Whenever we pack our car or RV for a trip to enjoy what the wilderness has to offer with family or friends, we always pack our favorite cooler. If you do not own a camping-cooler, this may be the point that you start to realize the mistake you have made. For some people, this includes a hand-me-down ice chest which won’t keep the food cold, others make the mistake of buying those cheap coolers you find in a local store. Fortunately, today there happen to be an array of much better coolers offered at competitive prices.
What Are the Best Ice Chest Coolers For Camping?
To choose one of the better camping coolers, you first need to find out what you will be using one for. Is it for a camping ground or for a weekend trip? Are you taking food for only the two of you or for 10 to 12 people? Some of the latest coolers offered advanced features such as fold-out trays, integrated cup-holders or auxiliary batteries that you can use to charge your phone or to power up Bluetooth speakers.
Outside of the bells and whistles, here are the functional considerations:
Insulation is key
Many of the cooler use foam for insulation. While there may be a variety of foam insulation types, the most important factor is how long will your ice stay frozen? The insulation thickness on the outside is what will contribute to how long the food will stay cold.
The more advanced ice chests or coolers use a polyethylene foam that is 1.5” thick or more on every side. There are also extruded-polystyrene insulation or polyurethane insulation. All the options are slightly different when making camping coolers and at the end of the day, the more important factor is the actual foam thickness that is included.
A Great Seal
A good quality cooler will always seal perfectly. Any air exchange that occurs between the outside and inside of your cooler will immediately ruin insulation values of your cooler. Avoid the coolers with weak seals or sealing mechanisms that are weak. Look for a cooler that offers a rubber-sealing gasket that surrounds the lid and a strong locking mechanism. The rubber gasket is essential if you need to keep your food cold for a few days. Also, make sure the cooler is able to latch as well as remains latched which is vital for efficient cooling.
Does it Drain?
All coolers will become wet inside when this does occur, you will need to effectively drain your cooler. For an easy and convenient way to drain your cooler, it should be able to drain easily from the exterior to remove any water as the ice starts to melt. You will also need to drain your cooler after you have washed and cleaned it.
When considering the draining options for coolers, the more important factor includes durability. Look for a drain plug that is receded into the body of the coolers case, so that they are safe from being accidentally broken or knocked loose.
Tye of Handles
This consideration may seem trivial, but your cooler will start to become heavy once it is filled with water, ice, and food. For this reason, you will want the cooler to have robust and comfortable handles which are able to handle the weight and frequent use. The handles should also tuck away neatly so you can easily pack the cooler into a tight space in your RV or truck. Avoid the handles that appear poorly made as they will break easily as soon as they are exposed to heavy loads.
The size of the cooler is important for 2 primary reasons. To begin with, you will need space in your truck or car for the rest of your camping gear and clothes, so you want to avoid choosing a cooler which takes up too much space.
However, at the same time, you will need the cooler to be big enough to carry all your important food items. To save on space only pack the food inside the cooler that must remain cold. This will assist in saving space for additional items. Pack your room temperature or dry food in another container or into bags, so that you are able to carry a small cooler for all your outdoor trips.
The Best Cooler to Keep Beer Bottles Cold While Camping
Without a doubt, the king of the coolers is still the Yeti. If you are not familiar with this brand, they create the very best coolers across different price ranges. They are on the pricey side, but the best quality is never cheap. The Pelican is another great brand which manufactures coolers that are similar with a few that match up to the performance of the Yeti cooler but at more affordable prices. Elkton is one of the newcomers for camping coolers, that offer outstanding offerings that offer great performance at attractive prices. The best camping cooler brands include:
Even though it is small in size, it weighs in at 20lbs, but this is a tradeoff for some serious insulation. The cooler offers 3” of insulation, 2 rubberized latches that keep the lid closed tightly and a rubber-sealing gasket.
Coolers Like Yeti (some are cheaper in price)
With molded handles a press-and-pull latch that offers air-tight seals along with a molded outer-body, this is a durable and rugged cooler that is worthwhile considering. The large press-and-pull latches can be used even when you are wearing gloves and function with a 2-stage locking mechanism. This cooler even comes with a combination lock-attachment if you want to keep animals or unwelcomed guest out of the cooler.
Engel managed the superior insulation degree with the use of a solid 2-inch polyurethane foam that surrounds the whole cooler. These coolers are IGBC-certified bear-resistant containers which offer a useful way to keep your food and drinks safe in the areas that are animal-friendly.
While it is heavy, big and just about bombproof, you can fit just about anything into this fantastic cooler. Coleman is a brand that is well-known for producing some of the very best coolers around at competitive prices.
For more informative articles and plain fun visit our Drinking Category of articles.