Short on time? Our pick for the best ice pack for coolers is the Below Zero reusable ice pack.
Use this list of the best ice packs for coolers to make sure the contents in your cooler stay cold no matter where you go.
Whether you want a hard ice pack that’s more durable or a gel pack that’s more flexible, there are many options out there to fit any price range.
The worst possible thing that can happen when you’re away from home is having the contents of your cooler go warm.
This can also come with a large mess if you’re dealing with remnants of ice sheets mixed with food and drink.
I’ve tried a number of different ice packs over the years to many frustrations and can now confidently say that I’ve found some of the best on the market.
These are our picks for the best ice packs for coolers, whether you’re looking for hard packs or gel, and how to use them!
Need a cooler to go with your ice pack? Check out our top picks for the best camping coolers.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Here’s a quick look at our recommendations
- Best Camping Ice Pack – Yeti Ice Pack
- Most Versatile Pack for Coolers – Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack
- Best Travel Coolers Ice Pack – Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers
- Most Durable Ice Pack for Coolers – Tourit Reusable Ice Pack
- Best Slim Ice Pack for Coolers – Igloo Reusable Ice Pack
- Best Oversized Ice Pack for Large Coolers – Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew Ice Pack
- Best Budget Ice Pack for Coolers – Nordic Ice Long Lasting Gel Pack
- Best Gel Ice Pack for Coolers – Arctic Zone High Performance Ice Pack
- Best Earth-Friendly Ice Pack for Coolers – Komax Reusable Ice Pack
- Longest Lasting Ice Pack for Coolers – Below Zero Reusable Ice Pack
- Best Ice Pack for Backpack Coolers – Health Packers Ice Pack
#1 Yeti Ice Pack
Best Ice Pack for Camping
Materials: High-density polyethylene/food-grade phase-change liquid
Dimensions: 1 lb: 8 x 2.625 x 1.625 inches; 2 lbs: 8 x 5.375 x 1.6 inches; 4 lbs: 10.75 x 8 x 1.6 inches
If you’re looking for one of the best ice packs for coolers on the market, look no further than the Yeti Ice Pack, which comes in three different sizes (one, two, and four pounds).
Depending on the situation you’re using it for, you might opt for the smaller or the larger version.
As an example, to fill up a 75L cooler, you’ll need at least two four-pound Yeti ice packs.
If you completely freeze these Yeti ice packs, they can stay frozen for up to 24 hours.
And when combined with coolers like the Yeti Hooper Flip 12 Soft Cooler, Yeti ice packs can stay frozen for even longer, even up to multiple days!
This is because the four pound blocks are made for this cooler, specifically, and fit snugly while minimizing air pockets.
Love Yeti’s products but searching for something different? Check out our list of the best Yeti alternatives.
- Good durability and long-lasting
- Very easy to use and store in lunch bags (for the smaller sizes)
- Yeti ice packs fit perfectly with a variety of Yeti coolers
- Only comes with one ice pack
- Expensive because of the brand name
#2 Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack
Most Versatile Ice Pack for Coolers
Materials: Nylon, polyethylene (insulation)
Dimensions: 0.44 lbs: 10 x 14 x 1.5 inches
If you’re a fan of reusable ice packs because of their many perks when traveling, then you must check out the Cooler Shock reusable ice packs.
Cooler Shock reusable ice packs are durable and have the capability of getting colder than ice.
This means extra cooling power so your favorite beverages and food items will stay colder for longer.
I love using Cooler Shock reusable ice packs when traveling because it means I can bring many with me and I know they won’t take up too much space in my bag.
The way the Cooler Shock packs stay so much cooler than other brands is their scientific gel pack formula that has a freezing point of 18 degrees Farenheit.
When compared to other ice pack manufacturers at the same price, Cooler Shock packs are known to last just as long if not longer.
I never forget them when leaving my house for the beach or in my lunch box for work.
- Comes with three reusable ice packs for coolers; five when buying the lunch box version or four all-purpose ice packs
- Works perfectly for small coolers or large coolers
- The nylon material helps to make these last for years
- So cheap that you can buy multiple packs for a variety of situations
- If air is left in when filling it up, it can mess up the product
- Not as durable–Cooler Shock ice packs can sometimes break down faster than other options
#3 Fit & Fresh Cool Coolers
Best Ice Pack for Travel Coolers
Dimensions: 1.25 lbs: 4.75 x 0.5 x 5 inches
Cool Coolers might be the cheapest reusable cooler ice pack on the market, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth purchasing.
One aspect I love about this brand that I discovered when I purchased their packs for the first time is the huge variety of different options they offer.
Their packs come in multiple colors, different materials, and even shapes that you can choose from.
One of the most notable special features of the Cool Coolers packs is their leak resistance, which, combined with the non-toxic plastic coating, means that they are safe to touch unpackaged foods.
Another great benefit when compared to other cooler packs is that they’re slim ice packs, which helps them to freeze faster.
It also means they’re ideal for travel coolers, especially those that are on the smaller side.
For example, Cool Coolers packs are great for anyone who’s looking to keep drinks or food cold in a small lunch box cooler because of how easily they can fit into tiny places.
They’re also a great option for backpack coolers unless you already have a cooler that’s designed to go with a specific ice pack.
- Extremely affordable, these aren’t expensive ice packs
- Can fit into lunch boxes perfectly because they’re slim ice packs
- Come in many different colors
- Only stay frozen for 4-6 hours
- Would need more than a few ice packs to keep a cooler chilled
#4 Tourit Reusable Ice Packs
Most Durable Ice Pack for Coolers
Material: Plastic (BPA Free)
Dimensions: 1.7 lbs: 12.83 x 10.04 x 2.13 inches
Tourit Ice Packs are some of my favorite packs on the market because of their durability and slick design.
These are reusable packs that you only have to add water into once after purchase.
Just note that Tourit ice packs aren’t soft packs, so they’re better for a big bag or cooler.
That said, if you can fit this long-lasting ice pack into your cooler, they’re well worth using.
The amount of traditional ice I save when using the Tourit pack is astounding. Plus, I didn’t need to buy multiple ice packs since my purchase came with two already.
If you enjoy going to the beach or any other outside activity, these long-lasting ice packs will keep your beverages cold the entire time!
During a recent beach visit, I left two Tourit packs in my cooler for a few hours. When I checked back three hours later, it was still keeping drinks cold, which was impressive.
This is all to say that these packs mean you’ll have no need for regular ice anymore. Just be sure to properly fill them up if you want these packs to last as long as possible.
- Flat shape helps them fit in many different cooler bags
- Gel-based ice packs that go below the freezing point of water to keep your cooler colder even longer
- Pairs great with the Tourit Backpack Cooler
- Can be tricky to fill up and if done wrong, the packs won’t last as long
- Only comes with two ice packs
#5 Igloo Reusable Ice Pack
Best Slim Ice Pack for Coolers
Dimensions: 2 lbs: 5 x 2 x 9 inches
Igloo is one of the biggest names in the cooler industry–for good reason. And this is one of the most popular ice packs on the market today.
I knew when I went to purchase these Igloo ice packs that I was going to get a quality product no matter what.
All of their branded items that I’ve tried over the years have successfully kept my food and drinks ice cold.
As a bonus, the price of these top ice packs is so affordable that you can buy multiple for the entire family.
The Igloo packs also come in different sizes if you want to keep a larger cooler cold.
Depending on the type of cooler you own, these packs can keep your food and drinks cold all day long.
If you’re looking to buy a high-quality ice pack that’ll last for years and won’t break the bank, Igloo is a great option.
- So cheap you can buy multiple for the family
- Durable enough to last for years
- Compact enough that it can also fit perfectly in lunch boxes
- The sticky label can become an issue over time
#6 Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew Ice Pack
Best Oversized Ice Pack for Large Coolers
Dimensions: 0.75 lbs: 6.38 x 6.14 x 1.26 inches
The Arctic Ice Chillin Brew series ice packs are a top seller on Amazon for a number of reasons.
When I bought my first Arctic Ice set, I was worried because of the price.
If these didn’t keep my food cold during my road trip, I would feel like I’d wasted my money.
Not only did the Arctic Ice keep my food cold for multiple days without the need to re-freeze them, but my drinks were ice cold like they’d been in the refrigerator the entire time.
With the Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew packs, you won’t have to worry about dealing with ice cubes or emptying out the melted ice water and ice sheets every night while driving cross country.
Another reason Arctic Ice offers some of the best ice packs money can buy is that the freezing point for Arctic Ice is colder than normal ice cubes.
That means the contents in your cooler will stay colder than the refrigerator ever could.
If you’re looking to purchase a good ice pack that consistently keeps things cold in a larger space, look no further than the Arctic Ice Chillin’ Brew series.
With XXL packs that go up to ten pounds, these can fit your biggest coolers.
- Can stay frozen for days
- Durable and a trusted brand
- Comes in multiple sizes for different needs
- Expensive compared to some other ice packs
- Only comes with one ice pack
#7 Nordic Ice Long Lasting Gel Pack
Best Budget Ice Pack for Coolers
Dimensions: 1 lb: 6.14 x 5.94 x 3.54 inches
Nordic Ice is a gel pack that’s perfect for different everyday situations.
For example, I’ve had knee issues in the past and Nordic Ice packs come in handy since they’re easier to use on the skin than others.
The Nordic gel pack also helps keep the contents of a cooler colder for longer–since the gel’s freezing point is at a lower temperature, it will stay colder than normal ice.
And the fabric of the covering helps keep this product non-sweat so that your food and drinks don’t get covered in condensation.
- Keeps a colder temperature for longer than the average ice pack
- Minimal sweating
- Easy to travel with
- At $2.83/pack, it’s the most Inexpensive on this list
- Could tear easily because of soft covering
#8 Arctic Zone High Performance Ice Pack
Best Flexible Ice Pack for Coolers
Dimensions: 1.32 lbs: 6.75 x 7 x 2 inches
Some consider Arctic Zone to have some of the best cooler ice packs on the market, and I agree that it’s a very close runner-up for me compared to the Below Zero pack.
When I purchased these Arctic Zone High Performance Ice Packs, I was expecting something that was good enough to hold me over until I got a more durable, reusable cooler ice pack.
I was surprised that it did that and much more.
Arctic Zone is made out of nylon material, which helps its durability compared to other gel-based ice packs.
They call it “puncture resistant,” and it truly is! This added strength lets you be confident in contorting these packs to fit into your cooler or lunch box.
The cooling gel mixture provided in this freezer pack is the reason you buy products like this. Everything stays cold in my cooler all day without question.
Being one of the best reusable ice packs for coolers means you can save money on ice and not have to buy more packs when they start to wear down.
It only comes with two packs when purchasing, but that may be all you need for years.
- Extremely durable and puncture resistant
- Will stay cold for 12+ hours
- Slim ice packs fit perfectly in any lunchbox or small coolers
- Expensive when compared to others
#9 Komax Reusable Ice Packs
Best Earth-Friendly Ice Pack for Coolers
Dimensions: 4.8 lbs: 11.4 x 0.02 x 7 inches
Komax Reusable Ice Packs are great reusable cooler ice packs that work exceptionally well for keeping your drinks and meals cold while out and about.
The best perk about these (and one that went into my decision to purchase them) is that the gel is non-harmful and earth-friendly.
That’s a huge deal for me and other outdoor enthusiasts.
This pack is also very easy to use and freezes quickly.
When I tested the Komax packs out, their long-lasting cold temperature kept my drinks cold for the entire day and even when I got back home!
This made sense in retrospect when I looked it up and saw that they can stay frozen for up to 15 hours! Most competitors will be fully melted by then.
Lastly, getting three separate reusable ice packs for this price is great because you can do so much with them.
You can essentially create a mini-freezer by stacking them around in your cooler.
- Can stay frozen for up to 15 hours
- Reasonably priced at $16 for three
- Safe to have around pets and children
- Not bendable
- Can freeze into awkard positions
#10 Below Zero Reusable Ice Pack
Longest-Lasting Pack for Coolers
Material: Nylon Reinforced Aluminum
Dimensions: .75 lbs: 6.5 x 7.5 x 1 inches
Below Zero ice packs are known for their coveted technology that’s used in hospitals to keep blood cold during transplants.
That should give you an idea of just how good they are.
These are some of the best ice packs for beach coolers or long camping weekends because they’re so long-lasting–they can last up to 48 hours!
On those hot days at the beach or at camp, these long-lasting ice packs will stay cold and keep you refreshed while in the sun.
You may be asking how many freezer packs come in this deal. For $35, you get 10 of these, which is so helpful when buying for the entire family.
Below Zero has also added plant proteins to the mixture to help keep the packs colder for longer and to also make them non-toxic.
What is there not to love about this reusable cooler ice pack?
- Comes in a pack of 10
- Created by using a patent-pending formula
- Perfect size for lunch bags
- Not the strongest fabric
- Edges can scratch the inside of small coolers
#11 Healthy Packers
Best Pack for Backpack Coolers
Dimensions: 1.8 lbs: 4.7 x 0.7 x 7 inches
Healthy Packers is a company that keeps the health-conscious individual in mind with their convenient cooler products.
And Health Packers ice packs go well with their own products, but they’re also versatile enough to go with any other cooler.
I appreciated that I was able to get four packs with my purchase because having multiple packs in a cooler is always better.
If you have a larger family or would simply like to purchase more at once, this compact ice pack comes in different pack sizes, all the way up to ten in a pack.
Also, getting four packs at such a low price means that their individual cost is actually quite affordable.
And if you don’t like them for any reason, you can get your money back risk-free.
Additionally, Health Packers makes these packs very easy to use. All you have to do is fill it up once, and you’re good to go.
These slim ice packs are a top seller for a reason and can be used every day for multiple activities.
- Purchase in multiple different pack sizes
- Ideal size for everyday activities, lunch boxes, and small coolers
- Comes in a large variety of colors
- Might not last as long as other ice packs
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Ice Pack for Your Cooler
What to Look for in Ice Packs
To keep things cold, larger ice packs, which leave less room for pockets of warm air, are best.
See this informational video for more:
When looking for the perfect ice pack that matches your daily lifestyle, there are a few additional factors you should consider.
The most durable ice packs are made out of a type of strong plastic and will normally be harder to puncture.
This does come with some downsides, however.
Fitting food and ice packs together like Tetris in a lunch box or cooler can become more difficult with thicker ice packs that are stronger and have less flexible plastic.
Soft gel coverings are the best for needing to ice body parts but can puncture fairly easily in coolers if not taken care of properly.
How Cold It Gets
Certain ice packs have the ability to freeze below the normal freezing point for ice.
This means they can keep the contents of your cooler longer than normal ice cubes can.
These types of packs are made from special gels that allow them to freeze at a colder temperature.
Types of Ice Packs
Gel Ice Packs
Most ice packs these days are made from gel liquid.
If your main concern is purchasing a long-lasting ice pack, then this is the product for you.
Hard Plastic Ice Packs
These types of ice packs do very well in large coolers for a cookout or camping.
If you’re looking to replace ice, this is your best bet as it won’t easily puncture from other objects touching it.
Instant Ice Packs
If you’re in an emergency and need an ice pack, these are the best ones to keep around. When the seal is broken, they become instantly cold.
FAQs About Cooler Ice Packs
Do ice packs work in coolers?
Ice packs work tremendously well in coolers.
If used properly, using packs instead of your traditional bag of ice can save you hundreds of dollars in your lifetime.
What’s the best way to efficiently use ice packs in coolers?
There are many ways you can use ice packs in a cooler to keep their contents at cold temperatures.
If you want to efficiently use your new packs, then I would suggest first layering them flat on the bottom of the cooler.
You’ll then want to apply your (ideally) pre-chilled food or beverage to the cooler.
This is where it’s great to have multiple slim ice packs. The bigger the cooler, the more ice packs you’ll want to fit inside of it.
Remember, though, cooler ice packs work best when you minimize any air pockets.
Almost all the ice packs listed in this article are from brands that sell coolers that match the size of their large freezer packs.
Using those in combination is the best option if you want to minimize pockets of warm air.
After the food and beverages are in the cooler, you’ll then want to surround your food and drinks with more ice packs to maximize the cooling power.
Should I use ice or ice packs in my cooler?
Using ice packs is more beneficial than using regular ice in many cases. Almost all ice packs will stay colder for longer than ice will.
On top of that, ice will eventually melt and make a huge mess. You won’t have to worry about that if you choose to use ice packs instead.
Are all cooler ice packs the same?
Not all ice packs are the same.
There are various innovations in cooling power, the freezing point of the pack, and differences in shape or size.
These all benefit the consumer but can make it hard to decide which are the best ice packs for coolers.
I would suggest making a list of the most important attributes you look for in an ice pack and then taking a look at our superlative winners at the top of this article.
How many ice packs are used for a cooler?
You’ll generally want a 2:1 ratio of ice packs to cooler contents.
How long do ice packs last in a cooler?
This depends on what type of ice pack you’re using.
As a general rule of thumb, ice packs will last anywhere from 10 hours to 48 hours (in the right conditions).
It’s also important to note that size and material matter. A small ice pack is more exposed to air pockets, and so will not last as long as a larger one.
As far as materials go, gel ice packs will last longer because their freezing point is at a lower temperature than water.
What ice lasts the longest in a cooler?
If you want to acquire the longest-lasting ice, then the more dense, the better.
Block ice lasts hours longer than crushed ice. The most common ice is going to be cubed ice, so for most people, this is your best option.
What is the difference between an ice pack and a gel pack? Do gel packs work better than ice packs?
An ice pack is normally frozen water that freezes at a normal freezing point.
A gel pack is a special formula that has an even lower freezing point. This, in return, will allow gel packs to stay colder for longer.
Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Ice Pack for Coolers
There are so many great ice packs on the market these days.
This can be great as these products keep innovating, but it can be overwhelming when trying to make the best decision for yourself.
That’s why we’re here to help you make that decision. Our pick for the best pack is the Below Zero reusable ice pack.
The reason we think this is the best overall ice pack is because it has qualities that are great for every type of need.
If you’re looking to buy for the entire family, this product comes in a 10-pack.
Also, it’s one of the longest-lasting freezer packs with its coveted gel technology.
The gel formula they use is based on the same one that keeps blood cold during organ transfers.
If you want a lower price, Below Zero also sells their “fill with water” alternative that’s cheaper due to the weight of the product being not as heavy.
You really can’t go wrong with the Below Zero ice packs, whether you’re hitting the beach, going on a road trip, or heading to the wilderness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip Anderson is a freelance travel writer, personal trainer, and adventure enthusiast from Virginia Beach. Growing up, he spent most of his days either hiking in the Shenandoah, going to the beach, or working out. He is currently traveling through Latin America while working on projects to share his adventures with the world.
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