The Best Coolers for Camping Out and More

Fair weather calls for outdoor activities. Whether you’re hitting the beach or the campgrounds, you need to take along a reliable cooler to house those refreshing beverages. Cold drinks are an instant pick-me-up, and thankfully for all of us outdoors enthusiasts, technology has finally gifted us with advanced coolers that actually extend the life of ice cubes. Here are some coolers that you need to consider taking along for your next beach or camping holiday.

Buyers Guide

  1. What are the different types of coolers?

    Answer: There are 5 types of coolers today—the hard-sided type, the soft-sided, backpack, electric and Styrofoam types. The hard-sided cooler offers insulation and durability. Soft-sided ones are great to use for 2-4 days and are more lightweight compared to hard-sided types. Backpack coolers are portable as its name implies and feature shoulder straps, cushioned back panels and exterior pockets. Electric ones are ideal for RV or van use since it requires a semi-regular power source. Styrofoam coolers meanwhile are the most basic among coolers and commonly used in outdoor concerts, picnics and cookouts.

  2. What are the levels of cooling and ice retention do coolers offer?

    Answer: Majority of cooler manufacturers today present a specification relating to ice retention in their product listings. Basic ones offer several hours of ice retention while the most expensive and advanced ones can provide up to 16 days. However, always keep in mind that there are still factors at play which can still affect the cooler’s ice retaining capacities. These factors include the amount of ice used, the frequency of opening the cooler lid, sun exposure, among others. If you want to keep your food and beverages cold for an extended period of time, be prepared to invest in premium coolers.

  3. What sizes are usually available for coolers?

    Answer: Coolers vary when it comes to sizes too. The smallest ones range from 10 to 35 quarts and are ideal for traveling solo and containing ice for up to 2 days. Medium ones range from 35 to 55 quarts and they are considered to be all-purpose options since they can still be carried easily by hand and portable enough to be placed in vehicle trunks or beds. These capacities are also sufficient enough for groups and can last for up to 2 days. Bigger ones range from 55 to 75 quarts and it’s ideal for 2 or more individuals with ice retention lasting up to several days. There are also extra-large coolers with sizes starting at 75 quarts and more. These coolers are meant to accommodate the needs of bigger groups and activities like fishing and hunting. Extra-large ones are quite bulky and heavy as well.

Our Top Picks

#1

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

  • 26-can capacity
  • Permafrost insulation
  • Extra-dense FatWall design
  • Rotomolded built

The Yeti Tundra is a bestseller, praised well due to its efficient, durable rotomolded construction and reliable ice retaining capacities. It has a durable built, features secure closures and includes several tiedown slots so users can lock it easily on a truck bed or a boat. When it comes to performance and features, it’s money well-spent. This option fits the needs of avid outdoorsy folk who like camping out often. The cooler is also available in a nice range of colorways so you can pick one that best suits your color preferences.

#2

Coleman Collapsible Cooler

  • 16-hour ice retention
  • 54-can capacity
  • Has zippered main compartment
  • Includes treated liner

The Coleman Collapsible Cooler has a nifty portable shape which allows it to be folded flat to save room for storage. It offers excellent insulation—it assures to retain ice up to 32 hours in temperatures up to 90 degrees F. To prevent leaks from melting ice, the cooler has secure, sealed seams and it also includes an adjustable shoulder strap so you can carry it without discomfort while it’s loaded. The treated liner of the cooler helps in combatting odors, mildew and mold between uses and makes it last for years as well.

#3

IceMule Pro Cooler

  • More than 24 hours cooling
  • Sturdy built for outdoor use
  • Backpack-style lightweight cooler
  • Accessible roll-top design

Hands-free carrying is the primary advantage of a backpack cooler like this one from IceMule. It features a collapsible rolltop design that opens wide so you can easily find the item you need and also allow for easier loading of items. It provides more than 24 hours of cooling—the cooler comes with robust Muleskin interiors and exteriors plus an insulation system called the PolarLayer that ensures the best ice retention, strength and durability. It can retain low temperature for up to 2 days. It’s leakproof and waterproof too.

#4

Igloo Passive Cooling Cooler

  • 15 liters capacity
  • Alkyl ketene dimer and recycled paper
  • Holds ice up to 12 hours
  • Eco-friendly choice

The Igloo Passive Cooling Cooler is the environment-friendly option in this list. This one is made with recycled paper that has been treated with a naturally-produced mixture called the alkyl ketene dimer, which is responsible for waterproofing the paper. This one can retain low temperature for up to 12 hours and it’s also reusable—it only needs to be emptied and air-dried thoroughly after every use. The cooler can also accommodate water up to 5 days and contain a maximum of 75 lbs. weight. This is on the small side though and it’s ideal for storing soda, juice and beer cans.

#5

Igloo Trailmate Journey

  • Up to 4-day ice retention
  • Cool Riser Technology
  • Ultratherm insulation
  • Has Glide handle and oversized wheels

The Igloo Trailmate Journey is out top pick for a wheeled cooler. This is a nice cooler to take at cookouts and outdoor festivals and concerts. It has a capacity of 70 quarts and can retain ice at up to 4 days. The oversized wheels of this cooler are made to trudge on a good variety of surfaces from craggy ones to grassy meadows. It also comes with cooler works like butler trays, bottle openers, dry storage and drain plugs. Apart from those features, it includes a mobile device stand too so you can watch movies or play your favorite tracks while enjoying company.

#6

AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler

  • Soft-sided cooler
  • Holds ice up to 24-hours
  • High-density insulation
  • Sturdy soft canvas material with TPU liner

The AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler is a nice, basic cooler for short trips to the beach, hikes and the like. This is also one of the most reliable, reasonably-priced options in the market today. It comes with a zipper closure, a sizable exterior pocket and a durable canvas built. The cooler presents up to 24 hours ice retention which is sufficient enough for day trips. For easy, hassle-free carrying, it is equipped with a shoulder strap.

Do not run out of ice while enjoying your favorite outdoor sights, festivals or concerts. The cooler is a must-have for refreshing cold drinks. If you want a constant supply of ice for several hours or even days, make sure to invest in an efficient, functional advanced cooler.