Might be a silly question, but if the place I want to travel to has 35 degree F highs and 27 degree F lows, and the ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 35 degrees F ... can't I just loosely pack raw meat in ice for the car and then once I'm outside just leave it outside (with packaging)? It should technically keep for a few days right? Assuming a bear doesn't get to it first (maybe something like two odor proof bags).

  • I went backpacking once in Colorado in June, we hiked to near the top of a mountain and camped out for a few days. There was a lake and a lot of snowpacks around (it was still cold). Between the three of us we fished the lake and caught probably 50 trout, which we packed in the snow during the time we were there, and then took the fish with us when we left. Jan 20, 2015 at 19:48

3 Answers 3


35° is 35°, whether in your car, in your pack, or in your refrigerator back home.

However, handling raw meat otherwise is very different outdoors than at home. Personally, I think bringing raw meat into the wilderness is a bad idea. There are plenty of other foods that give you the same or better nutrition, don't require as careful handling, weigh less, and aren't as much of a predator-magnet. For example, if you really want to bring meat, try jerky. It preserves much better, can be chewed as-is without needing cooking, weighs a lot less, and takes up less space for the same amount of protein.

If you are going into bear country, then raw meat is a particularly bad idea. Bears have such sensitive noses that a couple layers of plastic bags won't help much. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a "odor proof" bag to the point a bear can't smell meat inside.

One advantage of being human is being able so survive on a very wide spectrum of foods. If you're going into the wilderness for a few days, leave the raw meat at home. Have a steak dinner when you get back.


When meteorologists tell you the temperature, likely they mean the temperature more than 1m off the ground in a shaded place (for example in a Stevenson screen).

Anything sunlit is likely to be warmer. The ground is likely to be different (warmer or cooler depending what else is going on). You can't assume that just because the weather report for the region gives a high of 35, therefore no spot in the region went above 35 all day. At best it means that a specially-constructed place in official weather station for the region didn't go above 35. And a forecast isn't even a measurement.

If you put with your meat a thermometer that tracks highest temperature seen, or if the ice doesn't melt, then you know the stuff stayed cool. There's every chance you can keep food chilled out of doors in refrigerator-temperature weather, if you can keep it well-shaded (stone or brick enclosures are good).

As Olin says, don't leave food out for bears. Whether it's "for bears" or not is decided by the bear, you don't get a say.


Yes you can. Degrees are degrees no matter if in a fridge or outside of it. And some less degrees won't hurt to food preservation (while some extra ones of course could).

If you need to carry the food in a backpack for a long time remember that the body radiates warmth, so take that into account, and don't keep the food close to your back in the rucksack.

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