- 1 Best Camping Cooler Reviews
- 2 10 Must-Have Features Of A Camping Cooler
- 3 What Makes a Cooler Good for Camping?
- 4 FAQ About Camping Coolers
- 5 Best Camping Coolers Comparison Chart
- 6 Wrap Up
Going camping is a great way to relieve stress and to bond with your family and friends. Spending time in nature will allow you to reconnect with nature and you will grow new respect for the world around you. People who go camping regularly often have more energy than those who spend their time in crowded environments and they seem happier.
But going camping also requires some preparation. You can’t simply go out the door and spend some nights in the wild. That’s dangerous. You need ample provisions and some accessories and tools to make it work. Using a camping cooler will keep your food fresh and your drinks cold throughout your adventure. Moreover, the best camping coolers offer certain helpful features such as doubling as a table or a chair or providing protection for your gadgets.
In the following article, we take a look at the top 6 camping cooler models and review the features that make them helpful for those who spend time in nature.
Best Camping Cooler Reviews
Dakine Insulated Cooler Backpack
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Zology Camping Chair With Cooler
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MOJECTO Large Cooler Backpack
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GigaTent Backpack Cooler
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Outsunny Rotomolded Camping Cooler
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Leopard Outdoor Vinyl Cooler Bag
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1. Dakine Insulated Cooler Backpack
The Dakine insulated backpack appeals to the new generations of campers. Not only does this model keep your food fresh and your drinks cold, but it also comes with a padded laptop sleeve that will protect your laptop.
As far as the insulated compartment is concerned, this model has the smallest holding capacity out of the models we’ve presented so far. However, the insulated compartment is large enough to hold one meal, and the side water bottle holders are large enough to fit 2 Liter bottles each.
We were impressed with the backpack’s versatility. Beside the insulated pocket, this model comes with a laptop sleeve that will fit most 15” laptops, a specific holding pocket for phones or glasses, and mesh pockets for water bottles. The shoulder straps come with thick padding, and they distribute the backpack’s weight evenly across your back and shoulders.
Overall, this model is suitable for those who want an insulated backpack they can use for camping and for everyday use as well, especially for those who carry their laptops everywhere they go.
Highlight: Even though this backpack comes with a small insulated pocket, it makes up for it with its versatility.
2. Zology Camping Chair With Cooler
We start off this list by presenting one of the most interesting designs we encountered in a cooler. The Zology cooler is actually incorporated in a folding chair, so it will act both as a camping chair and an insulated picnic bag.
If you enjoy spending time in nature, but you don’t pack too much every time you go camping, this is the perfect model for you. The insulated chamber is rather small, but it will hold some drinks and snacks comfortably. However, the insulated pocket is only large enough to fit several drinks and some snacks, so it won’t hold more than one or two meals for a single person.
And since this cooler can double as a chair, let’s see how it handles itself. The chair’s frame is strong and sturdy, and the manufacturer claims it will support up to 331 lbs. However, the seat is not very large and a 300 lbs person might find it uncomfortable to sit on.
As far as the cooler’s effectiveness is concerned, the insulated chamber has a nice padding, and it will keep your drinks at a cool temperature throughout the day.
Highlight: This camping cooler is lightweight and compact, yet it doubles as a comfortable camping chair.
3. MOJECTO Large Cooler Backpack
The MOJECTO cooler backpack is the perfect solution for those who want to go camping for several days but who prefer to pack light. This model is large enough to fit up to 40 cans of soda in the insulated compartment, and it comes with two large dry storage compartments as well.
Even though the backpack is supposed to fit up to 40 soda cans in the main compartment, you won’t be able to squeeze that many into it unless you’re willing to give up on the ice. If you want to pack enough ice to keep your drinks cold for up to two days, the main compartment will probably hold up to 20 – 24 cans. There are also 2 smaller insulated compartments that can hold some drinks and food.
We liked the backpack’s straps. They are padded and comfortable, and they will probably still feel comfortable even if you load the backpack for a long trip. There are 2 metal loops that attach to the backpack, so you can clip your tent or some tools to them.
Highlight: This is a huge backpack, suitable for those who want to pack enough food and drinks to last for a few days.
4. GigaTent Backpack Cooler
The GigaTent backpack is a light and comfortable model that offers a good storage space. This unit comes with an insulated compartment large enough to fit 25 cans and plenty of ice, and 4 other dry storage compartments.
Thanks to its well-thought design and the padded shoulder straps, this backpack is comfortable to wear even when it’s full. The main pocket is large and it will hold a lot of food and drinks, but the side pockets can also add to the backpack’s weight. While these pockets are not particularly large, they will fit some accessories and maybe some gadgets as well. The bungee cords allow you to hang some accessories and tools when you need to, providing more storage space. However, the backpack can become rather heavy when it’s full, so you might want to be careful when lifting it to protect your back.
We liked that this backpack’s main pocket is large enough to fit 2 Liter bottles. This will allow you to carry enough water to last for a whole camping trip.
Highlight: This is a large backpack that offers an ample storage space, making it suitable for those who like to spend more time camping.
5. Outsunny Rotomolded Camping Cooler
The Outsunny rotomolded cooler is the perfect solution for those who enjoy spending a few days in the wilderness. Unlike the coolers we presented so far, this model is slightly less portable, but what it loses in portability, this model gains in efficiency and storage capacity.
This cooler is very effective, and it will keep your drinks and food cold for up to 5 or 6 days if you’re careful to place it out of the sun. Besides the thick insulating walls and lid, this unit also relies on a high-quality gasket to keep a constant low temperature in the insulated compartment.
The cooler offers a good storage capacity, and it will hold enough drinks and food to last for several days. However, the cooler weighs about 15 lbs on its own, so it will get heavy once you fill it with food and drinks. Even though the cooler’s handles are strong and comfortable to hold, carrying the cooler will prove difficult when it’s loaded.
We thought that the cooler’s construction is absolutely fantastic, and its sturdiness will allow you to use it as a chair or a small camping table if you want to.
Highlight: This cooler can keep your food and drinks cold for 6 days or more in the right conditions.
6. Leopard Outdoor Vinyl Cooler Bag
The Leopard Outdoor vinyl cooler is perfect for a quick getaway. This model is comfortable, it offers a good storage capacity, and it looks really nice.
One of the things that impressed us about this model was the attention to detail the manufacturer put into it. The vinyl exterior is weather-resistant, but the good news is, so is the zipper. Not only will the weatherproof zipper keep the rain and the environmental dampness from entering the insulated compartment, but it will also stop the water resulted after the ice’s melt from leaking. All the stitching is top-notch, and the handles are really comfortable to hold, especially if you use the handguard.
Now, this cooler isn’t overly large, but it will fit up to 24 cans of beverage comfortably, alongside the ice it needs to keep them cool. The insulation foam is really thick, and it will do a great job at maintaining a constant temperature. However, because of the foam’s thickness, you won’t be able to collapse the bag, so it will be more difficult to store.
Highlight: This is a stylish camping cooler that has a sturdy construction, suitable for those who want to impress their friends and family.
10 Must-Have Features Of A Camping Cooler
Camping can offer multiple benefits, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not well prepared. Using a cooler when you’re going camping will allow you to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold for several days. But what features should a cooler have to be good for camping?
- Portability – The first thing you should think about when shopping for a camping cooler is the cooler’s portability. Nobody likes to camp next to a parking lot, so chances are you’re going to have to carry the cooler for a time until you find a suitable spot. The portability of the cooler is almost as important as packing your cooler in the right way if you plan on camping for several days, not only for a night. Campers often rely on backpack coolers because they are highly portable.
- Shoulder Straps – It’s way easier to carry a heavy backpack than to carry a heavy purse, and it’s easier to carry a purse than it is to carry a bag. Even a single shoulder strap can take the weight of your arms and distribute it across your shoulder, but two straps will distribute the weight across your back, making it easier to carry.
- Handle Guards – Handle guards might seem insignificant when the cooler is empty, but they can be very helpful when you have to carry a heavy load. The guards will keep the handles and the straps from biting into your hands.
- Padding – Padded straps are more comfortable than normal ones, especially if you’re planning on loading the cooler with large quantities of food and drinks. The padding will keep the shoulder straps from biting into your skin, and it will also distribute the weight over a larger surface.
- Good Storage Capacity – One of the most important things you have to keep in mind when going camping is to pack enough food and drinks to last until you get back. Now, you should use different coolers depending on how long you’re planning to stay on your camping trip. There’s no point in carrying a very large cooler if you’re not planning on staying more than a day, and there’s no point in risking to go camping with a cooler that’s too small to fit enough food and drinks for the whole duration of the trip.
- Durability – You should pay attention to the cooler’s durability. When you’re going camping, you’re more likely to hit the cooler against some trees, and you might even drop it on occasion. Rotomolded coolers like the Outsunny Rotomolded Camping Cooler are great for camping because they are very durable and they can withstand everything you throw at them.
- Sturdiness – It’s very important to pack everything you need when you go camping, but it’s also important to do it without having to carry a heavy load. Sturdy models like the metal coolers will support your weight, so you can use them as a chair or an improvised table. This can be very helpful when you’re camping.
- Cost-Effective – Camping coolers come in a wide range of prices, so you should be sure the model you choose it’s worth its cost. You might not want to spend a lot of money on a cooler if you only go camping once every two or three years. On the other hand, if you’re one of the people who go camping regularly, you might want to invest in a top-notch model that will last for several years.
- Warranty – Since some camping coolers are not exactly cheap, you should look for models that come with a warranty. Models like the MOJECTO Large Cooler Backpack come with a lifetime warranty, and the manufacturer will offer you a refund or even a replacement if something is amiss with the model you own.
- Low Maintenance – You cannot go camping and expect your cooler to look exactly as it did when you opened the box. When you take the cooler with you when you go camping, you should be aware that you’re most likely going to place it on the ground. Its exterior will get dirty because of the dust and the elements, and its interior will get dirty because of all the melted ice and the food it contains. This is why it’s essential to find a model that has low maintenance. Models like the Leopard Outdoor Vinyl Cooler Bag can be cleaned using just a mild detergent and some water. One way to keep your cooler from getting dirty is to stop using ice when you pack it.
What Makes a Cooler Good for Camping?
It’s not really that difficult to find a good cooler if you are looking for something to keep your food or drinks cold for a picnic. It will take some time for the ice to melt – and by the time you get home, all the food will be gone, and your day will have ended successfully.
However, when camping is involved, you’ll need more than a good cooler – you’ll need the best cooler. Not only will you be gone for a longer time than with your average picnic, but it will also involve various other environmental factors that will be determinant of your choice. Overall, here is what makes a cooler good for camping:
The chances are that you will be gone for a few days. Therefore, unless you are planning on making it a fishing or hunting trip, you’ll need something that will keep your food and drinks cool and fresh. Actually, even if you are fishing or hunting, you’ll need a place to keep the meat fresh – or store food if you don’t catch anything. This is why you will need a well-insulated cooler with superior ice retention that will keep the food cool for a longer time.
When you are camping, the chances are very high that you may come across some very rough terrain. Moreover, if you intend to go by boat or kayak, you need something durable enough to withstand all the ups and downs of the trip. If the unit has a flimsy construction, it simply won’t do. As a result, you should ensure that it has solid construction that can withstand various types of abuse.
When you are going camping, the chances are very high that you will come across all kinds of predators – humans or otherwise. The last thing you want during a camping trip is for a hungry bear to raid your cooler and leave you without food for the rest of your trip. Therefore, look for strong coolers with locking features, so that your food and drinks are protected from predators.
FAQ About Camping Coolers
- Should I go for a more lightweight camping cooler?
The answer to this will depend mostly on where you are planning to keep your camping cooler overnight. Generally speaking, it’s ideal to take a lightweight camping cooler with you, as it will be much easier to carry it to your destination.
However, lightweight camping coolers also tend to be more prone to breaking compared to the thicker yet heavier ones – which might not bide well for you if a bear or any other forest animal decides to pay your camp a visit. Unless you have a place where you can hide it from sight, you might want to go for a sturdier, albeit heavier camping cooler.
- Can I wash my camping cooler in the dishwasher?
Under no circumstances should you wash your camping cooler in the dishwasher, regardless of how sturdy it might seem. You should only wash it by hand, to ensure that not only your cooler is safe, but your dishwasher is as well.
Before its initial use, make sure that you wash it thoroughly. Also, ensure that the cleaning products that you use do not contain any bleach or chlorine. These might stain the cooler and they might also mess with its chemical composition and its durability.
Use mild detergents – in which case, dish soap might also work. You might also make a mix of apple cider vinegar to remove the stains or any lingering smell. Make sure that you also rinse thoroughly after you use the cleaner on it.
- Can I use dry ice with camping coolers?
Dry ice is actually convenient for a camping trip, as it can last for about 12-24 hours in a well-insulated cooler. Plus, it provides a superior coolness, actually keeping your frozen goods, well… frozen.
However, whether or not you can use it will depend on the camping cooler that you buy. Some are compatible with dry ice, whereas others are not. Using dry ice on a camping cooler that is not compatible with it might cause the inner layer to become damaged or stained, destroying its insulation ability completely.
- Can I cool the cooler in the refrigerator?
No, you should not cool the cooler in the refrigerator. Indeed, you have to cool it before you add the food and drinks in it – but if you place it in the fridge, you might end up damaging the outer layer. With camping coolers, only the inner layer can handle freezing temperatures – not the outer late.
Instead, to cool your cooler, you might want to take a bag of ice first and throw it in the unit. Leave it for a few hours there, until you begin to pack your cooler. Before putting any food in there, take out the existent ice and add your ice packs for the trip. This way, your cooler will be cold – and you will have food and drinks that can last for a much longer time.
Best Camping Coolers Comparison Chart
|Zology Camping Chair With Cooler||$$||600D polyester Fabric||Several drinks and some snacks||14.2 x 16.1 x 11.4"||3.9 pounds|
|MOJECTO Large Cooler Backpack||$$$||Polyester fabric, / Thick foam||up to 40 cans||15 x 8 x 18"||2 pounds|
|Leopard Outdoor Vinyl Cooler Bag||$||Vinyl tarpaulin||up to 24 cans||26.5 x 16.5 x 6"||3.5 pounds|
|GigaTent Backpack Cooler||$$$||600D Rugged Polyester||245 cans||12 x 15 x 11"||1.4 pounds|
|Outsunny Rotomolded Camping Cooler||$$$$||LLDPE,PU Foamed, Nylon Rope||32-Quart||17.8 x 9.3 x 10.2"||15.5 lbs|
|Dakine Insulated Cooler Backpack||$$||Polyester & Nylon||25L & 33L Options||9 x 18.5 x 12"||2.09 pounds|
There’s nothing like spending some precious time in nature with your family and friends. And when you use a camping cooler, you can rest assured that you’ll have sufficient food and drinks for the whole trip, and you won’t be anxious about going back.
Keep in mind that the best camping coolers are those that match your needs. If you’re planning on camping for a single night, there’s no sense in buying a very large cooler. On the other hand, using a small model when you’re planning on camping for a long time might be dangerous since it won’t allow you to pack sufficient food.