Use cooler boxes to keep your picnic food and drink cold on a hot summers day.
Cold food should always be kept at 5 degrees celcius or below to keep it safe for human consumption. There is no better way to make sure this happens than to use insulated coolers, or esky's as they are also known.
If you are feeding a crowd and have to take a fair bit of food on your picnic a backpack is often just not big enough. You can use a cooler to carry extra food and drink.
Cold air escapes from cooler boxes every time the lid is opened so it is a good idea to take two coolers on a picnic.
Use one exclusively for drinks. It will be opened more often and heat up more quickly.
Use your other cooler for food so it has more chance of maintaining a low temperature.
There are two types of cooler box on the market. One type is a solid hard bodied insulated box, the other a strong, soft bag lined with waterproof insulating material. Both types have advantages and disadvantages.
Hard type cooler boxes (sometimes called "eskys") are more solid than soft-sided coolers and are covered in strong plastic. On a picnic you can use the top as a small table or even as a seat for a small person.
Some are very big and heavy. When you are deciding which one to buy remember you will have to lift it full so if you need to carry lots of food and drink divide your picnic supplies between two cooler boxes. It is easier to cart two smaller coolers than one big one. Some larger cooler eskys come with wheels which make them much easier to take to your picnic spot.
They are easy to keep clean and most have a bung in the bottom to drain water from melting ice.
usually just lift on and off but if they are hinged make sure the
hinges are strong. I like to choose lids that are high enough to carry
drink bottles standing upright.
Make sure the handle is firmly attached to the box and is strong enough to carry the weight. It should be balanced so the the box does not tip as it is being carried. If you are tall the handle should extend enough to prevent you from stooping.
If the cooler box is on wheels like this one make sure the wheels are big enough and strong enough to pull along smoothly.
are a variety of sizes to suit larger or smaller groups. The larger
ones are great for a large party but if there are only two or four of
you one a bit smaller might be easier to carry.
Soft picnic coolers are lighter to carry than hard bodied boxes and squash down for easier storage. They will pack into spaces where a harder box may be difficult to fit.
Check that the stitching is really strong and the material leak proof. Look for carry straps that are firmly attached to the bag and are adjustable so that you can carry the bag on either your shoulder or in your hand with a short handle if you prefer.
There are various types and sizes of cold blocks available.
The insulation in a cool box can be used to keep food warm as well as cold. If you are carrying hot food or soup to a winter picnic carry it in your esky. Keep hot food at 60 degrees centigrade or hotter for to ensure that it is safe to eat.
If you have any food left over from a picnic that has not been kept at the correct temperature thoughout the day throw it away when you get home.
All the cooler boxes on this page are available from Amazon.com. Just click the image to find more about them or visit The Picnic Shop to find a wider range.