Camping is a much loved activity that helps us connect with nature. When preparing to camp, some of the main things we think about are our camping tent and sleeping bag. While you definitely want to get those things right, a cooler is high up on the list of priorities as well. Coolers make sure your drinks and food stay cold even while you’re sweltering in the sun. There is nothing better than a cold drink after a long hike. The best camp coolers are spacious, perform well even in high temperatures, and aren’t too heavy to carry. Check out our guide to the best on the market so you can figure out what’s right for you.
Comparison Table of the Best Camping Coolers
Below is a list of the best coolers for camping. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
|YETI Tundra 65||$$$|
|Coleman 70 Xtreme||$|
|Pelican Elite 70||$$$|
|Coleman 54 Steel-Belted||$|
|RovR RollR 60||$$$|
|Yeti Roadie 20||$$|
|Igloo BMX 25||$|
What to Look for in a Good Camping Cooler
Before you figure out the right cooler for you, consider the following:
The size of the cooler you need will be determined by how much you need to store in it. Make sure you take into consideration how much space ice will take up. Some people think the bigger the better, but consider if a large cooler is going to be practical for you to carry.
Are you going to be able to carry the cooler when it’s full? The more insulating a cooler has, the more it will weigh. If you’re going with a large, heavy cooler, it might be a good idea to make sure it has wheels.
3. Cooling Power
Be sure you have a cooler that keeps ice frozen and food and drinks cold for as long as you need it to. Coolers with better cooling power will have at least 1.5” of insulation. However, that extra insulation will decrease the interior storage space.
It can be wise to purchase a cooler that has feet that lift it off the ground which means the ice won’t melt as fast.
4. Sealing Power
The gasket will determine the strength of a seal. If the gasket isn’t great and outside air gets in, your ice won’t stay frozen as long and there’s no more insulation value. You will want to make sure your cooler has a rubber gasket.
You definitely don’t want a weak cooler. The cooler needs to be able to stand up to rocks, branches, water, and bears. You’ll want to make sure you look for things like rotomolded construction and oversized handles, latches, and hinges.
It’s important for the cooler to have a drain that allows you to remove water from the outside without having to flip the entire cooler over or even having to tilt it.
Handles are pretty important, one of the main things to look for is that they are comfortable to carry. Coolers with cheap handles are a waste of money, once they snap the cooler is basically unusable for camping trips.
Best Camping Cooler Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, here are the best coolers on the market today.
Overall Best Camping Cooler
The Yeti Tundra 65 is one of the best coolers for camping because it provides the perfect amount of space with premium durability. It has a 57.6-liter capacity, meaning it can hold plenty of ice, numerous long-neck bottles, and up to 39 cans. The Yeti Tundra contains a pressure-injected PermaFrost™ insulation that makes it resistant to outside temperatures. Not only is it designed to handle extremely low temperatures, it’s also compatible with dry ice which gives you three times the cooling power of regular ice. The 27-pound cooler even has a dry goods rack to keep your food from getting soggy or wet. When it comes to hardside coolers, the Yeti Tundra 65 is the best of the best.
Best Affordable Cooler
The Coleman 70 Xtreme is one of the best-rated coolers available. With a 66-liter capacity it can hold up to 100 cans. Its leak-resistant drain allows you to remove water without turning the cooler upside down. The insulated lid keeps things cold for up to five days even with outside temperatures reaching as high as 90°F. The lid of the Coleman 70 Xtreme supports up to 250 pounds, so you can use it as a seat if you forget your camping chair, plus cup holders are built-in. The Coleman 70 Xtreme will keep your drinks cold so you can keep enjoying yourself!
Best Lightweight Cooler
The Engle 65 is known as one of the best coolers on the market because of its weight and ice retention. It has two inches of high-density polyurethane insulation so it can hold ice for up to 10 days, making it ideal for trips to places like Big Sur where you can take several day hikes but come back to your campsite in the evening. Virtually indestructible, this cooler is certified as a bear-proof cooler when two locks are used. It’s also dry ice compatible and has non-marking rubber feet. The 54-liter cooler only weighs 26 pounds. With all it has to offer, the Engle 65 deserves to be on your list of cooler considerations.
Best of the Rest
The Orca 58 has a 54-liter capacity and a durable, roto-molded construction. The lid gasket and integrated insulation help to ensure a perfect seal allowing you to store items for up to 10 days. It has a cargo net for added storage and an easy-flow drain spout so you don’t have to turn the cooler upside down to empty water or ice. The Orca weighs 36 pounds and has extendable flex-grip handles so you’re able to comfortably transport it. Made in the USA, the Orca 58 will be a welcome accessory to your next camping trip.
If a large size and capacity are important, the Pelican Elite 70 is definitely one of the best ice chests for you. This cooler has a 66-liter interior volume, a freezer-grade gasket, and two inches of polyurethane insulation. It also has several convenient features that you’ll appreciate. For your drinks, there are four self-draining cup holders and a stainless bottle opener. In terms of construction, it has three-inch locking latches, a reinforced lockable hasp, an anti-shear hinge system, and molded-in tie-down slots. With a lifetime guarantee, you can’t go wrong with the Pelican Elite 70.
If you need the best car camping cooler, check out the RTIC 65. At 36.5 pounds, it’s small enough for one person to carry, but large enough to fit everything you need. It can hold 64 cans and has a rapid V-Drain system for quick draining. The cooler can hold 70 pounds of ice which it can keep it frozen for up to 10 days. The cooler has a roto-molded construction and is designed to keep bears out. Its molded tie-down slots keep it anchored and the integrated locking system keeps your food and drinks safe. If you’re spending time camping or working in the hot sun, be sure you get the RTIC 65.
When it comes to brands of coolers, Coleman is top. This cooler has the same amazing performance it did back in 1954 when the original was first released. The 51-liter cooler can hold up to 85 cans and keep them cold for hours. It has a leak-proof and rust-proof drain so you can empty the water without tilting the cooler. The cooler weighs just under 16 pounds and has stainless steel handles with rubber grips to make transportation easier. The Coleman 54 Steel-Belted Cooler is also super easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty on your next camping trip.
One of the best coolers for the money, not only does the RovR RollR 60 have all the features you’d expect in a great cooler, but it also rolls on all-terrain tires. The 56-liter cooler retains ice for up to 10 days thanks to the refrigerator-grade gasket with rotomolded construction and foam insulation. The cooler has interior compartments so you can keep food and drinks separate; the design even lets you store wine bottles upright. In addition to the compartments, there’s also a pop-up wagon bin which you can bring extra gear to your campsite in. Buying the RovR RollR 60 means no more lugging heavy coolers to your campsite.
This hard-sided cooler is built to go with you on all of your short adventures. The Yeti Roadie 20 is an 18.9-liter cooler that has a proprietary insulation and is compatible with dry ice to boost its cooling power. The cooler is designed to handle lock-neck bottles and can hold 12 cans. Its tie-down slots are molded into the body of the cooler so you can easily mount it in your truck or on your boat. The gasketed drain plug won’t leak and it only needs to be partially unscrewed to drain the water. This cooler has a stainless steel handle, and only weighs 15 pounds. The Yeti Roadie is a great option for a short camping trip.
If you’re looking for the best cheap cooler, look no further than the Igloo BMX 25. This quality 23-liter cooler has a volume and weight that makes it popular among many campers. The cooler only weighs 11.29 pounds and measures 19.6” x 13.3” x 15.7”. It can hold 37 12-ounce cans and store ice for up to 4 days in temperatures up to 90°F. The lid features four tie-down loops and a fish ruler so you can measure your catches. The cooler also includes reinforced kick and base plates for increased protection and strength. Its elevated design improves its performance because it won’t be sitting directly on the hot ground. For a quick trip in the woods, the Igloo BX 25 is a great option.
After you’ve camped once with a cooler, you’ll never make the mistake of camping without one again. Having the right camping cooler makes your camping trip much more enjoyable.