Keeping Things Frozen During a Long Distance Move Without a Cooler

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long-distance moving companies Calgary
long-distance moving companies Calgary

Moving long distance can be tricky when trying to keep food frozen. Get tips on alternatives to coolers like dry ice and freezer pads to keep items completely frozen.

When undertaking a long-distance move, transporting frozen items can prove challenging, especially when long-distance moving companies Calgary residents trust don’t allow perishables. 

Rather than give up your frozen goods, get creative with storage solutions that don’t require power or ice. 

With some preparation using dry ice, gel packs, or insulation, you can keep items completely frozen for the one to five days a move requires.

Dry Ice is a Frozen Lifesaver

The best method I found for transporting frozen foods without a cooler is to use dry ice. While regular ice needs cold air to maintain its frozen state, dry ice transforms directly from a solid to a gas through sublimation. 

This means it doesn’t create moisture or liquid as it interacts with the frozen items.I purchased 10 pounds of dry ice pellets the day before the move, which only cost $1.50 per pound. 

I spread a 1-inch layer of pellets across the bottom of five cardboard moving boxes. Then I tightly packed the boxes with frozen items like meat, casseroles, berries, and ice cream sandwiches. I added a few more pellets on top and taped the boxes shut.

The dry ice kept the centers of each box at 0°F for the entire three days of driving. Nothing thawed even a bit! 

I highly recommend using dry ice for transporting frozen foods during long-distance moves. Just be sure to handle it carefully to avoid skin damage from extreme cold.

Gel Packs Work in a Pinch

If you can’t get dry ice, gel freezer packs make a decent second option. I supplemented the dry ice boxes with some non-perishables packed in boxes with gel packs. 

Simply freeze them overnight or longer to get them as cold as possible pre-packing. Then layer the solid gel packs throughout the box.

The gel packs only maintained a temperature of 25°F though, so I don’t recommend them for super perishable items like meat. 

Frozen fruits and non-dairy items held their frozen state with the gel packs alone. But you’ll want to limit time out of the freezer to less than 48 hours.

Insulate with Newsprint for Short Moves

If you just need to transport frozen items across town, you likely have enough insulation already at home. 

Simply wrap frozen foods tightly in newsprint or bubble wrap. Choose smaller packages over large ones so the center stays cold. 

Then pack them in an insulated cooler bag or between towels and blankets to protect them from ambient temperatures.

This DIY insulation method only works for short moves under six hours. But in a pinch, it beats having to refreeze thawed items. Just don’t expect food to stay truly frozen solid over long periods unrefrigerated.

Let It Go…To the New Freezer

With some clever freezing techniques, you don’t need an expensive, powered cooler to maintain frozen foods in a move. 

Prioritize dry ice above gel packs or makeshift insulation, budgeting 1-2 pounds per day you expect the items to be unrefrigerated. This will keep them 0°F or less throughout even multi-day transports. Carefully handling dry ice is key for safety, but it offers the best and longest-lasting result. 

Just be sure to unpack frozen items first at your destination and get them back into a freezer ASAP. Then you can enjoy perfectly preserved frozen foods despite the distance thanks to reliable freezing methods.