What's a good way to keep your canned beverage cold - without the use of ice or anything that requires some sort of power source (such as a refrigerator)?

We've all been there - in a long road trip, out camping, at a party. Whether it's an ice cold beer or a Coke, it's better served cold.

How can we hack together a solution for keeping our beverages cold without using traditional methods?

  • 1
    Is there a moving source of water around? Like a river?
    – user22794
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 20:02
  • @AytAyt There could be, yes. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 21:14

5 Answers 5


One thing I've done in the past: I tie off a cooler to a tree, and dunk it in a nearby source of running water, like a river. This will keep things inside cooler than just the air.

A lake could also work, if it's cold enough, but running water helps to carry away heat.

I like using a cooler, but to chill cans faster, you can tie the plastic of the six-pack holder, and dunk the cans directly in the water.


Wrap cans in damp cloth, perhaps a thick sock. Tie a string to some high point in your house, tie the damp sock to the end of the string and start it swinging like a pendulum. The evaporation of the damp cloth will cool it a bit. Keep the cloth damp, and tell your kids to keep it swinging. If they let it stop they lose their allowance for the week. If they keep it going, you will need to share some of the soda with them. Better put another few cans in the sock.


Another method is evaporation. When water turns to a gas, it steals the environment of some energy, effectively cooling it off.

If you wrap your can(s) with a damp cloth and put them in the sunniest spot you can, you'll be able to lose a couple degrees ! The cloth must remain damp, if it gets dry the effect stops.

This doesn't need a running body of water and works perfectly if not better with lukewarm water.

This technique is sometimes used in developing countries with a system of jars and damp soil to store medicine.

  • 1
    -1 FAIL. After the first correct statement, this answer is just wrong. Putting anything in the sun will heat it up due to solar radiation. (Take it out of the sun and put it into the shade.) Using warm water will transfer the heat from the warm water jacket to the contents that you wanted to cool. (Use a cold water jacket to pull the heat from the contents.)
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 16:03
  • @Stan You are right: according to wikipedia, what I described wouldn't work, but a pot-in-pot refrigerator would. I'll delete my answer. Given how clunky such a setup would be, do you think I should create a new one describing the device ?
    – Yk Cheese
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 18:16
  • Edit your existing answer to be correct. As it is, your answer is incorrect.
    – Stan
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 20:54

I have found if i dig a hole in the shade and then place the cans in the hole, the items cool down.


A method I saw in a book on wine: put your bottle or can in a wet paper bag and hold it out of the car window while you drive. Evaporation will cool the container. Caution: law enforcement will probably take a dim view of the driver holding an alcoholic beverage while the vehicle is in motion. May or may not be legal, even if held by a passenger, even if the container is sealed and unopened. May be considered distracted driving if held by the driver even if it is non-alcoholic.

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