When it comes to camping, some of the essential things are tents and clothes. However, there should be one more must have item on our list: a camping cooler, which makes your camping full of joy by having the fresh food and cold drinks.
The tricky part is choosing one of the best coolers for camping. This review covers all the necessary details about picking the right cooler for your upcoming camping trip.
What to Look For When Buying a Cooler for Your Camping Trip
Obviously, a cooler must efficiently keep food cold while camping. But there are lots more of things to need to consider. Below is a list of key factors you definitely should check out carefully before your purchase. .
If two people are going on a day trip, in this case a 9-quart cooler will work well. It can comfortably accommodate twelve pack beverage cans. However, if a family of four decides to go out for a one night trip, then you should think on the lines of opting for a 20-quart cooler. It is double the capacity of a 9-quart cooler. The best part is that you can also place the bottles upright in a 20-quart cooler.
If you opt in for a 28-quart cooler, then it can accommodate about three 12 pack cans. If you are going for weekend camping, then a 70-quart cooler can prove to be a great option. If a huge family is going camping, then a massive 100-quart cooler would be able to fulfill your needs.
Construction and Material
Now you need to opt in for a camping cooler that is well-built. You would surely want to go with a cooler that can handle bumps. The best way to check the construction of a cooler is by lifting it. If you feel that it is hollow, then this means that there is very little insulation inside the cooler.
Now you should check the manufacturing of the cooler lid as well by tapping it. This will give you an idea whether the lid is well-insulated or not. You can also open and close the cooler to check the insulation of lid. This will also give you an idea if the lid is tight enough.
Do not be deceived by a metal exterior. Usually, the metal cooler tends to give the impression of durability. However, what will happen is that the metal will end up compressing and denting the impact point.
On the contrary, a plastic cooler will turn out to be a better option because it would be able to absorb the bump without an issue and will be able to return to its original shape. The best part is that the insulation of a plastic cooler does not tend to get damaged on a permanent basis.
Additional Features You Might Need
Besides basic check-ups on size and material, you should also look further into other small details of a camping cooler.
Check the Hinges of a Camping Cooler
When you are buying a camping cooler, then you need to check out the straps as well. The right hinges help to join the body and lid in a sturdy way. You need to go with the metal hinges if you’re looking for longevity and strength. Now the problem with the plastic hinges is that they tend to wear out with use. Therefore, they are not a great option.
Look for a Bottom Drain
Make sure that your camping cooler has a bottom drain. This way you would not need to tilt the cooler to get the melted ice water out of the cooler.
Check the Handle Quality
You need to ensure the fact that the handles of your cooler are durable. It would be advisable to go for a camping cooler that has molded handles.
Is Your Cooler Bear-Proof
When you are selecting a camping cooler, then ensure the fact that the cooler is certified bear proof.
Check For a Tray of Storage Bin
The storage bin is quite a useful feature. The reason is that it allows you to keep your food items in the bin rather than directly placing on the ice. This will also reduce the risk of the food items falling into the ice water.
Look For a Lid Gasket
Now make sure that you opt in for a camping cooler that offers a lid gasket. You will notice that the lid gasket provides a tight seal that helps to keep the cold in and this way the ice can last longer.
Our Recommendations for Top Camping Coolers
Now that we have considered the qualities that a camping cooler needs to have, it is time to look at our recommendations for best coolers. We divide into 2 options: high-end and affordable ones, to help you pick the one that fits your budget.
We will explore the high-end coolers first. The following are the top choices if you are willing to spend more on a camping cooler.
Best Coolers for Camping in 2021
YETI is one of top-notch brands that are famous for excellent qualities and high-end prices. But it will be totally worth your investment if you want a durable and long-lasting cooler to use for decades.
This camping cooler has about three inches of PermaFrost Insulation. It has a Fat Wall Design. Moreover, this cooler is Certified Bear Resistant. This YETI Tundra Cooler can be termed as portable. It can easily accommodate about 20 cans and has about 28 lb. of ice capacity. This camping cooler has a Vortex drain system that is leak-proof and facilitates easy draining. It has tie-down points as well that help to secure your cooler to the boat.
This cooler has a T-Rex Lid Latch that is made up of solid rubber. Moreover, this YETI Tundra 35 makes use of the patented Keeper Technology. The best part is that this camping cooler has a solid construction and can stand the test of the time. This cooler is available with a one dry goods basket. It is available in three different coolers. These are White, Ice Blue and Desert Tan. Another feature to watch out for in this cooler is that it has non-slip feet that help to keep the cooler in place.
- Yeti Tundra 35 can keep the ice for almost a week.
- This cooler is quite durable.
- Yeti Tundra 35 offers you a warranty of about five years.
- The following is a minor drawback of this cooler that the manufacturer needs to work on. It tends to become quite heavy when loaded.
Best Heavy-Duty for Extra Storage
This cooler is available with integrated insulation that helps in ice retention, and the stored items can last in the cooler even for about 10 days. This product has an exclusive lid gasket that can ensure the perfect seal. This Orca Cooler has flex grip handles that help to carry the cooler with ease. You can also get hold of the cargo net attachment with this cooler to get additional storage. This cooler has a size of about 58 quarts.
Moreover, it is available in various cooler. These coolers are Seafoam, red/yellow, navy/orange, dark maroon/white, tan, white, pink and green.
- You will be able to get a lifetime warranty with this product.
- The best thing about this cooler is that it is super easy to use.
- It has a roto-molded construction and is quite durable.
- This cooler is quite heavy and needs the wheel accessory to move it.
Best Bear Proof Cooler
This cooler has a unique freezer grade gasket. Moreover, this Pelican Cooler also has a two-inch polyurethane insulation. This helps to retain the ice easily for about ten days. It has hinged and dual-molded in handles. The pull latches and extensive press contribute to open the cooler without a problem.
Additionally, this cooler has a Molded-in hasp along with the steel plate and molded-in tie downs. There is a sloped drain as well with a threaded plug. You can get this cooler in different cooler that include Outdoor Tan, Marine White, Light Blue, and Grey.
- This cooler has an appealing construction.
- The superior quality material is used in the production of this cooler.
- This cooler is bear-proof.
- This cooler is very heavy, and that makes it difficult to pick it.
If you must strictly follow your budget, then you can think on the lines of opting for the following affordable camping coolers that are worthy of selection.
Best Budget Camping Cooler
This cooler has a size of 54 Quart, and it can easily hold about 85 cans. The handles are made up of stainless steel, and they have rubber grip as well to carry the cooler with ease. Additionally, this product has a steel latch that has a solid construction and can safely carry the contents.
The channel drain is leak resistant as well. You can find this cooler in a variety of colors that include Turquoise, stainless steel, silver, red/black, rose, black and green. This Coleman cooler has a Have- a seat lid as well so that you can enjoy camping and relax.
- This cooler is rust proof.
- You will not find it a problem to clean the liner, lid, and base.
- It could be improved to hold for a longer time span.
- The manufacturer also needs to improve the quality of the latch material.
Best portable bag cooler for camping & backpacking
This cooler can keep the ice for days together. It is designed to be durable, and you can haul this cooler anywhere without a problem. The reason is that it has indestructible straps and DryHide Shell. This cooler also has a HydroLok Zipper that is leak proof and eliminates spilling. It can accommodate about 18 cans and can keep about 20 lbs. of ice. The cooler choices available are as follows: fog gray/Tahoe Blue and field tan/ blaze orange.
- This cooler has a solid construction.
- It is quite easy to use.
- This cooler is available with the perfect packing.
- The zipper opening is a bit too tight.
- The manufacturer needs to work on improving the inner space of this camping cooler.
- High price point
Best Soft Cooler
This cooler can easily accommodate ice for five days. It can keep about 30 cans plus the ice as well. It has about 2 inches of foam insulation, and this helps to keep the drinks frosty cold.
The exterior of this cooler does not tend to sweat. There is no leak zipper present in the cooler, and it is puncture resistant as well. Moreover, you can also keep the dry items in the exterior pockets. You would find this cooler to be having an antimicrobial lining that helps in resisting the mild dew. The RTIC Cooler has a vinyl shell and is tear resistant as well.
- This cooler has immense durability.
- You would find this cooler to be UV protected and this ensures that the cooler does not fade.
- It has a superior cooling ability.
- You get a 90 day warranty for this cooler if there is a leakage.
- The flip lid is quite easy to open.
- It has plenty of attachment points.
- This camping cooler looks very appealing to the eyes.
- The manufacturer needs to improve the inner construction of the cooler.
- The zipper system also needs to be improved.
- This cooler has a strong scent when you buy it for the first time.
The Final Verdict
Make sure that you pay a lot of attention to all the details mentioned in this guide. First, you get insight regarding how to choose a quality cooler. Next, we have furnished expensive and affordable cooler options for you. The pros and cons are also listed for each product so that you can make your pick in the light of reality.
There is one little thing that needs to be emphasized here, and that is to check the warranty details of the cooler you choose. The advantage of this is that in case of any issue with the cooler you can contact the manufacturer right away. We believe that now it should not be an issue for you to select the best camping cooler in no time.
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