Getting the best coolers for camping was one of the best decisions I made as an avid camper. After all, it’s one of the crucial parts of your camping gear, having the excellent features that keep your food and drinks cool the entire time. Let’s just say it’s one of the things you never know you needed until you get it, which is why I highly recommend that you invest in one now.
They have so many more advantages and uses even outside camping, which is what makes them a long-term purchase to take advantage of. However, I know how confusing it can be selecting the right one you need for your trips. That’s why I did the research and tests to help make finding a suitable cooler for you even easier!
So read on as I show you the 20 best camping cooler reviews for you to know what to get.
20 Best Coolers For Camping Reviews
Based on my tests, research, and overall customer reviews, these are the 20 best coolers for camping to invest in now:
OtterBox Venture Cooler
For this who want one of the best coolers known for its durability and strength, then you’ll really enjoy what the OtterBox Venture Cooler has to offer. This cooler is made from the USA, which has excellent insulation and cooling properties because of its excellent construction.
Did you know that it can keep ice and cool your items for up to 16 days? That’s one of the longest times I’ve ever known a cooler can stay cool for! I was quite surprised with how long it kept my ice cool for, and as long as you pre-cool and keep the lid tightly closed in a safe space, you won’t have any issues with ice melting too quickly.
Furthermore, the color comes with the strong mounting and latching system, so you’re able to attach extra accessories to save space on your pack. This camping ice bag and cooler comes with a bottle opener and a dry storage tray, also having adequate space for all types of food and drink.
Its strength and ease of bringing despite being one of the big camping coolers I own is the reason why I got it. So if you’re a huge group who require cool food and drinks for up to two weeks, you’ll definitely have no issue with this cooler and get your money’s worth.
- Has a large storage capacity
- Easy to carry and bring around
- Tough latches and mounting system
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Excellent insulation and cooling features
- Anti-slip feet and durable construction
- Includes useful accessories and warranty
- External size is too long
- Handles stick out too much
- The best cooler for car camping, not packing
Engel Coolers HD30 100% Waterproof Soft-Sided Cooler Bag
For those who want a great soft-sided cooler bag, then I recommend that you get the Engel Coolers HD30 Cooler Bag is for you. It’s the most efficient cooler without the bulkiness, holding ice for up to four days without any issue. But it’s the awesome material that makes it such a worthy purchase for a soft-sided cooler.
It’s made of the waterproof materials and a TPU wall construction to take on even the toughest of weather conditions. As for its security system, it has the vacuum valve technology to ensure better insulation to keep your food and drinks cool.
It’s pretty comfortable and convenient to bring around as well. It has a comfortable shoulder strap, as well as an accessory pocket in front, including a bottle opener for functionality. The size is ideal for single campers or couples, regardless of when or where you’re going.
Everything about this soft-sided cooler surpasses expectations for its price. While I do wish it were a bit easier to adjust, I have no other complaints and am impressed with its overall performance. Definitely worth the price for its insulation and length of time it takes before ice melts.
I recommend it for all kinds of backpackers who need to keep their food and drinks cool for short excursions!
- Strong and lightweight construction
- Waterproof and rugged for hard conditions
- Comfortable to bring around
- Smooth zipper and easily accessible
- Improved insulation of up to four days
- Affordable price for its features included
- Doesn’t tip over when propped
- Has neon interior colors for visibility
- Difficult to adjust the shoulder strap
- Side webbing unstitches easily
- No custom colors available
DriftSun Ice Chest
The Driftsun Ice Chest is the best camping ice chest available today, coming with the excellent material and construction that can hold food, meats, ice, and drinks for a long period of time! Plus, I really appreciate the fact it comes with various colors to choose from!
It isn’t just the variety of colors and designs, but the superb construction that had me shocked! Known as one of the best large coolers, it surpassed expectations with its variety of necessary features. It comes with rope handles made of the military grade for strength, as well as non-slip rubber feet, secure slots and lock plates, as well as the quality brain plug and valve.
As for the ice cooler review on its construction and performance, everything is what you look for. It’s made of the thermoplastic construction, with a unique material that’s known to be almost indestructible. Even when I took it to different areas, it worked as it should as if it were still new. After all, it has the three-inch insulation, so it’s similar to a freezer and melts only after days of usage even during sunny weather.
I believe that this cooler is built to last from even the most intense camping conditions. It’s the best for large groups of people going on long trips for its size and quality, made as to the best ice chest cooler around.
- Amazing construction and material
- Durable, can last for years
- The ice melts very slowly
- Doesn’t slip and easy to latch
- Excellent value costs less than others
- Ice may melt quick but food stays cold
- Rope handles difficult to handle
Igloo Glide PRO Cooler
For those who want a quality and transportable cooler, then you’ll love the design of the Igloo Glide PRO Cooler. While it has the simple all-white design, don’t be fooled, as it’s made with some of the most durable materials and has the cool handle that makes it extremely easy to carry around. I also highly appreciate its long handle and wheels, which are non-slip and stays stable wherever you place it on.
It’s one of the most comfortable coolers I’ve transported because there’s no need to carry it, simply push and lug! As for its performance, it’s made of the Ultratherm insulated body, which keeps ice cool for up to five days, maintaining a temperature of 90 degrees F when taken cared for well.
This is a huge cooler made for a lot of people for long trips, given the fact it’s 110 quarts. But surprisingly it isn’t bulky at all and I enjoy bringing it around. For huge storage capacity, I have no issues with placing it in the car or heading on to the campsite.
From its rugged construction down to its storage capacity and capabilities, I believe it to be a worthy purchase for huge groups of people and families.
- Rugged construction to last
- Stays in great condition for years
- Huge storage capacity for groups
- Keeps ice cold for five days
- Bright extending handle and wheels
- Easy to transport around
- Lightweight for its capacity
- Ice melts easily during warm summer
- Bottom hits sharp rocks when heavy
- Big size is not for everyone
Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65 Roto-Molded Cooler
One of my favorite camping cooler reviews and tests goes to the Engel Coolers, which is a Roto-Molded cooler made for ice and keeping your food cold for long. It has the two inches of inflation and the durable construction, which lasts outside and inside.
I appreciate that it’s made of UV-resistant material and with high-grade compression latches, ensuring that ice and items kept inside stay cool for long.
And boy, it sure is long, as it can keep my ice cool for up to ten days as long as you care for the cooler well while out! Just make sure that you take precaution before going out and keep the cooler in a safe area. On average, it keeps my ice for up to six days even on a hot day.
What makes it one of my favorites to test is really its durability. The cooler stays in place can withstand strong terrain, and I have no problems carrying it. Granted, it has some minor issues like its lid clamps, but it has good points and holds ice better than most coolers out there. I see this one lasting for years and continuing to hold ice for week-long excursions well.
- Made of excellent quality material
- Durable and robust outer to last
- Keeps ice cool for five to ten days
- Stable feet wherever placed
- Performs well despite frequent use
- Has secure latches and airtight gaskets
- Might not hold ice for as long
- Lid clamps aren’t most solid
- A very heavy cooler
YETI Tundra 35 Cooler
YETI is one of the best cooler brands available today, with the Tundra 35 Cooler surpassing expectations once again. I love the modern and simple design the YETI coolers have, as well as the different colors to choose from which make it fun to use and take around while camping.
This is considered as a portable camping cooler that’s easy to take around. It weighs less than 20 pounds when empty and is only 20x16x15 inches, which is still good bough to bring as a small group of people.
As for its material and design, it’s built with the high-quality materials, known for the Roto-molded construction which armors the whole cooler inside and out. So wherever you take it and how bad it gets, it stays sturdy and stands up to the weather and area.
Besides this, it’s portable for one person to take without hassle. The cooler can fit up to 20 cans AND ice included, which is great for groups of people for a few days. Furthermore, it has the T-rex lid which is easy to open, but still secure and airtight to prevent its contents from heating up. All in all, an excellent purchase from one of the top cooler brands available!
- Many colors to choose from
- Not heavy and portable enough
- Resistant and robust to any condition
- Keeps contents cool for a week
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Big storage capacity with small dimensions
- Easy to open but secure latches
- Has slight plastic smell at first
- Comes at a more expensive price
Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler
One of the best coolers to buy if you want to focus on electric ones goes to the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler. This utilizes electricity so you won’t have to purchase and use ice. It maintains the proper temperature for your food and drinks to stay cool no matter how long you use it for! Plus, you’ll be surprised with how affordable it is, given the fact it’s an electric cooler.
It’s quite simple and with the modern, compact design that’s easy to carry and bring when in the car. The power cord is eight feet long, which is just enough for me, and you can plug it in a 12V DC receptacle to begin using and cooling your food or drinks.
This is the best cheap cooler if you need something electric, as it’s effortless to use and pretty understandable. Plus, the materials are made of the rigid construction built to last. Though I’m a bit wary about its durability during harsh conditions, it’s great to camp with in average sunny or windy weather.
With all that being said, it’s the best car camping cooler for its capacity and portability. So long as your car has the power or that you have access to outlets, its contents stay cool without issue.
- Electric cooler simple to use
- Compact and portable to carry
- Utilizes most 12V power supplies
- Easy to understand instructions
- Keeps items cool all day
- No need for ice to cool
- Has the tough and long cord
- Need to push lid more to close properly
- Questionable durability in harsh weather
- Needs a few hours to cool up
Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler
The Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Cooler is one of the best coolers for keeping ice because of its security. It’s definitely safer than a locker and performs just as constructed, made of the rotational-molded polyethylene which ensures that everything stays cool and fresh in airtight seals. Even if you go through the toughest of camp trips, this bad boy won’t get damaged and will stay durable for years to come.
Performance-wise, it’s amazing. It has the three-inch insulation in the gasketed lid, as well as two inches in the body, and when the cooling system is topnotch. I keep ice in for a few days and it did NOT melt at all. Everything saved frozen and at optimum temperature, which is just what I needed carrying perishables and the like.
Furthermore, it has dual locks and a drain plug, making it a convenient cooler to use for the long run. I highly recommend this cooler for fishermen and hunters, who require the extra-durable and exceptional cooling which keeps all your food and drink items frozen for long periods.
I can see that this Igloo Yukon is made to last for a few years, and even after a few weeks of camping and banging it up, it stays in pretty great shape. Overall, a great choice especially if you focus on keeping your food items and/or game frozen for a long time.
- Ergonomic handles and drain plug
- Stays frozen for up to a week
- Hard rubber strap and latch system
- Accurate and big storage capacity
- Extremely strong and durable
- Excellent construction to last
- Fish keeper scale tool on the lid
- Maximum security and doesn’t leak
- Heavy for its size
- Has no wheels for transport
Coolest Cooler Premium Ice Chest
What I really love most about the Coolest Cooler is that it’s one of the best coolers for keeping ice! Also, you’ll be surprised with how much features it has in one quality cooler, making it even more fun to bring around during your camping trips.
For starters, this cooler comes with surprises no one would have ever thought of seeing in a cooler. It’s innovative and has a Bluetooth speaker which is splash and shockproof, offering eight hours of music blasting. Besides this, it has a bottle opener, corkscrew, as well as chargers for your devices and accessory decks to hide valuables while swimming or out. It even includes plates and a knife, as well as a blender so you’re able to make drinks on-the-go!
I commend this cooler for its versatility and usefulness. I love bringing this out whenever I can and showing its features off to just about anyone. However, this is best used for drinks and ice rather than food. If you’re looking for the best cooler for a weekend camping with friends and drinking the night away, you can’t get anything better than this.
- Many amazing features useful for campers
- Excellent cooling properties for drinks and ice
- Solar lid powers its charging port
- Retains ice for up to five days
- Small and portable, easy to bring around
- Has a decent amount of room
- Made better for ice, not perishables
- Complaints about battery charge durability
YETI Tundra 65 Cooler
The Tundra 65 is the best size Yet cooler for camping for big groups without the bulky size. Of course, for a Tundra 65, you should expect it to be a bit bigger, but it considering its storage capacity, it’s still easier to carry compared to others. I highly appreciate the way it looks and feels, having different colors but the same construction as all YETI coolers.
What I love most about this cooler is that it comes with the extra insulation, far better than most of the really good coolers I’ve seen! That’s because inside, it’s made with three inches of PermaFrost Insulation as well as a FatWall design to protect and insulate its walls further. Ice and frozen food items stay frozen for days regardless! Furthermore, it comes with the roomy space one needs for big groups or huge catches.
This is the best cooler for the money when looking for an efficient cooler with enough storage capacity for fishing and hunting. Its versatility also makes it a great choice for happy camping groups who need the insulation for frozen food items and the like.
- Amazing construction inside and out
- 3-inch insulation with extra walling
- Indestructible for years of usage
- No latch issue and stays secure
- Ice stays ice for at least one week
- Huge storage space for fishing
- Extreme insulation for ice and frozen food
- Keeps strong despite heavy use
- Good dimensions for a big cooler
- Expensive than most coolers
- Very heavy when full
Pelican Products ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler
Now if you want something impossible to damage or destroy despite the heavy and intense use, then the Pelican Products ProGear is for you! It’s one of the top-rated camping coolers known today known for its resilience and amazing feel for a 45-quart cooler.
The first thing I was a bit hesitant with was its price. Price-wise, it seemed more expensive than other types of coolers I’d normally purchase. However, this is a ProGear Elite, so you can only expect the best, if not even better, cooler made for even the most intense excursions. After all, it’s able to keep ice and cool your items for up to ten days!
The cooler comes with a freezer-grade gasket and has the two-inch insulation that retains your ice. I also highly appreciate the way you can handle and store with the cooler, as it has a trolley handle with comfortable molded-in handles for ease of rolling around. It even comes with the durable and strong wheels made for tough terrain.
Overall, I’m impressed with what this cooler has to offer and look forward to using it during excursions over a week long.
- Extreme insulation up to ten days
- Amazing durability and rugged design
- Easy transport with wheels
- Handles are easy to grip
- Wheels stay in place unless lifted
- Safety features for security
- It stays cool even on hot days
- Cooler design is somewhat bulky
- Expensive price for small capacity cooler
Thermik High-Performance Roto-Molded Cooler
Another excellent choice goes to the Thermik High-Performance Roto-Molded Cooler. It offers excellent resilience and strength for a small cooler and affordable price. Even I was quite shocked by how well it performed at a less pricey cost.
The cooler is made with thick urethane insulation which can keep its contents cool for up to five days, even more, when well-taken cared for. It’s known to have similar features and construction as top brands like Yeti and Rtic, making it one of the valued camping coolers on sale now.
When looking inside the cooler, you can see that it’s made of the excellent quality insulation, being made of thick urethane. It also comes with the freezer-grade lid and a vacuum release button, so you’re able to easily access your food and drinks without the worry of it getting stuck or what.
The cooler’s entire body down to its hinges is indestructible and will be able to withstand any camping or excursion! It’s also made best for small or big groups alike for its dimensions. So if you’re looking for something solidly built, then you’re going to enjoy this, known as the highest rated coolers today!
- Amazing rugged design for durability
- Solid build and latch system
- High-performing drain plug
- Has bottle openers attached
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Has a lot of storage space
- The superb cooling ability for days
- No extra handle options
- The cupholder isn’t big enough
Pelican Elite Cooler
If you need something extremely durable and can handle the bulkiness, then the Pelican Elite Cooler is for you. I recommend it as a top-rated ice chest which can accommodate huge amounts of ice, food, fresh meat, and drinks without leakage or drops of temperature. I’m surprised that a hard-sided plastic cooler can offer so much!
It has the true 70-quart volume made for over six people and still has enough room for different types of items. The insulation is amazing, made with the two inches of insulation and gasket for maximum ice retention to last for days at a time.
The entire body itself is complete, having cupholders, non-slip feet, as well as convenient handles, secure latches, a lockable hasp, bottle opener, and excellent hinge system with tie-down slots. It makes the entire cooler easy to use without any hassle whatsoever. Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty to ensure that you have a cooler made to last forever!
BUT, do take note that it isn’t the most lightweight. Because of this, I highly recommend it for transporting in cars or with two people carrying it. Besides its size, I believe it to be worth the investment if you love to camp for long periods with a lot of happy campers.
- Extremely durable with a lifetime warranty
- Keeps items cold for days
- Huge storage capacity for groups
- Complete features for convenience
- Amazing latch and security system
- Awesome insulation for freshness
- Very bulky and heavy
- Handles take up room
Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler
Coleman is best known for their outdoor equipment, and their Steel-Belted Portable Cooler is no exception! I list it down as one of the top-rated coolers for camping because of its extremely solid build. It’s made of stainless steel, which is rust-resistant and offering proper insulation for its price and capacity.
I appreciate its retro design, which adds charm as I bring it around. It’s like having a picnic or camping trip just like the old childhood days! Plus, its huge capacity of 54 quarts is ideal for big groups like my family.
As for its insulation, everything surpassed my expectations for a Coleman. It offers ice retention for up to four days, and even if it’s hot, my ice stays the same while my food and drinks stay cold! That’s all thanks to the stainless steel hardware the cooler has to offer, which I look for in quality products.
Overall, I love it and consider it as the best metal cooler of the list for its quality and reputation. After all, what more can you expect from Coleman? And coming at such an affordable price, I’m sure many campers will appreciate the value and its huge capacity for groups.
- Affordable price for a big cooler
- Delivers the best performance for years
- Made of stainless steel
- Durable and rugged design
- Attractive, retro design
- Has comfort grip handles
- Easy to lift and carry around
- Complaints of latch issues
- Feels a bit heavy
Coleman Xtreme Series Portable Cooler
For those who want the best cooler for the price, you honestly can’t beat the Coleman Xtreme Series Portable Cooler. This is a trussed cooler with a HUGE storage capacity perfect for families and a lot of happy campers. But even if it’s 70 quarts, it packs a punch and is more portable compared to coolers of similar capacities.
Besides it having proper dimensions, it’s also easy to carry. As long as you weigh it right, you’re able to carry it on your own! It’s got the ergonomic grip handles that make carrying the coolers much easier. Plus, I highly appreciate its cool and modern design, which even has upholders on the lid for added convenience.
My experience with the Coleman was excellent and I have no complaints. Though the ice melted within a few days, everything still stayed cool for up to a week.
While the ice didn’t stay as cool and in shape for over a week, it still did a great job. It’s ideal for big groups but for shorter trips because of its insulation. Nonetheless, it has the combination of portability and capacity which many will need. After all, what more can you expect from the reputable Coleman company?
- Modern and cool design
- Grip-comfort handles
- Easy to carry and transport
- Huge storage capacity
- Reputable company name
- Amazing value with added features
- Lid has cupholders
- Not the best insulation
- Hinges feel and look cheap
IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag
One of the best portable coolers goes out to the IceMule Pro Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag. It’s different from the typical soft-sided coolers I’ve handled before. It doesn’t take the design of the shoulder strapped bags, but as a backpack instead! That way, it’s much easier to carry without tiring one shoulder from the weight and you’ve got your hands free to use while trekking or heading on to the campsite.
Don’t expect it to stay insulated for weeks, but it does a great job in keeping its contents cool for a soft-sided cooler. It’s best for overnight camping trips and has my ice and food stay fresh throughout the day without any issues. Furthermore, it’s a huge space-saver so I can fold it down when it isn’t in use, making it supra portable!
The body itself is lightweight and designed well to add more storage capacity without it bulking up your pack. And if you need one in smaller or bigger sizes, IceMule offers a variety of sizes and colors according to your preference. With all that in mind and its strong build, I believe it to be an ideal purchase for overnight campers.
- Collapsible and compact for packing
- Space saver and lightweight body
- Different sizes and designs to choose
- Backpack design for hands-free handling
- Waterproof and leak-free
- The bag can float on water
- Easy access to contents
- Keeps food cool for up to three days
- Mesh lining is a bit uncomfortable
- Complaints of receiving packs with holes
YETI Hopper Two Portable Cooler
Another excellent choice for good coolers for camping is the YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler. YETI truly lives up to their name as one of the top brands for camping equipment, with this soft-sided cooler being no exception. I really like the fact that it comes with the excellent quality design that makes the bag not only portable but extremely functional for all camping trips.
For a soft-sided bag, it’s able to maintain ice retention amazingly, lasting for days of use. Plus, its size is ideal for single or couple campers as it has adequate space for a lot of food and drinks. Besides its storage capacity, the portability is topnotch, lightweight and hassle-free to carry. You have the choice to carry it as a shoulder bag or to use the handles.
The body is made of the high-quality material only YETI can promise, known to be as tough as nails. I can already feel and see that this can last for a long time, so I’m able to take it to any camping trip without the worry of scratches or damage. Furthermore, it’s waterproof and indestructible like all of YETI’s coolers. Their zipper is also leakproof and airtight, keeping contents cold and free from leakage.
- Quality zipper for airtight security
- Doesn’t leak and is waterproof
- Easy to bring around
- Convenient access for fast packing
- Waterproof and indestructible body
- Keeps contents cold for days
- Big enough for groups
- Expensive for a soft-sided cooler
- A bit heavier than others
Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler
The Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler is one of the best ice coolers I won’t stop recommending. If you need something that can keep your ice frozen and ready to use for long periods of time, you’re going to enjoy this cooler. You can choose between various sizes to ensure that you have the right capacity for groups of people. The 60-quart is suitable for me as it fits ice and drinks for a lot of people nicely.
It comes with Igloo’s original Ultratherm insulated body, which ensures that the cooler’s contents stay cold for long periods. When I tested it out, it lasted for up to one week with proper care, which is what I expect from a quality ice cooler.
Besides that, the body is well designed for convenience as well. It comes with molded side school handles to easily load and unload, as well as the long handles to make it hassle-free to roll around when walking to the campsite. Transporting and carrying has no issue, and I love its strong wheels that withstand most terrains. Overall, one of the best coolers for keeping ice and frozen goods.
- Convenient handles and wheels
- Easy to carry and transport
- Durable wheels with strong tow handle
- Can withstand heavy weights
- Easy access and packing
- Ultratherm insulated body
- Great for ice and frozen food or drinks
- Large and roomy for big groups
- It’s lightweight for its size
- The top is hollow, cracks when sat o
- Might be too big for some vehicles
Coleman 50-Quart Wheeled Cooler
The best 5-day cooler with excellent price value goes out to the Coleman again! This can carry up to 50 quarts, great for long trips and/or big groups since it’s portable enough to bring around even when camping as a couple. Besides camping, this cooler is also ideal for day trips and the like with family and friends.
I like Coleman’s cooler design, which is what makes it so convenient and handy to use. It has the telescoping handle for easy carrying, as well as a long handle with wheels to make it even easier to bring around to your campsite or fields. Plus, it has the cupholders on the lid to place your drinks conveniently.
As for its capacity, you can fit up to 84 cans or other foods and ice and it’s free from leaks from airtight latches. It has the insulated lid and walls, which offers ice retention of up to FIVE days, which is great for its price. So if you’re on a budget and still want the quality cooler to last for large groups, Coleman doesn’t disappoint.
- One of the cheapest coolers
- Excellent storage capacity
- A lightweight and transportable design
- Durable wheels for any terrain
- Secure lid that prevents leaks
- Great size for large groups
- Keeps items cold for up to five days
- Solid build from Coleman
- A bit difficult to open the lid
- Cooler parts sometimes wobble
- The handle is difficult to adjust
Igloo 14.8 Quart Playmate Cooler
Last but not least, we have the Igloo Playmate Cooler, one of the best coolers on the market for single or couple campers. This is a hard-sided cooler with better insulation you’d expect from a hard-sided cooler, but the portability of one that’s soft-sided. It’s extremely portal and easy to carry, having the lunchbox design that’s lightweight and with enough space for one to two people.
The body itself is strong and made with the diamond plate exterior and impact-resistant plastic, which offers the extreme durability to last no matter where you take it. It even has the locking lid to prevent any spills and leaks, keeping everything inside cool and nice.
Overall, this is definitely worth the long-term purchase if you’re a single camper going on an intense excursion! Just make sure you have the extra budget for it, though it’s still definitely worth the purchase.
- Easy to grip and carry around
- Solid exterior and interior
- Lightweight and portable design
- Rugged appearance
- Great for intense campers
- The strong lid to prevent spills
- Versatile and used for more than camping
- A lot of room for one or two people
- Durable and lasts for years
- Has a very expensive price
- Complaints of locking mechanism breaking
How to Choose the Best Coolers For Camping
Selecting the top-rated coolers isn’t just about getting the best one you see based on the highest brands and price. There are so many things to look into when choosing one, especially when considering YOUR individual wants and needs as a camper. With that being said, here are the different factors to think about when getting a camping cooler:
Do You Absolutely Need a Cooler?
Before we get into the different details, let me ask you first: What makes you think you need the best camping cooler? While I really encourage people to get a cooler for their outdoor trips, there are some people who might find it unnecessary!
Camping coolers are extremely helpful if you’re a huge group of people who require more capacity for drinks and different foods. If you plan on providing cool drinks and to keep your perishables fresh before cooking, then you’ll have great use for the equipment. This especially goes for those who are going for longer excursions, may you be a single camper or in a huge group.
However, if you plan on going for shorter day trips that don’t require longer cooling of drinks and perishables, you’ll need to think twice. If you see yourself camping for just one day most of the time, or need a cooler for picnics and beach days, then a soft or smaller cooler is best for you.
You really need to consider how you’ll go camping, from where to when, in order to know if a cooler’s a worthy investment and what type you need. After all, you wouldn’t want to waste hundreds of dollars on features you don’t need when outdoors!
If you want to learn more about the tips of using the best camp cooler, then check out this informative video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn786srTjRQ
What Type Of Cooler Do You Need?
There are actually different types of coolers to choose from, all of them having their own benefits to suit the way you’ll use it. Here are the major cooler types I recommend:
Traditional vs High-End Coolers
Traditional coolers are what you usually see from camping stores and the like. They are your basic coolers which provide normal insulation and cooling. This is the best value cooler if you don’t need the extremely heavy-duty ones, great for camping and short excursions.
High-end coolers, on the other hand, maximize its abilities and go a step further. They have excellent technologies which keep your food cool and retain ice for longer periods. These are made best for avid hunters and campers.
Plastic vs Metal Coolers
Plastic coolers are your basic materials made for most coolers, which keep your food cool for a few days without needing to replace the ice. They are also durable when made with the quality materials and construction, lasting for years and can keep ice for up to ten days.
Metal coolers offer more heavy-duty purpose than plastic ones, made for hunters and fishermen who need extremely durable ones that’s cooler and protects insulation better. However, these are a bit heavier and more expensive, recommended mostly for intense campers or hunters and fishermen who need ultimate cooling.
Soft-Sided vs Hard-Sided Coolers
Soft-sided coolers are made best to cool your beverages and food good for up to four people. They are like more modern lunch boxes, which maximize their thermal efficiency and insulation. They are also lightweight and easy to bring around.
Hard-sided coolers are almost indestructible and are the most efficient in cooling. They are made for avid campers who bring big batches of food that require better insulation, such as perishables or for hunting game. These are your usual coolers with hard walls you’re used to seeing outdoors, hence the name.
Electric coolers are special and newer types of coolers to invest in today, which are made for those who have access to power supplies. What makes it ideal is that you don’t need to bring and use ice packs or ice when keeping things cool. Think of it as a portable fridge that requires 110V AC wall sockets, which are usually found in cabins and lodges.
If you have constant power supply and don’t want to hassle with ice packs, then this cooler is a good choice, though it’s more expensive than other cooler types.
I know a lot of you are looking for an all-in-one cooler that provides everything you need. However, there is, unfortunately, no such thing as a cooler that offers everything everyone needs! Not all coolers can function well in all capacities, which is why decision guides (like this) and different types explained are important to look into.
What Size Should You Get?
The size of your camping coolers depends on various factors, such as:
Coolers for camping have storage capacities measured in quarts. This would dictate how much you’re able to store inside it, and the size inside your cooler depends on how many you’ll be and how long you’re camping for.
If you’re a few people who want some drinks and a bit of food, then 25 quarts is enough. This is best for couples or single people, though.
For single or couple campers going out for a few days, then a 40-quart cooler is best. If you’re a whole family going for a weekend trip, 70-quarts is recommended. There are more large camping coolers available, though these are used for special purposes like extended rafting trips or hunting expeditions.
Besides the internal capacity, you need to focus on how big it is on the outside. For those who are saving on space and are unable to lift heavily for excursions, then a lighter and compatible size is best, something that can fit your vehicle and can be brought to the campsite. But if ever you can get a large car camping cooler and accommodate the weight for more space, then that’s a good choice, too!
A fully-loaded cooler is actually one of the heaviest items you’ll need to move with, which is obviously why you need to focus on portability and ease of moving, too. While smaller coolers are easy to carry, we can’t always use a small cooler for big groups. A large camping cooler should have better features like grippable handles and wheels to make transport and carrying hassle-free.
Material Durability and Budget
To get the best camping cooler for the money, you want to get one that’s well-performing AND durable to last for years to come. With that being said, you also have to focus on the material and constriction that was used on the cooler.
You’ll need to consider the abuse you’ll be putting on your cooler, from the weather to the places you’re taking it to. That’s why I believe it’s best to splurge a bit more on durability than the extra frills and features, depending on your budget.
Higher-end models would have a stronger feel to it, such as pin-style hinges, rigid lids, and walls, as well as secure latching mechanisms to ensure no spillage regardless of how you use it. It would also have the robust screw-in drain plugs and the overall material made with UV-resistant and safe plastic to ensure that weather won’t be a huge issue when taking the cooler out.
However, if you’re on a budget and don’t require the extremely solid build (such as day camping or going out during weathers that are more sympathetic), then you won’t need to demand robust and solid, but good coolers that provide just enough strength to stay stable throughout your trip.
Take note, coolers can run for as low as $8 to a whopping $1,000 or more, so consider what you need, how much you can afford, and base your choices on the reasonable budget set. While you don’t need to spend oodles on high-quality coolers, you shouldn’t scrimp!
The main reason why you need your cooler is to keep any items inside well-insulated and cool throughout the trip. The insulation capacity and abilities of your cooler depend on how you’ll use it for. After all, certain ingredients and drinks require specific temperatures to stay fresh and/or cool for safety and enjoyment.
To know if your chosen camp cooler is well-insulated for you, consider your needs:
Will You Fish or Hunt?
If you plan on hunting or fishing during your camp trips, then you’ll need to focus on the best insulation. Your fresh meat or game will require low temperatures to stay fresh, so better insulation for long periods is a must, even if it will be a bit more expensive.
Is It Simply For Drinks and Hotdogs?
For people who’ll need a cooler for simple purposes such as keeping their drinks and small foods cool, then you won’t need to worry about the absolute best insulation. Regular cooling and insulation are good enough if you just need ice and/or cool drinks for a day or two.
Are You Packing Food?
If you’re looking for food coolers for camping because you’re handling meat and other perishables, you need a heavy-duty cooler. You’ll need the similar insulation as hunters require since you’ll want to ensure that your perishables pass health safety standards to be safe to cook and consume. Fortunately, you don’t need to get the most expensive cooler for this!
Ease of Use and Maintenance
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that all your camping equipment is easy to use and maintain, including your cooler. With that being said, here are the four major factors to look into to ensure that your chosen cooler is easy to use:
How Does It Drain?
The drainage is one of the important factors to consider when selecting a cooler for camping. I like coolers with adequately-sized drain holes you won’t need to tilt to remove excess water. Those two features can increase your comfort while lessening your effort in cleaning.
Ease of Bringing Around
The best camping coolers are the ones that are effortless to bring around. With that being said, you might want to consider getting coolers with convenient handles and even wheels. This will make transporting and carrying a breeze while you’re walking to the campsite.
Opening/Accessing the Lid
You’ll want a cooler that’s easy to open and get your items from. What determines the ease of access to your cooler is the latch system. I recommend that you get a color with an external latch, which doesn’t only open up easily, but still secures the cooler’s contents and keeps it safe from pets and children.
Cleaning and Maintenance
You’ll want to ensure that your cooler for camping is easy to clean afterward. That’s why I highly recommend that you get a cooler with drain holes to remove any excess liquids, as well as the ergonomic design to make it easy to clean hard-to-reach spots and the like without destroying the material.
Would You Like Extra Features?
Did you know that coolers have more features that make their purpose even more efficient? Again, this all depends on your individual needs and preferences! I recommend that you consider getting coolers with any of these cool and useful features:
Draining holes at the motion of your cooler for camping is a must! This drains any melted ice or spilled drinks, so it makes it easier to clean afterward. Top coolers come with connections to drain plugs for better cleaning.
If you plan on putting drinks in your cooler most of the time, then cup holders are helpful. This prevents spillage and ensures better organization, too!
Wire Baskets or Insert Trays
Most of the top coolers for camping come with wire baskets and insert trays to separate your drinks, cold food, and perishables. It’s also helpful for fishing!
Section dividers are highly convenient as well, which separates your food and drinks from one another to prevent cross-contamination and promote better organization. Less confusion while you look for your food and drinks!
Lids With Rulers
Lids with rulers would be a cool addition for those who hunt or fish so they’ll be able to measure their catch conveniently.
Wrapping It Up
You’ll never know you needed a cooler for your next camping trips until you have one and enjoy its perks! May it be keeping your meats and vegetables fresh down to cold drinks the entire trip, your cooler is versatile and will amp up the eating experience when outdoors. As long as you get the lightweight one with features you need, feel free to use it when camping, outdoors, or even during huge events.
Whether you’re a beginner or avid camper, a good cooler which doesn’t leak and is easy to carry should be your main concern. Continue to do your research and look into legitimate reviews like mine, and you won’t have to worry about getting the wrong one!
I hope that this article on the best coolers for camping helped you out. So don’t wait any longer and look into any of these coolers now.
If you have any questions or want to share your reviews on the best coolers for camping, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated!