If you’ve ever gone hiking or camping and brought beer along, you know that it’s a lot more difficult than you’d originally expected. And trying to actually enjoy a cold beer on the trails is even harder. If the campsite is only a few hundred feet from the parking lot, then it’s easy enough to carry a full cooler of beer. But what if you’re hiking, camping, or backpacking off the beaten path?
Then you need to pick up a few tricks of the trade, and learn the science of storing and enjoying a cold beer in the great outdoors.
Avoid Glass Containers
Experienced backpackers know that every extra pound of gear will weigh you down and make the trip a little harder. Even light beer isn’t light when you’re carrying it on your back, and if you aren’t careful, you can break it, ruining your clothes and equipment. Plus, no one wants to have to clean up broken glass while hiking, and you definitely don’t want to leave it there, either. That’s not responsible.
That means you need a way to store your beer while hiking or camping. Fortunately, with the right gear, and a few simple tips, you can drink like a pro on your next wild adventure.
Invest in Beer Growlers
One of the best ways that you can keep your beer in good condition, and cool, on a hiking or camping trip is to pack it in a safe, non-glass, insulated growler. These containers can help avoid creating extra trash and ensure you won’t have to contend with broken glass while out in the wild. This reduces the environmental impact of your camping trip and the potential hazards that you and others face.
Growlers are essentially really large jugs that store beer and generally come in two sizes: 32 ounces and a 64 ounces (although there are bigger ones out there). This is the equivalent of two pints and four pints of beer, respectively. That’s the perfect amount for enjoying a nice night by the fire with friends and family after a long day of camping.
Keep Beer Out of the Sun and In the River
If you don’t have insulated growlers or a compact travel cooler, you can actually cool beer simply by placing them in a cold creek for around 30 minutes. When they’re fully submerged in cool water, a beer can reach the same temperature as the water around it in around 10 minutes, making this a nice, easy, way to keep your drink cold.
If you’re going to bring cans instead of bottles, keep them close to the outside of the pack when it’s cold (but definitely not when it’s freezing) to use natural air as a refrigerator and to conserve resources. If it’s warm out? Pack them in the middle to keep them out of the sun and heat. Remember: sunstrike and repeated temperature changes can skunk your beer, so you’ll want to take special care to properly pack your brews.
Don’t Waste Your Energy on Bad Beer
Finally, a word of advice — don’t waste your time packing just any watered down beer. If you’re going to go through the trouble of bringing beer along on a camping trip, pick a beer that’s worthy of the trip.
Craft beer has been rising in popularity in recent years, and it makes up 12% of the modern beer market. Not only that, but it’s one of the preferred beers of runners, cyclists, and hikers. Even better, those that drink craft beer, according to a 2016 survey by The Harris Poll, have a healthier lifestyle than the average drinker of alcohol.
So go ahead, tip back a delicious, cold craft beer after a hard day of hiking or camping; just make sure you do it right.