Dry ice in coolers

Anybody have any experience with using dry ice in coolers? If so:
  • Is the carbonation/gas thing really an issue for food? If so, is plastic (like a vacuum seal bag or store packaging) sufficient barrier?
  • Any experience with using dry ice to keep an ice-only cooler vs dry ice in each cooler? I ask because of the potential of turning coolers into freezers, which isn't really what I'm going for, other than keeping ice frozen. I don't want to be dealing with defrosting, I just want stuff fridge-temp to start cooking with.


Active Member
I worked for years in the Mojave, Sonoran and cold desert with a crew living out of our vehicles. We used dry ice to keep samples we collected frozen. 50lbs would last 3 or 4 days, maybe a week. But everything in that cooler was frozen solid. Never had any trouble with carbonation. For food or beverages we just wanted to keep cold we would use the heavy insulated coolers with one or two blocks of ice, put the food in, then top it off with crushed ice. We would put more crushed ice in every few days, but the block would keep for about a week. We put drinks in one cooler and the food in another because the drinks cooler was opened all of the time so the ice didn't last as long. That way the food cooler stayed closed so food would not spoil.