Best Coolers for Camping 2018 – Reviews And Top Picks

Every adventure has in it a pleasure of delicious goodies and chilled drinks – even when you are in the ultimate middle of nowhere. Modern outdoor coolers provide you with a chance to preserve your food wherever you go and make sure it would stay fresh and tasty.

In fact, outdoor coolers should be considered the same part of survival gear as walkie-talkies and hunting knives. Some of these multi-purpose chests are designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions to secure you a comfortable many-day stay even at distant campsites.

But where lies the compromise between costly models and more affordable iceboxes? How to make sure that you’ll be able to handle the newly acquired cooler? Is it seen to it that your chosen container will withstand intense heat? And last but not least, are the high-end cooler models worth spending a pretty penny? Read on to find the answers to these and other game-changing questions.

  • YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler
  • Rating:
  • Capacity: 18 cans/19.4 quarts/18 liters
  • Dimensions (inches): W 22 x D 10 x H 16.5
  • Weight (lbs): 4.4
  • Ice retention: 24 hrs in the sun/48 hrs in the shade
Name
Capacity
Dimensions (inches):
Weight (lbs)
Ice retention (days)
Price
Name
Capacity
Dimensions (inches):
Weight (lbs)
Ice retention (days)
Price
№1
106 cans | 56 quarts | 53 liters
W 28.5 x D 17.9 x H 22
51.2
3
№2
138 cans | 150 quarts | 142 liters
W 46 x D 26 x H 25
66
10
№3
18 cans | 19.4 quarts | 18 liters
W 22 x D 10 x H 16.5
4.4
24 hrs in the sun / 48 hrs in the shade
№4
20 cans | 28 quarts | 26.5 liters
W 21 x D 16 x H 15.5
24
3-4
№5
54 cans | 55 quarts | 51 Liters
W 28 x D 15.5 x H 16.25
25
3 to 7 (when prechilled)
№6
76 cans | 75 quarts | 71 liters
W 33.5 x D 18.2 x H 17.9
30
5+
№8
40 cans | 35 quarts | 33 liters
W 20 x D 17.5 x H 13
7.65
2-3
№9
24 cans | 31.7 quarts | 30 liters
W 20 x D 9.5 x H 8.5
4
1-2
№10
30 cans | 24.2 quarts | 22.9 liters
W 18.7 x D 14.4 x H 12.9
6.1
1-2
№11
98 cans | 70 quarts | 22.9 liters
W 28.4 x D 15.8 x H 17.5
16.03
5
№12
46 cans | 70 quarts | 66.2 liters
W 36 x D 20.3 x H 21
38.3
7-9

When it comes to offering coolers for a wide variety of purposes, Dometic’s lineup of ice chests hits the point square on the head. Aside from other sanitation, hygiene and beverage/food storage products, Dometic has a great assortment of both non-powered and powered coolers, including the high-end Dometic CFX series.

The CFX65DZ here features rugged corners, high-grade steel hinges, a digital temperature display, and a rust-proof wire basket installed with a divider. Packed with all the necessary, it’s just an excellent choice for boats, 4×4 vehicles and vanlife in general. Thanks to the variable speed compressor, this model can be switched from fridge to freezer to best serve your camping needs. As opposed to most other compressor fridges, this chest-style Dometic can run with a 30 degree tilted placement, which makes it safe and usable during long out-of-town trips.

Capacity
106 cans | 56 quarts | 53 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 28.5 x D 17.9 x H 22
Weight (lbs)
51.2
Ice retention (days)
3
PROS

No icing (except when making ice for beverage);

Heavy-duty design with a sturdy closing mechanism;

Downsized in comparison to competing coolers as no ice takes up space;

Features a handy charging USB port.

Cons

Upright installation requires space above for the lid to open (alternatively, can be installed on a fridge slide).

Pelican coolers have come to be known for their ability to retain ice for up to 10 days. And it’s little wonder because as far as the quality and thickness of insulation is concerned, Pelican has few matching rivals in the cooler industry.

The ProGear Elite Cooler is exactly one of those tough, reliable and durable Pelican products. It wouldn’t be a suitable choice for people who just want a lite-and-small cooler to sit in a park nearby. The ProGear Elite Cooler perfectly suits long vacations and big special events. Any place in the wild where food, game or fish needs cooling for a long time – be it fishing, hunting or camping trips – Pelican’s ice chest is an excellent choice to cover all these needs.

Capacity
138 cans | 150 quarts | 142 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 46 x D 26 x H 25
Weight (lbs)
66
Ice retention (days)
10
PROS

Maxed out ice retention capability;

Flawlessly well-constructed ;

2 sets of handles for added comfortability.

Cons

May be too heavy to carry around with a single pair of hands.

Yeti has made themselves a name by producing coolers varied both in size and style. Whether you want to go large scale or switch to a soft-sided cooler, Yeti’s range of products present you both these options.

The Hopper cooler series opens a whole new world of leak-proof coolers for admirers of outdoor activities. With the YETI Hopper Two, all boaters, hikers, fishermen or golfers can enjoy the benefit of keeping their drinks ice-cold for much longer time periods. The taper-shaped bag comprises improved and thickened insulation for better comfortability of handling.

This cooling bag is simply created for you to haul it to a tailgate party, backcountry camping outing, big game afterparty near the stadium or a trip out to the water.

Capacity
18 cans | 19.4 quarts | 18 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 22 x D 10 x H 16.5
Weight (lbs)
4.4
Ice retention (days)
24 hrs in the sun / 48 hrs in the shade
PROS

Excellent portability;

Highly durable;

Beats many other soft bags in ice retention time;

Leak-proof and puncture-resistant.

Cons

Quite expensive;

Lacks compartments for valuables;

No major improvements over the 1st gen models.

The Yeti Tundra series is distinguished by enhanced toughness of its premium rotomolded construction accompanied by permafrost insulation and a vortex draining system designed to help you get rid of melted ice in a snap. All these Yetis boast a no-sweat design thanks to which the exterior of your cooler stays dry forever.

Specifically the Yeti Tundra 35 is great for trips not exceeding 1-2 day where you require a cooling container to stack it with beer and snacks or pack your catch for that evening’s campfire. Next, the Yeti Tundra 45 will be ideal for a group outing or something like a family camping trip. Finally, you want to stick with a Yeti Tundra 50 when it comes to 1-2 week trips.

Capacity
20 cans | 28 quarts | 26.5 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 21 x D 16 x H 15.5
Weight (lbs)
24
Ice retention (days)
3-4
PROS

Tundra lid with a tight-seal high grade gasket;

Non-marking rubber feet to exclude the risk of sliding around your boat’s deck;

Dual-carry handles with textured grips secured by means of army-grade nylon rope;

Integrated recessed handles for one person carry.

Cons

Comparing to brands like Pelican, is appreciably more expensive.

Just like the famed Yeti, Canyon prefers making their coolers from high impact polyurethane. The same kind of plastic is used to make kayaks that ought to stay tough enough to endure quickwater.

Canyon makes an exemplary use of a cam latch system for increased airtightness of the container. The system allows you to fix the lid firmly in place by simply hooking the rubber latch on a lid pin and then pushing it home. Such a latch system is more reliable and easy to use, while the latches themselves do not protrude, instead staying flush with the cooler surface.

Canyon cooler products are perfect for fishing, hunting, tailgating, overnight camping, boating, as well as trips to the park, UTV, quads, poolside and BBQ parties.

Capacity
54 cans | 55 quarts | 51 Liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 28 x D 15.5 x H 16.25
Weight (lbs)
25
Ice retention (days)
3 to 7 (when prechilled)
PROS

Extreme durability;

Thick polyurethane walls with HD foam;

Superb insulation;

Very affordable cost.

Cons

Get stained quite easily on the inside;

Not very comfortable to clean.

As the top cooler brands seem to make emphasis on a roto-molded construction, Thermik here simply follows suit in that they too manufacture their coolers with the body immune to dents and scratches.

It is not only the cooler’s surfaces that are hardened but the entire construction proves to be extremely resilient, so you can rest assure your cooler will survive occasional falls and bumps.

In case of this Thermik High Performance model, the latches and hinge are also damage-proof and securely attached. All this makes for temperature-efficient fitting of the lid. For added protections in stormy weathers, there are tie down holes for making the lid sit tight while fastened with tie straps.

Capacity
76 cans | 75 quarts | 71 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 33.5 x D 18.2 x H 17.9
Weight (lbs)
30
Ice retention (days)
5+
PROS

Very close in its insulation ability to the premium coolers;

Durable and highly mobile;

Stainless steel bottle openers that double as padlock eyelets.

Cons

Not on the cheap side and may be a stretch for many people’s wallets.

The DriftSun coolers stand up to the same high standards as Yeti and RTIC. DriftSun strives to produce items for expert hunters and anglers, and their 75 Quart Ice Chest is by far no exception.

This remarkably durable cooler is manufactured from marine grade materials, including rotomolded plastic. Its insulation comes 3 inches in thickness to securely keep the chill inside. Moreover, this Driftsun 75 cooler is equipped with Cold Lock latches that stop cold air flowing out of the chest, leaving your drinks and foodstuffs as cooled as they were. The 75 Quart Ice Chest is the definitive choice for every outdoor enthusiast as long as they are into boating, fishing, camping and having fun.

Capacity
76 cans | 75 quarts | 71 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 33.5 x D 18.5 x H 18
Weight (lbs)
32
Ice retention (days)
7-10
PROS

Rugged and strongly built;

Army grade nylon rope handles;

Dry ice compatibility;

Advantageous price.

Cons

Heavy (similarly to other branded coolers that manage to keep ice for a week and some).

RTIC has successfully brought to life the dream of many city adventurers: a cooler bag with the same ice-holding capacity as that of a hard-sided cooler. The SoftPak lineup by RTIC comprises ultra-durable nylon cooling bags resistant to cuts and punctures, as well as weather-proof. This extreme toughness makes RTIC brand coolers stand out in a crowd of other current soft-coolers.

For those who want to preserve foods and beverages chilled, the RTIC 40 Soft Pack may become an indispensable thing to bring to the next hiking, fishing, or overnight stand at a campsite. The 35qt size is sufficient even for a several-day hunting or a grand get-together with your friends.

Capacity
40 cans | 35 quarts | 33 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 20 x D 17.5 x H 13
Weight (lbs)
7.65
Ice retention (days)
2-3
PROS

Forever-Dry Technology;

Insusceptible to mold damage;

Brand-guaranteed durability.

Cons

Not for harsh natural conditions.

IceMule isn’t exactly a gigantic brand – and still, they have offered a groundbreaking solution. The one that has the form of a premium hard-wearing cooler shaped like a backpack.

The IceMule Pro Cooler is a more capacious, beefed-up rendition of your common collapsible cooling bag. Its straps ignore the not-too-comfortable single sling-style and come doubled. This and a padded back section aim to maximize the carrying comfort and equalize the load its 31 quart of capacity has on your back. This IceMule will get your family outing or friend fishing trip fully covered for a day or possibly even longer.

Capacity
24 cans | 31.7 quarts | 30 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 20 x D 9.5 x H 8.5
Weight (lbs)
4
Ice retention (days)
1-2
PROS

Soft-padded back and strong shoulder straps;

Super-lasting 1000 denier outer coverings;

Leak- and weatherproof due to welded seams;

Nicely foldable and storable.

Cons

No storage compartments or pockets up front.

TOURIT is the brand of a customary choice for many experienced adventurers. Tourit coolers make for classic samples of a utility cooling bag boosted with peculiar innovations.

The Tourit 30 Cans Soft Pack can be rightfully considered a semi-rigid cooling bag. Its soft sides hold shape through the rigid elements of design and this does the trick of enabling you faster access to the cooler’s innards. This Tourit’s lid opens all at once, without the sides collapsing down and obstructing your reach for a chilled soda can. The semi-rigid bag is a handy accessory for hiking, beach and park picnics, hunting, camping, sea fishing, tailgating or even setting a table in the backyard.

Capacity
30 cans | 24.2 quarts | 22.9 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 18.7 x D 14.4 x H 12.9
Weight (lbs)
6.1
Ice retention (days)
1-2
PROS

Keeps ice frozen over 1-2 nights;

Good carrying capacity;

2 sets of handles plus a shoulder strap.

Cons

Zippers may feel flimsy.

Coleman’s range of ice chests is aimed at wide audiences of buyers. Whether you look for a cooling lunch box or plan a grandiose outing with a whole week’s worth of food and beverage, Coleman is likely to have a cooler model cut out specifically for your traveler’s needs.

The Xtreme 5 Cooler, for that matter, classifies as your all-in-one container for hunting, camping trips, marine activities, pool or beach parties. Its somewhat lowered ruggedness is perfectly compensated by premium cooling performance and affordable pricing.

Capacity
98 cans | 70 quarts | 22.9 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 28.4 x D 15.8 x H 17.5
Weight (lbs)
16.03
Ice retention (days)
5
PROS

Lid can house up to 4 cups;

No-tilt cleaning thanks to leak-resistant drain;

Ozone-friendly.

Cons

Does not provide sufficient durability in extreme environs.

No cooling challenges can stop this Pelican Elite Cooler due to its 2-inch thick PUR insulation. Covered with elements of anticorrosion steel, it will resist any drag-and-push influence, remaining totally insulated with its freezer-grade gaskets. With its powerful rotomolded construction, pinch-free revolving lateral handles, slanted drain and leashed tapped plug, the Elite 70 Quart Cooler guarantees one week to week-and-a-half ice retention and durable handling all the way through your long-term excursions.

Capacity
46 cans | 70 quarts | 66.2 liters
Dimensions (inches):
W 36 x D 20.3 x H 21
Weight (lbs)
38.3
Ice retention (days)
7-9
PROS

Flawless insulation ability with air-tight lid and quality gaskets;

Ultra-rugged;

Compatible with dry ice.

Cons

Drain plug does not match the cooler’s body in durability;

Bulky and heavy.

Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose a Coolers for Camping

If you enjoy hanging out with relatives and friends far away from the racket of the city then you either have a cooler or are looking for one. Outdoor coolers are indispensable for multi-day picnics and walking-tours when you need enough fresh food and drinks for a large group of people. The FDA recommends storing such delicate foodstuffs as meats and dairy at surrounding temperatures not higher than 40 °F to avoid their spoilage. Products like this cannot be eaten even after 2 hours of exposure to room temperature because of the probable bacterial infection. Many pathogens manage to spoil the food long before it starts smelling bad. Most foods should also be stored in cool dry places as humidity accelerates the multiplication of bacteria (that is why most of the available coolers come with installed dry foodstuff compartments).

Camping on empty stomach is more a catastrophe than a recreational activity; however, outdoor coolers may be quite handy even for those who prefer staying at home. Firstly, you get a reserve cold storage for your food and drinks, which is always good in case of a sudden hunger attack. Secondly, a cooler may be used to store medicines requiring strict temperature conditions.

So, what features should be taken into account when choosing a new cooler and what model suits you best? Here is a guide that will help you sort these matters out.

Different Types of Coolers

Traditional Outdoor Coolers

Traditional models make for the ideally balanced choice in terms of performance. They contain several layers of foam insulation that are sandwiched between glued plastic shells. Usually, a lid is attached with screw-on hinges and either depends on a tight fit plus a bit of friction to stay closed or snaps shut with the help of internal locking mechanisms. In terms of durability and structural integrity, these coolers are nearly flawless. Traditional models tend to keep food below 40 °F for no longer than five days, which is more than enough for short trips. Together with affordable prices and a variety of sizes and extra features, traditional coolers seem worth looking at for a non-professional traveler.

High-End (Rotomolded) Coolers

The know-how of rotational molding is put to use in the production of items such as kayaks and ruggedized coolers reinforced for applications in environs abundant with physical stress factors. When speaking of ‘high-end’ coolers we primarily mean a premium degree of cooling performance; each rotationally molded ice chest is a one-piece product and performs so well by keeping the heat exchange rate minimized. In total, of course, their insulation ability greatly depends on the quality of lid sealing material. Still, however much bulkier with their increased thickness, those high-end solutions stay streets ahead of competing non-rotomolded containers in terms of cold retention.

By investing in a high-end cooler, you get a model that keeps your victuals chilled for a minimum of five days and may last a lifetime if handled properly. Their price range is correspondingly higher.

Soft-Sided Coolers

Made of laminated fabric and further strengthened with welded seams, soft-sided cooling bags guarantee you two to three days of leak-free ice retention. These models are OK if you plan a short basket picnic because you can fold an empty bag easing up its carrying and freeing your hands. It’s good to have a lightweight and compact soft cooler within reach; still, their being collapsible renders them not very usable in extreme conditions or where protection from animals is a must.

Thermoelectric Coolers

A narrow niche of outdoor coolers is presented by heavy-duty models with increased capacity and thick plastic or stainless steel walls. These coolers guarantee a reliable refrigeration as long as they are connected to a power source. Most coolers can be plugged directly into a standard 12/24V car supply outlet; however, big-sized models are usually 24V, which means that should be connected to the power source via battery adapters.

Since they require no space for ice blocks, electric coolers come in a broad-ranging selection of shapes, including vertically-aligned containers most suitable for economy vehicles and boats. Thermoelectric coolers also have wider working temperature ranges along with user-friendly control of the established temperature.

Other Things Worth Your Attention

The choice between soft- and heavy-duty models boils down to the three main points: environmental conditions, the kind of recreation you enjoy the most and services available at your camping site.

  • Soft-sided coolers are less capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions and protecting the contents against humidity and mold. On the other hand, a large heavy cooler noticeably limits the distance of your trips, keeping you within the camping site limits.
  • Increased toughness also means better protection against curious wildlife. Many high-end coolers have bear-resistant certifications issued by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). Those sustainable locks and latches prove useful even for a barbeque in a park because rats and raccoons, though less dangerous than bears are certainly far more widespread.
  • If you plan to transport your cooler in a car then you are probably going to use an electric model as it wouldn’t be very practical to stuff the trunk space with ice bags. Before choosing an iceless model, you ought to consider its size and the amount of energy it would drain from the power source. Medium-sized (up to 50 quarts) and small energy-saving (with a nominal cooling capacity of 180-190 Watts) coolers may be powered from a cigarette lighter but you’ll still need to find a reserve battery or a generator at your camping site to plug your cooler in so that it would last longer than several hours.
  • As to installing traditional ice chests in your car, you may want to consider dry ice, which is more long-lasting and requires less space to be cluttered up with ice bags. By using a quality high-end cooler loaded with dry ice and hermetically sealed, you can prolong its insulation ability to several extra days. Keep in mind that extremely low temperatures provided by dry ice may damage an ordinary plastic cooler. If you have no regular access to fresh ice at your camping site and plan to cool your supplies with dry ice, consider choosing premium models tolerable to dramatic temperature variations.

Choosing a Cooler for Camping

Insulation and Ice-retention Parameters

High-end models are known to provide 7-14 days of ice retention, then you might want to drain, wash and replenish it. Cooler manufacturers seem to try their best to facilitate this chore for you – there appear the permanently dry materials, fast drain systems, and easy-to-clean components. So far, top coolers get rather very cool at speeding up the fill-drain-recharge cycle. Naturally, it would be an overkill to purchase a large high-end cooler to cool a few cans of beer. On the contrary, if you suspect that you’ll have no access to fresh ice then you have to select among those coolers that hold temperature longer and require less cleaning and refilling.

Durability

Your decision of either to choose a super-rugged rotomolded chest or an ordinary plastic cooler should be based on the severity of expected operational conditions. This is where a high-end product would make it with flying colors, with hinges of marine-grade steel, lids supplied with freezer-grade gaskets and high-security locking mechanisms. Wall thickness here ranges from 2 inches for models with a volume of 20/30/40 quarts and as high as 3.5 inches in case of 90-quart chests. Expect the durability this high-ranking to be accompanied with a bigger weight and a bigger cost, as is usual.

As opposed to more advanced models, the majority of traditional ice chests are not as extremely sturdy. Here, hinges’ quality rarely rises above the level of plastic and handles are polymeric, too. This by no means is associated with an inadequate strength of construction, it’s the other way round – 2-inch polyurethane shells, for example, fully comply with the requirements of domestic/camping/tailgating uses, when no falls from a height or wildlife intrusion loom on the horizon.

Material

If you choose a soft-sided cooler, you’ll get a model made of nylon and water- plus puncture-resistant fabric. It is recommended to opt for sandwich-type fabric, such as 600-denier nylon canvas because not only it is water-resistant but also waterproof. As for the lining, the recommended choice would be materials with the best resistance to ripping at seams. The following should prove good at holding the average 20-30 pounds of cooler contents: flexible polyvinyl carbonate, 330-denier polyester exterior fabric, or 600-denier polyester.

More impressive top-rated models are generally made of stainless steel and UV-resistant plastic. Most coolers in premium price ranges consist of similar quality materials and so the real difference between them turns on specific design features.

Size

With the question of ruggedness and retention capabilities being settled, the next step is getting determined about cooling storage space. Important! We advise you to care as little as possible about the numbers most cooler manufacturers specify in product titles. Mostly, those numbers do not indicate the cooler volume as measured in liters or quarts (unless it specifically says so). You’d be better off by learning the actual capacity of an interesting cooler model from its detailed description. As for can/bottle/ice capacity itself, this parameter directly influences your supply capabilities, so knowing your trip plans and/or guest quantity is key.

Traditionally, coolers get divided into three categories that go as follows: personal, middle-sized, large.

Personal ice chests rarely exceed the notch of 25 quarts and are handy for one, two people tops, being able to accommodate a day’s meal for a single person or store a small table’s worth of products.

Medium-sized coolers stay close to the 40-quart mark and, when fully loaded, will sustain you alone for up to a week. This is a perfect size for gathering a couple of your friends at the campfire for a night or two.

Large models start from 70 quarts up and have the best use for big get-togethers or parties.

Bear in mind that while personal cooling bags can be carried by a sling, those with significant external dimensions are practically unmanageable without an automobile or boat.

Portability

If your trip involves a container of chilled provision, this might well indicate that you need to think out the problem of its mobility. Surely, it goes without saying that neither backpack coolers nor one-person chests require much planning. That is never the case with unwieldy containers, though; their weight matters a lot when it comes to carrying them through a rough wooded country or bringing down to a river bank.

A rule of thumb here would be to check if your desired over-70 quart model is equipped with an extra set of handles for two-person carry. In other respects, have a means of transportation on the ready to haul the cram-full container down to your picnic place, especially if you deal with rotomolded types.

Ease of Use

Talking about the ease of maintenance, we mean ease of access and drainage of melted ice.

Ease of access

The difficulty you experience when opening the lid is determined by the design of the latches securing it. Standard lids with a propensity to snap shut add a certain degree of difficulty to normal use. High-end coolers along with thermoelectric ones come with various sorts of latches that make it easier to both open and reliably close the lid.

Drainage

Drainage can be pretty time-wasting when it comes to larger ice chests. If time matters a lot for you, choose coolers with higher draining capabilities and look for the coolers with larger plug holes. This becomes crucial for models from 70 quarts up, whereas the smaller 25-quarts have no such problems, holding not more than a few cups of melted ice. Ultimately, the quality of plug material matters too, as some cheaper rubber/plastic tend to wear faster with years of use.

Specific Features

These come as pleasant and usable bonuses more than actually impact the cooling performance. Some people gladly welcome extra comfort as they prefer to get the most of their outings and vacations.

  • Lids of some models often come imprinted with catch measuring notches. In cases of high-end solutions, users may often benefit from added toughness of the construction that have a look of pin-styled hinges and reinforced latches. Molded-in cup/can holders is especially great when you won’t risk spilling your drink by placing it on an uneven surface. Finally, a leash keeping the drain plug securely tethered is a nice gimmick; for some reason, however, a great number of coolers in the range of 25-50 do not feature it.
  • A large heavy cooler often serves as a seat or a coffee table. Pressure from above is not a challenge for a high-end cooler made of rugged plastic and equipped with steel hinges; however, most lower-end models could break when they are used as an improvised chair.
  • Other features. Among these, there are rod holsters, cup holders or even bottle openers.
    Some outdoor coolers come equipped with wheels. Such containers could be a preferred choice for a long walk in the park or a trek to the beach. Large coolers with 4 wheels (2 locking and 2 non-locking) 2.5-3 inches in diameter are best suited for transportation on a smooth road; smaller models equipped with larger wheels are designed for more bumpy terrains.

Price

The market features two different categories: premium coolers that cost a bundle and less expensive budget models. A cheap cooler does not necessarily mean a bad one: extra features provided by costly models tend to focus on prolonged usage and increased capacity, which is rarely required for occasional one-day picnics. A model designed to last a lifetime may constitute a decent investment but the benefits for voracious travelers are telling.

A traditional inexpensive ice chest seems an awesome compromise between extended warranty and standard capacity. It is also possible to find soft coolers that cost under 100 and provide up to 50 quarts of useful space.

Factors to Consider Before Your Final Decision

  • Before choosing a cooler, you should decide on how many people you are going to treat while camping. A small company may be satisfied with a 50-quart chest, whereas six and more adventurers would hardly make it with anything less worthwhile than a 90-quart food box.
  • Depending on how many days you wish to use your cooler for, pay attention to its ice-retention capability (for ice chests) and watt-hour energy usage (for thermoelectric products). Normally, electric mini-refrigerators/freezers will last eternally as long as you can power them up with the help of car battery during the longest of trips.
  • Alternatively, you can choose not to fret about the ice retention when going out for more than 5 days. Instead, be ready to find access to ice resupply and replenish that melted mass inside your cooler. On average, you’ll need 0.75 lbs. of cubed ice per each quart of the ice chest for 4-6 days.
  • When choosing a larger chest do not forget about its weight. If you plan to use a cooler close to your camping site or car, heavy models are surely appropriate. It also will do fine to have a pair or two of strong hands to carry the container around. For more options of transportation, check if your cooler of choice has an extra set of handles for two-people carry.

Conclusion

Outdoor coolers are great for admirers of outdoor activities.

High-end and premium models provide you with long-lasting cooling performance and reliable protection of the contents. They are designed to withstand rainwater and heat, stay functional even when dropped and submerged. Mostly, those products come rugged and equipped with reinforced parts to keep away wildlife and offer superb quality mold- and mildew-resistant liner.

Cheaper coolers along with soft-sided products may be incapable of enduring similarly harsh conditions; still, their portability complemented by ease of use and cleaning make them perfect for short trips and cocktail parties. Larger soft-sided products are also capable of storing food for bigger companies and some of them, especially semi-rigid containers, are supplied with handles for two-people carry.

Most medium-sized models are good if you like to compromise and get covered for all occasions. Depending on the brand and design, their insulation capabilities and toughness may either stand up to extreme requirements, such as for motor-boating or camping or be simply sufficient for tailgate parties and backyard get-togethers.

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By Chris Hayes
about author

My name is Chris and I am a hunter, outdoorsman, survivalist of 36 years old from Bosie, Idaho. Being a participant of Ihea-USA, I like big game hunting most of all, especially hunting white-tailed deer. Except hunting, I’m also keen on fishing and gaining new knowledge how to survive in the wild nature. As a professional hunter, I do not stop improving upon own hunting skills and testing new gear, equipment, hardware and weapons. I write articles to share my experience and knowledge with the readers who motivate me for more. For any additional information contact me at [email protected]