Maximizing Ice Retention

Tips for Maximizing Your YETI® Cooler's Performance

YETI coolers are very strong and tough, but durability is just one of the benefits of a YETI. Outstanding thermal properties set YETI apart.

YETI coolers are among the best insulated coolers on the market today (up to 5 cm or more of polyurethane insulation in the walls and lid of most sizes). This insulation, combined with a freezer-quality sealing gasket and durable one-piece construction, gives YETI industry-leading ice retention. Use the information below to maximize your YETI cooler’s performance.

Start with a Cool Cooler

If stored in warm places, a significant amount of ice will be wasted cooling the cooler itself. Preload your cooler a few hours prior to use with a sacrificial bag of ice to cool it down.

Ice Temperatures Vary Significantly

Warm ice (around 0°C) is typically wet or dripping, and won’t last long. Ice that is colder than the freezing point is relatively dry and will last substantially longer.

Block Ice vs. Cubed Ice

Smaller, cubed ice will chill a cooler and the contents more quickly, but block ice melts at a much slower rate. Most pros use a mix of both to chill contents and achieve long-term ice retention.

air is the enemy

Large areas of air inside your cooler will accelerate ice-melt as the ice is consumed cooling the air. These spaces are best filled with extra ice, towels, or crumpled newspaper if weight is a concern.

Don't drain the water

Once your cooler is in use, do not empty the cold water. It will be almost as cold as the ice and will help insulate the remaining ice. However, exposed food and meat should be kept out of the water.

Sunlight is a Heat Source

Keep your cooler out of direct sunlight when possible. Ice can last up to twice as long in the shade. Some pros even use tarps or towels to cover their coolers when they can’t find a shaded spot.

Limit Cooler Access

Every time you open the cooler, you are exchanging the cold air inside for warm air outside that must then be cooled, causing faster ice-melt. Pros sometimes limit their access to once per day.

Dry Ice is Best

A major benefit of the YETI Tundra®, Roadie®, and TANK® is their dry ice compatibility. There are a few hints and tricks to using dry ice safely and effectively. When used in your YETI cooler*, dry ice can keep food and drinks cold and frozen longer than regular ice.

yeti ice supplement

Extend your regular ice with YETI ICE. YETI ICE is dialed in to a temperature just below that of regular ice. That fine-tuning allows YETI ICE to do all the cooling work before your ice melts.

YETI ICE Suggested Configuration by Cooler Size

Check out the YETI ICE Configuration Guide here 

Using Dry Ice in a Cooler*

A major benefit of the YETI Tundra, Roadie, or Tank cooler is its dry ice compatibility. There are a few hints and tricks to using dry ice safely and effectively. When used in your YETI cooler, dry ice can keep food and drinks cold and frozen longer than regular ice.

What is dry ice?

Dry Ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide and its -78° C temperature makes it perfect for freezing quickly and keeping items frozen. Dry ice gives off more than twice the cooling power per pound than regular water ice, and this added benefit provides a dramatic weight savings when packing your YETI Tundra, Roadie, or Tank.

Proper handling and safety

Dry ice is completely safe to be used alone or combined with regular water ice, but there are handling precautions to keep in mind. Because dry ice is so cold, it must be handled with protective leather or cloth gloves (oven mitts or hand towels also work) to prevent freezer burning. It is also wise to keep dry ice away from small children.

One other safety item to keep in mind is ventilation. Because dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, when it melts, or sublimates, it gives off carbon dioxide gas. It is not harmful, but without proper ventilation (example: riding in a closed vehicle), it can cause shortness of breath, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness because the carbon dioxide will displace oxygen. The simple solutions are as follows: store your cooler with dry ice in well-ventilated areas and make sure there is proper ventilation during transportation.

Putting that dry ice to work

  • Use one 25-cm/4.5-kg block of dry ice per 38-cm length section of your YETI Tundra, Roadie, or Tank. This will ensure everything is kept frozen, including water ice, for at least 24–48 hours.
  • Wrap each block of dry ice in several sheets of newspaper before packing.
  • Dry ice can be packed on top of or below food, but it will keep longer if packed on top (for convenience, many people pack it on bottom).
  • When packing the cooler with dry ice, try to minimize air pockets (empty space) in your YETI. Less air space will keep dry ice frozen longer. Water ice can be used to fill this space.
  • As with regular ice, try to keep your YETI in the coolest temperature spot available. Covering your cooler with a blanket or sleeping bag will help preserve all ice longer.
  • Dry ice can be used in combination with cubed or blocked water ice.


Unfortunately, we have seen the effects a hurricane or a natural disaster can have on our communities. Using your YETI combined with dry ice and regular water ice could dramatically increase the chances of your perishable items enduring the situation.

*Dry ice not recommended for use with YETI Hopper™.