July 23, 2021

Top-Rated Buyer’s Guide: Best Coolers For Camping

July 23, 2021

Top-Rated Buyer’s Guide: Best Coolers For Camping

The best coolers for camping can introduce a whole new world of flavors. As long as you have these coolers, you will be able to store your favorite drinks and food as safely as possible. A cooler is not only suitable for glamping, but it is also a needed item for those who plan to stay in the wild for several days. 

But then again, keep in mind that not all coolers are made for extensive outdoor pursuits. Ideally, you want something that is rugged and capable of keeping the ice intact for extended periods.

If you want the perfect cooler right from the start, better check the following options.

7 Best Coolers For Camping

 Capacity Type
YETI Tundra 35 Cooler 28.2 litersHard-sided
Igloo ECOCOOL 30 Cooler 28 litersHard-sided
Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler 51 litersHard-sided
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler 30 litersSoft-sided
YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler 7.9 litersSoft-sided
IceMule Pro Cooler 23 litersSoft-sided
Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler 75 litersHard-sided, electric

1. YETI Tundra 35 Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

Picking the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler is not a difficult choice. After all, this cooler is arguably one of the highly-rated options that you have in the market today. This particular cooler features extreme durability, making it capable of tackling constant use and abuse. Specifically, its rotomolded polyethylene structure is similar to the construction of kayaks. Hence, it guarantees absurd impact reduction and rigidity. 

Moreover, this cooler's walls are downright thick and have been injected with the patented PermaFrost insulation. Such a feature enables the cooler to provide resistance against external temperature fluctuations. Furthermore, I need to emphasize that the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler is designed to handle low temperatures. It is also suitable for storing dry ice, which, by the way, is three times better than regular ice. Of course, this 28-liter cooler can hold supplies that can last for days!

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 28.2 liters
  • Material - Rotomolded polyethylene
  • Type - Hard-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 21 inches x 16 inches x 15.5 inches
  • Weight - 20 pounds

2. Igloo ECOCOOL 30 Cooler 

PRODUCT LINK

One of the interesting picks that you have for camping coolers is the Igloo ECOCOOL 30. After all, this unit is tailored from recycled plastics and other sustainable materials, making it an environmentally-friendly choice. Specifically, the lid and walls are constructed from recycled resin such as post-consumer jugs and cups. But just because it features this unique design doesn't mean that the cooler is flimsy and prone to damages. Based on my experience using this cooler, it is ultra-tough and outdoor-worthy. 

Moreover, the Igloo ECOCOOL 30 Cooler has THERMECOOL foam, which is also an environmentally-friendly insulation. The foam ensures that it can preserve the ice inside the cooler for several days. Meanwhile, the Cool Riser Technology raises the cooler's bottom from the ground, which, in turn, prevents the possible direct contact of hot surfaces. It also promotes proper airflow for long-lasting cooling.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 28 liters
  • Material - Recycled high-density resin
  • Type - Hard-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 18 inches x 17.25 inches x 11.8 inches
  • Weight - 6 pounds

3. Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

The Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler is an innovative option that you need to check out. It is a heavy-duty option, as its hardware is made from high-grade stainless steel. It is not only rugged but also impervious against rust, corrosion, and other structural damages. Moreover, the cooler has a large capacity. It can hold up to 85 cans all the same time. If you are camping in a group or having an extended outdoor excursion, this cooler will serve you well.

But what about its ice retention? Well, based on the ratings, this cooler provides up to four days of ice retention, even if the outdoor temperature is as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If that doesn't impress you, then I don't know what will. Furthermore, carrying and transporting this cooler is quite convenient, thanks to the presence of steel handles with comfort grips. It also has a secure locking mechanism that prevents the lid from opening accidentally. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 51 liters
  • Material - Stainless steel
  • Type - Hard-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 25.1 inches x 17.5 inches x 17.2 inches
  • Weight - 19 pounds

4. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

I am pretty sure that some of you here have heard or encountered the Titan Deep Freeze of the Arctic Zone. After all, this cooler is trendy among campers, backpackers, hikers, and any other outdoor enthusiast. Titan Deep Freeze is a lightweight alternative to those rugged, hard-sided coolers. It only weighs roughly 3 pounds but has an ice-retention rating of up to 3 days. Its exterior features a flip-one, zipperless lid for hassle-free access to its content. Moreover, its front pocket is insulated as well.

The interior of the Titan Deep Freeze flaunts highly durable insulation that includes a radiant heat barrier. Furthermore, a detachable HardBody liner is also in place to ensure that the cooler is structurally rigid. The SmartShelf feature of the cooler serves as a divider. It prevents your soft provisions from getting crushed by hard items such as cans and bottles. Carrying the cooler is a pure breeze, thanks to its fully padded, ergonomic shoulder strap. Of course, I can guarantee that this unit has a leak-free construction and an easy-to-clean exterior. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 30 liters
  • Material - TPE ripstop fabric
  • Type - Soft-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 12.7 inches x 7.6 inches x 10.2 inches
  • Weight - 2.35 pounds

5. YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

The YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler is an excellent option if you prefer to go solo on your trips. It is a compact, soft-sided cooler that offers impressive insulation so that your perishable items and goods remain fresh and clean. It is made from a durable DryHide shell that is both puncture- and waterproof. Furthermore, the material is impervious to the effects of UV rays, mildew, and other unwanted elements. 

Its interior is lined with the ColdCell rubber foam for optimal insulation. This insulating material has a food-grade construction (approved by FDA). Hence, you don't have to worry about food spoilage and poisoning. Meanwhile, its flip-top opening is wide and equipped with the innovative HydroLok zippers. Loading and unloading your goods in this cooler will always be easy. The YETI Hopper Flip 8 also has a shoulder strap and top handle for convenient carrying options.

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 7.9 liters
  • Material - Double-sided thermoplastic urethane
  • Type - Soft-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 11.5 inches x 10.5 inches x 8 inches
  • Weight - 2.8 pounds

6. IceMule Pro Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

With its highly rugged exterior shell and more-than-sufficient insulation, the IceMule Pro Cooler becomes an alternative choice for backpackers and campers. It lets you enjoy your food and drinks as freshly as possible, minus the bulk and weight. Keep in mind that its PolorLayer insulation only has a 1-day ice retention rating. Hence, it is only suitable for overnight camping. But at the same time, it can contain up to 18 cans, including the ice. That's not a downsized performance at all.

Aside from its 1000-denier ripstop exterior shell, the IceMule Pro Cooler also boasts its heavy-duty inner later. Accordingly, it is twice thicker than most of its counterparts. Of course, this cooler provides a waterproof quality, thanks to its fully welded seams. It also doesn't have zippers that might cause leakages. Its TriFold DriTop ensures that the ice remains intact without letting air come in. 

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping, water activities
  • Capacity - 23 liters
  • Material - Ripstop tarpaulin/nylon/vinyl
  • Type - Soft-sided cooler
  • Dimensions - 17 inches x 14 inches x 11 inches
  • Weight - 3 pounds

7. Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler

PRODUCT LINK

The Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler is far from the conventional ice coolers. After all, this one is designed to be powered by electricity for long-lasting performance on the field. If your campsite or destination has access to electricity, I suggest that you consider getting this unit instead. It is constructed to withstand the elements, which are proven by its patented ExoFrame construction and frame-encased corners. The cooler also features spring-loaded handles for hassle-free transport. 

This cooler has dual storage compartments; each of them has its respective temperature controls. Such an advanced capability enables the cooler to freeze and cool at the same time. The VMSO3 compressor cooling technology ensures that the interior temperature of the Dometic CFX3 is stable. Specifically, it can reach temperatures as low as -7 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for deep freezing. Using the cooler is easy, too, thanks to its color display and touch-button panel. It is also big enough to contain up to 113 cans of drinks!

DETAILED SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Intended for - Camping
  • Capacity - 75 liters
  • Material - Metal/plastic/polyurethane
  • Type - Hard-sided cooler, electric
  • Dimensions - 35.1 inches x 19.5 inches x 18.6 inches
  • Weight - 61 pounds

How To Choose The Best Coolers For Camping

There's a myriad of coolers out there. But honestly, not all of them are outdoor-worthy. Hence, there's always a need for you to refine your choices to ensure that you can get a cooler that will keep your provisions fresh and away from spoilage. 

So how do people assess these coolers?

The following considerations usually set the bar. 

Ice Retention

A cooler that cannot keep ice from melting is not a good cooler. Of course, there's a limit to this capability, but you wouldn't want a unit that can only keep the ice solid for a matter of hours. 

The ideal ice retention for outdoor coolers should be at least one day. Keep in mind that it is only the minimum. If your trip takes several days, you may need those coolers that have 3- to 5-day ice retention. They are the ones that give you the peace of mind that all your ingredients remain fresh and edible. 

Of course, the ice retention of the cooler has a lot to do with the insulation equipped on it. The thicker or more innovative the insulating material, the longer it can keep the ice from melting. 

Types Of Cooler

There are various types of outdoor coolers that you can choose from. The most common are hard-sided and soft-sided coolers. There are other variants, too, such as those made from styrofoam and those units that are electrically powered. Of course, styrofoams are outdated and illegal in state parks. Meanwhile, those electric coolers will require constant access to a power source. 

Hence, if you are planning to camp somewhere that is far from the usual campsites, you would rely on either hard-sided and soft-sided coolers. 

A soft-sided cooler is designed to be lightweight and compact. They don't have rugged and tightly packed construction. But at the same time, their insulation is just average. However, there are a lot of soft-sided coolers today, especially those that have expensive price tags that can easily match the performance of hard-side coolers. 

Meanwhile, hard-sided coolers typically feature rugged construction and thick insulation. They also come with locking lids, welded corners, and seamless seals. These qualities make them reliable food storage on extended trips and unfavorable weather conditions. But because of their burly construction, they tend to be heavy and expensive. 

Capacity

You also have to identify your needs before picking a cooler. Basically, you would want to choose a cooler that can hold all of the food and beverage that you need on your average trip. 

For instance, if you are camping typically with your family and friends, you might need those oversized coolers that have 50-liter or more capacity. You would want enough space so that you can bring all the ingredients to your outdoor menu. 

However, we also have to consider those solo hikers, backpackers, and ultralight enthusiasts. They are the ones that don't actually need weight and bulk on their trips. If they intend to bring some food on their trip, they might need to settle with those small, soft-sided coolers. Most of the time, their ice-retention only lasts for a day. But that should be enough for a weekend overnight in the wild.

Portability

Given that we are talking about outdoor coolers, we would want them to provide us with ease of transport. In short, we want a cooler that we can carry conveniently to our destination. 

If you are going to choose a hard-sided cooler, you will have to rely on its handles so that you can bring it with you. If the cooler is big, it might require two people to carry it. You'll have a good time if your cooler comes with wheels that eliminate the need for you to lift the item all the time. 

For soft-sided coolers, shoulder straps or backpack straps are the usual carrying mechanisms. Make sure that they have sufficient padding so that they won't hurt or strain your body. 

In Summary

The best coolers for camping may depend on your needs, preferences, and your intended application. Not all coolers may suit you, even if they have the best insulation or design in the world. Functionality, performance, and user convenience are still essential factors in choosing an outdoor cooler. After all, you would want your trip to go as smooth and sumptuous as possible. 

That's it for now. If you have inquiries, feel free to ask me in the comment section below.

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