During our holidays and free times, we love to take our families camping in parks, lakes, and quiet wilderness spots to restore ourselves from busy lives. Many of us like to take nothing but some dried foods and a water filter for camping, but there are others who require a little more leisure with a nice cold beverage and some fresher foods.
In that case, while you are packing up the RV or car to head out, you would realize that a cooler is required to enjoy the cold beverages and fresh foods. That means you are in need of the best coolers for camping.
There are a lot of cooler available in the market to pick from. These coolers vary from size; build quality, price, etc. Moreover, the use and performance of cooler depend on different situations that you are thinking of using it. So you may find it very difficult to choose the best coolers for camping. Therefore, we bring to you a few of the best coolers to help you pick the perfect model.
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Top 8 Best Cooler for Camping in 2021
- YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, White
- ORCA 26
- YETI Tundra 65 Cooler
- Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler
- Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler with Cool Riser Technology
- Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
- AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation
- Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler, 45 Quart
My Top Picks of the Best Camping Cooler
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler, White
In terms of sales and popularity, Yeti ranked top among the coolers available in the market. In fact, they sell more coolers in a year than all of their closest rivals combined. This suggests that they have high reputation which they maintain with superior product quality.
The YETI Roadie 20 Cooler has a narrower and taller design that allows up to 14 cans with recommended 2:1 ice-to-contents ratio. It has 2 inches of Permafrost Insulation and an extra thick fat wall that allows ice to remain cold. This cooler has rotomolded construction, which makes it virtually indestructible. So, no matter how rough your journey is, this cooler will stand up to the stringencies of the journey. Therefore, if you want something conventional and proven, this is the best cooler for you.
- Well Designed
- Very Durable
- Good Ice Retention
- Very Expensive
ORCA may not be a popular brand as some of the cooler brands out there, but they do have some of the best coolers available in the market. You can easily trust this brand to keep your drinks cold and food fresh while you are out camping.
ORCA 26 is made in the USA, and it has an amazing built design that maximizes the storage space while minimizing overall size. The cooler is not big enough to carry or not too small to hold what you need. That makes it perfect for any camping trip. For a day trip it can hold products for up to 4-6 members and for a long trip it can hold products of several days for a person.
This rotomolded design cooler has a lid gasket to make sure of a perfect seal. In fact it is the most robust cooler on the market that provides maximum ice/cold retention. Heavy weight is the downside of this cooler. While empty, the cooler weighs 19 pounds.
- Great Capacity
- Great Ice Retention
- Premium built quality
- Price is high
- Very heavy
YETI Tundra 65 Cooler
YETI Tundra 65 is another very amazing cooler from YETI that will give you premium service for the money. Like all other coolers from YETI, Tundra 65 has Rotomolded Construction. It has Tundra armored to the core, which makes it perfect for camping and other outdoor activities.
This cooler is popular for large storage capacity. It can hold all the drinks, snacks, and dry foods of a large family. The cooler comes with a dry goods basket, which makes it even better. The YETI Tundra 65 cooler has an extra thick FatWall design with 3 inches of Permafrost Insulation, which holds ice for a longer period of time.
The cooler is low in weight, makes it easier to carry along. For high quality, excellent design, rotomolded construction, and impressive storage capacity, the YETI Tundra 65 cooler has made a place in our list, and it will definitely worth your money.
- Very durable
- Great storage capacity
- Low weight
- Bit pricy
Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler
Pelican is a renowned brand, and they are in a cooler business for decades. They have some good cooler available in the market. But nowadays “good” is not enough to stay in the competition. Everyone is looking for the best, and that is what the Elite series of pelican aims to do.
The cooler is 20 quarts. You may think of it as a small one, but with the narrower and taller design, it becomes much more efficient when it comes to space. In fact you can store 15 cans or 3 wine bottles in this cooler. So you can easily store all your foods and drinks in enough quantity to keep yourself going for several days while out camping.
The cooler has 2 inches of polyurethane insulation with a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket. You will get 2-3 days of ice retention from this cooler. Moreover, it has features like 3-inch locking latches, over-molded carry handle, 4 self-draining cup holders, and non-skid rubber feet.
- Provide lifetime warranty
- Reasonable price
- Excellent durability
- Poor Latches
- Less Ice Retention
Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler with Cool Riser Technology
Igloo is renowned for the budget-friendly cooler. Over the years, they have produced some of the best coolers at a very reasonable price and earned quite a reputation. The BMX series signifies the next evolution of Igloo.
The Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler has a unique design and builds quality. The cooler was blow-molded for added durability. It has diamond kick plate metal that provides more strength and protection. In fact, you can use this cooler as a seat!
The main attraction of this cooler is the t-grip latch system. The latches are rubberized, so they completely secure the lid to lock in the cold. Moreover, it has a triple-point grab handle with stainless steel reinforcements, which make the cooler portable. Though it has little less insulation and ice retention compared to other coolers, but at this budget, it is one of the best coolers for camping available in the market.
- Great Storage Capacity
- Very Affordable
- Quite Tough & Light Weight
- Less Ice Retention
Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler
Coleman is a very old cooler company; in fact, they were the first large company to manufacture portable cooler way back in 1954. So in terms of reputation and trustiness, there is nothing to worry. Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler is a prime example of it.
The cooler is made of high-grade rust-resistant stainless steel that ensures the durability of the cooler. It has a high capacity, and it can hold up to 85 cans. The Ice Retention of this cooler is great. The cooler has 4-day ice retention. Moreover it has comfortable steel handles that make the cooler very portable.
- Charming retro design
- High build quality
- Great storage capacity
- Less Ice Retention
AO Coolers Original Soft Cooler with High-Density Insulation
If you love fishing, boating, hiking, hunting, then this soft cooler will be a great addition to your outdoor gears. This AO soft cooler allows you to bring all your drinks and foods without carrying the weighty traditional cooler along.
This cooler has 3/4 inch thick closed foam cell insulation that guaranteed to hold ice for 24 hours in more than 100-degree weather. AO soft cooler has a removable shoulder strap, side pocket, and it is lightweight compared to other soft coolers available in the market. The cooler is made of durable canvas material, so you don’t have to worry about any leaks.
- Sweat-resistant canvas material
- Waterproof, leak-proof
- Lightweight and moisture-proof
- Lower Capacity
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler, 45 Quart
If you are looking for a cooler with great Ice Retention, then Pelican Progear Elite Cooler is the perfect choice for you. The cooler has 2-inch thick polyurethane insulation that ensures 10 days ice retention ability, makes it one of the best cooler in the market.
The build quality of the Pelican Progear Elite Cooler is also excellent. It is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel, which makes it more durable. In fact, this cooler is considered as bear-resistant. It has a freezer-grade gasket that keeps the lid secure and airtight.
The Pelican Progear Elite Cooler comes with a dual handle system, makes it very portable. It has stainless steel made molded-in lock hasp that ensures extra security of the cooler. This cooler comes with a lifetime guaranty. It suggests how confident the company is about the durability of the cooler.
- Great Ice Retention
- Very Durable
- Lifetime guaranty
- Bit pricy
How to Choose the Best Cooler for Camping
All the coolers on our list are worth the value, but you have to remember that there are considerable variations among coolers, and they work differently in different circumstances. So not every cooler will fulfill your requirements and worth the money. There are a few very important factors that you have to consider before buying the coolers for camping.
One of the questions people ask most while buying a cooler is, “how long the cooler will keep the ice cold?” So ice retention is a very important factor that you should look for in a cooler. Generally, for small coolers, the wall is thinner and softer compared to big coolers. Therefore, ice retention for small cooler is less than the big cooler. So you have to pic the cooler according to your requirements. If you think you don’t require ice retention for more than a day or two, then buy the little one, otherwise, buy the big one.
Most of the coolers are made for outdoor use. Therefore, they’re not going to fall apart in rough situations. However, not all cooler can take the same amount of abuse, and different cooler works better in different situations. Cooler made of quality materials is more durable though they will cost more money. Keep a sharp eye on handles, latches, and their build materials because if they are not well-built, then they will compromise the durability of your cooler.
The capacity of the cooler depends on what purpose you will use your cooler. If you are planning to use your cooler for camping with 2-4 people, then 20-quart range is enough as it can hold a full case of drinks. For more people, you have to go for a 30 to 40-quart range. But you have to remember, when the quart range increase, it also increases the cooler’s weight. So think very carefully before you decide the capacity of the cooler. If you make a mistake here, you may end up with a big half-empty cooler or a small overstuffed cooler.
For outdoor activities, portability is very important because you may have to walk a long distance to reach your ultimate destination. There are no rules that say you can’t buy a big cooler. But the problem with a big cooler is they lack portability. For example, a 40-quart cooler with all the drinks and dry foods may weigh well over 200 pounds! But the good news is nowadays manufacturers offer coolers on wheels. This will definitely solve the portability problems of big coolers.
No matter how good your cooler is, the ice will melt at one point. So there will be meltwater in your cooler that you have to get rid of. There is a drain plug in every cooler that lets the water run out. Generally, drain holes are located at a low point so that the water drains out quickly and completely from the cooler. Drain holes are the week point in a cooler’s insulation armor. So while picking your cooler, makes sure the drain plug closes tightly and has a premium build quality.
FAQs about Coolers for Camping
How big of a cooler do I need for camping?
There is no specific or recommended size for camping cooler. The size or capacity depends on how you are planning to use your cooler. For small camping, a 20-quart range cooler is enough. For medium and large camping with a long duration, you can go for 40 to 60-quart range cooler.
How do I choose a cooler size?
Generally, cooler size depends on what purpose you are planning to use your cooler. If you are going out for a long duration camping with 2-3 people, then 50 to 60- quart range cooler is enough to store all your drinks and foods. For a day trip, cooler smaller than 40 – quart range will be sufficient. It is wiser to keep your cooler size minimum according to your needs.
Which cooler holds ice the longest?
The Pelican Progear Elite Cooler holds ice the longest. This cooler has 10 days of ice retention ability.
Are Yeti coolers worth it?
Well, it depends on how you are planning to use the cooler. But in general, these coolers are great. They are strong, durable, can keep ice for 5-7 days, and have great customer reviews.
Should you drain water from cooler?
You can drain water from the cooler when necessary but don’t drain cold water. Because ice melted, cold water can keep the products cold, and it preserves the remaining ice much better than air space.
Are Yeti Coolers bear proof?
Yes, Yeti coolers are bear-proof. In fact, they are certified bear-proof by the IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee).
How much ice is needed for a cooler?
The perfect ice-to-products ratio is 2:1. So don’t fill a cooler with foods and just a sprinkle of ice on top and expect the cooler to stay cool for a longer period of time. Make sure you pack as much ice as you can for longer ice retention.
Does dry ice last longer than regular ice?
Yes, dry ice lasts longer than regular ice because dry ice starts out colder compared to regular ice.
Do Yeti coolers keep ice longer?
If dry ice is used, then Yeti coolers can keep ice longer compared to regular ice.
How much can a 50- quart cooler hold?
In general, a 50- quart cooler is large enough to contain 70 cans and tall enough to contain 2-liter bottles upright with enough ice.
How can there be a camping trip or picnic without cool beverages? So if you want a great camping and some amazing outdoor experience then don’t forget to take the best camping cooler with you. The camping cooler that we have talked about in this post will help you attain a great camping experience. Just make sure you consider all your camping requirements and circumstance so that you end up buying the best cooler for camping.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API