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DIY Insulated Cooler Cover

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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.

silver thermal cover over 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 melt 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 Cooler Cover

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.

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.

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 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?

collage of an insulated cooler 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

Materials

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

Tools

  • measuring tape
  • scissors

Instructions

    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 needed.man 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.

Notes

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

Recommended Products

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Kristin

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.

Myst D

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Not as thick but couldn't you use a rescue blanket (silver reflective blanket) in a pinch?

Diana Rambles

Saturday 21st of July 2018

Absolutely!

mtnchild

Wednesday 27th of June 2018

I have an older cab over truck camper with the window in front ... it gets very hot in the summer and freezing in late fall and early spring. I cut a piece of the reflective bubble wrap insulation to fit the window and wiggled it into the inside channel of the window ... WOW did that help cool it down in summer! It also darkens the bed area for when the sun comes up at 5:30 am. I leave it in my window summer and winter, but keep an eye on any condensation that may form between the bubble wrap and the window.

Diana Rambles

Thursday 28th of June 2018

Yes! This reflective stuff is awesome! We did similar for our pop-up camper. Here is that post on our camping blog: https://letscampsmore.com/custom-window-shades/

Fran

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Great!!!! I used foil over sunny windows for years. I have a bd that has a hot afternoon side now i can fix it Tks

Diana Rambles

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

We have a few insulation projects coming out on our camping blog. It's quite silvery around our campsite.

Dean P.

Wednesday 14th of June 2017

Thanks, Good Idea!

We are making window shades out of this material for our POP-Up camper windows, to darken the bright light that sometimes comes in early in the morning and to reflect the sun during the day and keep the camper cooler. You can cut the material to just a bit smaller than shape of your windows and insert it in-between the window screen, and the Zip-down canvas inside window panel. Easy, quiet, flexible, and stores nice when folding down camper top. Solves a few problems with the hot summer sun in the Missouri Ozarks.

Lots of good ideas that you can do with this material isn't there !

Dean

Diana Rambles

Wednesday 14th of June 2017

Yes, Dean! We have made these for our pop-up windows too. We will be putting up a post about it on our camping blog soon: http://letscampsmore.com