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DIY Insulated Cooler Cover

A DIY Insulated Cooler Cover is a simple solution for extending the life of the ice in your cooler. This will allow you more time camping and less time going to buy ice.

person pulling an insulated cooler cover off an ice chest

It is camping and barbecue season, which means that coolers and ice chests are working overtime to chill drinks and food. Hot or humid weather quickly melts the ice in your cooler.

Our camping friends, Peggy and Paul, created an insulated cover for their cooler that kept their ice frozen much longer. We love this idea, so we made one for ourselves.

Peggy and Paul graciously gave us permission to share this insulated cover idea with you.

cover being pulled off an ice chest

Homemade Insulated Cover for Cooler

The construction of this Reflectix cooler cover is easy. It requires just a few supplies and takes around 20-30 minutes to create.

I am not providing specific measurements since ice chest coolers vary in size. It will be easy for you to adapt this tutorial, which is at the bottom of this post, to fit your cooler.

silver thermal cover over an ice chest

Ice Chest Cover Tutorial

You just need a measuring tape and scissors for this project along with the supplies below.

supplies a thermal camping project

Here is the finished Reflectix cooler cover. It is not pretty, but it sure is effective. We also used this insulated wrap to make Fire Reflectors for our camping chairs.

cooler sitting outside with a cover on it

It was really hot and humid this weekend and we returned from two days of camping with most of the ice in the chest thanks to this thermal cooler cover.

How to Make Ice Last Longer

To optimize this DIY cooler cover, we recommend a long-lasting cooler. We have this cooler, but a Yeti cooler would benefit from one too. When we are camping for an extended period, we make replacement ice with a portable ice maker.

This was a very frugal project for us because we already had some insulated foil bubble wrap on hand from a home project. We used the foil tape for our RV Window Shades project.

Another homemade insulation idea for camping are these Solar Bunkend Covers that to keep your pop-up or hybrid trailer cool. Leftover thermal reflective tarp from that project can be used as a cooler insulation blanket.

How do you keep your food and drink cold while outside during the summer? Make yourself one of these Ice Chest Insulated Covers and keep your food fresh!

2 photo collage showing an ice chest covered with a silver cover

Yield: 1 cover

DIY Insulated Cooler Cover

insulated cover being pulled off an ice chest

Have the ice last longer in your cooler with this homemade thermal cooler cover.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • insulated foil bubble wrap
  • foil-backed tape
  • ice chest cooler


  • measuring tape
  • scissors


    1. Lay the insulated wrap around the cooler and figure out how you are going to cover it.
    2. The wrap we had came in sections, so we figured out the best way to section it together to cover the top and sides of the cooler.
    3. We found it easiest to cover the sides of the cooler first, create a top, and then join them together.
    4. Cut the insulated wrap as cutting insulated foam
    5. Tape the sections together using the foil-backed tape.
    6. Smooth down the tape. insulated foam wrap being taped
    7. Adjoin the top and bottom to form the cover.2 photo collage of a cooler cover being made
    8. Create a handle at the top or on the sides.
    9. Slip it over your cooler.


The supplies cost more than $5, but you can make several covers out of one roll of the wrap.

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Did you make this project?

Please share a photo on our Facebook page or on Pinterest!


Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

You can take it a step further by also lining the inside with the reflective bubble wrap. I made it so it is removable. Cut one piece so that it goes all the way around on the inside. Roll tape so that it is sticky on both sides and stick it around the top edge. Cut a bottom piece and leave the corners square. This will help keep the sides in place. For the top cut so it fits inside the lid. Use roll tape again to keep it stuck to the lid. So, for travel we use 2inch styrofoam with the foil on top. Cut it to fit on the top of the lid. Foil is facing up to reflect the sun. We just bungee cord it to the top. Both these ideas work fantastic. One not to improve your cover is to cut flaps on the side so you can carry your cooler. Just a thought.

Diana Hansen

Thursday 24th of August 2023

Great idea!


Wednesday 19th of July 2023

So would a grommet hold in the reflectix material? I would like to cover my cooler during transport in the back of my truck, just getting to my campsite puts the cooler in direct 110-115 degree sunlight for 2 hours and my ice is quite melted when I get there. I was thinking about adding some grommets and making a spot to tie it to the cooler so it doesn't fly off during transport.

Diana Hansen

Wednesday 19th of July 2023

The reflectix is pretty thick, so I am unsure of a grommet. We have added grommets to survival blankets, but nothing thicker.


Thursday 13th of July 2023

I made this last summer and after several camping trips in HOT weather I can say this really works!! Keeps ice in the cooler at least a full day longer. I don't need to buy a $300 cooler anymore, thanks for this great idea!

Diana Hansen

Friday 14th of July 2023

You are welcome!

Jeff McNary

Friday 11th of February 2022

Might be cheaper to use Reflectix (Lowes has it)...I've used it to make cooler covers...

Diana Hansen

Sunday 13th of February 2022

Yes. We have Reflectix mentioned in the tut. We love that stuff!


Thursday 18th of July 2019

Reflectix is a brand of this stuff that I have heard about many times. Is this stuff or the Dollar Tree ones from the bunk ends the same quality?

Diana Rambles

Friday 19th of July 2019

Reflectix is thick! It is way thicker and insulating than the Dollar Tree or bunkend ones. I used survival blankets for our bunkend covers and Dollar Tree shades for our pop-up windows.

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