When it comes to camping coolers, there are plenty of choices up for grabs in the market. The sheer presence of huge brands, features, sizes, and aesthetics can overwhelm you. No matter whether you are going out camping or kayaking, these coolers are an indispensable camping gear that you can’t afford to miss. The best camping cooler is the one that can keep your food and drinks chilled for a longer period of time and is durable to survive the elements of nature. A camping cooler is one of the most under-estimated camping gear but only the experienced campers can tell its importance.
Best Camping Coolers
To help you in getting out of this dilemma, we have rounded up the list of the best camp coolers that you can consider buying. These coolers are great options when you are planning to buy one and to top it off, we have mentioned our buying guide to selecting the best cooler that will guide you to find the best one.
1. Igloo Super Tough STX Cooler 54 Quarts
Igloo has carved out a niche for itself as one of the leading giants when it comes to camping coolers. This camping cooler from Igloo is designed using heavy-duty material that ensures its longevity for the years to come. Igloo Super Tough Cooler is a high-performance cooler that can survive in extreme weather conditions as well to offer you an incredible ice life. The cooler features premium hardware, bolt through handles, stainless steel hinges, heavy-duty latches that combine together to make this a rugged and sturdily-built cooler.
Talking about the insulation ability, you can expect at least 6 days of ice retention thanks to the presence of a solid lid and extra-thick shell. Talking about the space, this cooler comes in different sizes and you can take your pick accordingly. You can find a cooler that comes with 150 quartz of capacity to hold your food and drinks. Take a look at the specifications of this cooler:
- Dimensions – 26 x 15.6 x 15.1 inches
- Weight – 10.18 pounds
Pros & Cons
2. Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler
This cube-shaped soft cooler from Coleman is designed especially for the outdoorsmen. Coleman 30-Can Soft Cooler is ideal for your day to day activities and in fact, you can carry this at work since it will serve as a lunch box. This cooler has the capacity to hold 30 cans of beers but it will be a good idea to pack 24 cans while leaving some space to store ice as well. The exterior of this cooler is leak-proof which means you don’t have to worry about water seeping out.
To top it off, this camping cooler comes with side pockets, a front pocket that offer you additional space to store your things that don’t have to be essentially cold. You will never run out of space with this cooler. Talking about portability, this cooler comes with shoulder straps that make carrying this cooler smooth as a breeze. Check out the specification of this camping cooler.
- Dimensions – 12.4 x 10.1 x 13 inches
- Weight – 2.2 pounds
Pros & Cons
3. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Cans
This soft-sided camping cooler from Arctic Zone will totally redefine your camping adventure. In fact, this is one of the best insulated coolers that can retain and preserve your food for multiple days. So, at the end of the day, you won’t have to eat soggy sandwiches at all. There are a few reasons that this high-performance cooler has great insulation ability and its heat-reflecting fabric is one of those few reasons that gives ice more life. Thanks to the zipperless lid, you get instant access to your food and drinks.
This camping cooler comes with a Smart shelf to separate your dry food from the drinks so that your food does not get crushed because of drinks. This smart shelf is removable which means you get more space to store your food and drinks together. There are side mesh pockets to stow your other stuff and keep them handy. On top of that, it comes with a shoulder strap for comfortable carrying. The addition of a bottle opener is another nice touch given to this camping cooler.
- Dimensions – 16.5 x 11 x 12.8 inches
- Weight – 3.4 pounds
Pros & Cons
4. Pelican Elite Soft Cooler
The brand, Pelican, has become a go-to destination for campers all over the world. They have an impressive range of soft-sided coolers and these coolers have everything you would expect them. Durability, Ice Retention, Storage Space – these coolers are teeming with incredible features. Pelican Elite Soft Cooler offers an enormous space where you can put 24 cans with ease along with ice. Thanks to the addition of high-density closed-cell foam insulation, it will keep things cold for a longer period of time. This cooler will serve your meal and keep your ice frozen for multiple days.
This camping cooler is ideal for those who are planning for a weekend getaway – be it camping or kayaking or hiking. The shell of this cooler is extremely rugged, leak, and waterproof. It offers you quick access and the double lock buckle system secures your food. It comes with a built-in bottle opener that eliminates the need for carrying it separately. Take a look at the specifications of this best camping cooler.
- Dimensions -17 x 10 x 13.5 inches
- Weight – 5.2 pounds
Pros & Cons
5. ENGEL ENG35 High-Performance Hard Cooler and Icebox
Engel is known for manufacturing Top Rated Coolers and Engel 35 High-performance cooler is anything but ordinary. These coolers are highly durable and can withstand any toughest abuse they encounter. With that said, it is worth mentioning that these coolers are bear-certified and they are so tough that they can endure the attack of a wild creature to secure your food and drinks. These high-performance coolers are designed using rotomolded construction which is why these coolers are highly solid and they have amazing insulation ability.
This cooler comes with 2 inches of thick insulation and it will keep your ice frozen for multiple days or even for 10 days. The reason that it is incorporated with compression latches that do not allow cool air escape adds to the insulation ability. It comes with non-marking feet which is why they are stable and don’t leave any scratches behind. Take a look at the specifications of this cooler:
- Dimensions –25 1/2 x 13 x 15 1/4
- Weight – 22 lbs
Pros & Cons
6. YETI Tundra 35 Cooler
Probably, you would have heard everyone screaming about Yeti cooler. No wonder why Yeti is the most revered brand of all. While manufacturing these top-rated coolers, Yeti coolers are the epitome of functionality, quality, and of course, style. Its Tundra series has been a mammoth hit since these coolers have all the bells and whistles. Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler delivers exceptional performance when it comes to keeping the ice frozen during the warm months of the season.
This cooler is designed using rotomolded construction that adds more to the toughness and strength of these coolers. YETI Tundra 35 Cooler has an amazing capacity of holding 24 cans while still leaving some space for keeping ice. Yeti Tundra 35 cooler is quite convenient and easy to use. In fact, it is quite portable to be carried around easily.
- Dimensions – 21 in long x 16 in wide x 15 1/4 in high
- Weight – 20 lbs
Pros & Cons
7. BISON COOLERS 24 Can Insulated Ice Bag
Featuring a collapsible design, this camping cooler is one of the best insulated coolers that you can consider buying for yourself or for any other adventure junkie. This cooler has the capacity to retain ice for over 24 hours. The heavy-duty fabric used in crafting this cooler bag ensures that it is rugged against the elements of nature. The fabric is tear-resistant and resistive against the UV rays of the sun.
This camping cooler comes with side pockets that let you store the dry gears. On top of that, you will get a bottle opener attached to this cooler so that you always have your drinks ready to sip. For transportation, the Bison cooler comes with shoulder straps that are removable as well. Take a look at the specifications of this cooler as well:
- Dimensions – 18 x 10 x 11 inches
- Weight – 3.3 pounds
Pros & Cons
What Are The Different Types Of Camping Coolers?
Well, when it comes to camping coolers, you can choose from the Hard-Sided Coolers and Soft-Sided Coolers. Hard-Sided coolers are basically those traditional coolers that are constructed using heavy-duty material and are solid, durable, and last for years to come. Since Hard-Sided coolers are designed using heavy-duty material, they really weigh heavy and it is a bit difficult to carry them around. Such types of coolers are perfect for a long vacation trip or weeklong getaway since the insulation ability of these coolers is actually great and you are sure to find your food and drinks chilled for multiple days and sometimes, for the week.
On the other hand, Soft-sided coolers are designed using lighter material, which is why they are quite easy to carry around. The material that is designed using them creates an extremely rugged surface which makes it tear-resistant and resistive to cuts and scratches. Because of the portability, these coolers don’t come in huge storage space. For anyone who frequently steps out for camping for a couple of days, soft-sided coolers make a befitting choice for them. They are quite convenient to carry since they feature shoulder straps, plus, they have amazing insulation ability to retain ice frozen for like 48 hours. Another thing worth mentioning is its space-saving design. Today’s best soft-sided coolers can collapse down easily when not in use, thereby, saving space for other things.
How To Choose The Best Camping Cooler For Your Next Trip?
There are different kinds of coolers up for grabs in the market and you are sure to feel overwhelmed because of these different styles. To help you, we have listed down some key considerations that will help you in buying the right one for yourself. Take a look at the factors that you must consider.
- Durability – The construction of a cooler is the first thing you would need to look at. A well and sturdily built cooler will last for years to come while you can’t anticipate the lifespan of those coolers that are cheaply designed. Today’s best camping coolers are designed using a rotomolded process which is why they are solid, durable, and tough. Apart from that, these coolers can withstand any abuse and will keep ice frozen for a longer period. The construction of a cooler will also impact the insulation ability of these coolers. A rotomolded cooler is said to have the best insulation ability and adding more to that, the high-quality gasket and heavy-duty latches create a solid tight-seal that does not let the cool air escape. So, before you buy one, make sure to look at the construction of the cooler and see how durable these coolers are.
- Portability – Another important consideration that you will have to ponder over is the easiest way to transport this cooler from one place to another especially when it is fully loaded with food and drinks. Hard-sided coolers are quite heavier even when they don’t have anything stored inside them and when they are loaded up to the brim, it becomes fairly heavy to transport them from your car to your campsite. Carrying it will include at least two men unless the cooler has wheels. Some of the best coolers now come with wheels and that means, you can easily carry them to the party site without any sort of struggle. While some models include small wheels, you will be able to find coolers with beefy wheels that can mount on any terrain. Well, there will be times when the wheels won’t do much. At some point, you will need to lift these cooler to bring them downstairs or load up in the car. That’s when you will rely upon the handles to offer you a superior grip so that you can conveniently lift it and take it to places. Well, As campers, we hardly consider this thing and this can really impact our camping experience.
- Features – Apart from the basic features – to retain ice, most of the coolers are now equipped with a myriad of amazing features that can be helpful at times. Some of the coolers come with built-in bottle openers and that means, you won’t have to carry an additional one. Apart from that, you will find a removable tray to let you keep dry goods separate from drinks. The presence of an interior basket will keep things well packed and gives you easy access to food and drinks. In some coolers, you will find cup holders and they really add more to your comfort. Well, you should always look at the additional features that you are getting with that cooler.
- Type of cooler – Another important thing to consider is to know what type of cooler you want – Hard-Sided Cooler or Soft-Sided Cooler. Hard-Sided coolers are designed using heavy-duty material and thus, these coolers are really difficult to carry around. On the other hand, Soft-sided Coolers use lighter fabric and are an ideal choice for people who are going out camping for a couple of days. Such coolers are quite easy to carry since they come with shoulder straps. When it comes to ice retention, you can expect superior ice retention from hard-sided coolers. So, depending upon what type of cooler you need, you can take your pick accordingly.
How To Maximise Insulation Ability Of Camping Coolers?
No matter what type of cooler you are planning to buy, you can always extend the insulation ability of these coolers by performing these tips. These tips will ensure that you have increased the cooling performance of these coolers. Take a look at the steps that you need to follow.
- Pre Chill Your Cooler – The first that you will have to do is pre-chill your cooler. Most of us don’t use them until we are planning out for a weekend and by then, we would have kept them in the garage or somewhere in the attic. So, the idea is to get that cooler and leave it open for a day so that it can exude the hot temperature it has amassed while it was left unused. Apart from that, you can also use “Sacrificial bags” to cool down the ice chest. Doing this will mean that you will have ice frozen for a longer period.
- Pre- Chill Your Content – Everything that you are putting inside the ice chest should be refrigerated a day before you leave. It is a good idea to use frozen items that you are planning to eat on later days of trips. Pre-chilling your content will mean that these items will remain chilled for a longer period of time.
- Replace Normal Ice Cubes – Replacing normal ice cubes with dry ice only if your cooler is compatible with that will do the trick. Dry Ice does not melt away quickly which means that your food items will be served chilled for a longer period. Today’s best-rotomolded coolers are compatible with dry ice and you can actually keep your drinks and beverages chilled for a longer period. In case, your cooler is not compatible with dry ice, it is a good idea to use reusable ice packs that will save you the cost of buying ice cubes again and again. Apart from that, they are non-toxic to use. So, replacing normal ice with these substitutes can improve the cooling performance of the cooler.
- Keep Your Cooler In Shade – Needless to say, the UV rays of the sun can impact the cooling performance of your cooler negatively and you are sure to find your drinks warm when you keep them under the constant exposure of the sun. We often overlook this thing only to find out our drinks getting warmer and warmer as the day passes. So, make sure that you have placed the cooler in shade and away from the sun. Also, make sure that the surface you are keeping it, is not hot since it will impact the food and beverages from the bottom. Putting your cooler on a heap of grass can do the trick where you should avoid placing it on the sand.
- Minimize the opening of the lid – Well, this might sound an obvious tip but we tend to forget everything in the excitement for camping. No matter whether you are digging out your food or anything else, make sure to limit the opening of the lid. What is even important to remember is not let your kid roam around cooler and play with it. You never know when he opens the lid and it will result in premature ice melt. Also, make sure to open the lid enough to bring your drink out. This will not let the cool air escape through the cooler and will not draw hot air inside the ice chest as well.
Bear Proof coolers are IGBC Certified coolers that ensure that the cooler can withstand the attack of wild creatures that are lurking near your vicinity. These coolers are so durable and tough to withstand the elements of nature. Such coolers are real-life tested. Well, there are plenty of brands that offer IGBC Certified coolers, so you can take your pick accordingly.
Well, there are a few things that you need to take care of in order to cool your food and drinks for a longer period. A properly packed cooler will have more insulation ability than an unorganized cooler. Also, the number of times you open the lid, the insulation efficiency of these coolers will decrease. So, make sure to minimize the opening of the lid.
Well, that’s really subjective. Soft-sided coolers are designed using lighter material and they are extremely portable and which means, you can carry it around for an extended period as well. On the other hand, Hard-Sided coolers are quite heavy even when they don’t have anything stored inside them. Well, Hard-Sided coolers have high insulation efficiency than Soft-Sided coolers. We recommend that if you are planning to go out for a couple of days, you can go with a soft-sided cooler. On the other hand, hard-sided coolers are perfect for those who are going out for a weeklong getaway.
Dry ice can be convenient for those who are planning a camping trip for long days. This type of ice remains unmelted for at least 12-24 hours. Well, that means, your food and drinks will be cold.
Well, not every cooler is compatible with dry ice. You should know whether your cooler is compatible with dry ice or not. In case, it is not compatible with dry ice, make sure to avoid it. Putting Dry ice in those coolers that are not compatible with dry ice will result in damage to the inner layer that will totally ruin the insulation efficiency of the cooler.