10 Best Coolers For Camping (2020)
Definitive Review (Buyers Guide)

Enjoy Cool Drinks & Fresh Food With Our Round-Up Of The Best Coolers For Camping

RovR RollR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
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Coleman Xtreme Cooler
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Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
26

Models Reviewed

225

Hours Of
Research

195

Field Test
Hours

81

Users
Surveyed

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After spending the last few months happily researching and testing 25 of the best coolers for camping on the market in 2020, we’re ready to share our Favorite Top 10.

Whether you’re heading out for a weekend of remote fishing, or it’s a family reunion at a camping ground you’re off to, there’s a perfect cooler out there to suit you.

Carry on reading to find out:

  • Which coolers are safe for use in bear country, and why
  • That how a cooler is made affects their insulating properties
  • The perfect ice: food ratio
  • And much more…

Best Wheeled Cooler for Remote Camping

1 – RovR RollR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler

Editors Choice Award Winner
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Value for Money
8
Ease of Use
8
Durability/Workmanship
8
Portability
10
Insulation
7
Overall Score
82
  • Manufacturer: RovR
  • Weight: 40.5 pounds
  • Capacity: 60 quarts
  • Dimensions: 25 ½ “x 19” x 20”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : The best wheeled cooler available – the chunky tires can go anywhere with ease

Pros


  • Easy to transport
  • Lots of accessories available
  • 5-year warranty
  • Tough pneumatic tires

Cons


  • Heavy
  • Latches may be tricky to use

If you’re looking for a wheeled cooler that makes easy work of getting to even the most remote campsites, then you need the RovR RollR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler.

This cooler has plenty of features to make it stand out from the crowd.

These include chunky pneumatic tires that roll easily across sand, rocks, muddy grass… pretty much anything in fact.

The tires aren’t the only thing that makes this cooler amazingly well-designed though. The pull handle is wide and comfortable with a soft rubber grip.

On the top of this cooler, there’s a collapsible storage box which means you can double up the hauling capacity of this cooler.

That’s seriously smart thinking.

Now we do have to point out that the insulation isn’t quite as good as our TopNotch Top Pick BUT with that said this cooler still does a great job of keeping your food and drink cold – in fact, it can retain ice for an impressive 7 – 10 days.

Last but not least…

We loved this RovR cooler so much that we awarded it our TopNotch Editor’s Choice. In fact, this cooler is the one we chose to keep and is our go-to choice on long trips.

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Best Budget Cooler For Camping

2 – Coleman Xtreme Cooler

Best Value Award Winner
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Value for Money
10
Ease of Use
7
Durability/Workmanship
5
Portability
5
Insulation
6
Overall Score
68
  • Manufacturer: Coleman
  • Weight: 11.9 pounds
  • Capacity: 70 quarts
  • Dimensions: 28 ¼ “ x 15 ¾ “ x 18 ¼ “
  • Construction: Hard Cooler

Bottom Line : A lightweight and great value cooler for a budget price

Pros


  • Great price
  • Large capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use

Cons


  • Difficult to carry
  • Not lockable

If you only go camping occasionally or don’t have the budget for a cooler costing over more than 300 bucks, then the Coleman Xtreme Cooler is the perfect match for you.

This cooler combines a range of impressive features while also being extremely budget-friendly. The insulated walls and lid can keep the contents icy cold for up to five days… that’s impressive!

Be aware though – the lid doesn’t feature a rubber seal so it isn’t air or watertight. The design is super easy to use though, so you won’t be grappling with difficult latches trying to get this cooler open.

It can hold an impressive 100 cans thanks to the large 70-quart capacity.

But wait, there’s more…

This cooler can also double up as a handy table. There are 4 cup holders molded into the lid, to create the perfect spot to place your dinks.

With a weight capacity of up to 250 pounds, the Coleman Xtreme Cooler can also double up as a seat or step-stand. 

Last but not least…

We think this cooler represents such excellent value for money that it was a clear winner for our TopNotch Award for Best Value.

We admit you might not be getting all the bells and whistles of a top-end cooler… but for a combination of great insulation at a low price, this simply can’t be beaten.

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Best Wheeled Cooler For Camping To Buy In 2020

3 – Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler

Top Pick Award Winner
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Value for Money
8
Ease of Use
9
Durability/Workmanship
9
Portability
8
Insulation
9
Overall Score
86
  • Manufacturer: Yeti
  • Weight: 34 pounds
  • Capacity: 65 quarts
  • Dimensions: 33 ¼ “ x 18” x 18”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : An extremely well insulated, durable and tough cooler – simply the best there is

Pros


  • Generous size
  • Rotomolded design
  • Extremely durable
  • Non-slip base

Cons


  • Drain plug doesn’t have a leash
  • Heavy when fully loaded

When it comes to making sure your food and drink stay cold during your trip, there’s simply no better choice than the Yeti Tundra 65.

But why’s that?

Yeti know what they’re doing when it comes to manufacturing coolers – in fact, the Yeti Tundra represents a whole new standard for 2020.

Their mission was to create a cooler with the perfect combination of ice retention, weather resistance, and durability.

We’re happy to report they succeeded 100% in their mission.

The fatwall designs include an unrivaled 2 inches of insulation – in this case, Yeti have used commercial-grade polyurethane in both the lid and walls to guarantee this cooler is the very best at keeping your food and drink cool.

The rotomolded construction also means this cooler will resist the worst of any weather thrown at it.

From fishing trips in the baking hot summer to backcountry hunting in the depths of winter this cooler can handle it all – and then some.

The large 65-quart capacity means this cooler can hold up to 57 cans of drink, or 70 pounds of ice.

More than enough to help you keep your cool.

The tough T-Rex rubber latches on the lid are designed to be long-lasting and virtually indestructible – you’ll need two hands to open them though!

But wait, there’s more…

This cooler is rated by the IGBC, meaning it’s perfect for use in bear country.

You’ll also find a handy dry-goods basket that sits at the top of the cooler and is the perfect place to safely store smaller items such as eggs, cheese, and bacon.

With all these fantastic features, the Yeti Tundra was a clear choice for our TopNotch Top Pick Award.

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Best Cooler For Short Camping Trip

4 – Igloo BMX 25

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Value for Money
8
Ease of Use
7
Durability/Workmanship
6
Portability
9
Insulation
6
Overall Score
78
  • Manufacturer: Igloo
  • Weight: 11.28 pounds
  • Capacity: 25 quarts
  • Dimensions: 20” x 16” x 13”
  • Construction: Blow-molded

Bottom Line : A great personal-sized cooler for shorter trips, fantastic value for money and looks the part

Pros


  • Great value for money
  • Easy to carry
  • Well insulated
  • Non-slip base

Cons


  • No drain plug
  • Not watertight

For shorter camping trips or a day picnic to the beach, you don’t always want a large capacity cooler. In this case, the Igloo BMX 25 fits the bill perfectly.

Let me tell you why…

The smaller capacity of 25 quarts is perfect for a couple of night’s food for one person, or for a family picnic.

This small cooler is nicely made, with a soft-grip handle that makes this super easy and comfortable to carry.

We love the rugged styling of this cooler too, with a tough kick plate at the base as well as chunky latches.

It can also keep your food and drink cold for an impressive 4 – 5 days.

And if you’re planning on taking this cooler on a fishing trip – the manufacturers have included a very clever ruler on the lid – so you can go ahead and prove those catch measurements easily!

Now for the not-so-good news…

There are a couple of things we don’t like about this cooler.

First off, there’s no drainage hole which means when it comes to cleaning this out you’re going to need to tip this upside down to rinse it out.

There’s no seal on the lid so while the rubberized latches do a great job, this isn’t completely water or airtight.

With that said though, this is, without doubt, our favorite small cooler.

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Best Cooler For Bear Country

5 – RTIC 65 Cooler

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Value for Money
7
Ease of Use
8
Durability/Workmanship
7
Portability
7
Insulation
8
Overall Score
74
  • Manufacturer: RTIC
  • Weight: 29 pounds
  • Capacity: 65 quarts
  • Dimensions: 32” x 18.5” x 17”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : An excellent choice if you’re camping in bear country and you need an approved cooler

Pros


  • IGBC approved
  • Durable design
  • Comfy handles
  • No fail hinges

Cons


  • No plug leash

If you’re heading into bear country and are looking for a cooler which has been certified by The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) then look no further than the RTIC 65 Cooler.

How on earth does a cooler become certified?

The IGBC has minimum standards that a cooler must meet in order to become certified. This includes features that minimize the ease with which a bear can gain access to the contents of the cooler.

The RTIC’s rugged design and comfortable rope handles mean it’s easy to carry this cooler to your campsite.

The 3” thick insulated walls to a great job of keeping your food and drink cool and fresh.

When it comes time to clean up camp, the rapid drainage system makes it extremely easy to get the job done.

An important point though…

An IGBC certification does not guarantee that any cooler will be COMPLETELY bear-proof. After all, the bears haven’t read the manual.

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The Best Large-Capacity Cooler For Long Trip

6 – Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler

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Value for Money
7
Ease of Use
8
Durability/Workmanship
9
Portability
6
Insulation
7
Overall Score
74
  • Manufacturer: Pelican Products
  • Weight: 51 pounds
  • Capacity: 95 quarts
  • Dimensions: 37 ¾ “ x 20” x 25”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : An excellent choice for longer trips where you need a combination of size and insulation

Pros


  • Lifetime warranty
  • Huge capacity
  • Great insulation
  • Dual handles

Cons


  • No wheels
  • Heavy

If you’re heading out for an extended camping trip and need a cooler with both the capacity and insulation capabilities to last the distance, the Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler is perfect for you.

What’s the capacity then?

A huge 95 quarts – which is a full 25 quarts more than any other cooler we reviewed.

This means there’s plenty of space to keep a large quantity of food in here, with the added bonus that this Pelican Products cooler offers an impressive 10 days worth of ice retention.

The dual handle system makes it easy to grab hold of this cooler. But bear in mind when fully loaded it’s going to be heavy.

If there’s one thing we’d love to see added to this cooler it would be a chunky pair of pneumatic tires.

The chunky press-and-pull latches are designed to be super easy to use – even with one hand or while wearing gloves.

There’s also a handy ruler on the lid to help you measure any catches while hunting or fishing.

We’ve saved the best until last…

This cooler comes with an incredible full lifetime guarantee!

Read Full Review:

The Best Large Lightweight Cooler

 7 – Engel High Performance Hard Cooler

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Value for Money
9
Ease of Use
8
Durability/Workmanship
7
Portability
6
Insulation
8
Overall Score
76
  • Manufacturer: Engel
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Capacity: 58 quarts
  • Dimensions: 29 ½ “ x 17” x 16 ½”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : Overall a fantastic cooler that beautifully combines a lightweight with high capacity

Pros


  • Super lightweight for the size
  • Excellent quality
  • IGBC certified
  • Watertight lid

Cons


  • Uncomfortable handles
  • Odd latch design

When you’re looking for a cooler with a decent capacity, they’re often pretty heavy… and that’s before you’ve even added food, drinks, and ice!

The Engel High-Performance Hard Cooler breaks the mold in that respect.

How so?

This cooler combines a decent capacity of 58 quarts, with an impressively low weight of just 26 pounds.

That means this cooler is relatively easy to carry even once it’s fully loaded.

Don’t be fooled though, the light weight of this cooler doesn’t mean the insulating capabilities are compromised – Engel promises an impressive 10 days of ice retention.

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Best Powered Cooler For Car Camping

 8 – Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler

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Value for Money
6
Ease of Use
7
Durability/Workmanship
7
Portability
7
Insulation
6
Overall Score
66
  • Manufacturer: Igloo
  • Weight: 12.6 pounds
  • Capacity: 28 quarts
  • Dimensions: 19” x 18” x 13”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : A great cooler for car camping at a great price

Pros


  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for car camping
  • Uses 12 V plug
  • Long power lead

Cons


  • Takes 3 hours to reach low temperature
  • Poor-ish insulation

If you’re heading out for a spot of car camping, a powered cooler is a great idea. For short trips, the Igloo Portable Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler is an excellent choice.

Simply plug this into your car’s 12-volt adaptor, and look forward to cold food and drink when you arrive at your camping ground.

This uses convection cooling with a fan to keep your food and drink cold – down to as much as 36 degrees Fahrenheit below the outside temperature.

This cooler is also super lightweight as well, which is always a bonus. It can easily be carried using the chunky handle once you arrive and unplug it from your car.

There’s one problem though.

The lightweight also means this cooler doesn’t offer as much insulation as some of the non-powered models we reviewed. That means it’s not as effective at keeping cool once it’s unplugged.

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Best Wheeled Cooler For Rough Terrain

 9 – Igloo Trailmate Journey

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Value for Money
7
Ease of Use
7
Durability/Workmanship
5
Portability
8
Insulation
5
Overall Score
64
  • Manufacturer: Igloo
  • Weight: 34.7 pounds
  • Capacity: 120 quarts
  • Dimensions: 34” x 20” x 24”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : A funky looking cooler with plenty of interesting features

Pros


  • Huge capacity
  • Loads of added extras
  • Drain plug with a leash
  • All-terrain tires

Cons


  • Poorly insulated
  • Durability is lacking
  • No seal on the lid

The all-terrain chunky tires of the Igloo Trailmate Journey mean this cooler can handle rough terrain with ease.

The telescopic handle makes it extremely easy to pull, with the added bonus that it converts into a butler tray complete with cup holders!

Now for the bad news…

While this cooler is certainly packed full of cool features, there’s an issue with form over function.

While we love the aesthetics of the Igloo Trailmate Journey, it’s simply not as effective at insulating your food and drink as some of the other models we reviewed.

This mode offers up to 4 days ice retention – compared to the 10 days of some other models, that’s a feature to bear in mind when making your choice.

Overall it’s a great looking cooler for your weekend trips or picnicking with the family.

Read Full Review:

Best Small IGBC Approved Cooler

 10 – REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler

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Value for Money
8
Ease of Use
8
Durability/Workmanship
7
Portability
8
Insulation
7
Overall Score
76
  • Manufacturer: REYLEO
  • Weight: 16.4 pounds
  • Capacity: 21 quart
  • Dimensions: 18” x 14” x 13”
  • Construction: Rotomolded

Bottom Line : For the price, this offers a lot of functionality and holds up very well against similar products on the market

Pros


  • IGBC certified
  • Lightweight
  • Locking handle
  • High-quality materials

Cons


  • No seal in lid
  • Lower insulation than some other models

If you’re heading out for a short camping trip into bear country, some of the IGBC certified coolers are going to be way too big.

Step forward the REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler.

Weighing just 16.4 pounds and with a capacity of 21 quarts, this is the perfect size for a one-person trip.

This cooler has lots of nice features including a built-in bottle opener, fish ruler, and cup holder.

Is there any bad news?

Unfortunately yes. During our tests, this cooler didn’t live up to it’s advertised 3 – 5 days of ice retention. The insulation simply isn’t as good as some of the other models. We found it kept our food cool for just over 24 hours.

This isn’t a problem on shorter trips, but it’s something to bear in mind!

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10 Best Coolers For Camping Definitive Review✓ 89 Hrs Of Field-Testing✓ Pros & Cons✓ Back-to-Back Comparisons & Ratings✓ Buyers Guide✓ 93 Owners Interviewed✓

Why Trust Us?

TopNotch writer Emma Stenhouse has spent the last 25 years working out the best pieces of kit to take her various camping trips. From luxury camping by the side of Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand to roughing it in the jungles of Costa Rica, she knows exactly what will make or break your camping trip.

You can be confident that she brings all her years of experience to each and every TopNotch review.

Emma – and her colleagues at TopNotch – have put plenty of time and effort into testing the best coolers for camping – so you can enjoy selecting the one which fits your needs the very best.

From her home base in Spain, Emma put these coolers to the test.

With summer temperatures regularly topping out at 104 degrees Fahrenheit, having a cooler to keep your drinks fresh and cold all day long isn’t just a luxury but could pretty much be seen as a necessity!

TopNotch Team
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Buyers Guide:

How To Choose The Best Coolers For Camping

Best Coolers For Camping

What are the different types of coolers?

These days, coolers for camping come in such a wide range of designs and price points that it can feel a bit like wading through a minefield when it comes to choosing the best one to fit your individual needs.

That’s where we come in.

To start, here’s a quick rundown of the different types of coolers that you can choose from.

Powered Coolers

As the name suggests, these coolers can be plugged into the power outlet in your car. While this makes them heavier, it can be a huge boon when it’s really hot. Most of them won’t even need any ice to keep your food and drink perfectly chilled.

So what’s bad about them?

Well, they’re going to use electricity so if you’re camping away from your car or want to conserve power they’re probably not the best choice.

They’re also more expensive than most other coolers, due to the extra parts required.

Best Coolers For Camping

Hard Coolers

This type of cooler makes up the majority of products in our review. Hard coolers, as the name suggests, are made from a rigid plastic casing.

Anything else?

As well as their intended purpose of keeping your food and drink cold, hard coolers make excellent seats, step stools, and side tables.

We can also confirm their suitability for keeping squabbling children separated in the car on long journeys.

Simply place the cooler on the middle seat and you have an instant barrier!

And yes, we’ve tested this out on more than one occasion.

Soft Coolers

Making up the budget end of coolers, we have the soft cooler bags. While these come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, they’re all compressible and have carry straps and handles.

They’re not as well insulated as hard coolers but are an excellent choice for shorter trips.

What’s bad about them?

Their cooling ability isn’t great, so they certainly won’t keep your food cold for more than a day.

Best Coolers For Camping

A Note About Food Safety

When thinking about which type of cooler will suit your needs best, the first thing to think about is the type of food you want to keep cool and for how long.

If you plan to keep any food including meat, eggs, milk or cheese in your cooler than you’ll need to pay close attention to the insulating capabilities of any cooler you’re thinking of buying.

The recommended temperature for keeping fresh foods of this type, as recommended by the USDA, is anywhere below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

You’ll find that soft coolers simply won’t be up to the task of maintaining this temperature for any decent length of time.

That means you’ll need to consider hard and powered coolers.

If you’re mainly looking to store processed foods and drinks then you have a wider margin for error.

That being said, most would agree that keeping our end-of-day beer icy cold is pretty important too!

These are the features to look out for

When choosing the best cooler for your needs, there are a few different things to consider.

Like what?

Well, when we rate coolers, there are a few important metrics to bear in mind. Some, like their ice retention capabilities, are important across the board.

Others, like portability, will matter more to some of us than others. So here’s a quick run-down of the things that we considered when testing, comparing and rating coolers.

Ease Of Use

The best coolers for camping are a joy to use. They’re so well designed and full of intuitive features that you might not notice just how good they are until you try to use a different design.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to choosing the coolers which are easy to use.

One of the first things we look for on a cooler is the drainage.

Granted, some cheaper coolers, including soft coolers, won’t have a drain at all.

With these, it’s a case of upending them in order to clean them out.

Most hard coolers usually have one or two drainage holes. These can vary in size, with the idea being that you can use a small drain to allow water to flow out while keeping the ice inside. When it comes to cleaning the entire cooler, simply open the larger drain and your job’s so much quicker.

It’s always worth checking the placement of a drain. You’re looking for one as close to the base of the cooler as possible.

But why?

Well, just imagine trying to clean out a cooler that has a drain 2 inches up the side. You’ll be swilling the dirty water around forever trying to get it to drain.

Not good.

Some drain plugs come complete with a small leash.

This is a genius idea.

No more sending your teenager off to clean the cooler only for them to return minus the plug. If the plug is safely attached to the cooler even when it’s unplugged, then it can’t go missing.

Although we should note that most cooler manufacturers do sell replacement plugs.

The latches on coolers come in a range of designs.

Some of these are easy to use, and others are downright annoying.

Plastic latches that need to be snapped or clipped into position are popular and for good reason. They’re easy to use and can often be opened using just one hand.

You might also see latches which are rubberized.

These need to be pulled then stretched to release them from their clip.

This style of the latch is very robust and the least likely to accidentally pop open. The downside is that they need more brute force and usually take two hands to operate. 

Soft coolers are often fastened close with a zip. This makes them easy to use but as the zips aren’t insulated this makes them less efficient at staying cold than a hard cooler.

Finally, some budget coolers don’t have latches at all. With these, the lid simply slots onto the base. Again, this reduces its insulation capabilities. It’s also easy for these lids to come loose which means that after a few hours, your cooler may not be as cool as you thought.

Build Quality

This varies considerably but as a general rule, the higher the price point of your cooler, the better the build quality.

Soft coolers are made from fabric, with a layer of insulating material sandwiched in the middle. They’ll often be lined with silver plastic on the inside to help with the retention of cold air inside the cooler.

Budget hard coolers can be found in very basic styrofoam or polystyrene. Some versions also use cardboard.

Many hard coolers within the next price bracket will be made from a rigid plastic outer and inner. In between these two layers will be a layer of insulating foam. This is an excellent design that has stood the test of time. It does allow for breakages or cracks to develop in the seals between layers, though.

At the top end, you may see cooler construction being advertised as ‘rotomolded’. This stands for ‘rotationally molded’ as basically means the cooler has been created from a continuous piece of hard plastic that has been molded around insulating foam.

But why is that better?

Rotomolded coolers are generally accepted to be the best in terms of build quality because the molding process means that there aren’t any weak spots.

The casing is created as a single piece, meaning there are no areas where different materials are sealed together. There’s much less chance of cold air escaping, or warm air entering.

Best Coolers For Camping

Durability

Many coolers come with a pretty hefty price tag, so you want to be sure they’re durable enough to stand up to a good few years of use.

Luckily, we’ve done a lot of hard work for you.

When testing these coolers we subjected them to lots of hard use, designed to verify whether the seals, handles, latches, and drains can stand up to intense wear and tear.

A lot of coolers do come with a limited warranty, so it’s definitely worth checking this out when you’re comparing models.

Ice Retention

This is really the most important metric to pay attention to. A cooler can look as beautiful as you like, and have all the bells and whistles you could wish for, but if it can’t retain ice (and therefore cold) it’s pretty much useless.

Many cooler manufacturers will state how many days their cooler can retain ice for. Of course, out in the field, this will depend on a whole raft of different factors including how often you open the cooler, whether or not items have been pre-chilled, outside temperature, and what your ratio of ice to food and drink is.

Portability

If you’re planning on camping somewhere that you need to move equipment across any sort of distance, then consider how portable your chosen cooler will be.

As a general rule, coolers are large and fairly cumbersome. Even when they have a handle at each end they can still take quite some carrying.

We’ve bumped our knees, dropped our end of the cooler, and tripped over a rock while trying to navigate a cooler to our cookout area…

That’s not the best way to start your trip!

Thankfully, you can now choose to buy a cooler with wheels – such a wonderful invention! Instead of swearing as you drop your cooler and the lid pops open spilling your food, you can now wheel it (almost) effortlessly over a wide variety of terrain.

You can choose from a wide range of wheel styles as well.

From small wheels intended for short trips, to inflatable ones for seriously rugged terrain.

When it comes to portability, another thing you should bear in mind is the type of handles a cooler comes with.

Especially if it doesn’t have wheels.

Some handles are uncomfortably small, especially when compared to the size of the cooler.

You might struggle to hold them easily or find your fingers slipping as you try to hold the weight of a fully-loaded cooler.

Indented handles can be easier to hold, as well as leaving the outside form of the cooler essentially unchanged. While this might not seem like an important point – it certainly makes them easier to pack into the trunk of your car.

Other coolers may have handles that stick out from the side of the cooler.

While these are undeniably easy to hold, they do get in the way when it comes to packing.

Jargon Buster

As we mentioned earlier, you might see coolers advertised as ‘rotomolded’. This refers to the manufacturing process which typically results in coolers with the best insulating capabilities.

There’s another piece of jargon we’ve seen in plenty of cooler advertisements… IGBC certified.

The IGBC is the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, who are tasked with stipulating regulations around how best to store your food when camping in areas with bear populations.

The IGBC has a minimum standard they test coolers against.

Those that pass, get certified.

Bear in mind, that this certification in no way guarantees that a cooler will be completely and utterly bear-proof. It only means that the cooler has been approved as one that reduces easy access to the contents of the cooler.

It also means the amount of odor coming from the cooler is lower, which in turn should reduce the amount of wildlife attracted to it.

Sometimes that includes the use of locks, which have to be purchased separately.

With that said, if you intend to camp in bear country then you’ll definitely want to choose a cooler which has earned this certification.

Best Coolers For Camping

Frequently Asked Questions

Q  What should I put in my cooler?

A.   Basically, you should use your cooler for any food you’d usually store in your refrigerator at home. That includes items like eggs, bacon, cheese, milk, and meats.

Of course, you should follow the same food hygiene rules you would at home – so be sure to separate raw fish or meat from your other food. Many coolers include separate baskets that sit at the top of the cooler for this purpose.

You’ll also want to store drinks in your cooler! Whether that’s a refreshing sports drink to help you rehydrate after a long day’s hike, or a beer to celebrate that record-breaking fish catch.

Q. What’s the best way to pack your cooler?

A. Believe it or not, when it comes to packing your cooler it’s not just a case of throwing everything in and hoping for the best.

Of course, you could do this but we wouldn’t recommend it!

The first step is to plan ahead. Plan what you’re going to pack in your cooler and make sure these items are frozen or refrigerated already. This will help keep the temperature inside your cooler as low as possible.

Next up, store food in resealable Tupperware, or Ziploc bags. You’ll want to leave packing your cooler until just before you head off on your trip.

When packing, place a shallow layer of ice in the base of your cooler before placing items you’ll use last at the bottom. Put those you’ll use first at the top. If you have ice leftover, add it in around your food and drink.

Q. What’s the best way to keep food cold in my cooler?

A. The key is to avoid excess air spaces in your cooler, as these will raise the temperature. Try to keep your cooler well packed and fill empty space with ice. Once you’re on-site, you can also use a few easy tricks:
–       Place a reflective blanket over your cooler
–       Keep the cooler in the shade when possible
–       Choose a light-colored cooler for maximum heat-reflection

Best Coolers For Camping

Round-Up

We’re almost there! Now you’re armed with everything you need to know to select the perfect camping cooler for your needs.

What’s next?

We spent the last few months researching, selecting and finally (exhaustive) testing the best coolers for camping that we could find on the market today.

We put each cooler through our rigorous testing process, and you can compare all their ratings below.

So what else do you need to know?

The links to our Top 3 products can be found at the start and end of this review. These are the coolers that really performed outstandingly… and as a result, we’d recommend them to anyone.

All that’s left to say is that when you’re chilling out with a cold drink after a happy day’s camping, don’t forget to send us a virtual cheer!

Our Analysis, Comparisons & Test Results

We thoroughly tested the performance of the 10 coolers we considered to be the very best on the market for 2020.

Tell me more about your tests…

Sure!

Luckily for us, we head out on camping adventures and day trips pretty frequently – so each of these coolers came along for the ride.

We considered everything, from how easy each cooler was to use, to exactly how cold they kept our food.

And in terms of durability – they got sat on, stood on, and on one memorable occasion, slipped down the side of a mountain.

That was an accident!

We’ve done all the hard work so all you need to do is check out our ratings below.

Value For Money

When rating this metric, we took into consideration how much bang for your buck each of these coolers offered.

It’s often true that you get what you pay for.

But some of these coolers offer incredible value for money.

Coleman-Xtreme-Cooler

Value For Money Rating

Coleman Xtreme Cooler
10
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
9
Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
8
RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
8
Igloo BMX 25
8
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
8
RTIC 65 Cooler
7
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
7
Igloo Trailmate Journey
7
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
6

They might not rate the highest in terms of durability or ease of use – but if what you’re looking for is a combination of high levels of insulation with an attractive price tag, you won’t be disappointed.

We awarded the highest score in this category to the Coleman Xtreme Cooler. While this isn’t a premium model in terms of construction and durability, it’s a fantastic choice for occasional trips when you don’t want to break the bank. Rated 10/10.

Next, up the Engel High Performance Hard Cooler scored an impressive 9/10. It offers comparable insulation ability to some of the more expensive models yet still has a budget-friendly price tag.

Our Top Pick, the Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler scores 8/10 here. Granted, it’s not as cheap as either of the two models above, but in terms of getting a fabulous quality cooler, we still think this offers amazing value for money.

Ease Of Use

This is an important metric. Your cooler might have the best ice-retention capabilities going, but if you find yourself inwardly cursing every time you try to open a latch that just won’t budge, you might wish you’d opted for an easier-to-use model.

Coleman-Xtreme-Cooler

Ease Of Use Rating

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
9
RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
8
RTIC 65 Cooler
8
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
8
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
8
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
8
Coleman Xtreme Cooler
7
Igloo BMX 25
7
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
7
Igloo Trailmate Journey
7

How did we test this?

By enlisting some friends, of course!

We asked some friends who aren’t so keen on camping to come and try out these coolers.

From carrying them to a barbecue to trying to unclip latches, we checked which models were a joy to use… and which caused problems.

And when out camping…

We noted how easy the drains were to use when cleaning, as well as how easy each model is to carry or wheel when fully loaded.

Unsurprisingly to us, our Top Pick the Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler won this category with a score of 9/10. The latches are easy to use, the handles are comfortable and in the right places too. Out of all the coolers we tested, this one was easiest to use for everyone.

Next up…

We had a range of coolers scoring 8/10, including our Editor’s Choice the RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler. With all it’s extra features, this is an easy cooler to love.

The RITC 85 Cooler also scored 8/10/ It might be capable of resisting bears, but the minimal design and comfortable carry handles make this cooler exceptionally easy for humans to use.

Durability

When testing this metric, it’s quite easy to have a lot of fun!

We jumped on top of coolers, rolled the ones with wheels across the toughest terrain we could find and slammed lids on and off.

We also tasked our energetic and rough-and-tumble toddler with pulling rubber latches and messing about with drain plugs.

Coleman-Xtreme-Cooler

Durability Rating

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
9
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
9
RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
8
RTIC 65 Cooler
7
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
7
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
7
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
7
Igloo BMX 25
6
Coleman Xtreme Cooler
5
Igloo Trailmate Journey
5

After all, your cooler is likely to receive some rough treatment when camping.

From being dragged when it gets too heavy (we can’t be the only people who do this), to being roped in as an extra seat, coolers need to be durable enough to stand up to a bit of rough and tumble.

Once again, our Top Pick leads the board with a score of 9/10. This cooler is built to last and made with high-quality materials. We’re fully expecting ours to last for many seasons of regular use.

And tied for first place…

The Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler also scored an impressive 9/10. This cooler is impressively robust, with its tough dual handles and robust rotomolded construction. What’s more, it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

The RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler scored 8/10 for durability. The tough frame alongside chunky pneumatic tires means this will last for a long time indeed.

Portability

Rating for this metric in part depends on the weight of each cooler.

Why is that…

Simply put, a heavier cooler is going to be a lot harder to move around easily. When judging this metric we looked at the handles of each cooler- whether these are comfortable or not has a big bearing on portability.

Coleman-Xtreme-Cooler

Portability Rating

RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
10
Igloo BMX 25
9
Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
8
Igloo Trailmate Journey
8
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
8
RTIC 65 Cooler
7
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
7
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
6
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
6
Coleman Xtreme Cooler
5

We carried each model across a range of terrain, and if they had wheels we considered how well these stood up to being rolled over rough surfaces.

This metric is dominated by our TopNotch Top 3.

The RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler scores a perfect 10/10 for portability. It’s pneumatic wheels ensure a smooth ride across a wide range of surfaces. As an added bonus, the handles are comfortable and easy to use.

The Igloo BMX 25 comes next, scoring 9/10. This small cooler is easy and comfortable to carry and is super portable as a result.

Lastly, our Top Pick the Yeti Tundra scores 8/10. While we admit it’s not lightweight and doesn’t have wheels what it does have is comfortable carry handles! For a large cooler, this is surprisingly easy to move around.

Insulation

Last but definitely not least – insulation.

In fact, this is possibly the most important metric of all.

You can have the best value cooler, with amazing durability and super easy to use. But if it doesn’t have good insulation it’s not much good.

Agreed?

Coleman-Xtreme-Cooler

Insulation Rating

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
9
RTIC 65 Cooler
8
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
8
RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
7
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
7
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
7
Coleman Xtreme Cooler
6
Igloo BMX 25
6
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
6
Igloo Trailmate Journey
5

Of course! To judge this metric, we packed each cooler with the same ratio of ice to food (we used 2:1) and checked if the ice retention times matched up to the manufacturer’s claims.

Our Top Pick, the Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler came out top, with a score of 9/10. The rotomolded construction and tightly fitting lid mean that this cooler kept our food and drink cold longer than any other we tested.

The RTIC 65 Cooler was next, with 8/10. Another rotomolded design, air, and watertight lid do a great job of keeping your food and drink at a cold temperature.

Also scoring 8/10 we have the Engel High Performance Hard Cooler. The hinges of this cooler cleverly interlock – meaning minimal loss of cold air from inside.

Our Final Verdict: 10 Best Coolers For Camping

So there you have it!

We took a lot of time testing out each of these coolers.

Check out the table below – and you can see that we’ve got some definite leaders of the pack.

Rest assured that whatever type of cooler you’re after, there’s one here that will tick all your boxes.

From bear-proof coolers to those designed for solo trips into the great outdoors, We’ve tested them all.

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
86%
RovR RolR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
82%
Igloo BMX 25
78%
Engel High Performance Hard Cooler
76%
REYLEO Bear-Resistant Arctic Cooler
76%
RTIC 65 Cooler
74%
Pelican Products Progear Elite Cooler
74%
Igloo Thermoelectric Iceless Cooler
66%
Coleman Xtreme Cooler
66%
Igloo Trailmate Journey
64%
10 Best Coolers For Camping Definitive Review✓ 89 Hrs Of Field-Testing✓ Pros & Cons✓ Back-to-Back Comparisons & Ratings✓ Buyers Guide✓ 93 Owners Interviewed✓

Conclusion: 10 Best Coolers For Camping

That’s a wrap!

We all know that great feeling of settling down for dinner after a long day in the wilderness.

Choosing the best cooler for your needs when camping, means you know your food is going to stay fresh while you’re off enjoying yourself.

Now you’re armed with all the information you need about the different features you can find on coolers today you can use our review to help you decide which one is best for you.

Is portability the highest priority on your list of must-haves?

Or is selecting a cooler with the very best insulation your number one feature?

Remember your new cooler should see you through many seasons of camping.

That first cold drink from your brand new cooler is going to taste amazing…

Enjoy!

topnotchoutdoor award

RovR RollR 60 Wheeled Camping Cooler
topnotchoutdoor award

Coleman Xtreme Cooler
topnotchoutdoor award

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler