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The 5 Best Coolers for Camping (2024)

| Updated Mar 5, 2024

With so many on the market, it can be hard to narrow down your options. So here's a list of the 5 best coolers for camping…

Whether you love epic road trips or trekking over rugged terrain to an isolated camping spot, you need a good cooler. In fact, you need a great cooler.

The good news is there are tons of high-quality coolers that can keep your food cold for the long haul. They can keep ice frozen for up to a few days or even a week!

As expected, the highest quality comes with a high price, but there are good affordable options, too. Here are our top picks, including the best budget cooler you can find.

If you buy something through our links, we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep our lights on so we can continue to provide helpful resources for RVers. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Soft vs. Hard Coolers

Soft coolers are made from an insulated but pliable soft material. They are usually made for day use since they keep food fresh for a few hours. They work well for a picnic lunch or a day out sightseeing.

Soft coolers are also usually carried using a shoulder strap and are typically not made to hold open ice but frozen “blue ice” packs. They are not used as a primary camping cooler but are great to have stashed for those little day trips when camping.

This post focuses on hard coolers, so you will not find advice on finding the best backpack coolers or the best soft cooler here today.

Instead, I am focusing on coolers for longer camping trips and RV road trips. A hard-sided ice chest is a well-insulated, durable cooler that makes a great option for camping.

I have looked at several excellent, high-quality hard coolers that can keep your food fresh for many days. Some even boast of keeping ice frozen for more than two weeks, but that has to be in the exact right conditions.

The 5 Best Camping Coolers

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Alright, now let's talk about our top choices for excellent, high-quality camping coolers.

1. Yeti Tundra 75 Hard Cooler (So Cold!)

Yeti Tundra 75 Hard Cooler Best Coolers for Camping
Yeti Tundra 75 Hard Cooler

This large YETI Tundra cooler keeps food fresh by featuring two-inch thick, insulated walls made with commercial-grade foam insulation. Its outer shell is made from rotomolded construction, making it a truly durable beast of a cooler!

It will keep ice frozen for days and even when it melts, the water is frigid for another day or so.

Yeti Tundra coolers are known for their rugged durability, but they are expensive coolers. If you love Yeti but not their price tag, check out these Coolers Like YETI but Cheaper.

Preview Product Price
YETI Tundra 75 Cooler YETI Tundra 75 Cooler $450.00Amazon Prime

2. Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler (All-Terrain)

Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler Best Coolers for Camping
Igloo Trailmate Journey Cooler

This Igloo cooler is designed for all-terrain. You can take this over sand dunes, dirt tracks, or grassy areas.

The Igloo Trailmate can hold up to 70 quarts of food and drinks. It has extra features including a bottle opener, cup holders, exterior storage pocket, and a butler tray. Sounds like a glamping cooler to me!

Preview Product Price
Igloo Premium Trailmate Cooler Igloo Premium Trailmate Cooler $386.31

3. Rovr Rollr 80 Cooler (All-Terrain)

Rovr Rollr 80 Cooler
Rovr Rollr 80 Cooler

This is another great all-terrain cooler, offering easy transport out of all the cooler brands. It has all-terrain tires, and a large pull handle constructed from aluminum.

In addition, the RovR Rollr features dual motocross grips that fold down when they are not being used.

It also has other removable features, such as non-skid feet, rubber latched, handle, and airtight gasket. That makes replacing parts a breeze, meaning that you can use this cooler for years to come.

4. Coleman Xtreme 50 Quart Wheeled Cooler (Budget-Friendly!)

Coleman Xtreme 50 Quart, 5-Wheeled Cooler Best Coolers for Camping
Coleman Xtreme 50 Quart, Wheeled Cooler

The Coleman Xtreme is my top pick for the best budget cooler. It is a great price and excellent for a shorter camping trip.

It features extra insulation to keep food cold for up to five days. Its molded handles make it easier to maneuver, and it features four cup holders right in the lid. That means it can easily double as a convenient side table to help facilitate your relaxation!

5. Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler (Take it to the Extreme)

Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler Best Coolers for Camping
Dometic CFX3 75 Dual Zone Powered Cooler

This amazing Dometic cooler is an honorable mention. That' is's because it is a temperature-controlled, powered cooler with a 75-liter capacity. It even has dual-zones for fridge and freezer sections. Talk about a powerful cooler!

It's really more of a portable refrigerator, which means it comes with a hefty price tag. But man, is it cool (literally and figuratively)!

Made from heavy-duty yet lightweight and durable materials, this machine can offer precise cooling to as low as -7 degrees. It includes options for solar power and AC/DC and can be controlled using an app on your phone.

Features to Look for in Camping Coolers

When it comes to high-end coolers, they usually have great extra features. The following are some to look for when shopping around.

Thick Insulation

Another important factor in choosing the right cooler is to look for one with thick insulation. Many coolers offer extra-thick walls and insulated lid. That extra insulation can mean the difference of a few days in cooling capacity.

Handles

Comfortable handles are an often overlooked feature when it comes to heavy-duty coolers. You don't want to rub your hands raw when trying to maneuver a filled, portable cooler.

Look for stainless steel handles or others made from durable yet easy to hold materials.

Size and Capacity

The perfect size cooler has enough space to house the contents for the number of people you are traveling with, plus ice or cooling packs, and that's it.

When it comes to RV travel and camping, you don't want an excessive-sized cooler weighing you down or taking up too much space. Plus, tightly packed coolers will stay colder for longer.

Just keep in mind that the high-quality coolers are usually significantly smaller on the inside than they appear on the outside. That's because they have thick walls of insulation.

So be sure to look at internal space, not just the dimensions of the cooler.

Heavy-Duty Wheels

Another one of the important features to look for is all-terrain wheels with non-skid feet or non-slip feet. In most cases, it's much preferred to pull a heavy ice chest than lift it!

Critter Proof

No, I am not calling a bear a “critter.” But, if you get a bear-proof cooler (or at least bear-resistant), then it should also be safe against other critters as well.

A styrofoam cooler, for instance, or one with a too-easy-to-remove lid will likely be an easy target for critters. Raccoons and squirrels are frequent visitors of campsites and learn what they can break into.

Additional Features

In addition to the features previously mentioned, you might also like the following:

  • drain plugs (I think these are a must!)
  • shoulder strap
  • cup holders
  • bottle opener
  • tie-down slots / tie-down points
  • rubber latches

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Camping Cooler FAQ

Here are some answers to the most common questions about camping coolers.

Q: How much ice do I need for my camping cooler?

A: The amount of ice you need for your camping cooler will depend on the size of the cooler and the amount of food and drinks you plan to store. A general rule of thumb is to use a 2:1 ratio of ice to food, meaning for every 2 pounds of ice you use, you should have 1 pound of food.

Q: Can I put hot food in a camping cooler?

A: It is not recommended to put hot food in a camping cooler as it can cause the ice to melt faster and the food to spoil. It's best to let the food cool down before placing it in the cooler.

Q: How do I properly clean and maintain my camping cooler?

A: To clean a camping cooler, empty out any remaining ice or debris and wipe down the interior and exterior with a mild soap and warm water. Allow the cooler to dry completely before storing. To maintain the cooler's insulation properties, keep it out of direct sunlight and store it in a cool, dry place.

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The 5 Best Coolers for Camping (2024) 1

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Last update on 2024-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-01-25

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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