Your Guide to stocking an Epic Beach Esky
Packing a picnic is an essential Australian activity – no one wants to get to the beach and have something missing, and fun in the sun always creates a healthy appetite. A well-stocked esky can make a good trip great, while going without the things you need is just disappointing.
Here’s some tips on how to pack an epic beach esky that will let you make the most of your time in the sun.
Keep it Cool
Ice is a necessity for keeping things cool, but as it takes up space and can be heavy you want to get the most out of it. With a bit of forethought, your drinks can also double as ice packs – juice boxes that have been frozen overnight make great ice bricks. You can also half-fill water bottles and lay them on their side in the freezer, ready to be topped up with water when an icy-cold drink is required.
Loose ice is still necessary to keep consistent temperature throughout the esky, but if you keep some of it loosely in bags you know it’s clean to use in drinks. When the ice melts, water is better at holding onto cold, so don’t tip it out if you don’t have to.
Your first priority should be hydration. Days on the beach need a whole lot of drinks to keep everyone going strong. Along with any soft drinks or juice, take plenty of water for each person to replace all the moisture they’re bound to lose in the sun and surf.
For a whole day out, your food needs to suit your activities. Lunch foods should be able to accommodate a grab-and-go style of eating – sandwiches, sushi, wraps or premade salads are light, fresh, and easy to eat on the run. Pad that out with chips, pre-cut fruit and some cookies.
Most beach dinners use the BBQ. Try to have as much prepared as you can – trying to cut up salad with a bread knife while sand is blowing is not fun and doesn’t get the best results. Your raw meat will need to be well sealed and kept on the very bottom of the esky to avoid dripping on your pre-made food.
Have healthy snack options on hand at all times – grazing platters are a popular option, some sort of fruit is a must, and options like rice crackers and dip keep people coming back for more. Don’t forget a rubber band or some kind of closure for packets that have been opened but not finished to keep the sand out.
Plan your Packing
How you pack your esky makes it easier on the day. Who wants to unload everything onto the sand and in the sun, trying to reach something down the bottom? Pack in reverse order from how you intend to eat – that means dinner goes in first, lunch on top, and find room for snacks on the sides. Remember to never stack raw meat on top of fresh or pre-cooked items, it should go on the bottom.
Use ice thoughtfully. A layer of cold packs on the bottom, a few more for the top, and some loose ice on things that really need the extra cooling should keep everything nice and fresh, even if your esky lid is opening and closing throughout the day.
Take your Tools.
It might not go directly in your esky, but there are plenty of non-food items that you’ll need to bring. Don’t forget your dishware, cutlery, napkins, cutting board, a sharp knife, tongs, something to clean the BBQ with, aluminium foil, and wet wipes for easy cleaning. There are plenty of eco-friendly options available so you don’t have to use plastic for everything.
Most importantly, no one has a good time getting burned in the sun. You should put your sunscreen on before you leave, but with the sun and waves you’ll need to reapply often. Storing your sunscreen in the esky helps keep it cool and pleasant to apply. Carroten SPF 50+ Sensicare Milk Spray is a great option to care for the whole family, no matter their skin type.
Planning Your Esky
A great picnic will look a little different for each person, but the process of planning it out stays the same. A bit of thought before you leave the house means more time to enjoy yourself once you’re at your destination.
Plan well, pack your favourites, and remember to stay sun safe. There’s plenty of summer left – make the most of it with epic beach trips, Carroten sunscreen, and the perfect beach esky.