Is there anything better than being surrounded by nature while camping with your friends? We think there is not. However, there are some things you want to bring with you on your trip, including an outdoor cooler. But with all those coolers out there, how can you know which one to buy? Well, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This article is all about best coolers and choosing THE ONE for your needs. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the freezing world.
Best Coolers On The Market - Our Picks
1. ORCA 40 quart Cooler With Extendable Handles - Editors' Choice
Our top pick is ORCA cooler with a 40-quart capacity. It has everything a larger group of people would want and need out of a cooler – large capacity, sturdiness, and great ice retention (up to ten days). Not only that but also, this cooler comes at a great price, considering its features. Without a doubt, this model is worth every penny and is a good choice for anyone who wants the high-quality outdoor cooler.
2. Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - Best Cooler for The Money
Our second pick is a good choice for those on a budget, as it definitely provides good value for the money. Not only is this cooler versatile, but it is also portable. It is ideal for those who are constantly on the road, as it provides just enough space for all the food you will need. This cooler will make easy work of keeping your food and beverages perfectly cool or warm and fresh for a day or two.
Buyers’ Guide for Coolers
Well, how can you choose a good outdoor cooler, when you don’t even know what types are there, and what features you should pay attention to when buying? That being said, we bring you a little guide to steer you in the right direction.
Types of Outdoor Coolers
Most common outdoor coolers fall under three categories – basic, soft-side, and heavy-duty. Here is a brief explanation to help you decide which one would suit your and your friends’ needs.
Well, there is no need to explain this type much, as we all know what it is. Your parents probably brought this cooler at your family picnics when you were a kid. These have minimal insulation and are a good choice for short trips and picnics. The reason why people use this model is that despite its low price, the cooler still does what it is supposed to.
These are so handy because they come in various size. Meaning, you can buy a small cooler to keep your drinks cool at the beach, or a large one to place the food for camping.In addition to that, a soft-side cooler won’t absorb the odor and give your food that recognizable “freeze” smell and taste. Also, they are a breeze to clean and leave no mess. Some of them even come with handy pockets so that you can place your phone or keys and keep them at hand.
Well, as you can imagine, these coolers are sturdy and heavy. They are ideal for harsh conditions. They are not easy to move, but they have the longest ice retention of all the three types. As for the price, these are most expensive. Because of their size, they are also the easiest, and most fun, to paint.
How Long Will The Food Stay Cold?
Well, the first thing you need to think about when buying an outdoor cooler is ice retention. Meaning, for how many hours or days, do you want to keep your food cool and fresh? Clearly, if you plan to use the cooler for a couple of nights in the summer when camping with your friends, you should not buy an expensive one that provides 10-days ice retention.
Similarly, don’t expect a cheap and small cooler to hold up ice for a week, when because they won’t. If you need a large and powerful cooler, then you will have to spend extra money on that, but it’s well worth it. Also, remember to clean it, so your food won’t take up any bacteria.
Size and Capacity
Next, how big your cooler needs to be? AND, do you have enough space in your trunk for it? Obviously, you won’t have much use of a cooler that can’t fit into your car, so keep in mind to measure the size of your trunk first.
Then, what about the capacity? How much food do you plan to pack?
If you are camping with your family or friends, a 20-50 quart range cooler will be just fine. However, if you need a larger capacity, because you are throwing a party or you are a very popular person, look for 310 liters capacity (but, before you do, ask yourself do you really need it). In addition, you probably want to put the cooler in the trunk before you fill it with the food and drinks.
Do you know what your cooler needs to be? Portable. If you want to buy a small soft-side cooler, make sure it comes with reinforced handles, so that you can carry it with ease. The last thing you need is the food ending up all over the ground, due to weak handles.
As for the big coolers, keep in mind that they need to fit your trunk’s size. In addition, they should come with rubber feet to prevent sliding around.The price and the warranty
Naturally, only you know how much money you can spend on a certain cooler. However, there is no need to buy a $600 cooler, if you really don’t need it. On the other hand, you can buy a cooler that will do the job, for 70$. However, whichever one you want to pay, it would be the smart thing to buy one with a warranty. As far as the pricey coolers are concerned, some come with a 6-year warranty, which is a nice feature, so look for that.
The 10 Best Cooler for Camping in 2018
These are 10 best outdoor coolers in our opinion, and here’s why.
1. ORCA 40 quart Cooler With Extendable Handles - Keeping The Food Fresh for Up To Ten Days
- Nice looking design
- Great ice retention
- Hard to move
Our first pick comes from ORCA, and it’s one of the best outdoor coolers that money can buy. It has a 40-quart capacity, is well-built, and capable of keeping the food cold up to ten days. This model is manufactured in the USA so no doubt that it delivers good performance.
Made of excellent materials, this unit is sturdy and long-lasting. It will last you for many years, so there will be no need for buying a new one and spending more money. However, due to its construction, this unit weighs 24 pounds. Now, that is not something you would want when carrying it around. Therefore, we suggest you put it in the trunk and then place all the items inside. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move it far. Still, the unit comes with flexible handles to make transporting at least a bit easier.
Well, if you didn’t think there can be a classy outdoor cooler to match your mood, you were wrong. This one comes in 8 different colors to choose from, so you can keep your food cold in style.
Apart from the cool look, this cooler is highly functional. Thanks to an integrated insulation, you can keep your food and beverages in it for up to ten days. This makes it a good choice for long outings. The lid is tightly sealed, which only adds up to ice retention. It’s important to drain the water as often as possible in order to keep the unit functioning at its best.
When it comes to the price, we love it. Compared to other outdoor coolers of this size, this one comes at a great price, and with amazing features.All in all, this unit is a sound investment, and you won’t regret buying it.
2. YETI Hopper Cooler - Best Cooler for Camping
- Leak-proof zipper
- Ideal for spending the day at the beach
- Hard to open
- Putting the items in the cooler is time-consuming
Whether you want to go fishing or spend the day at the beach, this “little” cooler is just the thing you need. Coming from YETI, this unit is hard to beat. Here we’re talking about a portable, 40-pounds cooler that features a leak-proof zipper.
First, this unit is well-built, even though it is not too heavy. With a sturdy shoulder strap, you will be able to carry the cooler from a place to place, without getting tired. Thanks to the dry hide shell, you won’t have to worry whether the cooler will break. It is perfect for short trips and enjoying the day in the wild because it can hold the ice well. This is because of a leak-proof zipper that ensures the heat won’t come in.
With its capacity, this cooler is a good choice for keeping larger hauls for a group of people.
But, the thing we really love about this unit is its cool-looking design. This cooler looks stylish and simple at the same time, therefore it’s easy on the eyes.
As for the downside, this cooler has a tight and narrow zipper, so putting drinks and food in is a pain, as well as taking them out. In addition, the cooler is a bit complicated to open, due to its design.
Overall, this portable cooler won’t let you down, as it is portable, well-built and has good insulation.
3. Wagan 12V Cooler/Warmer - Versatile and Portable
- Ideal for those on a budget
- Works as a cooler or a warmer
- Easy to transport
- A tad noisy
- A small capacity
For those of you who are traveling to another country and need a reliable cooler OR a warmer to keep your snacks and beverages fresh, this is the way to go. With Wagan 24L—capacity cooler/warmer, you won’t have to worry about getting hungry on the go.
What makes this unit stand out from the crowd is its versatility. Namely, this cooler can function both as a warmer or a cooler, depending on what you need. There are two temperature settings to keep your stored items at the perfect temperature. In addition, the hot/cold switch features lights so that you can easily select it in the low-light conditions.
However don’t expect this cooler to keep your food too cold, because it won’t have that much power (it is a 12 V cooler).
As for the capacity, this is a small cooler, but still, has enough place for snacks and drinks that two or more people will need on the road.
You will transport the cooler/warmer without any difficulty as it is not too heavy and comes with a sturdy handle.As for the downside, this unit is a bit noisy.
Overall, this cooler has everything you will need to enjoy your trip, so you just can’t go wrong with this one. Plus, it comes at a great price, making it a good choice for those on a budget.
4. Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler - A Stylish and Durable Cooler
- Easy to clean
- Rust-resistant and durable
- Perfect for short family trips
- The poor quality of handles
A good choice for those looking for a stylish and durable cooler
This model comes from Coleman is one of the most cool-looking ones on the market. With a great price, vivid color, and a 4-day ice retention, this cooler is perfect for short trips.
What makes this model spectacular is its great look. The cooler comes in seven colors to choose from, so you have a plenty of options. If you love bright colors, you can choose among turquoise, rose, and red. On the other hand, if you are into classic colors, there are black, green, stainless steel and silver.
Next, this unit is rust-resistant, so you can be sure it won’t corrode. Obviously, this contributes to the longer life of the cooler. The cooler also features a stainless steel lid latch, to ensure the unit won’t open over the bumps. Moreover, this unit comes with a 6-year limited warranty, to give you worry-free purchase. Made in the USA, the cooler’s durability and performance are reliable.
As for the capacity, this is a 54-Quart cooler, making it a good choice for a family trip. What you will appreciate is the 4-day ice retention, up to 90 degrees F. So, no doubt that this cooler stays cool. The cooler’s design has been improved, so you now can add 2 liters bottles and they will stand tall. This means that there will be no spilling and no mess. Which leads to the next great features of the cooler and that is easy cleaning.
However, the unit is not perfect. Its handles could have been sturdier since they tend to break, so you will have to be very careful with them.
Sure, this model may not be as good as the most expensive ones, but it definitely is worth your money, considering what you get with it.
5. Coleman Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler - Great for Easy Transport
- Durable and sturdy
- Free of CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
- Rust and leak resistant
- The handles should have been made in a much better way
With this Coleman Xtreme 5 cooler, you and your loved ones can enjoy camping or boating to the fullest. Whenever you are hungry or thirsty, you can just walk to the cooler and take what you need, because there is a plenty of space (100 Quart capacity) to store items. Because of that, and the very affordable price, this cooler makes just the perfect choice for spending a quality time with your friends without thinking about the food.
Thanks to the Xtreme 5 Technology, the stored items will be cool for up to five days at the temperature of 32.22 degrees Celsius. Of course, you will have to drain the water, in order to keep the unit functioning well.
What we love about this cooler is its construction. Namely, it is made of quality materials, ensuring the years of perfect cooling. In addition, the unit features ThermoZONE insulation is free of CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs, so it’s not harmful to the environment. For those of you who care about the environment, you will certainly love this fact. Not only that this unit is durable, but it is also rust and leak resistant. Like the previous model, this one is also a breeze to clean. It features a hinged lid that comes with four cup holders so that the drinks are safe and sound.
But, the best thing about this cooler is its portability. With wheels and two-way handles, this cooler makes easy work of transporting.
Unfortunately, it looks like Coleman has not been very good when it comes to making the handles. This model also comes with low-quality handles, so you will have to take care not to break them.
All in all, this cooler will be a great companion on your boat, camping, and short trips.
6. AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler - Good for Boating, Camping, and Picnics
- Reasonably priced
- Strong shoulder strap and high-density canvas
- Leak-Proof Liner
- You will have to pack the items cleverly otherwise it will take you too much time to take them out
Here we have the best cooler bag, perfect for camping, fishing, boating, and sporting events. With this cooler on your shoulder, you won’t ever again have to worry about staying thirsty or hungry when outside. It comes at a reasonable price, is easy to carry, and can hold 48 cans.
The cooler offers enough space for keeping the drinks and food for a couple of people. It will hold the ice for a day, so you can spend a whole day without worrying whether the food will spoil. The cooler has a better insulation than similar products on the market, and as such should be the first choice for anyone who wants best soft sided cooler.It also comes with a leak-proof liner, so you can carry it without thinking if the drinks will spill.
Made with a high-density canvas and with a strong shoulder strap, the cooler is durable. In addition, it is easy to clean as you can simply clean the exterior with wet wipes.
Not only does this cooler feel cool, but it also looks cool. Thanks to beautiful colors and a nice design, this cooler is easy on the eyes.
As for the downfall, you will have to pack the things in a smart way, so as to be able to take them out without any difficulty.
To conclude, this cooler makes a good choice for those who aren’t afraid to spend a bit more money on a quality soft-side cooler.
7. YETI Roadie 20 Cooler - Best Small Cooler
- Extremely durable
- Easy to move around
- Ideal for a one-person use
- Small capacity
- Not so easy to clean
Here we have another cooler coming from Yeti. We must admit, even though Yeti coolers are pricey, you just have to love them. No doubt that they are a worthy investment, including this model as well. The Roadies 20 cooler is reliable, well-built, and easy to transport. With its small capacity, this unit is a good choice for a person who wants to have a little “me” time and just get lost for a few days.
What makes this unit stand out from its competitors is a top notch construction. Thanks to the Rotomolded Construction, this unit is sure to last a lifetime. It is safe to say that it’s indestructible because it is very sturdy. That means, you can take this cooler with you wherever you want, as it will stand up to the harsh surroundings. Moreover, lid latches are made of superior rubber, therefore they won’t break.
With a 3 inches insulation, this unit will keep your food and drinks cool for days.
As for the downside, this cooler is not so easy to keep clean, due to its materials. You will have to put in some effort to clean it. In addition, this cooler is not for family trips and picnics, simply because it has a small capacity.
Made of superior materials, and offering a lot of convenience, the high price doesn’t surprise us. Everyone who appreciates high-quality products knows that YETI excels in delivering those. If you are ready to spend extra money on a cooler, then we suggest you choose this one, as it will definitely impress you.
8. ORCA 26-quart Cooler - A Sturdy Cooler
- Perfect for boating, camping and partying
- Flex grip handles make transport much easier
- Cargo net attachment
- Bulky design
- Hard to move
A Good choice for those looking for a sturdy cooler
Are you sick of those lousy coolers that serve no purpose? How much money do you spend on replacing a poor quality cooler every year? Well, how about you finally find the perfect one for your needs? This ORCA cooler will definitely meet all of your expectations. We already reviewed the ORCA cooler above, so you are now familiar with what they offer. Here we have one more great-quality cooler, so let’s see what it has got for you.
This cooler has a smaller capacity than the previous one, but it still has enough space for placing the food for boating, camping or partying. And if you feel like you need even more space, no problem. There is a cargo net attachment, to provide an extra storage.
Durable and quality construction makes sure this cooler will last for a long time, making your purchase wise. Moreover, the unit features an integrated insulation, keeping your food cold for even ten days. No need to worry about whether the unit is perfectly closed since the lid gasket makes sure it is. This only adds up to the maximum ice retention.
As for the transport, this cooler is not so easy to move, due to its bulky design. However, it does feature handle, to make transport a whole lot easier.
Overall, this 24-quart cooler provides good value for the money, making every camping trip memorable.
9. Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler - Best Wheeled Cooler
- Comes with wheels and a telescopic handle for easy transport
- Removable interior
- Simple to clean
- Handle tends to get stuck
Once again, Coleman manages to impress us. This time it’s about an amazing wheeled soft-side cooler, perfect for spending the day in the park, at the beach, or wherever else you may want. This cooler is stylish and comes at a great price, therefore it is ideal for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on a cooler.
Made of quality materials, this unit won’t wear and tear even after years of use. In addition, the cooler is simple to clean due to flexible PEVA liner and a removable interior. So, your cooler will look neat and clean every time you’re having an outdoor adventure.With a 42-can capacity, this unit is spacious enough, for anything you want to throw at it. However, this cooler is also known as “best beverage cooler”.
Moreover, it features front pockets so you can place additional items. The pockets have a zipper, thus they are easy to open and close.
But, the selling point of this cooler is actually its portability. Thanks to the clever design, wheels and retractable handle, this cooler is a breeze to move. That is the reason why you can take it with you wherever you go.
As for the downside, the handle sometimes tends jam.
Overall, this cooler is one of a kind and is not a deal you should pass up.
10. Coleman 120 Quart Xtreme Series Marine Cooler - Extra Insulation and Longer Ice Retention
- 6 days ice retention
- Easy to drain the water
- Comfortable handle
- Should have come with dividers
- Hard to move
Last but not least. Here we have the largest cooler on/in our list – with a 120-quart capacity. This cooler is designed for long trips in mind, and as such is heavy-duty, well-made, and has good ice retention.
With the Xtreme Technology, this cooler features an insulated lid and additional insulation on the sides in order to give extra ice retention. It is capable of keeping the food cold for 6 days, which is quite impressive, taking into account its huge size.
Stainless steel hardware and rust-resistant construction make this unit long lasting. What’s more, the cooler will be protected from UV rays, thanks to special UV guard coating/material.
Draining the water will be a piece of cake, thanks to a leak-resistant channel drain. You won’t have to tilt the cooler in order to drain all the water.
Of course, this huge cooler is hard to move. However, it comes with a retractable handle and its lid can be used as a seat so that you can rest for a couple of seconds. This seat will also come in handy when all the chairs are taken on the BBQ.
A slight issue is that the cooler doesn’t feature dividers. Considering its size, your food and drinks will not be in the best order.
All in all, this is one big cooler, perfect for keeping large batches of meat cold for up to six days.
With a good outdoor cooler, you can relax and enjoy your time with your family of friends, not having to think about the food’s safety and its freshness. Therefore, you have to dedicate some time and money to choose the perfect outdoor cooler.
We hope that a buyers’ guide helped you see what the main things when choosing an outdoor cooler are. However, we listed 10 best coolers on the market, to spare you all the hassle that buying a cooler requires. So, rest assured that these products are trustworthy and provide good value for the mone.