A lot of people think they're great party hosts, but they have no cooler packing skills.  Saturday was  the official start of summer, so here's a list of six tips to pack a better cooler.  

Keep in mind, I've learned these over a long, storied career of outdoor shenanigans.  So here's my ideas on how to make the most out of that cooler action. And hopefully you've entered into our Backyard BBQ Contest with County Distributing to win a new cooler and all the outside essentials. If you haven't, get on that now! You've got until June 30 to submit your photos. So if you win, I've got to get you ready to use that stuff correctly, right?!

1.  Get it started early.  You should pack a cooler about two hours before guests arrive, or before you head out to the lake or the picnic. That gives plenty of time for beer or soda to get cold, but not enough for all the ice to melt.

2.  Use bagged ice.  Don't take ice out of your fridge for the cooler.  You'll need it for cocktails later.  And the bagged ice is a better size for fitting in between cans.

3.  Build layers.  Beer and soda cans should go in first, then ice.  You keep it more even that way, and you can pack more in the cooler.  After that, put in bottled beer, (or if you're really fancy, bottled soda like IBC) and put wine on the top because it shouldn't be as cold.

4.  Pour cold water over the ice.  A pitcher of cold water will help cool drinks down faster.

5.  Keep extra drinks on deck in the sink, or in a second fridge.  When the cooler goes empty, you need to have cold drinks ready to go.  No one wants to wait for beer to get cold AFTER they've started drinking. And you know how impatient kids can get if they'll have to wait on a cold juice box or something.

6.  Have a separate ice supply for drinks.  Don't make people grab ice out of the cooler with their bare hands.  We're not animals here.  And have a plastic cup or something in there!  Don't make us share germs and spit and stuff. Uncle Rodney is a good dude, but Uncle Rodney also chews, and I don’t want his cup with possible tobacco juice residue going into the communal ice.

Alright, now that we've gone over the basics of the art of the cooler, what's going to be in your cooler this summer?  What are some of your favorite foods and drinks or snacks to pack for that weekend camping or boating?  Tell me here in our survey and I'll share your answers on the air!

Cooly yours,


More From AM 1050 KSIS