The 4 Best Coolers for Camping
The best time of year is upon us! And you know what know that means – it’s time for us to help you find the best coolers for camping.
Whether you’re most excited about camping at a local campground or you can’t wait to trek into the wilderness, there’s a cooler for you. This post is designed to give you detailed reviews of the best coolers for camping, while at the same time finding you the best deals.
So sit back, relax, and get ready for plenty of other tips and tricks related to camping gear.
The Best Coolers for Camping: Overview
As we wrote these reviews of the best coolers for camping, we couldn’t bring ourselves to limit you to just cooler reviews. We’ve also found you deals on the best camping mugs, as well answers to questions such as “what are some no cooler camping food ideas?”
Here’s a quick overview:
- Top 2 Camping Coffee Mugs
- The Best Electric Cooler for Camping
- Our Favorite Dry Ice Camping Cooler
- The Best Cooler for Car Camping
- Camping Cooler FAQs
There are plenty of camping-compatible cooler boxes on the market today. It can be difficult to know where to start! This post is a firm foundation on information regarding camping coolers, so get ready to find your footing and move onward and upwards.
The Best Camping Coffee Mugs
Mmm, coffee. Watching the sunrise from inside of your tent with a toasty cup of coffee is one of the most tranquil ways to start a day. Whether you drink Maxwell House or only buy fair-trade coffee, you’ll probably agree with us on one thing… the temperature can really make or break it.
Leaking, lukewarm coffee is a mess. Screw that – we’ll fill you in on the best camping coffee mugs.
The Best Camping Coffee Mugs: The GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug
GSI’s best camping coffee mugs are cheap yet surprisingly reliable. These polypropylene mugs aren’t just ‘good’ for camping; they’re meant for camping.
Awesome features include:
- Capacity of 17 fluid ounces
- ‘Sip-it’ Lid (designed to fend off thirsty critters)
- Nylon cozy with collapsible handle
- Colorful cloth coverings
Let’s be real – GSI’s Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug isn’t the prodigy of camping mugs. Not in terms of insulation or materials, that is.
The GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug is easy to use. The collapsible handle makes it perfect for backpackers! Anything that takes up less space in a backpack is among the best camping coffee mugs.
Although this won’t keep your drink warm for hours on end, it’s easy to pack and will barely put a scratch on your bank account. Let’s be real – GSI’s Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug isn’t the prodigy of camping coffee mugs. But for gentle camping, you don’t have to spend the big bucks on a good camping coffee mug.
The Best Camping Coffee Mugs: The Yeti Rambler Lowball
You just can’t go wrong with any camping mug from the Yeti Rambler collection.
The Yeti Rambler Lowball is our second pick for the two best camping coffee mugs. Of course it’s more expensive than the GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug. But luckily, with the extra price comes higher quality.
- Kitchen-Grade Stainless Steal
- Dishwasher Safe
- “No Sweat” Design
- Double-Wall Vacuum Insulation
Ultimately, the Yeti Lowball rocks. It’s easy to clean, won’t leave rings on coffee tables, and not nearly as costly as a Yeti Cooler itself.
The Best Coolers for Camping
Now that you have an idea of what kind of camping coffee mug options are out there, we’ll delve into the best coolers for camping. Keep your coffee warm and your beer cold, right? We’ve got our priorities straight.
The Best Electric Cooler for Camping
Everyone has those certain chores they want to avoid. Why not eliminate as much trouble as possible? If reaching your arm elbow-deep into a chest of ice water really gets your goat, an electric cooler may be your future camping trips’ next little miracle. >>Read More
#1 The Coleman Powerchill Thermoelectric Cooler 40 Quart
First, Coleman Powerchill Thermoelectric Cooler is our top recommendation for the best electric cooler for camping. Plug this puppy into a 12 volt car adapter, and there you have it. The interior of your ice chest will be cool without messy ice.
This 12 volt camping refrigerator has a capacity of about 40 quarts. (If you’re a beer-guzzling camper, you’ll be happy to know that this translates to about 47 drink cans.) You’ll have no trouble organizing all your loot; the cooler comes with a handy tray shelf.
The internal temperature can drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the outside environment’s temperature. So if it’s 80 degrees, the interior of your cooler will be about 40 degrees.
The Coleman Powerchill is a hefty guy, but the pay off is worth it when you’re all settled into your campsite. The key word here is campsite – it definitely isn’t a good fit for campers who want to escape modern day amenities altogether.
The Coleman Powerchill is 17 pounds, and that’s just when it’s empty! For this reason, it doesn’t make sense to bring it on short trips with few people.
For creating a cozy, inviting campsite, this is your guy. And glamping? Hellll yes. Create your new home away from home.
The Best Coolers for Camping: Dry Ice Camping Cooler
Camping with dry ice has become increasingly popular among the hunting and fishing crowd, since it keeps perishables frozen solid. It gets so much colder than regular ice that you should really consider trying it out if you hunt or fish.
#2 Best Dry Ice Camping Cooler: The Orca Cooler 20 Quart
If you want a cooler to last a lifetime, an Orca Cooler will serve you well. This brand is pricey, but it’s worth it. Orca Coolers are calling out your name, hunters and fishers. >>Read More
The Orca Cooler 20 Quart is arguably the best camping cooler for dry ice. Take a look at our favorite features:
- Attached Cargo Net
- Nylon Handles
- Integrated, thick insulation (In fact, Outdoor Gear Lab deemed an Orca the best cooler for keeping ice!)
- Lifetime warranty
The combination of thick walls and super-cooling power of dry ice makes these the best coolers for camping in many outdoors people’s books. (Including ours!)
If you’re willing to pay a pretty penny to invest in a cooler like the Orca Cooler 20 Quart is just one high end cooler that’s perfect for outback camping. >>Read More
The Best Cooler for Car Camping
If you’re a car camper, try to use a cooler designed for use in the car. The added convenience and space will have you wondering how you used to camp without one!
#3 Best Cooler for Car Camping: The Wagan EL 6224 Cooler/Warmer
The Wagan EL Cooler/Warmer is our favorite cooler for car camping. Since the Wagner Corporation specializes in car accessories, this thermoelectric cooler is just longing to fit snugly into your car. You can either put it on the floor between seats, or you can strap it in with a seat belt.
A major bonus is that this 12 volt camping cooler plugs into your car cigarette lighter to recharge – no ice needed! (Just remember a power adapter.)
Here are the most enticing features:
- Ability to warm contents up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Extra tall (you can stand 4 two-liter bottles upright)
- Less than $100
Unsurprisingly, the Wagner EL Cooler/Warmer is one of the top rated coolers for camping, with a score of 4.3 out of 5 on Amazon. >>Read More Wagner Cooler Owner Reviews on Amazon
The Best Coolers for Camping: Soft Sided Camping Coolers
Pairing a soft sided camping cooler with an ice box camping cooler should be the first thing taught in Camping 101. (If such a class exists.)
Don’t forget about cooler bags as you consider your options. Insulated cooler bags make it easy to carry snacks around the campground, like when you’re going to the beach or taking a long walk.
Something cool about camping is that you can squeak by without spending much money. Outdoors is free, after all. Sure, it’s nice to have the latest greatest camping gear – but it isn’t necessary. For that reason, we decided to find the best camping cooler under $50.
#4 The Yodo Collapsible Soft Cooler Bag (The Best Camping Cooler Under $50)
Not only is the Yodo Collapsible Soft Cooler Bag inexpensive, it’s quite useful. And for being so cheap, we’re impressed with its 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon!
- Water-resistant Exterior
- Comfy handles
- Adjustable Shoulder Strap
- Front Pocket
- Interior Mesh Pocket
- Collapsible for Easy Storage
In addition to these useful qualities, the Yodo Collapsible Soft Cooler comes in colorful striped patterns…it definitely has more personality to it than plain-colored coolers.
Plan on your contents staying cool for 4-6 hours, if you decide on the Yodo. Pair it with a long lasting ice pack for coolers for best results.
Looking for longer ice retention? No problem. There are plenty of soft sided camping coolers that, while more costly, have better insulation and a higher degree of quality. >>Read More
The Best Coolers for Camping: FAQ
What is the best size cooler for camping?
For us, discovery is the best part of shopping for a cooler. After all, you’re checking out the fun stuff like built-in bottle openers and integrated fish scales. However, when it comes down to numbers… including both price and size, things can get confusing for new campers.
In truth, most outdoor people own a few different kinds of coolers. It just makes sense; it’s all about ease and portability. Plus, the length of your trips vary. For short weekend trips, get something on the smaller end of the spectrum…then spring for that giant Yeti Tundra when it’s hunting season.
It helps to look over Cabela’s Cooler Buyer’s Guide every time we’re on the market for a new cooler. They give some really good advice:
“In weekend camping situations with two to three people, a 50- to 60-quart cooler should be sufficient to store all the food and drinks you’ll need. For day trips, consider a cooler smaller than 40 quarts. It is best to keep the size of the cooler to a minimum as dictated by your needs. If the cooler is packed tightly, it will stay colder. Too much air in the cooler allows the temperature to rise more rapidly.”
What are some no cooler camping food ideas?
Coolers make the world go round! But it is possible to pack camping food that doesn’t need to be cold, and this is a common question. The golden rule for this is ready-to-eat foods, or just-add-water foods.
No Cooler Camping Food for Breakfast:
- Granola bars
- Crackers with Peanut/Almond Butter
- Dehydrated or fresh fruit
- Instant Oatmeal
No Cooler Camping Food for Lunch & Dinner:
- Dry Soup Mix
- Dehydrated Vegetables
- Mountain House Adventure Meals
- Backpacker’s Pantry No Cooler Camping Food
Dried meals from companies like Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry come in pre-measured pouches. The variety is huge; you can have anything from a Mexican Fajita to Pad Thai. All you have to do is add water, and you’ll have a piping hot dinner.
I’m considering camping with dry ice. How do I use dry ice in a cooler and how long does dry ice last in a cooler?
Camping with dry ice is truly a luxury, since you can stow away your frozen goods and they’ll actually stay frozen. This won’t last for long, though – expect dry ice to last from a mere 9 hours to 24+ hours.
You can maximize the amount of time that dry ice will last in a cooler by limiting the number of times you open and close your freezer box. This is yet another reason to have multiple camping coolers of multiple shapes and sizes; with a designated cooler for frozen items, you can keep beverages and other foods in other coolers and open them more frequently.
Camping with dry ice requires extra care and planning. Plus, dry ice just doesn’t last as long as regular ice or ice substitutes. >>Read More
The Best Coolers for Camping Final Thoughts
As you can see from our sampling, there are endless possibilities. The best camping cooler for a hunter is going to be quite different than a casual camper spending time in a campground. And camping mugs? Well, those are just the coolest for anybody.
But these are just some of the best coolers for camping, so be sure to click the Read More button for in-depth reviews of even more coolers.
No matter what style of camping, we want you out there having as much fun as possible. Have fun, and be safe out there!