A good way to keep your beverages cool on your camping trip is to bring a camping cooler along, or at least a cooling bag you know to be efficient and easy to carry. We live in an age where technology has made it possible to carry almost everything with us wherever we may go, from portable computers to portable beds.
Portable cooling devices aren’t new, mind you, but they have come a long way over the years both in insulation standards and build quality. Over the next few minutes, we’ll take a look at the ten best camping coolers money can buy right now in our quest to find out what makes a good cooler and what characteristics to look for when shopping for one.
Best Camping Coolers – Reviews
10NorChill Voyager Soft Side Cooler Bag
Thanks to its durable clips that fold down and secure the bag, it helps in compact storage of your food. Featuring a premium quality zipper, it comes with a shoulder strap that makes it easy to carry around.
9Freddie and Sebbie Cooler Bag
Built with a fairly large storage capacity, the Freddie and Sebbie Cooler Bag can easily fit water bottles, lunch boxes, food containers and ice packs. Not only does it come with an attractive design, it helps to keep your food fresh and healthy.
Measuring 10.5 inches deep, 8 inches wide and 19 inches in length, this cooler bag is made with high-quality environment-friendly materials that are non-toxic.
8Yodo Picnic Portable Cooler Bag
Made from water-resistant high-quality polyester canvas, insulated PE foam and FDA certified foil lining made of aluminum, the Yodo Picnic Portable Cooler Bag is uniquely designed to fit everything you require to take with you on a picnic, hiking or camping. Offering you optimal thermal insulation, it helps to keep your food and beverages hot or cold for up to 4 hours.
The bag comes equipped with mesh pockets in the interior for storage of ice packs, a pocket in the front for napkins, and other essential items. It also comes with durable handles that are padded to provide optimum comfort and a shoulder strap making it easy to carry around.
7Rubbermaid Ice Cooler
The Rubbermaid FG2C0902MODBL Ice Cooler is a versatile device that can keep your ice in its frozen form, for up to 5 days at a temperature of 90 degrees F. Thanks to its large storage capacity it can hold up to 130 cans along with ice. Equipped with in-built wheels, this cooler can be rolled around with ease on various surfaces without causing any damage to the wheels.
Ideal for camping, trekking, hiking, and picnics, it comes with a metal and plastic tow-handle that helps with draining off any excess liquids, and a side swing handle that makes it easy to pull the cooler. The lid of the cooler comes with inbuilt cup holders that can fit12 and 20-ounce cans with ease.
6MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag
Surprisingly large in size, the MIER Large Soft Cooler Bag is the perfect container for storing items in your kitchen or for taking with you on the road. With the ability to keep your food warm or cold, it can also hold ice for up to 24 hours.
Ideal for utilizing during picnics and outdoor activities including camping and trekking, this cooler bag helps to keep food fresh. Thanks to its large size, you can store your lunch along with a beverage. Not only is it highly functional, but also features a stylish, sleek design.
5Igloo Glide Pro Cooler
The Igloo Glide Pro Cooler comes with a uniquely designed horizontal slide and lock handle that offers optimal support and helps with lifting heavy loads. Thanks to its Ultratherm insulated construction and lid, the cooler can keep ice frozen for up to 5 days at a temperature of up to 90 degrees F.
Equipped with long lasting metal hinges plated with high-quality zinc, it features heavy-duty large rally wheels and looks extremely stylish and attractive.
4Igloo Polar Cooler
Designed with a Ultratherm insulated construction and cover, the Igloo Polar Cooler helps to keep ice frozen for up to 5 days at a temperature of approximately 90 degrees F. It features strong handles that swing up and a tie-down loop along with two snap-fit latches that help to secure the lid tight.
Thanks to its threaded drain plug, it is easy to hook up a hose and drain the cooler. With a storage capacity that can hold 188 cans, this cooler measures 38.31 inches in length and 17.38 inches in width.
3AO Coolers Vinyl Soft Cooler
Uniquely designed and crafted to last, the AO Coolers Vinyl Soft Cooler is made from premium grade material that is soft, but robust. With a storage capacity of up to 48 cans, it can hold ice for up to 24 hours at once at a temperature of 120 degrees. Thanks to its water-resistant exterior, it is ideal for utilization during fishing, camping, boating and sports activities.
It also comes with detachable shoulder straps and a pocket at the side for storing dry items. Equipped with a line that is resistant to leaking, it offers twice the insulation of two standard coolers put together.
2Stanley 7QT Heritage Cooler
Built with a storage capacity to hold approximately 36 cans at once with enough space for ice, the 7QT Heritage Cooler has a volume of 27 liters. Featuring specially molded cup holders, 2 haul handles, and durable feet, this cooler is designed and constructed with heavy-duty foam and other high-quality materials and is ideal for utilization if you are going on a picnic, hiking, or camping with the family.
Thanks to its ultra thick foam padding, it offers optimal levels of insulation. The cooler also comes with detachable shoulder straps, handles on the side and a lid that comes with two beverage holders.
1Stanley Adventure Cooler
Featuring a foam insulated, heavy duty, double walling, the Stanley Adventure Cooler comes with a leak-proof lid that helps to keep the cold locked in. Built with the storage capacity of holding up to 21 cans, it comes equipped with a tie-down mechanism with sturdy latches and durable hinges.
Measuring 17 by 11 by 10 inches in size, this robust cooler can keep cans cold for up to 36 hours at a stretch. Not only that but you will find the Adventure Cooler to be a lot sturdier than most coolers in this price range, which may explain its tremendous popularity.
Types Of Coolers
While most coolers serve pretty much the same purpose, they do differ from one another according to some pretty obvious characteristics. In order to keep their contents cool at all times, coolers have to be properly insulated. This can be done with hard plastic or strong synthetic fabric, both serving roughly the same purpose.
There are also metal-insulated coolers out there to choose from, although fewer than plastic and synthetic ones. In a pinch, you could also opt for a styrofoam cooler, yet keep in mind that these aren’t as sturdy as the other ones.
Plastic Coolers – Plastic coolers are by far the most widespread coolers on the market today. Sometimes referred to as ‘ice chests’, these coolers are built from tough molded plastic, a construction that makes them particularly sturdy and durable. They also come in many sizes to meet the demands of people who prefer to carry large items or lots of smaller ones. It is also common for plastic coolers to come with wheels and retractable handles for ease of transport. Not only that but you can expect these coolers to boast tough insulated lids and sturdy handles for good measure.
Fabric Coolers – With fabric coolers, you get less cooling than plastic but with the added benefit of a greater portability. These coolers are designed to carry fewer items but to do so in a more comfortable fashion. As you would imagine, they are lightweight and very easy to store. Construction-wise, let us point out that these coolers are usually made from canvas-type synthetic materials and lined with various types of insulating foam-based materials. Although not as strong as plastic coolers, the fact that they can be folded up makes them highly portable and convenient to store when going on camping trips.
Metal Coolers – Like the name suggests, these coolers are made of metal for the most part, with the addition of plastic and synthetic parts for practical reasons. Often used by hunters and fishermen who look for sturdiness above everything else, these coolers are by far the toughest money can buy. Although the outer layers are indeed made of metals, the insulating parts are underneath and they act just as intended in other types of coolers. In fact, their outer metal casing actually helps boost their insulation, which is why most metal coolers are more expensive than plastic and fabric-based models.
Styrofoam Coolers – When it comes to styrofoam coolers, we should perhaps point out that they’re basically styrofoam boxes with lids. As such, they are quite lightweight and easy to carry, although nowhere near as sturdy as plastic or metal coolers. Another thing to point out is that these coolers usually wear out over time, so don’t expect to own such a cooler for more than a couple of years before it shows signs of irreparable damage.
Electric Coolers – These can sometimes act as portable fridges in the true sense of the word. We say this because electric coolers can usually be plugged into a car cigarette socket or any other socket for that matter. With electric coolers, you get roughly the same cooling power of a refrigerator and they’re usually just as strong. Even though they’re much more expensive than plastic or fabric coolers, they should be regarded as long-term investments given their long-lasting durability.
What To Look For In A Camping Cooler
Buying a camping cooler is no easy task unless you have prior experience with using one. The first thing you want to do is think about where you’ll put it once you’ve bought it. If you have a car, make sure that your desired cooler fits into your car properly. As such, an electric cooler might not be your best choice if you plan on parking your car a long way from your actual camping spot.
In principle, there are three things to consider when buying a camping cooler:
The Size – The actual size of the cooler is paramount because it reflects the type of camper you are. You should know by now that coolers come in all shapes and sizes, from collapsible six-pack coolers to 50-quart cooler or even larger than that. Depending on what type of food and beverages you plan on consuming throughout your trip, you might want to stack it up with essentials so as to leave space for the ice cubes or ice packs.
The Construction – You want a camping cooler to be as durable as possible without being too bulky or heavy in any way. If you’re the type to go on long camping trips, then make sure that your desired cooler can withstand a lot of abuse before showing signs of damage, not to mention potential changes in weather. Furthermore, make sure that your cooler features strong, reliable handles and a well-shut-in top to keep things cool at all times.
The Practicality – Last but not least, consider how practical a cooler can be before making a purchase. Sure, coolers with a lot of additional features look nice, but how often will you actually be using their beverage-dispending features or electric-powered cooling? What you want to do is not overspend on coolers that seem too complicated, opting for a collapsible or foldable cooler instead. These coolers will not only do their job just as well as more expensive coolers but they will also end up saving you an awful lot of money in the long run.