How To Keep Beer Cold When Camping?

Camping during the summer months means you get to experiences everything that is great about the wilderness while it’s warm. You can sit back, relax and open a nice cold beer and just admire the scenery around you. This is, of course, the dream for many, but it’s often met with confusion. How do you keep your beer cold when camping in the summer months? Is probably the most common question I get online and from friends. Unlike if you go camping in winter you will have to plan around the warm weather and ensuring you have plans for keeping your beer cold

Let’s be honest warm beer is horrible. I have had my fair share of warm beers on camping trips. There are various methods you can use that will keep your beers cold for that warm summer camping trip. I have even used two of these tips for music festivals where space is tight.

Best Ways To Keep Beer Cold When Camping in Summer

Bring an Ice Box & Drink Cooler

If you are planning a trip and have the time to buy an icebox then I would highly recommend it. This is the only guaranteed method for keeping your beers and drinks cold for multiday camping trips.

In my experience, it is better to have two coolers for a camping trip if you can spare the space and don’t have to carry them for miles on foot. The reason for this is so you can have one that is for drinks and another for things like meats which can spoil if the worst were to happen. It’s also just good hygiene to keep your drinks away from any open meats and foods. As you can imagine keeping food cold when camping is another popular question I get, the tips are of course similar.

I have used many drinks and food coolers over the years and a piece of advice would be to not cheap out. That’s not to say cheap coolers don’t work or should always be avoided. For example, if you are going camping for 1 night then a cheap camping cooler will be perfect. I actually use the Coleman 70 Quart cooler box when I go camping with my dog as it we usually only go camping solo for 1 night, maybe two at the most.

Coleman Cooler | Xtreme Cooler Keeps Ice Up to 5 Days | Heavy-Duty 70-Quart Cooler for Camping, BBQs, Tailgating & Outdoor Activities
  • Xtreme Technology; Insulated lid and extra wall insulation keep ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • High Capacity: Holds Up to 100 Cans
  • HAVE-A-SEAT LID: Closed lid supports up to 250 lb.

If you are planning a two-day or longer camping trip, or you are going on a family camping trip then in my experience nothing can beat the Thermik high-performance cooler. It is 45 Quart1, has a built-in shelf/tray, bottle opener, drink holder, and 5 days of insulating power. You also get an impressive 5-year warranty which can be rare for camping coolers.

If you want to know more about other options and models then I suggest you head over to my Best coolers and ice chests for a camping buying guide. I review the best models available and try to keep that page updated with new products.

Thermik High Performance Roto-Molded Cooler, 45 qt, White
  • Rugged one piece rotationally molded construction with textured top lid and soft damage proof latches
  • Thick urethane insulation keeps ice for 5+ days, the same retention performance as Yeti and Rtic
  • Freezer grade lid seal with vacuum release button to prevent stuck lids

Use the cold weather / The Scotsman Method

Like I have mentioned in other posts I am Scottish but have camped all over the world with groups from different countries. Everywhere from the USA, Mexico, Canada even as far as Australia and New Zealand. This tip though I have used the most, especially when I simply can not take an ice chest or cooler with me. Many people call it my Scottish tip, as they can only assume a Scotsman would think of it.

First, you need to ask yourself, is it cold and a little breezy outside? If so then great, if it’s just cold with no wind then that’s OK but this tip won’t be as good for you. You might want to read the tricks below for keeping your beers cold as they might work better for you.

You will need to spare a t-shirt and some cold water, actually just not warm water. Submerge your t-shirt into the cold water and then wrap your beers into the t-shirt. You should then leave your t-shirt in an area of the campsite that gets the most wind or is the coldest.

The cold temperature and wet t-shirt will help to lower the temperature of your beers. Just make sure you don’t need the t-shirt as it won’t be dry any time soon!

I have used this tip the most when I go to Musical festivals where the weather simply isn’t as good. I was considered the cold beer man when I went to Rock Am Ring in German because of this little trick.

Does this trick work well? yes, it certainly does but it isn’t the best trick and can be a pain to deal with wet t-shirts.

BYB: Bury Your Beer

Are you already at the campsite or music festival and realized your beers aren’t cold? I have been there before, it’s not a great situation to be in.

The best solution for you to keep your beers cold is to dig a small hole in the ground. Ideally, you want to find ground that is dark, soft, and in the shade all day. If you bury your beers even just a foot below the surface they will stay cool assuming there is no direct sunlight to heat the ground up.

I have used this a handful of times and like to find cold dark soil under a bush. This will provide enough cover away from sunlight and also mean you don’t forget where you have buried your beer. You really don’t want to be hunting in the dark of night for a possible hole in the ground, so burying next to or under a bush will serve as a reminder.

If you are concerned about dirt covering your drinks then you can put the drinks into a plastic bag to cover them. Just remember to take the bag with you and dispose of it afterward.

Sink Your Beer

If you are camping next to a stream or small river then you can utilize this to your best ability. You can put your beers in a bag, add something heavy to weigh the bag down and then leave it a few feet below the surface of the water. The deeper the better, but just be careful around water so as not to get into problems.

This tip has come in hand when I was camping in the north of Scotland and again in Germany. I ended up submerging 4 plastic bags with beers and tied little ribbons to them so we could find them in the stream.

Something to keep in mind is that this tip might not be suitable for nighttime as it would be very dangerous and silly to retrieve beers from deep water in the darkness. I usually retrieve some beers during the night and bury them using the tip above so as not to get into any issues.

As always the number 1 rule of camping is to plan ahead and don’t be silly.

Any Snow Around?

Bury beers in snowThis is an obvious one of course but I have been on trips with friends where they complained they didn’t have any way of keeping the beers cold… While camping in Winter, with snow all around us.

Sometimes when you have been camping and hiking all day you will be so tired that the obvious isn’t so obvious. So if you are at your campsite right now and see some snow. Then bury all your beers below the snow and leave it for an hour or so.

Plan Your Trips

Most of you will be searching this topic either while you’re at the campsite or the weeks leading up to the camp trip or festival. For those of you already at the campsite then you do have some great options which should do you well, just don’t expect ice-cold beers.

Those of you who are going on your trip in the next week or so then I strongly suggest you get an ice chest or camping cooler.  There is no other better solution than being prepared and having a cooler handy. Also if you are planning for your first trip then you will find my first-time camping guide helpful as it is full of tips, tricks, and information for beginners.

And remember, have a great time on your trip and explore that beautiful wilderness.