Best Cooler for Camping

camping cooler

In the camping world and in any store, there’s a lot of amazing gear when considering what you need for a camping trip with your friends and family. But, let’s be real: food always takes the number one priority slot in the outdoors, whether you want to relax and cook something absolutely great for your pals or you are famished from a long day of venturing out and about in mother nature.

One of the more essential items for your camping list is your cooler. How you store your food and drinks is very important, especially if you’re going out into the woods for a long time. And like everything with camping, there are many options for you to pick from, which can be overwhelming at times.

But we’ve done all the research and tried out many coolers for your cool storage needs. In this article, we’ve rated our top ten camping coolers so you can pick the best one for your next trip.

View the Top Rated Camping Cooler Reviews Below

1. Yeti Tundra Cooler

Yeti is something of a household name and brand in regards to coolers. They make some of the sleekest products and also some of the most reliable ones too. The Yeti Tundra is a hard cooler with 2-inch walls for better ice retention. Additionally, they also use a pressure injected polyurethane foam to keep things extra cool with their insulation and their design is bear proof as well.

With Tundra 35’s internal dimensions of 9 3/8 × 10 5/8 × 13 7/8 inches, you can fit a whole lot of drinks and food inside this camping cooler. The rubber latches keep the interior cold and keeps your ice up to 10 days. With external dimensions of 16 1/8 × 15 3/4 × 21 3/8 inches and an empty weight of 20 pounds, this cooler with keep your trunk space empty and your camping load lighter.

There are also many sizes for the Yeti Tundra, such as the 45 and 65 and even larger, but we think staying small is best with the 35. Regardless what you pick, Yeti makes some of the best camping coolers.

PROS
  • Durable
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Easy to haul around
  • Many colors
CONS
  • Expensive

Why do we like it?

Our number one choice is from Yeti with good reason. They make great, long-lasting products. It’s bear proof, has rubber latches to hold it down, looks cool, and has a very long ice retention. It’s the modern classic.


2. Pelican Elite Hard Cooler

Pelican Elite Hard Cooler

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This is a close second for us. Pelican makes many things from flashlights, coffee thermoses, other kinds of cases, and much more. Honestly, they do all of them very well, but their cooler game is especially great. Their Elite is one of the best coolers period, with features like press and pull latches, a bottle opener, and cup holders alongside great ice retention.

We like the Elite 50 for a little more room though any size would be great to have. The interior comes in at 17.5 x 11 x 14 inches while the exterior size is 30 x 20 x 20 inches. It weighs about 26 pounds too, making it fairly mobile as well.

The insulation is also a polyurethane foam that will keep your ice retention up to 10 days, along with solid latches to seal everything in. The icing on the cake with this high end cooler is its lifetime guarantee, which may make it one of the better values on the list.

PROS
  • Amazing ice retention
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Great interior design
  • Bear proof
CONS
  • A little bulky
  • Expensive

Why do we like it? 

Much like the Yeti Tundra, the Pelican Elite 50 is a great model, only second to us because of its slightly less sleek shape. Overall, you cannot go wrong with any of the Elite variations, as it is one of the best camp coolers in the market.


3. Engel 35 High Performance Hard Cooler and Ice Box

Engel 35 High Performance Hard Cooler and Ice Box

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Another high performance cooler that we love is the Engel 35 High Performance Cooler and Ice Box. Despite its long name, the cooler is very simple and straightforward. With two inches of foam insulation, ice retention lasts up to 10 days. Additionally, Engel has put in silicon gaskets to create an airtight seal.

Its interior dimensions are 19.5 x 9.75 x 10.25 inches and dry ice compatible. Its exterior size comes in at 25.5 x 15 x 15.25 inches with a weight of 22 pounds, slightly heavier than the Tundra at #1, though the added weight is somewhat negligible.

Finally, its IGBC Certified Bear Resistant for your camping needs with a warranty of 10 years!

PROS
  • Great insulation
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Silicon airtight seal
CONS
  • Expensive

Why do we like it?

This is one of the best coolers. Engel makes amazing products and they claim to have made the original rotomolded cooler, which is great for impressing your friends on the beach.


4. Coleman 54 Quart Steel Belted Cooler

Coleman 54 Quart Steel Belted Cooler

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This old school camping cooler is one of our favorites, largely due to sheer looks.

It’s pretty straightforward with a 54 quart capacity that can hold 85 cans. Its thick insulation keeps everything cool for hours and a steel latch closes and secures the top. It has stainless steel hinges, latches, screws to resist rust and a leak resistant channel helps you drain excess liquid or melted ice.

Its size is 24 x 16.5 x 16 inches at 15 easy pounds to carry. It may not be the best in regard to ice retention, but the classic appearance and the ease of carrying it is great for day trips or short camping trips.

PROS
  • Classic
  • Great design
  • Great for day trips
  • Light
  • Affordable
CONS
  • Less insulation
  • Smaller

Why do we like it?

This is the cooler best for short trips. We love the classic look and feel of this camping cooler while being very affordable. If you’re looking for a solid cooler with retro vibes, this one is yours.


5. RTIC 65 Cooler

RTIC 65 Cooler

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RTIC may not be as well known as the previous companies, but they make more affordable (and thus approachable) high end coolers. If you’re looking for something dependable for fishing, this one is tailored to you. With a casting pad with traction and marine-grade ropes, this will be your pal on the lakes or seas.

32 x 17 x 18 inches consist its size and it can hold up to 16 gallons of water (or 64 12 ounce cans). It also has heavy rubber latches and a rubber gasket to keep the lid down so that everything stays cool as you cast off.

PROS
  • Affordable
  • Bear resistant
  • Holds ice well
CONS

Why do we like it? 

This is the cheaper cousin, but developed more for fishing in mind. It was made not only to keep food and drinks cold, but also to keep your caught fish cool and protected from bears.


6. Rovr Rollr 60 Wheeled Cooler

Rovr Rollr 60 Wheeled Cooler

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This is a bit of a heavy-duty cooler, but built for on-the-go events. Its rotomolded design and refrigerator-grade gasket keep ice for over a week. It has also got great interior compartments to keep you organized and so that things don’t slosh around as you move.

Its size of 27 x 22 x 22 inches isn’t a problem, but it is a little heavy at 49 pounds. While there is a tow bar for your bike, this cooler can be a lot, so I hope there are no hills.

It is better suited for walking, with pull-beside dual handle and puncture-resistant, all-terrain tires that can tackle most kinds of terrain. And, it has a locking point that aids in its bear resistant design!

PROS
  • Great for on the move
  • Tow bar to attach to your bike
  • Internal compartments
  • Solid insulation
CONS
  • Very expensive
  • Still somewhat heavy to move around

Why do we like it?

This is the best cooler for being on the go. Sure, it is a little bit on the heavy side and can tire you out if you are not careful, but our bet is that you’ll like this one if you need to be moving. A little pricey, but worth the overall investment.


7. Pelican 45QW Elite Wheeled Cooler

Pelican 45QW Elite Wheeled Cooler

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Like the Rovr Rollr, this Pelican Elite wheeled cooler will get you from point A to point B while keeping everything cool. Like its non-wheeled counterpart, The Pelican 45QW Elite Wheeled Cooler has great ice retention with 2 inches of polyurethane filled foam insulation but with heavy duty wheels.

With a size of 20 x 30 x 19 inches, this guy is relatively small, which means ideal for dragging this thing to your destination. It comes in a variety of colors and also comes with a lifetime guarantee, which makes it a fantastic deal overall.

PROS
  • Great ice retention
  • Good for moving heavy loads short distances
  • Protective against bears
  • Lifetime guarantee and warranty
CONS

Why do we like it?

This mobile cooler is great if you prefer insulation over mobility. While the Rovr Rollr is better with mobility and close to this cooler in ice retention, the Elite Wheeled Cooler can simply make your things last longer if that is your priority.


8. Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler

Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler

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This cooler will never win any awards, but the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler is a classic. In the face of many expensive, stylish, and overbuilt coolers, this one will keep your food and beverages cool for several days. It costs significantly less than all the other coolers on the list too.

Its design is very simple. With dimensions of 29 x 15.75 x 18.25 inches, it doesn’t take up too much space in your car when you go on your camping trip. Furthermore, it keeps ice up to 5 days, which is great for a shorter camping trip.

Overall, this cooler is no fuss and a great place to start if you don’t want to feel like you are investing too much into something you may not use all that often.

PROS
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Gets the job done
CONS
  • Less insulated
  • Not as tight of a seal

Why do we like it?

While it may not be the best camping cooler in specs, it is one of the best coolers because it is modest and it simply gets the job done. If you’re looking for a smaller and easier cooler while trying to save money, this one is your best bet. Overall, it is one of the two best value coolers to buy.


9. Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

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While the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler is not as durable as the Yeti Hopper Flip or Tundra, it compensates in comfort and ease of mobility. The Yeti Backflip distributes the weight of your items and the ergonomic shoulder straps are built for comfort.

With internal dimensions of 12 5/8 × 6 1/2 × 15 inches, you can pack in quite a bit for a simple insulated cooler backpack. And its empty weight of 5 pounds helps you stay light without killing yourself on the trail.

Additionally, it has a leakproof zipper and a tough DryHide Shell to seal in the cold while hiking. Bring this backpack cooler out on your favorite trail or viewpoint with a few beers or chilled wine to test it out among your friends.

PROS
  • Comfortable
  • Ergonomic straps
  • Good weight distribution
CONS
  • Slightly heavy
  • Less insulation
  • Expensive

Why do we like it?

This insulated backpack cooler is your day hike companion. Built to keep a day’s worth of food, snacks, and beverages cold, the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 is made for the weekend warrior trying to up his or her gear game a little bit more.


10. TOURIT Tanagers Insulated Cooler Backpack

TOURIT Tanagers Insulated Cooler Backpack

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For an even lighter backpack cooler, the TOURIT Tanagers Insulated Cooler Backpack is a great option that is even cheaper than the Yeti and all other coolers . While not as insulated or durable, this backpack is amazing and will hold up for many, many outings.

With dimensions of 17.7 x 13 x 7.5 inches, this insulated backpack cooler holds up to 28 cans in the interior. Furthermore, the interior maintains a resistant and durable fabric this backpack will keep your brewskis cool. Furthermore, the interior resists mold and mildew, and is easy to clean out. .

Finally, it’s stylish and looks like a backpack. Perfect for day outings and impressing your friends, this cooler backpack may not have as much space as actual coolers, but is more mobile than any other one on this list.

PROS
  • Very, very affordable
  • Super lightweight
  • Good design
  • Very mobile and easy to carry around
CONS
  • Even less insulation
  • Slightly less support
  • Not much space

Why do we like it?

Our final pick is the most affordable, lightest, and most mobile cooler. While not as well insulated as other coolers on this list, we like this insulated backpack cooler because it is easy to haul around and looks like a backpack. This is a great item to have in your outdoor arsenal if you are looking to unwind and carry some beers for the great outdoors.


Buyer’s Guide

Before you go out there and buy your backpacking pillow, consider the following things to ensure you get what’s right for you.

Camping Cooler Price

Some coolers can be expensive, especially rotomolded coolers. Some of them are well worth the price, but some can appear too expensive. It’s good to ask yourself if you’ll be using the cooler a lot, what you’ll be using it for, and how long you’ll need to keep things cool. This can inform your buying choices and help you pick the one that is best for you.

If you’re trying to save money, there are many simpler coolers out there from known brands, like Coleman, who makes many solid camping products. If you’re not going to go up in the price bracket, you don’t have to feel like you’re settling for something for a lower quality.

How Mobile/Portable Your Cooler Is

Are you driving up to a site or do you have to hike in a little bit? If moving your cooler is important for you, better get one with wheels. Also, don’t buy a heavier cooler if mobility is something you’re looking for. Opt for something smaller that doesn’t weigh too much and that you can carry to your site with relative ease.

In addition to wheels, some coolers come with handles to help you roll them over the hills or through the woods. Again think of how much moving and hauling you’re going to want with your preferred cooler before committing.

Finally, some companies have developed insulated backpack coolers that you can carry on your back instead of lugging through the woods. There are cheaper options but also some very pricey ones if you’re debating hauling it on your back for even more mobility than wheeled coolers.

Insulation in Your Camping Cooler

Insulation is also incredibly important to consider. Many coolers use foam—not unlike insulation in your houses’s walls—but to get that extra boost, many companies are filling the foam with polyurethaneto fill in the porous foam and provide a little more insulation.

What this means is that the better the insulation, the longer ice retention, for your consideration.

Your Cooler’s Extra Features

camping cooler with beer

What wants do you have that are really needs? A place to put your drinks? Good drainage? A handle and wheels? There are many things to set you up that already come with your cooler and even add-ons that you can purchase from the same company to

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the best cooler for camping?

The best camping cooler is the Yeti Tundra 35. It is a high end, high performance cooler that will keep your food and ice up to 10 days. It has great insulation as a rotomolded cooler. It also comes in various sizes, making any size of the Yeti Tundra one of the top rated camping coolers you can buy.

What cooler keeps ice the longest?

There’s no right answer for this, but the camping coolers that keep ice the longest are the Yeti Tundra, Pelican Elite, and the Engel High Performance Hard Cooler and Ice Box. They all use a polyurethane filled foam that acts as a very dense barrier between your food and drinks and the outside heat.

Furthermore, rotomolded coolers best keep ice because they are designed to be seamless so that no coolness can escape.

If anything, go for a white cooler or a lighter color so that it absorbs less light and therefore does not heat up.

What is the best cooler for the money?

The Pelican Elite is probably the best cooler for the money regarding its lifetime warranty. Though they have a steep initial cost, no one can argue with getting that kind of a guarantee. In other words, this may be the last cooler that you ever buy.

Another cheap, great option is the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day Cooler. Many people out there are going to get the best gear always and invest in something that’s really expensive. Sometimes they use those things a lot and they “pay themselves off.” However, if you’re looking for an easy going camping cooler, this one keeps ice up to 5 days and is a great starter.

Are rotomolded coolers worth it?

Final answer: heck yes.

Rotomolded coolers are better than other coolers because they use a process known as rotational molding. This means there are no seams in the design of the cooler, as the makers pour liquid plastic over ideally thick and high quality insulation to create these rotomolded coolers.

Overall, the rotomolded construction quality is higher as it makes it more durable, boosts ice retention, and even look better than cheaper counterparts. They can be a little more expensive due to this process, but in the long term, they are the best camping coolers.

Conclusion

As we’ve given our best and favorite camping cooler for your needs, we hope you will be able to pick one out from all the great options out there. Whether you’re going car camping, hiking, hanging in the park for a picnic, or a barbecue in the backyard. Select the one that fits you best.

Expert Tip

Thinking of using dry ice in your camping cooler? Handle it with gloves and wrap it in newspaper so it doesn’t come into contact with your skin or food. Dry ice is best for shorter camping trips, as it has a shorter life than regular ice (though it is much colder).

Did You Know?

While the portable ice chest was patented in the early fifties, the Coleman Company popularized coolers with its galvanized cooler in 1954 (think, the Coleman Steel Belted Cooler). And three years later, the Coleman Company developed the same plastic liners for coolers and jugs.

Amazon Recommends:
Bestseller No. 1
Coleman Rolling Cooler | 50 Quart Xtreme 5 Day Cooler with Wheels | Wheeled Hard Cooler Keeps Ice Up to 5 Days, Black
  • High capacity: Holds up to 84 cans
  • Heavy-duty wheels: Effortless rolling over any terrain
SaleBestseller No. 2
SaleBestseller No. 3
Coleman Performance Cooler, 48-Quart - Blue
  • Keeps the Ice: 3-day ice retention at temperatures up to 90 °F
  • Holds 63 cans; Added height to hold 2-liter bottles upright to help prevent spills

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