Let’s have a brief introduction to dry ice. Dry ice is nothing but carbon dioxide in extremely condensed form. It can be seen in form of pellets or blocks. The ice chest is kept frozen. As it gets exposed to the air, it will be melted and gets back to its actual form of gas. The retention of ice depends on various factors. The dry ice can stay up to twenty-four hours in a cooler. The cooler comparison test that was conducted shows that the ice cream that was stored with regular ice turned to liquid form after three hours. But, the ice cream that was kept in a dry ice cooler took almost nine hours to melt. So, basically dry ice can last for about 15 – 24 hours. Even though the dry ice does not last longer it keeps the items in a solid-state or frozen. So at times, it can be better than the regular ice, for example, to keep the meat frozen while you are on a hunting trip during the weekend.  

To know about Styrofoam cooler and how long does the ice last in it, the dry ice lasts for the same time duration as the other cooler. Compared to rigid coolers, the styrofoam coolers will have a short lifespan. Styrofoam is known as a good insulator since it contains billions of small air bubbles that aids in stopping the heat transfer. Certain coolers have thick insulation, that keeps the dry ice up to several weeks. You could even use a thick cooler. The dry ice can turn from a solid-state to a gaseous state. A smaller quantity of dry ice will not last long in the cooler. In just a couple of hours, it begins to melt. If a large quantity of dry ice is used, it will last longer. If you prefer the dry ice to last for a lengthier period of time, then you need to store a huge amount of dry ice in the cooler. We will discuss some of the best coolers for storing dry ice.  

Pelican coolers

It is one of the best coolers used for hunting, boating, camping, fishing, etc. They are very good for retaining the ice, certified with grizzly bear-proof, and are easy to use. The pelican brand cooler comes with wheels for storing dry ice.

Igloo coolers sportsman & Marine : Igloo Products Sportsman 5 Quart Cooler, White : Sports & Outdoors

Series- They are economical with good quality, at the same time best value coolers. They are not long-lasting like top tier coolers.

The yeti Tundra Series- This is an amazing cooler it gives wonderful instructions for storing and using the dry ice in their coolers. Dry ice can be used in Yeti Tundra, but it cannot be used in Yeti Hopper.

Orca coolers : ORCA Cooler : Sports & Outdoors

This is a good investment since they are very good coolers. They are durable, outdoor-friendly, and great at retaining ice.  

Now, let us discuss the benefits of using dry ice in a cooler.

The benefits are:

  • Ice will not melt for a longer period, whereas the ice blocks and chunks can drip and result in dampness in the cooler.
  • The items that are kept in the cooler will remain frozen, between -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit or -78.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The dry ice is accessible and inexpensive.  

The safety measures for using dry ice in a cooler.  

The safety measures that are used to store the dry ice in the cooler are discussed below:

OSHA Safety & Health Compliance Workshop
  • Make sure that your hands are protected while using the dry cooler. It is important to wear hand gloves when handling the dry ice, otherwise, your hands might be frozen and badly hurt. The safety gloves can be purchased online, they don’t cost much. You can buy good ones from online stores like Amazon. If you don’t want to spend money on gloves, as an alternative you could even make use of hand towels or oven mitts.
  • DO NOT store dry ice in the freezer! It is much colder than a home freezer and causes the freezer thermostat to turn off.
  • NEVER leave dry ice in the closed vehicle or in a closed room. Also, keep the car windows down when carrying any of these substances.
  • NEVER sleep in the same room where dry ice is stored.
  • Always remember this, do not store dry ice in a freezer, Instead store the dry ice in a ventilated place and Keep the dry ice away from children.
  • Always wear goggles and face shielding equipment.
  • To dispose of the dry ice, keep the cooler in an open area outside. Never flush it to the toilet or throw it in a bin or trash.
  • NEVER eat or drink dry ice. It will burn his throat badly.
  • If there are any blisters on your skin caused by the dry ice, see the doctor as soon as possible.

Packing the dry ice in a cooler

 Let’s discuss the guidelines to pack the dry ice in the cooler so as to increase its lifespan.

How To Pack a Cooler with Dry Ice | Penguin Brand Dry Ice®
  • For safety purposes, it is always advisable to wear safety gloves.
  • To fill in the open area, you could use a crumpled newspaper or each and every piece of the dry ice can be wrapped with many layers of newspaper. The pre-frozen gel packs can also be used to fill in empty spaces.
  • The dry ice can be kept at the top or bottom of the cooler. You can store the dry ice on the top of the cooler for the best results.
  • When all the air space has been filled in the cooler, then the dry ice lasts for a longer duration.
  • Always store the dry ice container or crate in a cool place.
  • For the dry ice to last longer, try to minimize the opening of the cooler, open only when it is necessary to do so.

Final Words

In this article, we have discussed the different types of coolers that are used to store the dry ice, the safety measures that are used when handling the dry ice, and packing the dry ice in the cooler. Usually, the dry ice can last for about 15 – 24 hours when it is stored in a cooler. When the dry ice is stored in a regular Styrofoam cooler, it lasts for about eighteen to twenty-four hours. In a large cooler, the dry ice can last for about three to four days. If the dry ice is correctly packed, it can last longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast does dry ice evaporate?

To put it simply, approx. 20% of the dry ice evaporates in the first 24 hours. After two days or 48 hours, the loss is around 35% of the original dry ice volume. And after three days the dry ice has already become significantly less: Around 60% have “vanished into thin air”.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last?

Dry ice is nothing more than solid carbon dioxide (CO2) with a temperature of – 79 ° C. And it has a special feature: When it comes into contact with air, the dry ice sublimes, it “evaporates” without leaving any residue. The amount of dry ice will thereby decrease continuously.

The dry ice can last around 48 hours. From the second day onwards, the natural evaporation process reduces the cooling considerably. 

If it stored properly, dry ice can cause the following losses through sublimation (evaporation):

24 hours = approx. 20% loss

48 hours = approx. 35% loss

72 hours = approx. 60% loss