Summer is officially here on Saturday, which means there are lots of parties coming up.  Whether it's a family reunion or a country concert, the big question is always, "Who is bringing the cooler?"

With these tips, you'll be able to pack a cooler better than your buddy who thinks the lukewarm beer is just as good as the ice cold stuff.

The tips:

1.  Get it started early.

You should pack a cooler about two hours before guests arrive. That gives plenty of time for beer to get cold, but not enough for all the ice to melt.

2.  Use bagged ice.

Don't take ice out of your fridge for the cooler. You'll need it for cocktails later. And the bagged ice is a better size for fitting in between cans.

3.  Build layers.

Beer cans should go in first, then ice. You keep it more even that way, and you can pack more in the cooler. After that, put in bottled beer, and put wine on the top because it shouldn't be as cold.

4.  Pour cold water over the ice.

A pitcher of cold water will help cool drinks down faster. For beer the ideal is a slushy mixture.

5.  Keep extra drinks on deck in the sink, or in a second fridge.

Nobody wants to run out of drinks...but...if the cooler goes empty, you need to have cold drinks ready to go. No one wants to wait for beer to get cold AFTER they've started drinking.

6.  Have a separate ice supply for drinks.

Don't make people grab ice out of the cooler with their bare hands. We're not animals here. Well, maybe some of your friends are...


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