Ice packs are designed to help you keep your food and other perishables cold or frozen. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Some, like click heat packs, contain wires that generate heat. Other packs are made of a solid block of ice. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.
Choose the Right Size
Cold packs come in a variety of sizes. They can fit into small coolers or lunch boxes, making them ideal for shipping smaller packages and food items. They also help protect products from damage during transit, ensuring they arrive in good condition at their destination.
Choosing the right size of gel long lasting ice packs for shipping depends on how long you need your package to stay frozen or refrigerated. For shorter shipments, a few gel ice packs should suffice. But for longer trips, you’ll need a more significant number of packs to keep the contents cool and prevent them from melting during transport.
Dry ice should never be packed with foods vulnerable to freezing, like flowers and live fish or textures that will change if frozen. It’s also important to know that dry ice can burn skin, so always wear gloves when handling it.
The best ice packs for shipping can remain frozen for an extended period while still being safe to handle and keeping the contents of the packaging cold. To extend the lifespan of your ice packs, you should place them in the freezer overnight before you use them. Then, store them in a container allowing you to access them quickly if there is a leak.
Keep the Packs Clean
While most ice packs are non-toxic, they can leave water or other liquids behind if not appropriately handled. These liquids can stain surfaces and fabrics, so if you’re not careful, you could damage your shipment or the recipient’s possessions. To avoid this, keep your ice packs away from other items like food, drinks, and flowers that can stain, and only use them in a container or box designed for perishables.
Several types of ice packs are available, each with its own set of unique features. Gel ice packs are flexible even when frozen, making them easy to wrap around containers and into irregular spaces. Pliable ice packs fold and bend to fit the sides and tops of insulated shipping containers and pan carriers.
Freezer-safe ice packs can also be stored in the freezer until needed. If you are purchasing multiple ice packs, make sure to check their measurements and dimensions before buying. By following this approach, you can select the appropriate package that matches your unique requirements and make sure it fits perfectly in the storage area you have designated for it. The length of your payload’s shipment and its temperature range will also dictate the number of ice packs you must purchase. For instance, if you’re sending a frozen package that will be in transit for 24 hours or less, only a few gel ice packs are necessary.
Store the Packs in a Safe Place
During shipping, ice packs help keep foods and drinks cold. However, they can also release moisture when freezing and melting. Depending on the shipment’s temperature, this can affect its freshness and quality. For this reason, storing the packs in a safe place where they will not be damaged or contaminated by other items is essential.
In addition to storing them in a cool place, checking the ice pack’s packaging for instructions on using and storing them properly is essential. For example, dry ice must be stored in a purpose-designed non-airtight container, unsuitable for household storage or sink disposal. Instead, it should be disposed of in a well-ventilated designated area.
The types of ice packs vary widely, but all are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Some have a small size that allows them to fit easily into lunch bags and other smaller containers, while others are flexible and can bend around corners or the tops of insulated food boxes and pan carriers. The most common ice pack type is gel-like, made of a safe, nontoxic chemical.
These ice packs are typically designed to last one to two hours and can be refrozen and used several times. These packs are often used with dry ice to stabilize the refrigerated temperatures of temperature-sensitive goods in transit, including pharmaceuticals, blood samples, medication, and food.
Use the Packs Properly
Cold packs are easy to use and have fewer shipping restrictions than dry ice, but they dethaw more quickly. However, they can be refrozen and reused, and most can be used in tandem with dry ice when shipping perishables.
Before using the packs, it is essential to let them thaw and cool to room temperature before freezing again. This will help them retain cooling power and prevent the dreaded freezer burn. Store the packs in an airtight bag or bin before freezing is also a good idea. This will keep them from making a mess and protect them in case of leakage.
Several reusable gel packs are on the market; the right one will depend on your specific needs. Gel ice packs are typically pliable even when frozen and can bend around food containers and fit into irregular spaces in insulated coolers and pan carriers. They are often a good choice for smaller packages that require more precise temperature control.
Any item that can spoil if not maintained at a specific temperature can be shipped using ice packs. This includes fresh meats, flowers, pharmaceuticals, and cooked foods. However, choosing dry ice when shipping these items is a good idea, as handling can be safer.