The 5 Best Ice Packs for Coolers – [2021 Reviews]

Keep your food fresh & drinks cool on the go, we break down this year's top ice packs for coolers

Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

These are the most reliable and durable ice replacement packs. And some can stay cold for as long as 48 hours. We’ll take a look at the top-rated and best portable ice cooler packs for the money. Also see: How To Choose The Best Ice Pack.

Best Ice Packs for Coolers

 Cooler Shock Zero°F Cooler Freeze PacksYETI ICE Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice PackHealthy Packers Cool Pack
editors choice

Gel or WaterWater with Cooler Shock formulated dry mixGelFDA-approved Gel
Usable Range (hours)24 - 48 hours4 - 8 hours6 - 12 hours
Made InUSANot specified China
Customer Ratings4.7 / 5.0 Stars3.9 / 5.0 Stars4.6 / 5.0 Stars

Also see: Ice Packs Comparison Table

Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Ice Pack for Coolers

  1. Cooler Shock Zero°F Cooler Freeze Packs
  2. YETI ICE Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack
  3. Healthy Packers Cool Pack
  4. Engel Coolers 32F Degree Hard Shell Cooler Pack
  5. Rubbermaid Blue Ice Freezer Pack

 Ice Packs for Coolers Reviews

#1 Cooler Shock Zero°F Cooler Freeze Packs

best ice packs for coolers


  • Dimensions: Large ice pack 10″x 14″
  • Safety Features: Non-hazardous
  • Gel or Water: Water with Cooler Shock formulated dry mix
  • Made In: USA
  • Lasts For: Up to 48 hours
  • Temperature: 18F or -8C
  • Product Options: To get the best value, we recommend buying a 3 pack of the large screw-cap or zipper-sealed. This is the equivalent of 20 pounds of ice – but reusable.
  • Purchase Guarantee: Guaranteed to be the coldest and longest-lasting product in its category on the market. Warrantied for 90 days.
You might be wondering what the freezing agent for this ice pack bag is, since “water with Cooler Shock formulated dry mix” is somewhat vague.

Due to proprietary reasons, the company doesn’t disclose what the dry mix is made of, but this product is based on some serious science.

When you add water to the Cooler Shock mix and place it in the freezer, once it gets to 18° Fahrenheit, it changes from a solid to a gel. It’s denser than ice, making the energy concentration higher than ice and other ice pack products.

Cooler Shock Ice Pack demonstration filling a dry ice pack

The cold bag is made of 5 different layers, including nylon and aluminum, and is especially designed for rapid energy transfer. You need to freeze this product for a significant amount of time – between 24 and 48 hours – but once that’s over with, you get up to two days of freezing power from this ice bag.

best ice pack cooler shock

In our opinion, this is the best ice pack for coolers because of the price point, incredible duration it stays cold for, and the no-spill packaging.

#2: YETI ICE Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice Pack


  • Dimensions: YETI ICE 1 lb – 8″ x 2 5/8″ x 1 5/8″
    YETI ICE 2 lb – 8″ x 5 3/8″ x 1 5/8″
    YETI ICE 4 lb – 10 3/4″ x 8″ x 1 5/8″
  • Safety Features: Non-toxic, food safe
  • Gel or Water: Gel
  • Made In: Not specified
  • Lasts For: 4 – 8 hours
  • Temperature: -2C or 28F 
  • Product Options: 1 lb, 2 lb or 4 lb reusable ice packs
  • Purchase Guarantee: Not specified
 If you are looking for an instant ice pack to take on a rough-and-tumble camping trip, this is a great product. It has break-resistant packaging and the custom shape reduces the time it takes to freeze, allowing you to get out into nature quicker.

best ice pak yeti

This ice pack freezes quick and works fast, but it doesn’t last as long as some of the other ice pack bags we’ve reviewed. It stays freezing cold for 4 hours, but it can start to lose its chill after that. This ice pack is handy for emergency uses, as opposed to long trips that require prolonged cold.

These fit perfectly into Yeti Tundra, Roadie, and Hopper coolers, but can be used in any cooler or compartment that needs to be kept cold.

#3: Healthy Packers Cool Pack


  • Dimensions: 7″ x 4.8″ x 0.7″
  • Safety Features: Made with 100% BPA free, non-toxic materials
  • Gel or Water: FDA-approved gel
  • Made In: China 
  • Lasts For: 6 – 12 hours
  • Temperature: Not specified 
  • Product Options: Set of 4 or 8 reusable cold packs
  • Purchase Guarantee: 100% money back guarantee if dissatisfied with product
Healthy Packers Cool Packs are the best ice packs for lunch boxes. They are incredibly slim, but also hard, and won’t break or leak on your meal. They will stay completely frozen for 6 hours, and can last longer in some circumstances.

best ice packs cool pak

This product is a great kids ice pack thanks to the 100% BPA free non-toxic material it is made of and the FDA approved gel. It lasts the school day, so if your kid doesn’t finish their lunch, it’s still edible to have as a snack when they get home.

#4: Engel Coolers 32F Degree Hard Shell Cooler Pack


  • Dimensions: Small/medium pack (2lb): 9.375” length x 7.125″ width x 1.375″ height
    Large pack (5lb): 12.5” length x 8.375″ width x 1.625″ height
  • Safety Features: Non-toxic, non-hazardous
  • Gel or Water: Gel
  • Made In: Not specified 
  • Lasts For: Up to 96 hours
  • Temperature: 20F or 32F (two options) 
  • Product Options: Small/medium pack or large pack; two temperature options: 20F or 32F
  • Purchase Guarantee: 12-month warranty
This is a heavy-duty ice pack for coolers. The hard shell makes it essentially unbreakable. This product is so trusted, many healthcare professionals, doctors, fisherman and hunters rely on it for their professions!

best ice packs engel

It’s a great environmentally-friendly alternative to gas emitting dry ice. The pack gets exceptionally cold (20F or 32F), lasts longer than any gel freezer pack on the market (up to 96 hours), and is reusable up to 5 years. It’s safe to say you’ll get your money’s wort out of this product.

 #5: Rubbermaid Blue Ice Freezer Pack


  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 11.9 inches
  • Safety Features: Non-toxic, BPA free
  • Gel or Water: Gel
  • Made In: USA
  • Lasts For: Approximately 8 – 12 hours
  • Temperature: Not specified
  • Product Options: For best value, purchase the 12-pack
  • Purchase Guarantee: Defective products are replaced
If you need a bunch of small gel ice packs, the 12-pack option gets you a great product at an economical price point. These cold packs are small and cheap enough to outfit all of your cabin coolers, fishing bait boxes, and other outdoor supplies.

You won’t have to worry about losing them thanks to the minimal cost, or not fitting your cooler, due to their compact size.

However, if you are seeking a highly durable ice pack, you should consider other products. The packaging of this cool pack is thin plastic and can break or rip somewhat easily. Be warned – the blue gel can stain!

If ripping is a concern, pop your Rubbermaid Blue Ice Freezer Pack into a Ziploc bag before placing it in your cooler.

Because of the relative “disposable” nature of these bags they make a good ice pack for lunch box, when you aren’t expecting them to return home anyway.

Ice Packs Comparison Table

  Gel or WaterUsable Range (hours)Made InCustomer Ratings
Cooler Shock Zero°F Cooler Freeze PacksWater with Cooler Shock formulated dry mix24 - 48 hoursUSA4.7 / 5.0 Stars
YETI ICE Re-Freezable Reusable Cooler Ice PackGel4 - 8 hoursNot specified 3.9 / 5.0 Stars
Healthy Packers Cool PackFDA-approved Gel6 - 12 hoursChina4.6 / 5.0 Stars
Engel Coolers 32F Degree Hard Shell Cooler PackGelUp to 96 hoursNot specified 3.9 / 5.0 Stars
Rubbermaid Blue Ice Freezer PackGel 8 – 12 hoursUSANew

How to Choose the Best Ice Pack

  1. Why Regular Ice Doesn’t Cut It in A Cooler?
  2. What about adding salt to ice in my cooler?
  3. Dry Ice Vs. Reusable Ice Packs
  4. Important Ice Pack Terminology
  5. Safety Terms
  6. Ice Pack Purchase Considerations

Every family that enjoys the great outdoors needs reliable refrigeration for food and drinks. In this article we will discuss the best ice packs for coolers, and how to decide which is best for you.

Whether your activity is camping, fishing, hiking, or canoeing, you need a trusted cold pack to make sure your water and food stay chilled so it doesn’t spoil, and leave you and your family thirsty and hungry.

Without cold water and palatable food, the most picture-perfect family outing can quickly be turned into a frustrating day of bickering and stomach growls.

In this side-by-side product review Outside Pursuits leads you through everything you need to know in order to compare and choose the best ice packs for coolers to meet your specific food refrigeration requirements. What is the best ice pack for coolers?

We’ve reviewed the 5 best ice packs for coolers to help you decide which product fits your needs, and will keep your family satisfied on long outdoor excursions.

And you’ll find some great information about the manufacture, and the differences, of ice packs in our buyers guide herein entitled, How To Choose the Best Ice Pack.

best ice pak yeti

Why Regular Ice Doesn’t Cut It in A Cooler?

If you’ve ever tried to keep your cooler chilled with good old fashioned regular ice, you already know why it doesn’t even come close to the function and ease of use of reusable ice packs.

Water reaches freezing point at 0° C (32° F). Once you take ice out of a freezer keeping it at this temperature, it begins to melt. Without special additives, packaging, insulation, or energy-transferring covers, it can rapidly turn your cooler into a bath tub with floating lukewarm snacks.

It’s gross, it ruins everything you have in the cooler, and it’s annoying. Most of all, it’s unnecessary! There are too many options on the market to allow this sort of thing to happen and ruin a perfectly good camping or fishing trip.

What about adding salt to ice in my cooler?

Adding rock salt to your cooler ice does effectively lower the freezing/melting point of it. It keeps ice colder longer, so it doesn’t melt as quickly. However, it doesn’t last as long as many of the ice packs on the market, and it will still leave you with a watery mess in the end.

Dry Ice vs. Reusable Ice Packs

Dry ice is actually carbon dioxide – it’s what you breathe out when you exhale, and it’s what makes soda fizzy. Dry ice is incredibly cold. It averages about negative 109.3 degrees Fahrenheit or negative 78.5 degrees Celsius.

The biggest difference between dry ice and regular ice, besides the temperature, is that it does not liquefy as it warms. Dry ice becomes a gas that fades away. This may seem great, but there are serious downsides to it.

Because it is so severely cold, you need to handle it very carefully. You cannot touch it with bare hands. Dry ice must be handled with protective cloth – like an oven mitt or towel – or leather gloves. Prolonged touching or contact to skin will cause an injury similar to a burn.

Really, dry ice is best for freezing items that aren’t going to be used for a long period of time. This is why most mail-ordered meats come packaged in dry ice.

Also, dry ice can’t be used in a regular cooler. It can only be used in coolers that are specifically designed for it. Dry ice isn’t very versatile, and requires a lot of planning. It’s not a good option to pop in your cooler on an outdoor weekend getaway.

Important Ice Pack Terminology

All products have their own vernacular. You’ll likely see the following terms while you’re shopping for the best cooler ice packs:

General Terms


Products that are intended to be used more than once. This might indicate a two-use product, or a product that will last you for five years. It’s all relative, so read up on your product and check out reviews.

“Subzero temperature”

Just a fancy way of saying any temperature below 0 degrees celsius.


These ice packs claim to be durable and totally unbreakable. Companies that claim this normally have a warranty to cover their claim.

“Hard shell”

An ice pack which has a hard outer exterior that is not moldable. This is important to note when sizing up the right ice pack to fit in your cooler.

Safety Terms


These are products that claim to be non-poisonous, safe, and non-irritating when used as the manufacturer intended.

However, it’s important to be aware that there is no standard right now for judging whether a consumer product (or its ingredients) are non-toxic and have been verified as such.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, some companies put the non-toxic label on products that don’t meet the definition of toxic – but this doesn’t necessarily mean the product should be considered non-toxic.

Always use ice packs carefully, and look into the product contents and company if you doubt the label.


These products claim they do not contain any chemicals, liquids, solids or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, or the environment.

Just because a product doesn’t meet the requirements of a hazardous or dangerous good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is fully non-hazardous.

“Environmentally friendly”

These products claim to be sustainable and either reduce, cause minimal damage or no impact at all on the environment and ecosystem.

Like the previous safety terms, this label is often used as a marketing ploy and doesn’t mean much unless it is stamped by an authority or regulator.


BPA-free products do not contain bisphenol A (BPA), which is a compound that has been linked to adverse health effects like infertility, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.

Ice Pack Purchase Considerations

  • Size

This should go without saying, but make sure you select an ice pack that can actually fit in your cooler!

Consider both the width and height of an ice pack. It might fit in one way, but not the other. And always keep in mind, you will have other things in your cooler than the ice pack! You should have plenty of room for drinks and snacks.

  • Duration It Stays Cold For

Do you go on afternoon hiking and fishing adventures, or do you like to go camping for a whole weekend? This is the second most important factor to consider after the size of a cooler ice pack.

There’s nothing worse than getting excited for a new product and then realizing it doesn’t meet your needs. Think about your requirements carefully before purchasing a cooler pack.

  • Weight

If you are going to physically carry your cooler on a long trek, weight is definitely something to consider. Ice packs can range in weight, depending on the size and freezing agent.

  • Casing/Packaging/Shell

If you have young children who tend to get into your cooler, it might be smart to get soft ice packs just in case they decide to throw one at their sibling. It you know your cooler gets thrown around, you’ll want to get a hard shell to reduce the likelihood of it breaking or leaking.

Many ice packs have a hard shell, so don’t count on an ice pack being flexible to fit into your cooler. Soft ice packs will be labelled as such.

Thanks for reading The 5 Best Ice Packs For Coolers. We hope this review article has helped you choose the best cooler refrigeration product for your needs from among our top picks for cooler ice packs. Wherever you’re headed stay safe out on the road and enjoy your travels.

And if you’re shopping for other gear take a look at these related review articles from Outside Pursuits:


How We Researched

To come up with the top ice packs, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Target, Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart along with our own personal experience.

We also consulted online magazines for product research and reviews to get as much unbiased information as we could. To help weed out fake reviews we used to make sure we only looked at genuine reviews.

With so much quality gear available, we had to narrow it down based on what we felt were the best options for the price. The staff authors have a wide and varied background in adventure travel, hiking and backpacking.

The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.

To help narrow down the selection we used personal experiences along with recommendations from fellow travelers and tour guides.

After extensive research, we came up with our list to help you choose the right one for you.



Notice: is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

Richard Moore

Richard is a co-founder of and major contributor to Outside Pursuits. He has trekking and survival experience throughout Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Richard contributes his extensive travel and outdoor experience to the editorial topics and content on Outside Pursuits including outdoor gear, motorcycle accessories, auto/4x4 accessories, and tools. In 1998, he survived in the wilderness for over a week without food or specialist equipment. He was stranded on the northern coast of Honduras following Category 5 Hurricane Mitch.

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