure you have enough preparation time for your needs. Heavy-duty ones often need at least 24 to 48 hours in the freezer, while some designs have a quick-freeze capability and can be used after an hour.   

Tips to Prolonging the Ice Pack’s Life

Tips to Prolonging the Ice Pack’s Life

If you're looking to get the most out of your ice pack, here are a few tips. Use your ice pack with a high-quality cooler to ensure that all sides are sealed adequately with no opportunity for cold air to escape.


Avoid placing your cooler in direct heat or sunlight and set it up in the shade if possible to minimize heat exposure. 


You can pre-cool your cooler before your trip with additional ice packs. Experts note that this simple step of balancing the temperatures of the cooler and ice packs before storing items can extend the ice pack's cold retention up to 12 hours. 

Tips to Prolonging the Ice Pack’s Life

Other ways to prolong cold retention through balancing would be to chill your food and drinks beforehand and keep the cooler's lid closed as long as possible to prevent cold air from coming out.

 
Lastly, pack your cooler until full to eliminate as much space for air to travel internally, which leads to heat creation. You can use frozen bottles to fill up any gaps, which can also serve as extra ice packs in the process.

How to Efficiently Pack a Cooler

There are efficient ways of packing a cooler rather than stuffing everything in it and expecting things to fit. This video by Parks Canada will help explain what to pack first to keep all your meats, fruits, and goods cold and fresh for your next camping trip!

More Ways to Keep Food and Drinks Cold

More Ways to Keep Food and Drinks Cold

Whether you're relaxing at the beach or roughing it outdoors, we have some items that can keep your food and drinks cold!

Amazon's Best Selling Camping Cooler Accessories

Summary

An ice pack is an essential cooler accessory, especially if you want your food and drinks to stay extra cold. They result in less mess, more organization, and long-lasting cold retention. 


Just make sure to consider the style, size, and cold retention to pick one that will suit your cooler the best. Give an ice pack a try on your next trip!


Author: Hana Otsuka


Prepare Soups and Smoothies for Your Cooler

When making preparations for using your ice packs and cooler, you may want to make some cold soups, smoothies, or dips, especially for the summer. To do so, you might want to get your hands on a professional-grade blender. This one comes highly recommended by Chef Sara Tercero!

Expert's
pick

NinjaProfessional 72 Oz Countertop Blender

$89.99

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