We’ve all been on vacations where something doesn’t go as planned. It’s almost part of the experience — the realization that exciting things, either for better or worse, are bound to happen. When out on the water for days or weeks at a time, there’s nothing fun about something going wrong.
Whether for comfort or survival, there are several things you should always keep in your boat’s freezer when taking a long trip. Here are five items to not leave your dock or marina without.
The most obvious item you should always keep in your vessel’s freezer is an ice pack (or several). Ice packs are the duct tape of the frozen world — they can be used for nearly anything. From icing a bump on your head to cooling down something that’s overheated to adding extra depth to your freezer to keep it cold in case power goes out, ice packs are a must.
Extra Tip: Consider bringing along a couple of different sizes of ice packs, especially if you have achy joints. Like Band-Aids, different sizes of ice packs can be useful when icing different body parts and items.
Bread can keep for weeks in a freezer. It can be toasted in a few seconds to make toast, or thawed out for sandwiches. If the power goes out on your boat or you end up getting lost, bread kept in a freezer will remain safe to eat longer than nearly any other non-canned food.
Extra Tip: Use sliced bread rather than whole loaves to allow for easy cutting and defrosting.
Slip in a drink, make a smoothie, nibble on as a snack, or use as your source of needed vitamins, fruits frozen safely are always good to have on hand. Frozen fruit can last in a freezer 6-9 months. If preparing your own fruit to freeze instead of purchasing pre-packed frozen fruit, make sure to do it properly (here’s how!).
Extra Tip: Make sure to give your fruit enough time to freeze properly before spoiling. Also, keep in mind that fruits will lose nutrients when frozen, so if using solely for nutrition, it is best to keep them fresh, not frozen.
Proteins have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. Being cranky because of low blood sugar is only going to make a bad situation worse, and can turn a great trip into a frustrating one.
Whatever your favorite proteins are: cheeses, meats, nuts, or other, their benefits will keep you energized and your immune system protected. Make sure to store more than enough for your trip in the case that it runs longer than expected.
Extra Tip: Bring along at least some proteins that are pre-cooked or do not need a heat source in order to be consumed.
Bottles of Water
A weathered and hot plastic bottle of water when you’re thirsty isn’t an attractive option. Frozen bottles of water can serve as emergency ice packs and will also still be safe to drink once the ice melts, giving you something cold to drink and keeping at least a portion of your bottles of water out of the heat and away from the sun.
Extra Tip: Always keep bottles of water that are not stored in the freezer in a safe and cool location.
Since many of these are about survival, also make sure to bring things like trail mix, beef jerky and protein bars, which will keep for weeks and have the protein your body needs. For more on the best foods to stock for survival, check out Best Foods to Stockpile for an Emergency.