The 10 Best Camping Coolers

Updated May 12, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. When you need something that can keep your food and drinks chilled for longer than a simple picnic or day at the beach, it's time to invest in one of these camping coolers. Built with thick insulation, most of these can maintain ice for days, even in warm temperatures. Depending on the size of your group, choose from highly portable to family-sized models with convenient wheels. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best camping cooler on Amazon.

10. OAGear Backpack

If you’re into long hikes in the woods before camping overnight, the OAGear Backpack might be the right choice for you. It's comfortable enough to carry and features front and side pockets to help you keep additional accessories organized.
  • shoulder straps are adjustable
  • range of color choices
  • interior is prone to ripping
Brand OAGear
Model wclbp-gray
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. Engel USA

The Engel USA has an airtight O-ring seal that will keep water out even if it gets fully submerged, which means it can function as a dry box, too. It also features stainless steel latches to go with a solid construction that allows it to serve as a seat as well.
  • weighs only 5 pounds when empty
  • odor-resistant interior
  • insulation could be better
Brand Engel
Model UC13C1
Weight 5.3 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. AO Coolers Canvas Soft

Crafted with a vinyl liner for durability and leak protection, the AO Coolers Canvas Soft is able to keep ice intact for 24 hours, even during the sweltering summer months. You can choose from a variety of sizes to find the one that will suit your needs.
  • exterior will not scratch car seats
  • removable shoulder strap
  • zippered pocket is tough to access
Brand AO Coolers
Model AO36RB
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Coleman Belted

The sleek, retro styling of the Coleman Belted invokes images of the campgrounds of yesteryear, while its modern construction makes it durable, rust-resistant and solid. It’s also highly functional, with a versatile lid that doubles as a seat.
  • steel lid latch is reliably secure
  • holds up to 85 cans
  • spout can start leaking over time
Brand Coleman
Model pending
Weight 20.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Igloo Glide Pro

The Igloo Glide Pro is ideal for those isolated areas that are far from car access. It has a long telescoping handle that allows you to roll it without bending over, and its wheels can take on rocky, uneven terrain. Plus, its 110-quart capacity is nothing to scoff at.
  • interior is easy to clean
  • built-in fish-measuring ruler
  • the hinges are a weak point
Brand Igloo
Model 45184
Weight 30.5 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Igloo BMX

Considering its heavy-duty construction and substantial capacity, it’s hard to find a better value than the Igloo BMX. It’s designed with UV-blocking technology to prevent sun damage and features sturdy metal handles that will last for years.
  • tie-down loops for secure transport
  • rust-resistant steel hinges
  • maintain ice for several days
Brand Igloo
Model 00049783
Weight 19.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Orca 40-Quart

The Orca 40-Quart has padded, easy-to-grip extendable handles for simple toting, plus a cargo net attachment for extra storage. It’s built with heavy-duty pads on the bottom to provide stability and prevent it from sliding around in your trunk.
  • lifetime warranty included
  • lid gasket provides a reliable seal
  • made in the united states
Brand ORCA Coolers
Model TP0400
Weight 29 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Homitt Daily

Thanks to three layers of leakproof insulation, the Homitt Daily can keep up to 30 cans at the ideal sipping temperature for an extended period of time. The resilient exterior is water-resistant and the interior is not conducive to the buildup of mold or mildew.
  • fits in an airplane overhead bin
  • no sharp corners for safety
  • lid with 2-inches of foam insulation
Brand Homitt
Model HT-CB01
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Yeti Tundra 35

Compact enough to be reasonably portable, the Yeti Tundra 35 is still able to accommodate the necessities for a couple of days in the wilderness. Its walls are extremely thick, at nearly three inches, which makes this model well-insulated and resistant to bears.
  • can fit in an inner tube
  • includes a dry goods basket
  • sturdy 1-piece construction
Brand YETI
Model YT35T
Weight 26.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Grizzly Seafoam

If you’re really going off the grid — say, roughing it for a few weeks in northern Canada or even Alaska — take a look at the Grizzly Seafoam. It’s built with thick rubber gaskets for remarkable ice retention and comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • rubber feet prevent slipping
  • massive 75-quart capacity
  • includes a dry goods tray
Model G75
Weight 39.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Planning The Perfect Camping Trip

When planning a camping trip, the journey defines the gear you'll bring more than the destination. If you're hiking many miles overland, you can't bring a bunch of folding chairs and a boombox and a BBQ grill, no matter how much those items would spruce up the campsite. If you're camping out near your car, however, go ahead and bring all that and more. If you're canoeing downriver to a campsite, feel free to toss a large cooler in the boat, but make sure it's one that seals tightly in case you capsize. And if you're climbing a mountain, make sure you account for every ounce you'll have on your back, because you'll pay for excess weight with lactic acid.

Common sense dictates that you bring enough clothing for potentially cold temperatures and to be changed when soiled, enough water (and/or the ability to purify more) to stay thoroughly hydrated, and proper gear for sleeping in comfort and safety. You also might need headlamps, crampons, ropes, and dozens of other sundries; it's up to you to make sure you have all the gear necessary for the outing at hand.

As for the items you bring camping intended make your trip more fun, that's entirely subjective. Perhaps a guitar is your idea of a campsite commodity, or maybe you want to bring along a few books. Whatever you choose to bring, make sure not to weigh yourself down too much, and make sure to plan out your meals before you start adding in "luxury" items.

Far too often, hikers and campers assemble their gear and think they have an amount of weight they can comfortably carry before they take into consideration the food and water they will also bring. Food weight adds up quickly, and should be your next consideration after you have the basics (as touched on above) covered. And don't forget that along with the weight of the food itself comes the weight of cookware and food storage containers, i.e. the camping cooler.

Choosing A Camping Cooler

If you're hiking overland, a large hard-walled cooler is the wrong choice; if you're car camping or traveling by boat, a hard-walled, cube-shaped cooler is a great choice. Wheeled hard-sided coolers are great for shorter treks, such as the trip down to the beach from the cabin or out onto the docks, but they won't help much at all on longer trails.

As with the rest of your gear, the journey dictates which camping cooler is right for you and which an illogical choice. Backpack style coolers are great for trekking but won't keep foods cold for nearly as long as larger solid coolers, many of which can keep items below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for days.

You will have to make sacrifices when choosing the right camp cooler, just know that going into the process. For hikers, weight is more important than capacity. Choose a smaller, easy-to-carry cooler and plan the parts of your meals that need cooling accordingly. If you're not covering much land, go ahead and bring along a case of brew in an oversized cooler, but know that you'll not be straying far from your campsite with cold food.

A Guide To Great Camp Cuisine

There's no way to make a camping trip more pleasurable (beyond camping with people whose company you enjoy) than by making sure your meals are great. Especially after a long day's hike fueled only by energy bars and beef jerky, a hot, hearty meal makes the perfect end to a day in the field. So too does a warm, filling breakfast fuel you and the team for a long trek, climb, or simply for a great day enjoying the outdoors.

As with gear, so too is weight the major consideration when it comes to planning your campsite cuisine. As much as possible, you should plan the protein portion of your meal around meats (or vegetarian equivalents) that require no additional ingredients, e.g. steaks, fish fillets, or pork chops that taste great on their own as opposed burgers or hot dogs that need buns and may necessitate condiments, all of which take up space and add weight.

When planning the grain/starch portion of you meals, consider fast-cooking options like couscous or angel hair spaghetti. Rice or thicker pastas requiring long cook periods are a bad idea unless you plan to cook over a fire, as the extra time needed will drain lots of stove fuel. Bread is not a bad item to bring along if you're not hiking long distances; while bulky, bread isn't heavy. Ultimately, though, dried grain-based foods that are cooked in water are your best bet. There's a reason hikers and mountaineers have long eaten oatmeal, after all, and it's not because all outdoorsmen love the stuff.

And for the record, these ideas for cooking grains only work if you have a readily available source of water and a filter (or iodine tablets) that can ensure it is clean and safe for drinking and cooking.

Vegetables like carrots and dark greens like kale are great campsite eats, as they can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Lettuce or celery has no place in the field, as you get few calories from these veggies; you'll be burning enough energy such that you want highly caloric foods.

As far as condiments to spice up and sweeten your meal, try for hot sauces and soy-based marinades, both of which pack a punch, unlike ketchup or mayo, which must be heaped on to be thoroughly enjoyed.

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Last updated on May 12, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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