Camping is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
But it comes with its own set of challenges, one being how to store your milk when camping.
There are several ways you can go about storing your milk while camping- in a cooler or an insulated bag.
The best choice depends on how long you plan on staying at the campsite, as well as what kind of cooler you have access to (if any).
If you’re not sure which option would be best for your situation, read on.
We’ll talk through the options below so that by the end of this blog post, there won’t be any question about which storage method will work best for you.
The most reliable way to store milk when camping is to use a powered cooler. These can be plugged into a vehicle’s power supply via the cigarette lighter or they can be powered via mains hookup on those campsites that have these. Other methods will only work for short periods of time and the best option is to use a cooler.
Milk storage for short camping trips
For those of you planning to stay at the campsite for two days or less.
This is my preferred method. It’s easy and clean, with no need for ice packs or containers that might leak.
Simply pack your milk in a cooler along with other drinks and small refrigerated items like eggs, butter, etc.
Next to the milk, place your reusable ice blocks.
Be sure that your cooler stays out of direct sunlight. The more shadow, the better.
I personally like to keep my cooler under the table, in a corner if possible.
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Insulated bag method
If you are planning to stay at your campsite for more than 2 days, this is probably a better option for you. It’s less messy and requires no extra effort on your part.
I put my milk in a backpack-style insulated bag like the one pictured below, and it keeps my milk very cold for days.
This is also a good idea if you are camping in an area where the temperatures tend to get warm and there’s no shade around your campsite.
- 2-IN-1 BACKPACK COOLER WITH 23.5L STORAGE: Measuring 12 x 10 x 18.75”, this 2-in-1 lunch cooler has a 13.5L insulated cooler bag on the bottom, plus a 10L storage compartment on the top. Despite this large capacity, the bag weighs just 2.2lb, which makes it portable enough for couples to enjoy trips at the beach, Disney, park, zoo, hike or fishing.
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- COMFORTABLE TO CARRY: This cooler bag has thick-padding for both your shoulders and back, the addition of mesh panels creates a cooler that sits softly on your back while also providing superior ventilation.
- MULTIPLE COMPARTMENTS, POCKETS AND EXTRAS: Loads of storage space keeps everything neat, organized and it its place. 13.5L cooler compartment is the ideal size for your lunch and beverage. Top storage compartment fits dry items, while 2 large front zipper pockets keep track of your personal belongings. Also includes 2 side pockets for quick water bottle access, shoulder strap bottle opener, reflective stripe for enhanced visibility and mesh trash bag (Leave No Trace).
- TWO-YEAR WARRANTY: Easthills guarantees against defects in material and workmanship 2 years from the date of purchase.
Powered cooler option
While I don’t personally use this method, I know plenty of families who do.
A powered cooler is similar to a mini refrigerator that runs on 12VDC and has an internal battery for cooling down your milk.
Simply powered by your vehicle via the cigarette lighter socket these are reliable, easy to use and maintain a constantly cool temperature making them ideal for storing milk.
There are several models available like this SetPower Cooler or for maximum storage the AstroAI Cooler offers masses of space for the largest families.
Mains powered refrigerators are an option too
If you are looking for maximum storage to keep your milk and other perishables cool while camping and you have access to a mains power supply, then a plugin cooler/freezer might be the solution.
These are a great option for longer camping vacations and function just like your home appliances.
They tend to be more costly than the 12V devices but for maximum storage and luxury they are the best choice.
Try the Lunchbox.com 60L Portable Fridge and Freezer.
Try a bucket of water or a stream
I’ve tried this many times – with mixed results.
Milk will stay cool for a few hours in a bucket of cold water, if you can add ice then this time period will be extended.
If you have a stream or other natural water supply close to camp then you can try to keep your milk cool in this water.
Tie some string to your milk bottle and fasten the other end to something secure, then suspend the milk in the flow of water.
For short camping trips you can freeze milk in plastic bottles, at home, before you leave.
The milk will gradually defrost as time passes and will stay cold but, I’ve found out many times that frozen milk doesn’t thaw consistently – so often you end up with a watery offering as opposed to wholesome, tasty milk.
When compared to using a cooler, frozen milk is a poor option, in my experience anyway.
You can keep your milk safe by taking a few simple steps.
It’s worth remembering that for most camping situations, all you really need to do is to be able to occasionally move the bottles in and out of shade during the day – if you can remember this then your milk will stay safe.
I personally like using coolers when I’m camping away from mains power supply as these provide an optimum storage temperature for my family’s requirements and don’t require any additional maintenance or work on my part.
For longer trips where it’s impractical to carry around bulky items like coolers/freezers, consider powered solutions such as 12VDC mini fridges.