I don’t care where you’re coming from, you can only drink a beer when it’s cold.
But how do you have a cold beer while camping in the middle of nowhere?
Although it’s difficult, you can keep your beer cold when camping by either storing it in a cool box, submerge it in running stream water, wrapping it with dry ice, or by burying it in the sand.
1. Store the beer in a cool box
This is by far the most convenient solution as you don’t have to do pretty much anything. Just stick the bottles in the box, add the ice packs and your beer should be kept cold.
Whenever you’re using a cool box, a 12V one, or a simple box that uses ice packs, you need to keep in mind that this won’t actually cool a warm beer. All it does is maintain it at the temperature for as long as the ice is present or the device is connected to electricity. Therefore, make sure your beer is as cold as it can be when you put it in the cool box.
A well-insulated cool box with enough ice packs can keep the beer cold for around 2 days while camping. If you have a 12V cool box, you could probably extend this time to 3-4 days.
2. Leave the beer in running water
If your campsite is near a stream or river, then you don’t need any fancy devices to keep the beer cold. Fast flowing water, especially mountain streams is cold enough that is capable to even chill a warm beer. Depending on the outside temperature, mountain stream water temperature averages between negative temperatures and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.If it’s fast-flowing water, be sure not to leave the beer bottles randomly anywhere. Instead, use some river stones and build up a small dam so the water currents won’t be able to carry the bottles downstream. Having the dam built in a shaded place will help even more, as you may imagine what can happen when you have direct sunlight and glass together.
If the river is quite far away from you, and you don’t want to make a trip every so often to get a beer, you can use a large bucket and bring the stream water to your campsite. Leave it in a shaded place (not inside your tent) and put the beer bottles in. You should be fine for a while.
3. Wrap the beer in dry ice
Dry ice became so popular that you can pretty much find it in any grocery store nowadays. It’s made purely from carbon dioxide and it’s known to be very effective at keeping things cold.
Although it “melts” (more like evaporate) at high temperatures, give it some insulation and it should stay cold for a while. People report that they’ve managed to wrap beer in dry ice and insulation and keep it cold for days.
I’m not sure how convenient this method would be for you, you’re probably better of if you invest a little bit in a quality ice chest.
4. Bury the beer in a shaded place
If you can’t do any of the above, this might be your last solution, but again, the beer should be ice cold when you do this.
Find a permanently shaded place. It’s important that sunlight never reaches the ground. Dig a hole as deep as you can get and bury the beer inside. You can leave the cap side outside for convenience, as it’s only a relatively small surface area, and it won’t exchange too much heat with the environment.
If the ground has never been warmed by the sunlight on that day, it should be cold enough to extend the time it takes for the heat exchange to take place and therefore your beer to get warm.
This solution should work for a day or so, but your beer will get warmer as time passes.
I’ve heard about a technique that relies on the principle of evaporative cooling to chill a beer, which in theory works, but you would never find the perfect conditions to do that.
Basically, you would need to wrap the beer in a wet cloth/shirt/fabric and hang it up in a windy place. As the wind blows, it evaporates the water, therefore, cooling the beer. The physics say this might work, but I doubt that you’ll find a place where the wind is constant and you would want to unwrap and soak the cloth every so often to keep the process going.
If you want to keep the beer cold for a long period of time and don’t worry about the ice packs melting down, storing it in flowing water is probably the best thing you can do.
However, not all campsites have access to this natural cooling solution, therefore getting yourself a nice drinks cooler (preferably a 12V one) is the best way to keep beer cold while camping.