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Are you looking for the best cooler for camping? If so, you’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive guide will discuss everything you need to know about choosing the perfect cooler for your needs. Whether you are looking for a small personal cooler or something that can hold enough food and drinks for a large group, we have got you covered. We’ll also look at some of the best coolers on the market today and tell you why they are worth considering. So, whether you’re gearing up for your next camping trip or want to be prepared in case of an emergency, read on for all the info you need to make the right purchase!
The Best Hard Shell Camping Coolers
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Hardshell coolers are a classic style of coolers that have been around for decades. They offer the best in terms of durability and water resistance and can hold ice for longer than other types of coolers.
Yeti Tundra 45
About: The Yeti Tundra 45 is a top-of-the-line hardshell cooler perfect for camping trips. It can hold up to 35 pounds of food and drinks, and the thick insulation keeps everything cold for up to three days.
Why We Like It: The Yeti Tundra 45 is our top pick for the best hardshell cooler for camping. It is extremely durable and can keep food and drinks cold for days. Plus, the sleek design makes it a great option for any outdoor activity.
Specs: L 25 3/4 W 16 1/8, 23 pounds empty weight
Pros: This cooler has tons of features, including handles, a fantastic hinge system, tie-downs for security, and a top-notch drain system.
Cons: The Yeti line of coolers is quite expensive.
RTIC QT Ultralight
About: The RTIC QT Ultralight hard-sided cooler is a great option if looking for a durable and lightweight cooler. It can hold up to 20 pounds of food and drinks, and the thick insulation keeps everything cold for up to two days.
Why We Like It: The RTIC QT Ultralight is our top pick for the best lightweight cooler for camping. It is more affordable than other similar coolers, and many different colors are available.
Specs: L 27 W 18 H 18, 21 pounds empty weight
Pros: The RTIC coolers are lightweight, have durable rubber latches, fantastic insulation, and are lockable.
Cons: Short-term warranty compared to other coolers on the list (1-year).
Pelican 50 QT Elite
About: The Pelican 50QT Elite is a high-end hardshell cooler perfect for camping trips. It can hold up to 45 pounds of food and drinks, and the thick insulation keeps everything cold for up to three days.
Why We Like It: The Pelican 50QT Elite makes our list as one of the best hardshell coolers for camping. This brand of cooler is built to last. It boasts an extremely durable design.
Specs: L 30 W 20.3 H 20.4
Pros: This cooler comes with a lifetime guarantee. It is rugged and durable. The insulation is fantastic.
Cons: It is a bit bulky, and it has limited inside capacity due to a large amount of insulation.
The Best Soft Coolers
Softshell coolers are a newer style that has become more popular in recent years. They offer good insulation but aren’t quite as durable or water-resistant as hard shells because they’re made from fabric.
OtterBox Trooper 30
About: This premium cooler is very versatile. It can be turned into a backpack for easy carrying. It has a protective shell that will keep your ice frozen for days on end. The interior is an antimicrobial liner to inhibit mold and mildew growth.
Why We Like It: The OtterBox Trooper 30 makes our list as one of the best soft-sided coolers for camping. This cooler brand offers some unique features that are not found on other coolers.
Specs: L 21 W 17 H 11, holds 30 cans plus ice
Pros: This cooler is versatile and can be easily carried around. It has a protective and waterproof outer shell. This is a very nice cooler that is easy to store when not in use.
Cons: This cooler is quite pricey, and the lid design leaves something to be desired.
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 60
About: This rolling cooler has soft sides and an easy-to-pull expandable handle system. It can hold up to 60 cans and has a unique lid that allows easy access.
Why We Like It: The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze makes our list one of the best rolling soft coolers for camping. This cooler brand is built to last, and it offers some great features at an affordable price point.
Specs: L 14.75 W 15.5 H 19, 6.75 lbs empty weight
Pros: This cooler is very affordable, durable, has great insulation, and can hold many food and drinks. It is easy to move around due to its wheels and handle.
Cons: It is not as rugged as some of the other coolers on this list, and it can be burdensome to carry when full.
Engel 22 qt Heavy Duty Soft-Sided Cooler
About: This cooler has a padded shoulder strap for comfortable carrying. It can hold up to 22 quarts and has an easy-to-clean liner resistant to mold and mildew growth.
Why We Like It: The Engel 22 qt Heavy Duty Soft-Sided Cooler makes our list one of the best soft coolers for camping. The seams are welded instead of being sewn. This makes for superior water resistance and leak proofing. This little monster of a cooler is durable and portable.
Specs: L 19 W 10.5 H 15, 3.5 lbs
Pros: This cooler is water-resistant and leakproof. It is easy to carry around with the padded shoulder strap and has a molded-in handle.
Cons: It can be difficult to fit a lot of food and drinks inside this cooler, and the insulation is not as good as some of the other coolers on this list.
The Best Portable and Wheeled Coolers
Portable coolers are great for camping trips or any time you need to pack up food and drinks without taking up too much space in your car. They usually have wheels to be rolled along by one person rather than having two people carry them (which would make it more difficult).
Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 qt
About: This large cooler looks super cool! Beyond that, it is rugged, has wheels for stellar portability, large capacity, and uses an ultratherm insulation system.
Why We Like It: This cooler can go anywhere!! Besides its large storage capacity, the best part about this cooler is its ability to keep ice cold for up to 4 days (better than the competitors).
Specs: L 34.59 W 19.7 H 23.61, 34.7 lbs
Pros: This cooler has so many added features. It has dry storage, extra-large wheels, a cup holder, tie-down loops, a food basket, and more!!
Cons: It is a bit bulky and heavy!
Yeti Tundra Haul
About: This fantastic camping cooler has all of the great features that make Yeti coolers so popular. It is made of durable roto-molded plastic, has a freezer-grade gasket and an airtight lid seal, and uses PermaFrost insulation.
Why We Like It: The Yeti Tundra Haul is one of the best coolers for the money. It is a great size (holds up to 26 cans), has durable materials, and has great insulation. It is portable and lockable.
Specs: L 28.25 W 19.5 H 18.7, 37 lbs empty weight
Pros: This cooler is very durable, has great insulation, and is portable.
Cons: It can be expensive for some people, and it does not have as large of a capacity as some of the other coolers on this list.
Pelican Elite 45 Wheeled Cooler
About: This cooler/ ice chest features 2 inches of polyurethane insulations, rugged wheels for portability, 45-quart capacity, and the ability to keep your ice and food cold for up to 7 days (incredible).
What We Like About It: Pelican Elite coolers are known for their durability and ability to keep things cold for a long time. This cooler is no exception! It also has wheels that make it easy to transport, even when loaded with food and drinks.
Specs: L 29.66 W 20 H 19.25, 37.25 lbs empty weight
Pros: This cooler comes with a lifetime warranty, has great insulation, and is very durable.
Cons: It is a bit expensive, and it can be difficult to carry when full.
The Best Small Coolers
You may want to purchase a small cooler if you are going on a camping trip or any other outdoor activity where space is limited.
Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler
About: This cooler is made of extremely durable fabric meant to withstand the tough nature that camping brings. It has a lockable zipper and great insulation for a smaller cooler.
Why We Like It: This cooler is perfect for those who need a small, lightweight option that can still keep things cold. It is effortless to carry around, and the insulation is great for its size.
Specs: L 10 W 11.5 H 12.7, 3.1 lbs
Pros: This is a super lightweight and durable small cooler that comes with a 3-year warranty.
Cons: This cooler does not have wheels, and it is small. You will need to purchase a second one if you bring food for more than two or three people.
GigaTent Insulated Collapsible Cooler
About: This cooler is small and lightweight, making it perfect for a day or beach trip.
Why We Like It: This cooler is affordable and easy to transport! It has zippers on the top, sides, and bottom for easy access. Best of all, it folds up into a small size when not in use, making it easy to store away or pack with the rest of your camping gear.
Specs: L 12 W 9 H 8, 1.03 lbs
Pros: This cooler comes with two easy-to-carry handles, has great reviews, a bottle opener, fantastic insulation for a small cooler, and is super affordable.
Cons: It is not as durable as some of the other coolers on this list, and it does not have a warranty.
Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler
About: This awesome cooler by Yeti is built to last. It is durable, small (but can hold a bottle of wine), has a fantastic hinge system, and has great insulation.
What We Like About It: This cooler screams durability. It is sleek and stylish has a great hinge system that makes it easy to open and close, even when full.
Specs: L 17.5 W 16.5 H 15.25, 12.8 lbs empty weight
Pros: This cooler is durable and small enough to fit in most cars. It also has great insulation.
Cons: It is quite expensive for its size and does not have a huge capacity. It is also a bit heavier than the other small coolers listed.
The Best Backpack Coolers
Backpack coolers are made to be carried on your back like a backpack, making them perfect for hiking or other outdoor activities. They are small and lightweight but still have enough room to pack in plenty of food and drinks.
About: The IceMule Boss is just a fantastic invention. It is made of durable materials. It is waterproof, leakproof, and it floats!! This means you can take it on your next water adventure! This cooler can be carried on your back with ease. It keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and rolls up small for easy storage.
Why We Like It: This cooler is one of a kind. It can be carried on your back, floats, and keeps things cold for up to 24 hours! Best of all, you do not have to worry about lugging around another container or trying to find room in the car because it rolls up so small when empty.
Specs: L 17 W 11 H 24
Pros: This backpack has a large capacity, great insulation, and is easy to store. It is rugged and built to last.
Cons: It is costly for a small cooler.
BruMate Backtap Cooler
About: This little cooler/ backpack is a beast and super cool!! It is rugged, can be carried on your back, is easy to clean, and has a tap for beverages!!
Why We Like It: This cooler is perfect for those who want a durable and easy-to-clean option. The tap feature makes it super easy to access your drinks without having to unzip the entire thing, and it can easily be carried on your back.
Specs: L 13.5 W 13 H 14.75
Pros: This backpack can carry up to 3 gallons of liquid or 12 cans. It has its own drink dispenser and is super durable.
Cons: The shoulder strap is sold separately. It is a bit pricey for its capacity.
Arctic Zone Titan Rolltop backpack
About: The Arctic Zone Titan backpack cooler can hold up to 20 cans and keep ice cold for three days!!! It has a roll-top closure, is collapsible, and is easy to store. This backpack cooler is affordable and has great reviews.
Why We Like It: The Arctic Zone Titan is lightweight and large capacity. Best of all, it keeps things cold for a very long time in comparison to other backpack coolers on the market!! It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Specs: L 20.25 W 8.5 H 22.75, empty weight = .154 lbs
Pros: This little cooler packs a punch! It has a large capacity and great insulation, is portable, easy to store, and comes in at a great/ affordable price point.
Cons: Some people have noted it is not very durable.
How To Choose The Best Coolers For Camping
There are many things to consider when shopping for a cooler. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision.
What Type of Camping Do do You Plan on Doing?
The type of camping you plan to do will determine the size and features your cooler should have. For example, if you’re going on a day trip or weekend getaway where there won’t be any overnight stays in tents, then all that’s needed is something small enough for drinks but large enough for food as well.
If you plan on a long RV trip or full-timing, you’ll need a much larger cooler with more features.
How Much Food Do You Need To Store?
The amount of food you need to store will determine the size of the cooler that’s right for your needs. For example, if all it’ll be used is storing drinks, something small enough to fit in a backpack would work well. If you plan on a long trip with tons of meals, you will need one with a larger capacity and better insulation.
How Long Will Your Trip Be?
The length of time you intend to go on your trip will impact the type and size of the cooler you buy. For example, if it’s only going to be used for a few hours, any old box would do just fine. Still, if there are multiple days involved, then something with better insulation might need consideration so that everything stays fresh longer!
What Weather Are You Expecting On Your Camping Trip?
The weather can also be a factor when choosing a cooler. If you’re expecting hot weather, then buying one with insulation is important so that your food and drinks stay cold. Conversely, if the forecast calls for colder weather, water-resistance might be more important since items inside could freeze.
Features To Consider When Shopping For The Best Coolers For Camping
There are many different coolers available for purchase. It can seem almost overwhelming when deciding which one is the best for your needs. However, by considering the following factors, you can make an informed decision:
Storage capacity refers to how much space is inside the cooler. This can range from large enough for one person’s lunch up to several days’ worth of food and drink items.
Is It Lockable?
If you’re worried about someone stealing your food or drinks, a lockable cooler would be a good investment. If you plan on storing alcoholic beverages in a crowded area, this is also an important feature to consider.
Wheels Or No Wheels?
Some coolers come with wheels which makes them easier to transport. Others are smaller and need to be carried by hand. Consider what will work better for your needs.
Insulation/ Ice Retention:
The better the insulation, the longer your food and drinks will stay cold. This is especially important for long trips or if you’re expecting hot weather. You also don’t want to be running to the store every few hours to replace the ice.
A durable cooler will last for years. A cheap one might not even survive a camping trip or two before falling apart.
If you’re planning on boating or fishing, waterproof coolers are an important consideration. The last thing you want is to have your food and drinks ruined by water damage while out on the lake!
Large coolers are fine for camping, but if you’re planning any hiking or backpacking trip, then portability becomes very important. You want something that won’t weigh down your gear too much and is easy to carry around with you.
Size and Weight:
The size and weight of the cooler are also important factors to consider. If you’re only going on a short camping trip, then a large one might not be necessary, but if you’re full-timing, it will become an essential piece of gear. Storage space is always a concern when camping or RVing. You don’t want to bring a cooler that takes up more storage space than absolutely needed.
Some coolers come with extra accessories like bottle openers, a cutting board, and even a handle. These can come in handy if they fit within your budget.
The cost of the cooler is always an important consideration. You want to ensure you’re getting what you need without spending too much.
When looking for the best coolers for camping, it’s important to consider all of these factors to find the perfect one for your needs! By considering how long your trip will be, what the weather is like, and what features are important to you, you’re sure to find the perfect cooler for your next camping trip!
The best coolers for camping are the ones that make your camping experience more enjoyable. Whether you’re looking to stay hydrated on a long hike or trying to enjoy an ice-cold beer at the end of the day, we hope this guide helps you find the perfect cooler for your needs! Happy Camping!
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