Ice packs are a crucial part of insulated shipping for perishables like seafood. They are reusable and cost-effective compared to Dry Ice, which requires special shipping coolers and carries extra safety concerns and government regulations.
But what’s the best ice pack for the job?
Choose the Right Size:
Whether you’re shipping food, medical supplies, or other perishables, you must keep them cold throughout the shipping process. Ice packs are an inexpensive solution to this problem, but they only work if they are the right size for your package. A pack that is too big can cause water spills or interfere with your products. A pack that is too small can leave gaps, allowing heat to escape or the contents to melt.
To avoid this, choose a shipping ice pack that is sized appropriately for your container. The most common options are gel ice packs, poly bags filled with water, or a special polymer gel. These ice packs have a lower melting point than regular ice so that they can maintain temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit.
These ice packs are great for items that need to stay calm but not frozen (like pharmaceuticals or some foods). If you’re shipping something that requires freezing temperatures, consider dry ice options made from frozen carbon dioxide and offer much cooler temperature ranges.
Other packaging features can also make an ice pack more effective, such as its drain-friendly design or its rigid structure. These options can help prevent dripping and spills in your box, especially if transporting it in an open car or truck. In addition, a slim, less-than-an-inch thick packaging design can take up minimal space in your insulated cooler, making it easier to distribute them evenly throughout your shipment.
Keep the Cold Packs Clean:
If you use the right ice packs for shipping, they can keep your products cold throughout shipment. However, you must also ensure your packages stay clean and dry while in transit.
A good option is to get some reusable gel ice packs that you can fill with water and freeze before shipping. These non-toxic, mess-free refrigerants can last longer than ice cubes and are ideal for food, beverages, and medical supplies.
These reusable ice packs come flat and have a powdered formula that turns into a gel when hydrated with water. Pour the included water sachet into the bag, seal it, and freeze it for about 24 hours. They are easy to use and a great alternative to regular ice.
Gel ice packs have become the standard for insulated shipping since they are easier to handle than dry ice. They don’t evaporate as fast and aren’t dangerous to shippers or recipients, making them a more cost-effective solution for keeping frozen products cold during shipping.
If you’re shipping a meat package that needs to remain cold for days, gel ice packs are the best way. They are easy to use and will keep your product cool throughout the entire shipping process. If you’re sending something more fragile, such as a medical specimen, you should invest in dry ice instead.
Consider the Temperature:
Gel ice packs are a reliable choice for shipping perishables that require cold storage. These packs have a low melting point, preventing extreme temperatures that could damage sensitive products. They also provide thermal mass, which helps slow the thawing process.
However, when it comes to shipping products that need to be at room temperature, such as injectable medications or fresh food, more than ice packs may be required to maintain their proper temperature. They’ll typically melt too quickly or release too much moisture, negatively impacting the payload.
For this reason, it’s important to choose the right size ice pack for your shipment. You want a group that will fit snugly within the box and not shift around too much during transit. A bulky ice pack can reduce the cooling power of the product and make it more difficult to seal properly.
Additionally, consider the exterior construction of your ice pack. Hard plastics are more likely to crack and break when frozen, whereas soft materials are more flexible and easier to manipulate. This flexibility makes it easier to cut your ice pack to the ideal size for your box.
Finally, look for an ice pack that is easy to clean and maintain. This will help ensure that your ice pack doesn’t introduce harmful chemicals into your product and affect its integrity.
Seal the Package:
Americans send millions of packages daily, and many items must stay cold during transit. Reusable ice packs are an excellent option for keeping perishable products within frozen or refrigerated temperature ranges throughout shipping. They are superior to dry ice, regulating and maintaining a consistent temperature to protect delicate food items or pharmaceuticals from damage or spoilage.
Most ice packs contain water, gel, and other refrigerant chemicals. The exact mix varies depending on the style of the ice pack, but all have a chemical reaction that lowers the water’s temperature to near-freezing levels. This makes ice packs safe to touch directly by humans, as opposed to dry ice, which must be handled cautiously and placed in a special container with the correct safety and hazard labels.
Another benefit of ice packs is that they don’t take up much space in the freezer, so you can easily keep a few on hand for emergencies. However, they can leave a mess behind if they leak out during the packing and shipping process, so it’s important to pack them properly to prevent this from happening. It’s also a good idea to wrap the entire package with packaging material like bubble wrap or newspaper, which can help protect it from any accidents during transit.