How to Pick the Best Camping Cooler

best camping cooler

The right cooler makes camping more convenient. This article offers tips to help you make the right decision.  

Having the best camping cooler is essential for any camper because when you’re out there, it’s the only thing that keeps your food and drinks safe. Before you buy one off the web, you have to consider your needs and if the cooler can meet it.

What Type of Cooler Do You Require?

If you’re doing just a day trip then almost any type of cooler will do. The capacity is measured in quarts and it varies, but anywhere from a 28 to 54 qt. ought to be fine. If you’re camping for several days, the insulation and ice holding capabilities will be more important.
Fortunately coolers today provide specific information about how long they can last, i.e. 3 days, 6 days etc. If you’re going to buy one of those large coolers, you may want one of those with wheels so they’re easier to move.


One Cooler or Two?

For multi-day camping a single large cooler may suffice, but you may also opt for one large cooler and a smaller one just for your drinks. This way you can keep the main cooler with the food close to the camp kitchen spot and the smaller cooler near you.



What is the Right Cooler Size?

For multi-day camping you’ll need a larger cooler than what you usually carry. The most frequently used sizes for multi-day camping coolers is 66 to 77 qt. but some are as large as 120 qt. though you’ll want to reserve that for really large camping trips. For most instances anywhere from 54 to 80 qt. will be enough.

Other Features to Look For

# Capacity is important but it’s not the only feature you should look for. The cooler should have a bottom drain to for the melted ice to get out. Speaking of ice, you may want to consider an iceless cooler if you don’t fancy bringing lots of ice in your trip. 


# Ergonomics is another important factor especially if the cooler is large. The unit should have solid handles so it’s easy to carry. Flap handles are great provided it’s made by a reputable company, though molded handles are the best. The cooler must also have a durable latch especially if it is a top hinged cooler as is the case with large coolers. 


# A lid gasket ensures the seal is airtight, ensuring ice lasts and cold is kept inside. Coolers under 40 qt. usually have a lid to body seal instead of lid gaskets, but that is acceptable provided you’re not camping for more than 5 days. You may also want to look for coolers that have molded drink holders as they’re convenient for drink coolers.

While you’re shopping for the best camping cooler, don’t forget to look for insert trays. Trays are set above the items you put in the cooler and is ideal for separating items for easy access. If you are going to buy a large cooler it should have dividers for easy management of food and drinks. Just remember these guidelines and you will find the right cooler.


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