Last Updated on June 1, 2020 by Michael J. Branco
When you go camping, one of the most important things to bring is cooler. A cooler ensures that your food and water are stored properly and will remain good for consumption. Of course, many brands claim that they carry the best coolers for camping. However, not all of them can back up those claims. So which manufacturers really do carry the best coolers for camping?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in this review and guide. We have a list of the top 10 products that you can choose from the next time you decide to go camping. We’ve also thrown in a comprehensive buying guide that’ll help you narrow your choices to the best one.
So without further introduction, let’s start our review by listing down these 10 best coolers for camping, Here’s a short table we made to help you differentiate one product from the others.
Comparison Table: Top Rated Best Coolers for Camping
Top 10 Best Coolers for Camping Product Review
The Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler is your everyday, reliable cooler that can be used for camping day trips, picnics, and any other outdoor activity. It is a portable cooler that comes with a bail handle making it really easy to carry around. At the same time, it also has an EZ clean lid with a smooth texture making it really easy to clean. Its capacity is 6 cans and can store ice.
- Ergonomic bail handle
- EZ-Clean smooth lid
- Bright red color
- High insulation for longer cooling
- Comes with reversible hinges
This is a great cooler for those who only plan to hike for a day and don’t need to carry that much stuff. Some things to know about this cooler bag is that it is a dual compartment bag with high insulation. It is made out of very heavy duty fabric that has a Rain Defender water repellent tech enabling you to keep food and drinks cold the whole time you hike. It’s also really easy to carry because of the shoulder strap.
- Synthetic insulated material
- Heavy-duty fabric built
- Dual compartment
- Shoulder strap included
- Durable YKK zippers
Most of the soft coolers don’t have the insulation that hard coolers have. However, this particular soft cooler may be an exception. The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler comes with a heat barrier that reflects heat. While most insulated fabric absorbs heat, this one pushes it away enabling it to cool your food and drinks with much efficiency.
- Deep Freeze heat barrier feature
- Zipperless flip-open lid
- Microban leak-proof lining
- Water-resistant Rhinotech exterior
- Adjustable shoulder strap
The MIER Adult Cooler Tote Bag is definitely one of the most stylish soft coolers that you can find. It has a sleek, black design that resembles a tote bag that you can use for traveling or for work. It’s definitely great for those with an eye for design. Other than looks, it also has some pretty cool features to boot. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap, 2-way zipper, spacious pouch, and a bottom compartment. It’s both aesthetically appealing and useful at the same time.
- Dual compartment
- Comes with a square bottom compartment
- Front zipper pocket
- Insulated PEVA material
The Coleman Stacker Portable Cooler is a great cooler to buy if you’re traveling in groups but want a cooler that’s easy to carry around. First, you’ll notice that it is wide instead of tall. This plus its molded handles make it easier to just drag around or place in your RV. It also comes with interlocking bases used for stacking various party stackers. It has a pretty big capacity of 24 cans (along with ice) so it’s able to store various dishes without much problem.
- Party stacker base
- 24 can capacity
- Molded handles
- Wide and sleek design
When it comes to heavy-duty cooling, you have the YETI Tundra 45 cooler. Sure, it doesn’t really have the size that you may be looking for in a heavy-duty cooler, but it does have the cooling performance. First, it has a capacity of 26 cans. With ice to food ratio of 2:1 and the cooler’s PermaFrost insulation, you’re guaranteed to be able to keep your food cold even if you’re in humid weather. For even further insulation, the interior is made of a Fatwall structure that can help keep the cold in the box.
- 26 can capacity
- PermaFrost insulation
- Fatwall structure
- Armored core
- Rotomolded construction
Here’s another heavy-duty cooler that can keep the ice solid for up to five days! So if you’re planning on bringing a lot of ice on your trip, this is the cooler to have. At the same time, this cooler has a maximum capacity of 188 cans which is the biggest that you can find on this list. This is actually a great cooler to bring if you have an RV and if you plan on staying outdoors for around a week. It’s also great if you have a lot of people with you. You can keep your meat, drinks, and your alcoholic beverages inside with no problem at all.
- Ultratherm body
- Swing up handles
- Snap-fit secure lid latch
- Easy to use the drain plug
- 188 can capacity
This heavy-duty cooler also has the ability to keep ice solid for 5 days at a temperature of 90 degrees. However, this is much easier to move around as compared to the Igloo Polar Cooler because it comes with heavy-duty wheels. Now, you may be thinking that the wheels may not be able to take the rough terrain. However, these wheels were made for the terrain. So even if the ground is rocky or muddy, you won’t have to worry so much. It also comes with a cup holder, telescoping handle, and close lid support of 250 pounds.
- Xtreme Technology insulated lid
- 84 can capacity
- Heavy-duty wheels
- Cup holders
- Comes with a telescopic handle
This is one of the biggest soft cooler bags that you can find with a 50 can capacity. Its large and spacious built can also hold in a lot of ice which you can bring over to the beach or your campsite. The cool thing about it is that it is made of a mix of different materials that make it rather sturdy and highly insulated at the same time. To be more specific, it is made out of 50% Polyester, 35% Polyethylene Vinyl Acetate, 10% Polypropylene, 3% MDF, and also 2% ABS material.
- 50 can capacity
- Snap hinge support
- Lightweight built
- Insulated material
Last on the list is the Coleman Xtreme 5 Day Heavy Duty Cooler. It has the characteristics of the heavy-duty coolers that we mentioned above plus a unique and cool feature– the large tow handle. This allows you to easily pull the cooler anywhere you want. It also has very big and heavy-duty wheels that can take the rough terrain. This is especially useful if you’re going to do a lot of walking and need to bring food during the long hike.
- Insulated lid and walls
- 160 can capacity
- Molded cup holder
- Large tow handle
What to Look Out for When Buying Best Coolers for Camping
Those are some of the best coolers for camping that you’ll be able to find in the market. The next step right now is to narrow down your choices among these 10 amazing best Coolers for Camping. If you want to find the one, then you need to match the features of each product to your needs and wants. From there, you can find the one product that suits what you’re looking for in a camp cooler. In order to do that, you can use the criteria that we’ve created. Here are the factors that you can look at:
First of all, you need to determine which size of cooler you need. This will ultimately depend on how much food and how many cans of beverages you want to store inside. If you’re only going on a short hiking trip, a small 16-can capacity cooler will do. This is enough to store 2 bottles and a bunch of food like lunch, snacks, and even fruits. But if you’re going to stay for a few days, then you’ll need something bigger. You’ll probably need a 36-inch width type of cooler which has a capacity of around 30 to 48 cans of beverages. You can also get something bigger if you plan to bring a lot of food and drinks or if you plan on staying for around a week. In any case, get the size that suits your trip.
The next thing you should think about is insulation. The higher the insulation, the better for your cooler because it will stay cold longer. So if you’re looking for a cooler that will keep your drinks cold for a long period of time, then you’ll probably want to get coolers with a thick wall that has a padded construction. Some of the best coolers with insulation have polyurethane foam surrounding them to keep the cold in and the heat out.
While insulation keeps the food cold, there are some features related to cooling performance that can also keep ice life longer. This is extremely useful if you’re the type to want to keep ice in your cooler to store meat, beer, or cola. In order to find a cooler with high cooling performance, you may want to find a cooler that has an even higher level of insulation or a cooler with rotomolded construction. There are even products that come with a rubber lid seal that resembles that of a freezer. This further adds to the insulation of the cooler.
Soft or Hard Cooler
When choosing coolers, there are usually two types to choose from– the soft type or the hard type. The soft walled coolers resemble lunch bags that usually come with a backpack or sling bag design. Obviously, the soft types are much smaller than the hard ones and they’re usually used by smaller crowds like up to 4 people. The hard coolers are usually bigger and have more insulation compared to the soft types (they also can let ice last longer). However, the hard ones are not as portable and heavier to bring around. The one that you choose really depends on how many people are going on a camping trip, what you guys will bring, and how long you plan to stay outdoors.
These are some of the main features that you need to look for in a camp cooler. However, there are a bunch of other features that you can take a look at as well. These features are just added to give extra convenience and ease of use. Some of these features include beverage holders, drain plugs, locks, bail handles, and more.
How to Properly Use a Cooler
Now, the thing about coolers is that they have to be used properly if you want to make the most out of them. Even if you buy the best Coolers for Camping in the market, it won’t work for you if you don’t know how to use it properly.
So the big question is, “how do you use it properly?”
Here are a few tips that we have to offer so that you can fully make use of the camping cooler of your choice. Check them out below:
Cool Your Chiller
When you go out into the campsite or into the forest, it’s going to be really hot and humid. So if your chiller is already warm, to begin with, it’s going to spoil the contents of the chiller. That said, you need to cool the chiller first before you bring it out so that it won’t warm up so easily.
Chill the Food and Drinks
Just like the chiller, it’s also good if you chill the food and drinks as well. As we mentioned above, the cooler will warm up under humid weather. When that happens, so will the food and drinks. So you need to chill your food and drinks and then put it into your pre-chilled cooler.
Chill the Ice
Lastly, you’ll need to chill the ice. The ice will eventually become soft and will melt after some time so it’s better to ensure that it’s hard and compact so that it won’t easily melt.
Add Twice as Much Ice
If the road to your campsite is pretty long, it actually helps if you add more ice so that you can keep the food fresh longer. Just add twice as much ice as you usually do in your cooler.
Use Big Cubes
Aside from just adding a little more ice, you might also want to use a combination of big and small ice cubes. The big, block ice cubes are usually longer lasting than ice cubes. However, you’ll probably need ice cubes for your cold drinks. So it’s best if you carried around a pack of ice cubes and buy an ice pack– both of which you can store in your cooler.
Put the Cooler Under the Shade
When you reach the campsite or the woods, then you’ll want to try to prevent the melting of ice as much as possible. In order to do that, you may want to put your cooler under the shade most of the time. Keep it away from sunlight or areas that are humid. If you have an RV, keep the cooler in the darkest place you can find so that the humidity won’t reach it.
Don’t Throw Away the Water
Most people think that throwing away the water will help keep the ice more solid as melted water is perceived as warmed water. On the contrary, the melted water will help retain the coolness of the cooler’s interior. It’s better to just empty out your cooler when the trip is over.
In our complete guide, we covered some of the best coolers for camping that you can find in the market. First, we introduced our top 10 picks via a table with some of the important details of each. After that, we reviewed the features, pros, and cons of each product.
Through our list of reviews, you now have an idea which products are the best ones to choose from. Next, we also provided you with a set of criteria that can help you further narrow down your choices to the one product that suits your needs the best. In order for you to fully appreciate your new cooler, we also gave you a few tips on how to optimize its usefulness so you can get the most out of it.
With all of this information now at the palm of your hands, you’re now ready to take your pick on the best Coolers for Camping for your needs.