A cooler is very important for any kind of outdoor activity where you want to serve fresh food or cold drinks. There are many people who like to take nothing but some dried foods and water for outdoor activities, but there are others who require a little more leisure with a nice cold beverage and some fresher foods. This is where a cooler can be very convenient.
However, not every trip requires a gigantic cooler for food and drinks. If it is a single person trip and he is not going far, then caring a camping cooler or backpack cooler is impractical. So if you are a solo camper or love to travel alone, then a small cooler is perfect for you to carry all your beverages and fresh foods. Moreover, personal coolers are more portable compared to big coolers.
Small coolers have developed a lot over the years, and with all the latest technologies, high-quality materials, and compact design, they now have the ice retention capabilities of the large heavy-duty coolers. Personal coolers are versatile and vary in size, build quality, price, etc. Moreover, the use and performance of a small cooler depend on different situations that you are thinking of using it. So you may find it very difficult to choose the best personal cooler for outdoor activities. Therefore, we bring to you a few of the best small coolers to help you pick the perfect model.
Top 7 Small Coolers in 2021 (Best picks)
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7 Best Small Coolers of 2021
- Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler
- Stanley Adventure Cooler
- YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler
- Fit & Fresh Small Cooler Bag & Lunch Box
- Everest Cooler Lunch Bag
- Coleman 9 Can Removable Liner Cooler
- Rubbermaid Cooler
My Top Picks of the Best Personal Coolers of 2021
1.Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler
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Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler is one of the best personal ice chests available in the market. The cooler is large enough to carry 6 cans, full meals of one person, and you can use it as a portable table! In the meantime, this cooler is small enough for someone to carry it wherever he wants, thanks to the bail handle.
Given the cooler size and design, this model is better suited to a city environment. It has a compact design that ensures you to pack lunch and some drinks and take them to work with you. When you are working or camping outdoor, this small cooler will keep your food and drinks cold for up to 12 hours.
The Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler has a beverage holder inside to provide a stable surface for drinks. The cooler is popular for its portability and easy to use functions. You can easily clean the top of the cooler. Moreover, you can use it to make clear ice. Though there are some complaints about the lid, handle, and lack of insulation, it is still worth buying this cooler.
- It can hold up to six cans of drinks
- The handle can be carried by a single hand
- Lightweight & portable
- You can use it as a table
- It has beverage holders for drinks
- Easy to clean
- Lack of insulation
- Lid and handle lack durability
2. Stanley Adventure Cooler
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The Stanley Adventure cooler is a small and solid ice chest that is perfect for people who love spending time in nature. Whether you’re an angler, a hunter, or an explorer, this personal cooler would be a great choice for you because it’s large enough to carry lunch and a few drinks but small enough to carry comfortably.
This cooler has dual seals, and they are leak-resistant. It will keep the cold in for a longer period of time. The clasps and hinges offer extra durability. The Stanley Adventure Cooler has an adaptable tie-down for any flask or water bottle, while the handle offers a strong grip. With amazing built quality, this small cooler is durable enough to use it as a makeshift seat.
The Stanley Adventure Cooler is available in two sizes, a 7-quart, and a 16-quart. The overall performance of this personal cooler is great. It can keep your food and drinks cold for up to a day, depending on how much ice you put inside the cooler and outside temperature. The only drawback of this cooler is; it flips over very easily.
- Keep foods cold for 24-36 hours
- Hold 21 cans of drinks
- Double foam insulation
- Adjustable tie-down
- Leak-resistant gaskets
- Flips over
- Plastic handle
3.YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler
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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 a high reputation, which they maintain with superior product quality.
The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 has features like a dry-hide shell that is waterproof, resistant to UV rays, and food safe. Moreover, it has a hydro lock zipper that means you have the toughest possible combination. The straps, handle, and waist belt of this backpack is made of Cordura strapping, which allows you to carry all the loads of the full backpack.
This ice chest has closed-cell rubber foam that allows superior cold-holding compared to ordinary small coolers. This type of isolation means you will have more ice time and colder drinks all day long.
- Long ice holding time
- Good capacity
- Very durable
- Harder to carry for thinner people
4.Fit & Fresh Small Cooler Bag & Lunch Box
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The motto of Fit & Fresh is to ensure people have products that aid them in staying healthy as well as trendy and fashionable. Their Small Cooler Bag & Lunch Box meets the company’s axiom. The cooler is small in size, so it is easy to carry. Moreover, it is big enough to carry a person’s meal and drinks can for any day trip in the outdoors.
The compartment of this personal cooler is covered in BPA-free PEVA that is very easy to clean. This small cooler can hold a maximum of six water bottles. It has four extra, zippered mesh pockets so that you can carry additional goods and can organize them accordingly. One of the pockets is in the inside, two other is outside, and you can use the front pocket for storing keys and other valuable items.
The bag has a detachable strap and two reinforced handles. You can easily carry the bag either on the shoulder or by hands to anywhere. The cooler is foldable, so you can easily store it when not in use. There are complaints about shoulder strap making sound from the connection between the strap and the bag. Apart from this problem, it is an excellent small cooler to have on your possession.
- Trendy and fashionable
- Main compartment covered in BPA-free PEVA
- Hold 6 water bottles
- Four zippered mesh pockets
- Detachable strap
- Strap makes a weird noise
5.Everest Cooler Lunch Bag
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The Everest lunch bag is a simple cooler lunch bag that helps you keep the foods and drinks cold. It is one of the cheapest personal coolers available in the market. Unlike other small coolers, this cooler is made out of polyester instead of a hard molded material. But this doesn’t compromise the cooler’s performance.
The cooler has an interior vinyl lining that makes it easy to clean and provides plenty of room for food and drinks. The front zippered pocket can be closed and opened in just as easy a fashion. It has a zippered pocket on the front that provides extra space to keep your napkins and eating utensils. There are side-mesh pockets available in this personal cooler. You can use them for holding packets or other items.
Whether the cooler is full or empty, it is easy to carry. It has a shoulder strap that is adjustable from anywhere between 24-46″. Unfortunately, the cooler is less effective compared to the previous models we presented, but it still can keep your food and drinks cold for up to 8 hours or so, which is more than enough for a personal cooler.
- Compact and insulated lining
- Zippered pocket
- Side-mesh pockets
- Adjustable straps
- Lack of insulation
- The zipper is not durable
6. Coleman 9 Can Removable Liner Cooler
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This is another great cooler from Coleman. It is a very simple but effective personal cooler. The main compartment of this cooler has a lining, which is guarded by antimicrobial products. It made the cooler mold and odors resist. The liner can be removed, so you can easily clean the cooler. This cooler is leak resistance thanks to the heat-welded layers. The cooler is also waterproof.
The Coleman 9 Can Removable Liner Cooler comes with extra pockets. It has a zippered front pocket and a bungee cord on the lid. You can use the pocket to store extra snacks or other small gears. It has adjustable shoulder straps so that a person can carry this cooler on his shoulder comfortably.
The storage capacity is less compared to other coolers, which inhibits its ability to carry things. Moreover, the linings become thin in less than a few months. So there are questions about its durability. However, if you are looking for a portable cooler that can keep the food and drinks cold for 6-8 hours then this cooler is the best in the market. With this price range it is a bargain.
- Mold resistant lining
- Heat-welded seams
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Lining can wear out quickly
- Small size
7. Rubbermaid Cooler
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Rubbermaid is a renowned company, and for the last 80 years, they have represented some of the best, innovative, and high-quality products. Rubbermaid stands for durability, innovation, and their Rubbermaid 5-quart ice chest has it all. It offers a good thermal retention thanks to its double-walled construction. It has enough storage capacity to hold a person’s lunch and one or two drinks.
It has a top swing handle, which makes this cooler very comfortable to carry. It has everything a personal cooler should have. The cooler has a large insulation chamber, yet it is small and compact, so you won’t have any difficulties taking it to and back from work. Moreover, the cooler will keep your drinks and food cold for up to 12 hours, which is enough for a single day activity.
The Rubbermaid Cooler has a flat lid so you can use the top to place a soda bottle or your lunch. However, because of the small size, you can’t use it as a portable table and sit on top of it. Many find the size of the cooler a bit small, but apart from that it is a great personal cooler altogether.
- Double-walled construction
- Durability & portability
- Easy to use the top handle
- Less ice retention
Things to Consider Before Buying a Personal Cooler
All the small 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 if you are not sure about what feature you should consider before buying a cooler, then read this part of the article carefully. We have discussed all the important features that you have to consider before buying the best small cooler.
It’s very important your cooler is waterproof because carrying a wet cooler is not a pleasant thing. A cooler is meant to be used for ice, so whether you want or not, there will be water to deal with. So when you are shopping for a cooler make sure the cooler will not leak water from anywhere.
The materials of the cooler should be chosen according to your own preferences. You can either buy a hard-shelled cooler or a soft one. Usually, a hard-shelled cooler is durable compared to the soft cooler, but they are less portable. Soft cooler, on the other hand, makes a better alternative to carrying around with a shoulder strap. So make a choice according to your needs and desires.
No matter what, make sure you always spend money on a durable product, even for a small cooler. Some of the personal coolers are more durable than others depending on the material. For a small cooler you should consider the durability according to your uses. If you are planning to use your cooler while kayaking, fishing, or hunting then you should buy a cooler that will last longer.
But, if you need a cooler to carry your lunch; or to use it for some random outdoor activities, then you can consider the durability over other features. Depending on how often you will use the cooler and where you will carry the foods, ensure you choose a personal cooler that will fulfill all your needs and going to last for a longer period of time.
Size and Capacity
Small coolers are available in various sizes and capacities. There are some tinier but good for carrying your lunch, while others are big and can carry more items. Make sure you pick a cooler depending on how much food and beverage you need to store. If you need a small amount of food to carry, then buy a smaller size cooler. Contrariwise, buy a large size personal cooler if you require more storage space.
FAQs about Small Coolers
Are small coolers any good?
Yes, small coolers have great portability. They are lightweight, have shoulder straps for comfortable carry. So if you require less storage capacity, then small coolers are the right choice for you.
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, and have great customer reviews.
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.
How can I make my personal cooler last longer?
There are many ways you can increase the lifespan of your personal cooler. Always clean your cooler after using it. Make sure the cooler is not overload with stuff, food, and drinks.
Are hard or soft coolers better?
Well, the right answer depends on what purpose you will use your cooler. Normally for rugged and extended use, the hard coolers are better. On the other hand, soft coolers are perfect for single person use with excellent portability.
Do Yeti Coolers have a lifetime warranty?
Yeti Coolers don’t have a lifetime warranty, but they offer 3 years warranty from the purchase date.
Are Rotomolded coolers worth it?
Rotomolded coolers are made of a process called rotational molding. Rotational molding means there are no seams. These types of coolers are superior to other coolers and worth the extra money.
Small coolers are versatile; you can use them in multiple circumstances. Moreover, size doesn’t matter all the time. These small coolers can provide all the necessary functions of a camping cooler or a backpack cooler. So if you are in need of a personal cooler, then you can buy one from the above-mentioned models. The small coolers that we have talked about in this post are some of the best available in the market. Just make sure you consider all your requirements and circumstance so that you end up buying the best small cooler for money.
Last update on 2023-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API