Whether you’ll be going on a week-long camping trip, or you’re planning a fun day of fishing, there’s one essential that should never be neglected: a cooler. This is what will keep your drinks cold and your food fresh, which is a necessary part of any outdoor adventure. The question is, which cooler is the right fit for the job? Obviously size will be one of the main factors, but there’s so much more to coolers than just their capacity. You may want to stick to the basics with a Coleman cooler, or you might want something a bit more specialized like what’s described in this Kanga Cooler review. If you aren’t yet sure what you want, just keep reading; there are plenty of great options listed below.
IceMule Pro: Best Backpack Cooler
When most people think of coolers, they probably don’t have something in mind that you can carry on your back – but this doesn’t mean that the IceMule Pro can’t get the job done. Even though there are several other backpack-style coolers on the market, this is the only one that’s comfortable enough for long-distance hikes. The shoulder straps are flexible and soft, and the walls can be inflated or deflated to accommodate the load. The roll-top design provides a tight seal, and the waterproof material will keep your foods and beverages exactly how you left them. It can carry up to 39 cans, which can be heavy, but this also makes it the perfect size for day trips where all you’ll need is lunch and some drinks. One thing to keep in mind: the roll-top closure isn’t 100% waterproof if it isn’t kept upright.
Engel HD30: Best Soft Cooler
Soft coolers can be hit-and-miss, since some of them prioritize form over function. Not so with the Engel HD30 – it has some of the best insulation of any soft cooler on the market. With a capacity of 48 cans, it’s barely big enough for a weekend of camping. Even so, it will maintain the contents below 40 degrees for a little over three days. One thing that users love is the fact that it’s so easy to open and close, which is important if you want to keep the contents cold. Where some soft coolers are sealed with cumbersome zippers or have small openings, this one can be opened wide by unfastening the clips on the corners, and closed just as quickly.
Kanga Cooler: Best Cooler for Day Trips
This cooler comes in a range of styles – the Kase Mate, the Pouch, and the Backpack. The idea behind the Kanga Cooler brand was that you shouldn’t need a bulky ice chest and a ton of ice to enjoy cold beer. For example, the Kase Mate comes in sizes that perfectly accommodate either a 12-pack or a 24-pack of beer, which eliminates the need for ice. All of the Kanga products are sturdy and stain-resistant, and some models come with built-in cup holders and removable bottle openers. If you’ll have to carry the Kanga Cooler to your destination, don’t worry about staying comfortable; the adjustable shoulder strap won’t cause any problems.
Yeti Roadie 24: Best Personal Model
If you need top-tier performance but don’t require much capacity, this 24-quart cooler could be a good choice. Just like with other Yeti products, it has rugged construction and latches that are easy to use. There are multiple handles, and it’s even designed to double as a seat. With an interior height of 13+ inches, it can comfortably accommodate 2-liter and wine bottles in an upright position. However, it isn’t completely airtight, and the price is quite high for an individually sized cooler. Even so, this little cooler will last for years, meaning it will eventually pay for itself.
RovR RollR 60: Best Wheeled Cooler
The 60-quart RovR RollR is equipped with pneumatic tires like a bicycle or car. It also has the clearance and durability to handle rough terrain, and helpful rubber grips on the handle. You’ll find hefty latches, integrated hinges, and even a dry storage box. This last feature doubles the storage space that the cooler offers, and can be conveniently attached to the lid. Since wheeled coolers aren’t usually the first choice for long-haul camping trips, there’s a little less emphasis on cooling power. Still, at 4.7 days under 40 degrees, you’ll have more than enough time for a BBQ or a casual weekend getaway.
Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt: Best Budget Cooler
Most products labeled as “budget” are expected to be a bit of a letdown; after all, you usually get what you pay for. In this case, however, Coleman has cut all the right corners to make an affordable product without skimping on performance. This cooler will pick up scratches and dirt a lot faster than pricier models, and there’s a distinct lack of ergonomic design in the handles and the drain spout, but it’s also much lighter than even some personal coolers. The overall size isn’t that big, but the interior capacity is surprisingly roomy. Last but not least, it can keep your food and beverages under 40 degrees for 3.7 days, which is pretty impressive considering how inexpensive it is.
Yeti Tundra 65: Best Overall Cooler
This cooler’s straightforward design simply works. Even though the 56-quart capacity is smaller than the name would lead you to believe, it still does a stellar job of keeping food and drinks cold. When tested, it maintained a temperature of below 40 degrees for 6.5 days, which is truly impressive. It also has a bear-resistance certification, with latches that are both durable and easy to use. A removable dry basket can be used to keep items out of melting ice, which is the perfect feature to have in a cooler that’s built for long-haul trips.
There are so many different types of coolers to choose from, each one designed for a specific purpose. Regardless of what your next adventure will look like, you’re sure to find a cooler that’s perfect for your needs.