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Different Kinds Of Cold Packs

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They’re used just about everywhere for all kinds of purposes. Whether they’re keeping your picnic nice and cool, or helping to heal a recent injury, cold packs are used every single day for one purpose or another. Ice packs come in handy in a number of scenarios and can be used for personal use or commercial application, making cold packs some of the most beneficial tools on the planet. You can find ice packs in just about every convenience store as well, from grocery stores to gas stations. However, did you know that there are different kinds of cold packs, most of which use a different method with which to become cold? In today’s blog, Dry Ice Packs, the providers of the best ice packs for shipping and commercial use, will go over some of the different cold packs you can use.

Cold Pack Types

When you hear the term cold pack, you may think of the fun little basketball-shaped container or squishy blue gel thing that your parents used to put in your lunchbox to keep your food cold at school. While this is a very popular application for ice packs, it’s certainly not the only one. There are actually two main kinds of cold pack varieties, both of which have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Standard Ice Packs

Standard ice packs are the one-hit wonders of the cold pack world. These kinds of ice packs are designed for one high-quality job. Standard ice packs can keep their temperature for a long time, however, they are designed for one, possibly two jobs at the most. Most are made with materials that can be safely thrown away in the trash. These kinds of ice packs are perfect for commercial shipping, one-way shipping, or instant use applications.

Reusable Ice Packs

Like their names suggest, these ice packs have a long shelf life. Made from reusable materials, these cold packs can be used again and again. While some have can be used just a handful of times, others can be used over and over for years. These ice packs are made with durable materials that can be frozen and thawed multiple times without breaking down. They can be used in commercial shipping as well as for personal use to keep things like food, beverages, and other perishable items cold in a cooler.

Cold Pack Materials

While it’s true that you can make a cold pack at home from a plastic bag, water, and alcohol, most commercial, or commercially sold, ice packs are made from more heavy-duty materials. Ice packs you can buy from the store are usually made with different kinds of chemicals or materials that can either get cold really quickly or sustain cold temperatures for a long period of time. Below are a few examples of the different kinds of cold pack materials you may find at your everyday supermarket or convenience store.

Gel Packs

Gel ice packs use a gel refrigerant that can get cold quickly and can be frozen over and over again. Unlike water, most gel ice packs won’t completely freeze over, which makes them ideal for those who need a cold compress on certain joints or ligaments that can be oddly shaped. While these ice packs can be highly beneficial to those who use cold packs for injuries, most of the gel in the gel ice packs can be toxic when ingested in large quantities, making them somewhat dangerous to use around food and beverages.

While gel packs aren’t the best to use around food or beverages, they can be reused many times, which makes them perfect for those looking for pain relief or to have on hand in case of an injury. There are several different varieties of gel ice packs, however they aren’t ideal for commercial use or shipping as the gel loses its cold temperature quickly compared to other ice packs.

Instant Cold Packs

A science experiment in a bag, instant cold packs use science to deliver cold therapy quickly. A small bag of water is placed inside a larger bag filled with a chemical that reacts to water, such as ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate, or urea. Simply squeeze the bag in order to break the inner baggie of water to cause a chemical reaction that makes a cold pack in seconds. While this kind of cold pack is perfect for sudden minor injuries, like bumps, scrapes, or small sprains, the temperature in the cold pack isn’t sustained for long. The contents also cannot be reactivated or frozen, making these kinds of ice packs a one-time-use product.

Like gel cold packs, instant ice packs aren’t ideal for shipping perishable items or products. Made more for instantaneous use rather than sustaining desired temperatures, instant cold packs won’t be keeping things very cold for too long. While the chemicals in instant ice packs are considered non-toxic, they can be very difficult to clean up if the bag is punctured.

Dry Ice Packs

Unlike other cold packs, Dry Ice Packs are specially made to keep their temperatures as well as hold up to the harsh demands of commercial shipping and personal use. Made with durable layers of fabric and plastic that hold together a layer of polymer refrigerant, Dry Ice Packs stay colder for longer than most other commercial cold packs. In fact, Dry Ice Packs scored the highest in an independent test to find the best cold pack. Dry Ice Packs kept their cold temperature the longest, even longer than many popular American cold pack brands.


Dry Ice Packs come in both standard and heavy-duty reusable (HDR) varieties. Both are perfect for commercial shipping and are designed to keep your perishable goods cold during transit. Our standard ice packs can be used one or two times, while our HDR ice packs can be used a number of times. Dry Ice Packs are so advanced that they can get colder than dry ice, if you have the means to cool them that low that is.

If you’re looking for the perfect ice packs for shipping, then look no further than Dry Ice Packs. Learn more about our standard ice packsheavy duty reusable ice packs, and our commercial shipping kits.

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