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The 7 Best Camping Coolers: Reviews and Buying Guide

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Gone are the days when Styrofoam and large, square white boxes were the only camping cooler choices. Today, there are dozens of coolers to choose from and technology is continually evolving!

If you camp often or have gone camping only a few times, then know the importance of having a high quality cooler. Whether you plan to sleep under the stars for 2 nights or 10, finding the best camping cooler is an important part of any trip.

The 7 Best Camping Coolers

We sifted through the masses and put together a list of the 7 best camping coolers. We chose a variety of styles, hoping that you find the camping cooler that best meets your needs 🙂

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

  • Capacity: 45 Quarts
  • Dimensions: 25 ½ inches long x 16 inches wide x 15 ½ inches tall
  • Weight: 22 pounds

This YETI is from the enormously popular Tundra line and holds 45 quarts worth of food and beverage. Although on the spendier side, there are plenty of reasons why it is worth the price.

The insulation is 3 inches thick and will keep everything inside cool for 5 days. There’s a second patented system, FatWall, which keeps the smells inside the cooler. This is especially important if you’re primitive camping in areas where wildlife is a concern.

The Yeti Tundra 45 is a highly durable portable camping cooler with a great reputation in the outdoor world. Being a Rotomolded cold storage unit, this cooler is basically a tank, meaning it can handle any and everything that you throw at it (literally).

Pros:

  • Multiple colors available
  • Rotomolded construction (basically armored)
  • Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Certified
  • Drain system will not rust, break, or leak – guaranteed

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Heavy for a cooler
Browning Camping Big Horn Tent
383 Reviews
Browning Camping Big Horn Tent
  • The YETI Tundra 45 combines versatility with durability with a capacity of up to 26 cans with a recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio
  • Will keep your ice... well ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified Bear-Resistant
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to take it, this portable cooler's sturdy construction will stand up to the rigors of the journey
  • All Tundra coolers feature T-Rex Lid Latches constructed of heavy-duty rubber and made with patented technology so you'll never see another busted latch. Military-grade polyester rope for extra durability

ICEMULE Classic Insulated Backpack Cooler Bag

  • Small capacity: 10.6 Quarts
  • Medium capacity: 15.9 Quarts
  • Large capacity: 21.1 Quarts
  • Small dimensions: 16 inches tall x 8 inches wide
  • Medium dimensions: 16 inches tall x 10 inches wide
  • Large dimensions: 16 inches tall x 12 inches wide
  • Small weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Medium weight: 2 pounds
  • Large weight: 2.1 pounds

The ICEMULE Classic is an insulated backpack that resembles a dry bag. Not only is it completely waterproof, but it also collapses and rolls up when it’s empty.

As a soft-sided outdoor cold storage bag, there isn’t a ton of insulation. This was done by design because the ICEMULE classic is designed for 24-hour use.

This cooler is available in 6 different colors and 3 different sizes. Small fits a six-pack, medium hauls 2 six-packs, and large holds 18 cans.

This is a hands free cooler, allowing you to do any rock scrambling required to reach your destination. Once you get there and finish your provisions, simply roll up the fully collapsible bag for the trip back and remember to pack everything you take in, out with you.

Pros:

  • Perfect for hike-ins, backpacking, and packcrafting
  • Great for beach use, day hiking, and overnight kayaking trips
  • Hands-free
  • Constructed to be leak-free with no seams or zippers

Cons:

  • The single strap design makes for an awkward carry for some people
  • Ice melts down before the 24-hour mark
Sale
Browning Camping Big Horn Tent
459 Reviews
Browning Camping Big Horn Tent
  • THE WORLD'S COLDEST HANDS-FREE COOLER - engineered to be the most portable, high-performance soft-sided cooler around and is available in a variety of sizes to ensure that whatever the occasion, your drinks and refreshments stay ice cold all day long
  • KEEP YOUR HANDS HANDY - the ICEMULE is a backpack style-cooler bag that straps comfortably to your back, leaving hands and arms free to carry anything other than your cooler; the double padded and ventilated straps mean effortless hands-free carrying
  • A SUPER SPACE-SAVER - forget bulky ice boxes, an ICEMULE rolls and stores easily when not in use; the cooler is fully collapsible, perfect for travelling to your destination
  • WATERPROOF AND FAST, EASY ACCESS - the ICEMULE closure system is designed without zippers and welded seams, meaning no leaky zippers and easy access to load and unload the cooler; it even floats, so it's perfect for kayaking and watersport trips

Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler

  • Capacity: 64 quarts
  • Dimensions: 15.5 inches long x 30 inches wide x 17.75 inches tall
  • Weight: 13 pounds

When people are counting on you to provide a camping cooler, you’ll want something you can easily transport that holds all of your goodies. For large groups of people, you can’t go wrong going with the Coleman Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler.

How large is a 62-Quart capacity? This monster cooler can fit 95 cans plus the ice required to keep everything at a safe temperature! Not to mention everything inside will be kept cold for 5 whole days. This is the result of the insulated lid, as well as the extra insulation in the cooler walls.

If you need to move the Coleman Extreme, there are wheels on the bottom to assist you and your crew through all types of terrain. When you are ready to lift, there are strong handles to assist you.

In terms of getting rid of melting water, you won’t have to worry about mess or strength due to the well-sealed, leak-resistant drain on the very bottom of the cooler.

Pros:

  • Great for multiple days of camping
  • Made in the United States of America
  • Top of the cooler can be used as a seat
  • Molded cup holders

Cons:

  • If days are hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the ice will not last very long
  • Very heavy when full – might take 2 people to lift
  • The top doesn’t stay open by itself
Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler
405 Reviews
Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler
  • 62-quart wheeled cooler ideal for camping, tailgating, picnicking, and more
  • Stores ice for 5 days at exterior temperatures of up to 90 degrees F
  • Holds 85 beverage cans with ice; 4 stay-put beverage holders on top
  • All-terrain wheels and easy-grasp tow handle for easy transport

Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler

  • Capacity: 60 Quarts
  • Dimensions: 18.5 inches long x 20.7 inches wide x 20 inches tall
  • Weight: 13 pounds

The Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler looks just like it sounds. It is the shape of a cube, it has wheels, and it is a camping cooler. This shape is still relatively unique in the camping cooler world, and the ergonomic design makes your life easier when lifting the cooler in and out of your vehicle.

The handle of this outdoor cold food storage is made of plastic, telescoping, and can be locked in place for long-distance rolling. If you are on the taller side, the handle is long enough for you to use comfortably.

How many cans do you think this extremely convenient cooler holds? The answer is 75, and this means you and your family can camp without having to refill supplies. However, there is not much insulation in this rolling icebox, so plan on refilling the ice after a couple of days.

Pros:

  • 4 molded cup holders
  • Made in the United States of America
  • Replacement parts available on the official Igloo website
  • Good price point

Cons:

  • Cannot use as a seat
  • Rare leaking issues

REYLEO Cooler, 21-Quart/20L Rotomolded Cooler

Capacity: 21 Quarts
Dimensions: 18.3 inches long x 13.8 inches wide x 13.4 inches tall
Weight: 16.6 pounds

The REYLEO Rotomolded Cooler holds 21 Quarts, a full 30 cans, with a 2:1 ice to perishables ratio. The contents of your REYLEO Cooler will stay cold between 3 to 5 days, depending upon the outside temperature and whether or not you keep your camping cooler in the shade.

Rotomolded means this cooler was created as one piece. That increases insulation by creating the closest permanent seal possible, and why your original ice will last up to a full 120 hours! Attached is a single, stainless steel handle that locks in the perfect upright position to keep the contents from moving around as you carry the cooler.

This REYLEO outdoor cold storage container has tight seals in all the places that matter. The lid uses the same technology like refrigerators, and the latch locks to keep cold air inside and hot air outside.

Pros:

  • 2 molded cup holders
  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Molded ruler for measuring freshly caught fish
  • Rubber feet won’t slip on sloped surfaces such as rocks
  • Fantastic customer service

Cons:

  • Scratches easily
  • Sticker fades and peels with time
  • The food and beverage will need to be replaced before the ice
Sale
REYLEO Cooler, 21-Quart/20L Rotomolded Cooler
47 Reviews
REYLEO Cooler, 21-Quart/20L Rotomolded Cooler
  • 【INDUSTRY LEADING ICE RETENTION】Keeps cold up to 3 days with recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents. Filling full ice will take 5 days to melt completely. Capacity up to 30 cans without ice, and 16 cans with recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio.PS: Since the insulation effect will be affected by different factors, if you have any problems in this regard, please contact us immediately, we will help you solve the problem in the first time.
  • 【TOUGH ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION 】 Bear-resistant level construction withstands more than 700 pounds. Cutting edge durability to take whatever the outdoors has to throw at you. Insulated with polyurethane foam to provide superior insulation and strength.
  • 【UV PROTECTION&NON-SKID 】 ALL exterior and interior surfaces are anti-UV. Non-Skid feet Guarantees that your cooler won't go anywhere without you.
  • 【INNOVATIVE FEATURES】 Bottle opener lock plate, Cup holders and 16" fishing ruler on top, Drain plug to release water and also a pressure relief valve for easy opening. Low profile Snap Tight latches that eliminate snagged fly lines or pant legs. REYLEO has you covered! PS:Since the rubber latches are consumables, we upgraded the rubber latches, which are more durable. The link is in the parameter table of the product description.

Pelican Products Progear Elite Wheeled Cooler

  • Medium capacity: 45 Quarts
  • Large capacity: 80 Quarts
  • Medium dimensions: 19 inches long x 12 inches wide x 12 inches tall
  • Large dimensions: 42.88 inches long x 20.75 inches wide x 20.25 inches tall
  • Medium weight: 37.5 pounds
  • Large weight: 49.5 pounds

If you desire a cooler with large capacity and the ability to keep your perishables cold for 10 straight days, check out the Progear Elite by Pelican Products. There are two sizes available, 45 and 80 Quarts.

Available in both white and tan, the wheels and pull out handle will help you transport your cooler through sand and over roots. As for carrying, there are molded handles on each side. Not to mention the molded tie downs for safe transport in the back of your truck or the top of your car.

Worried about scuffing? Don’t be! The Progear Elite has non-marking, non-skidding feet to keep your vehicle clean.

Between the wheels is the drain plug. Lucky for you, it’s on the bottom and makes draining melting ice a breeze. In addition, the plug is tethered so you won’t lose it! After you’re finished camping, simply attach your garden hose to the drain plug for easy cleanup.

Pelican Products are made with a freezer gasket for a strong seal. Furthermore, the wall insulation is 2-inch thick polyurethane and reinforced in the corners. In terms of aesthetics, the color on your cooler will last due to the built-in UV resistance.

Pros:

  • Bottle opener built-in
  • Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Certified
  • Made in the United States of America
  • Lifetime Guarantee – “you break it, we replace it, forever”
  • Can sit on the top – the cushion is sold separately!

Cons:

  • High price point
  • The 10-day estimate is based on 90-degree weather
  • Takes 2 people to lift when full

YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler

  • Capacity: 30 Quarts
  • Dimensions: 18 inches x 25 inches
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds

The YETI Hopper is a portable icebox built for two. The cooler holds a full 24 cans with a 2:1 ice to can ratio. In terms of carrying options, you have two. First, you can use the handles on either side of the bag and transport it with one hand like a grocery bag. There is also a long strap you can use to carry it on your shoulder or sling it across your body.

Did we mention this highly transportable outdoor cold bag is guaranteed to prevent leaks? In fact, the zipper is comparable to those used on HazMat suits. It’s also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about water coming in from the outside if you get caught in a storm or fall in a river!

The shell used on this YETI is DryHyde, meaning you don’t have to worry about scrapes, sunlight, or mold. The insulation is created from rubber foam that resembles honeycombs, and it holds in the cold incredibly well.

Pros:

  • Strap material is made to last
  • Bottle opener attached with high-quality, retractable cord
  • Second bottle opener on the side
  • Detachable dry bag

Cons:

  • Zipper on the side is hard to get used
  • Too big to carry on a plane
  • Material not very flexible
  • YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler
YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler
422 Reviews
YETI Hopper TWO Portable Cooler
  • The YETI Hopper Two 30 is the first 100% leakproof, portable cooler that's built for the long haul and can keep ice for days
  • The updated design of the Hopper Two means your contents go in (and out) more easily
  • A tapered body makes extended hauling more comfortable. Inside(inches) : 9 × 14 × 17
  • Features a waterproof DryHide Shell and nearly indestructible straps will stand up to an abundance of abuse in the field

Camping Cooler Buying Guide

When you’re deciding on which of these 7 coolers to choose from, keep the following factors in mind.

Insulation

When most coolers are constructed, they are made from a piece of foam surrounded by two pieces of plastic. More recently, Rotomolded portable iceboxes are made from one piece of plastic and one piece of foam.

When shopping for a camping cooler, the first thing to consider is how many nights you’ll go without purchasing ice. If you are only going out for one night, you won’t need a lot of insulation if you pack the cooler with a generous amount of ice. When camping longer, insulation becomes a key factor.

The level of insulation depends upon the thickness of the foam and plastic, as well as the quality of the seal.

Seal

The importance of a good seal should not be underestimated. It keeps the cool air inside, the hot air outside, and your perishables fresher for longer.

There can be anywhere from no seal to multiple seals. For example, the common, plastic, big-box store camping cooler has a minimal seal around the top. At the same time, newer, slightly more expensive varieties include a rubber gasket around the lid.

Drains

The amount and position of the drains are important so you won’t get annoyed when you can’t get the melted ice out of your cooler.

We recommend finding an outdoor storage method with a drain near the bottom. This will save you the time, hassle, and strength necessary to stand a heavy cooler on its side. Why? Chances are if the drain isn’t near the bottom, it is situated about halfway up the side.

Don’t forget to take a look at the drain plug. A leash is helpful to keep track of the plug when you take it out. Additionally, check out the seal of the drain plug to make sure it won’t leak in your trunk or backseat.

Portability

The definition of portability differs from camper and situation. If you are hiking into a campsite, you will need to take into consideration you have to carry the cooler long distances, however, if you’re car camping, it’s a short trip.

When thinking about portability, consider this:

  • The weight of the cooler with and without food
  • Whether there are wheels and the quality of the wheels
  • The method you are using to get to your campsite (bike, car, truck, jeep, 4-wheeler)

Some coolers have one or two wheels attached, and the quality of these wheels can determine whether they will be a help or a hindrance.

We recommend looking for larger, inflatable tires as opposed to plastic or suitcase-like wheels. If you are planning to go off-road and you know there will be sand, rocks, or tree roots, the larger the inflatable tire the better your clearance!

Handles

Even if you decide against wheels, quality handles are necessary. You will eventually have to lift the cooler into your vehicle.

We recommend choosing a cooler with added handles. When they are molded into the sides, they can be difficult to grasp with sweaty hands. Additionally, the handles that stick out but are molded into the plastic can be difficult to fit into tighter spaces.

Durability

When it comes to durability, there is a cooler that matches every type of camper. Whether you are glamping or dispersed camping, durability will always be a concern.

Soft coolers are lighter and more portable, but are usually made of materials and are best for daily use. Hard coolers are heavier but can take a real beating.

Some of the toughest coolers on the market receive the IGBC certification, which stands for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Although most require a lock, the cooler that can take on a grizzly can take on anything you can throw at it.

Conclusion

When picking out the best cooler for camping, there’s something for everyone. It’s really about taking your personal needs into consideration. If your car camping for a couple of days, then a lighter duty cooler like the Coleman 62 qt Extreme with standard insulation will be fine. However, if you’re primitive camping where supplies and ice are not nearby, a heavy duty YETI or Pelican is your best bet.

Good luck out there, and keep calm and camp on.

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