Keep Your Stuff Ice Cold in Summer at Deer Camp With a Great Cooler

A couple of weeks ago I scampered off to south Alabama to do a little hog hunting with a pal on 5,100 acres of gorgeous property chock full of deer and feral hogs.

By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor

I grabbed a cooler from my garage before departing and then stopped to pick up two 8-packs of Gatorade, water and ice. Considering it’s the middle of summer and we’d be out during the evening and night (he has a depredation permit for control), staying hydrated was a concern. Even if you’re not stalking, it’s important to drink enough fluids.



By the time I drove 2.5 hours to meet him and then loaded up the cooler and gear for another two hour drive, about half the ice was melted. By morning, there was little ice remaining and bottles were floating. The old cooler — good for a picnic, I guess, or maybe a mess of bream or catfish — just doesn’t have great insulating capabilities.


It reminded me of why having a solid, reliable cooler is a great idea for summer outings, camp workdays and in-season trips. You don’t want your camp food or beverages floating in slush or water, and you don’t want packages of tasty venison doing that, either.

Icey-Tek makes some outstanding coolers that will keep your food and beverages cold and on ice for days. These high performance coolers can keep ice for up to 12 days. They’re great for camp and in emergencies when the power goes out, because you can put in your essentials with ice and keep them cold.

Components consist of a 100% A grade polyethylene external skin with a non-staining, non-odor absorbing, impact resistant food grade internal liner. Premium polyurethane insulation is injected under pressure within the wall cavities and lid, and the lids have a fitted rubber gasket to ensure a perfect seal. That keeps internal cold air from leaking and outside hot air from entering.

Protective skids keep it from marring surfaces or sliding. Drain plugs let you empty it with out tipping on the side, and they’re lockable. They’re available at in four sizes and multiple colors.

Now, you’re thinking about money. Consider it an investment, because it is. I have scads of old, less-insulated coolers in various sizes in my garage. They’re easy to grab and load in the truck. But I’ve had them leak, lose their cold-temp retention capabilities (like on the hog hunt), tip and spill, and none of those are good.

Buying a solid, reliable Icey-Tek cooler is definitely an investment if you’re traveling and will be transporting food items or deer meat (or both) to and from camp.

A few tips on packing a cooler:

— Keep the cooler in a cool place, not out in the sun where it can get hot. Even with today’s uber-insulated coolers this will make a difference.

— Anything that can be frozen before packing in the cooler, freeze it.

— Place a full bag of ice on the bottom of the cooler and then put items on top, instead of dumping your ice around the items. The solid bag, or a block, will stay colder longer.

— Putting hot items in a cooler will lower the temperature inside and begin the melting process. If you can buy cold beverages, or cool them before packing in the cooler, do so. It’ll help keep the temperature lower.

— At camp or the hotel, put the cooler in a shady or cool location. If you leave it in the pickup truck then cover it with something, if possible. This will help keep the sun off and also maybe prevent lowdown scummy thieves from jacking your cooler.

If you don't have any grilled venison right now, since it's summer, practice with a nice beef roast and get your groove down before deer season opens and you bring home some venison!

If you don’t have any venison right now since it’s summer, practice with a nice beef roast to get your groove downpat before deer season opens and you bring home some venison!

Ready to eat?
Check out this great recipe from D&DH reader Roby Evans submitted for our popular cookbook, “We Kill It, We Grill It.” You’ll find great recipes in it for your venison and can enjoy them, or even modify them, to your tastes. Get It Here

Grilled Deer Roast
4- to 5-pound venison roast
1/2 lb sliced bacon
Fresh garlic, cloved

Basting sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup Cholula Chili Garlic or ketchup
1 cup wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
Salt, pepper to taste

Combine ingredients for basting sauce. Score the roast and place in strips of bacon and pieces of garlic. Roast on spit, then brush generously with basting sauce.* Cook over low to medium flame for 3-4 hours. Meat is done when thermometer inserted in thickest part of the meat is between 145 and 175 degrees.

* Editor’s note: If you don’t have a spit, score the roast as suggested and then wrap the bacon around, inserting garlic cloves (or slices). Baste and grill as suggested until done.