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Best Budget Cooler For Camping

Best Ice Retention: Techniice Cooler

Best Budget Camping Coolers

The TechniIce is a surprising pick but it is undoubtably the best cooler on the market for ice retention. It outperforms all other similar sized coolers, and even larger coolers, in ice retention tests.

Why Does The TechniIce Have Such Good Ice Retention?

This cooler takes ice retention to a new level in a couple of ways.

Double Gasket It is the only cooler I know of that has a double gasket. So there is not 1 but 2 commercial grade rubber gaskets around the lid of this cooler. This helps keep the cold air in and the warm air out better than any other cooler on the market.

Thicker Insulation Most coolers have approximately 2 inches of insulations in the walls and 2.5-3 inches of insulation in the lid. The walls of the TechniIce are 2.8 inches thick, 40% thicker than most coolers similar to Yeti.

Insulated Bung Plug Heat rises, and cold falls. The plug in most coolers is a weakness in the insulation. The TechniIce fixes this by insulating their 2 inch drainage plug.

Elevation Feet The feet of the TechniIce cooler raise the cooler up higher than comparable models. This means it is less likely to absorb heat from the hot ground and also greats more airflow underneath.

All up these features combine to give the TechniIce the best ice retention in the entire industry.

More Expensive Than Yeti: Orion

Believe it or not but there are actually coolers out there that are MORE expensive than Yeti. There aren’t many, as most brands try to compete on price, but there are a couple.

Of those brands Orion stands out as one of the best, packing more features into their cooler than almost any other brand.

Extra features Orion has includes:

  • Non-slip standing pad
  • Every cooler’s color design is completely unique
  • Made in the USA

Completely Unique Colors

Orion coolers are all 100% completely unqiue. While the mixture of colors is the same the exact way the colors comes out depends on random chance through the roto-moulding production. So your Orion cooler will be completely yours which is a pretty cooler feature.

Made in the USA

Orion coolers are completely manufactured in the USA, keeping profits and job local. Many Yeti coolers are manufactured offshore in the Philippines or in China.

If you’ve got the money and you love the cooler then the Orion is a great alternative to the Yeti.

Orion 65-Quart:

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler


Arctic Zone proves that the best coolers dont have to break the bank. Available in four different sizes , the Titan Deep Freeze cooler is a great companion for budget-conscious adventurers. The flip-up lid is ideal for easy access to food and drinks, and the FDA-compliant HardBody liner is equipped with a removable shelf. Its perfect for city dwellers and food couriers–or for when cleanliness needs to be top-of-mind.

The adjustable shoulder strap lets you move your perishables around with ease, and youll be the talk of your friends next beach day with the detachable bottle opener. Arctic Zone sweetens the deal with a limited lifetime warranty.

Reviewers reported poor insulation performance, but for the price, this is the cooler to beat.

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How Do I Choose A Cooler For Camping

If youre looking for a cooler for your next camping trip, youll find a lot of great options on the marketfrom high-end coolers with tons of features to budget-friendly Coleman options. Here are a few considerations before you buy your next cooler:

This list of the best camping coolers features products that you can find at outdoor stores like REI and Backcountry, or from retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Whether youre looking for a Yeti, Coleman, Igloo, ORCA, or another brand, weve rounded up some of the best products available to keep ice, drinks, and food cold for days or weeks.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Competition Other Options When Choosing The Best Cooler For Camping

Best Budget Coolers For Deer Camps

If you want a cooler like Yeti, the Cabelas Polar Cap Equalizer cooler is a decent option. However, some people complain that the latches degrade in a year or two, and since they are only about 10 percent cheaper than the Yeti coolers, we couldnt recommend them as the best cooler.

Rtic coolers have always dubbed themselves as a Yeti-like cooler at half the price. But, for some reason, Rtic doesnt ship or supply to Canada it could be a legal agreement as part of the lawsuit Yeti filed against them. Either way, Rtic doesnt make our list because you cant get them in Canada. If you ship to the USA and have someone forward it, or go and get it, it can be a good option.

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Best Value: Igloo Bmx

The Igloo BMX comes in 25-quart and 52-quart sizes. The BMX 25 that we tested was an excellent drink cooler, perfect for packing along extra brews on a camping trip or leaving in the car to have some cold drinks after an adventure.

We liked that the BMX wasnt as heavy and bulky as the Yeti and RTIC. The top handle made the cooler easy for just one person to carry, even when it was fully loaded.

The BMX did exceptionally well in our insulation tests, finishing just behind the Yeti. We attribute some of its better performance to it being the smallest cooler in our test, but we were still impressed.

During testing, we set out for a weekend adventure with an 18-pack of beer and about 15 pounds of ice in the BMX. At the end of the weekend, we still had a small amount of ice left. We were pleasantly surprised by how well the Igloo insulated.

The BMX finished toward the bottom of the pack in our spill and durability testing. While the coolers body and latches felt solidly constructed and held up well, some of the plastic components werent quite as well-made. In particular, we felt like the hinges on the lid would be easy to break if the cooler were pushed open too far.

The lack of a drain is also a bummer, although the 52-quart version does have a drain.

Overall, the BMX is a solid cooler at a great price. Even the 52-quart model can be found for a third of what our other award winners retail for. The Best Value award is well deserved.

Product Specs

The Go Anywhere Backpack Cooler: Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Want to be the hero of your hiking party and carry cold drinks to the top of the mountain? Then check out the YETI Hopper Backpack Cooler. YETI products arent cheap, but this handsome backpack is built to last and it never leaks. I havent climbed a mountain with it, but I have taken it down to the river for a day of cliff jumping and picnicking. It was amazing to have my hands free to help the kids navigate the shallow river until we found the perfect spot for lunch. Ice retention is solid, not spectacular.

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Best Coolers For Camping

With those factors in mind, here are some of the recommendations for the best coolers for camping in 2021!

Best Overall Camping Cooler

  • Dimensions: 13.43 x 9 x 9.87 inches
  • Capacity: 20 quarts
  • Pros: extremely durable
  • Cons: none

Many customers have compared the Orca coolers to Yeti in terms of quality, and theyre not wrong. Despite being a somewhat cheaper cooler, Orca coolers do not compromise on quality and are a great option to keep your drinks cool on your camping trips. If you cant find Yeti coolers in your local markets, then the Orca coolers perform just as well, and especially the 20 quarts orca cooler is definitely among the best camping coolers. The shatterproof rubber latches and seal make it practically impossible to pop open on accident. In addition, the Orca 20 Quart cooler is known for its excellent durability. Another primary but unique feature is the massive carrying handle which allows you to carry it from one spot to the other with ease you wont need more than a single person to lug it over. On top of all that, the brand offers a whopping total of seven designs you can choose from if plain old white isnt your preference!

  • Pros: long coolness retention, durable and integrated bottle opener
  • Cons: expensive
  • Pros: well-reputed brand
  • Cons: expensive
  • Pros: stores ice up to 10 days
  • Cons: does not retain temperature too well
  • Pros: large capacity
  • Cons: heavy
  • Pros: tough and durable
  • Cons: expensive

How Did We Choose The Best Cooler

Best cooler for camping or overlanding (*CHEAP*)

We looked at coolers from over 20 different companies, and there are lots of cheap coolers you can buy, but as weve found before, you get what you pay for.

While you can get a standard large cooler for around $50, it wont handle being dragged along a beach, sliding around the back of a truck, or being used as a camping seat for very long. If you plan to use your cooler rarely, or simply for keeping groceries cold on the way home from your big Costco run, then those cheap coolers could be the best cooler option for you.

For this review, we decided to compare the rugged, multi-day ice coolers that have a seal on the lid. That means you can fill them to the top, slosh them around without spilling, and they have good enough latches to be bear-proof. These are the best cooler for camping in Canada that have everything you need for your next outdoor adventure.

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Best Small Cooler: Magellan Outdoors Icebox Dual Open Hard Sided 20 Qt Cooler

The performance data between this ice chest newcomer and the previous titleholder, the Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler, was nearly identical. The Yeti got a little colder, and the Magellan held its temp a little longer. The real deciding factor here is the price. At $120, the Magellan Outdoors unit is less than half the cost of the Yeti.

Aside from performance, this cooler offers plenty of other extras, including quite possibly my favorite lid design: dual-side latches that can double as hinges, allowing you to open the cooler from either side. Genius. While you’re at it, Magellan tosses in a couple of bottle openers, a metal reinforced lock area and a drain plug.

Best Cooler For Camping Under $100

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If you are searching for the best cooler that fits your budget to buy, then you are in the right place because in this article today we are going to list and also explain various coolers for camping.

These coolers are durable and long-lasting not just for 2022 but they will serve you as long as you want.

In addition to their great work, best cooler for camping under $100 retent ice for days to keep your drinks and beverages cold as you enjoy farming, a nice time with family, parties, business activities, and many more.

The most interesting thing about best cooler for camping under $100 is that it serves its purpose to give you a better camping experience.

Lets dive in

Things to consider when buying a budget camping cooler

1. Ice Retention: there are many coolers in the cooler to buy but not all coolers can retent ice for days. The better the insulated, the longer ice will last. If the cooler you want to purchase is without insulation, Food will not stay cool for long.

If the lid is not a perfect seal, the ice will not last long

2. Capacity when you want to buy a camping cooler, the capacity matters a lot also because if you are going on a long trip with family or family, you will need a cooler with a large capacity to hold food and drinks.

If you are going to spend a few hours farming or enjoy a different view small cooler will do.

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Best Overall Powered Cooler

Lowest Temperature Achieved:Power draw while cooling:

The Dometic CFX3 45 is a seriously impressive powered cooler that’s convenient to use, rugged enough for just about every adventure, and designed to keep things cool and fresh under nearly any circumstance. This particular model is the updated version of another Dometic model we’ve loved for years. Some of our favorite upgrades include a better-designed interior, a streamlined app, and extra features like the ability to handle inclines of up to 30 degrees. With two internal baskets , the CFX3 has the organizational capacity and the convenient dimensions to fit all the items you might want to bring from a carton of eggs to a bottle of champagne. The internal light faces backward, a drain allows for easy cleaning, a single USB port on the front makes charging your device easy, and the simplified app will alert you if the lid is left open for longer than 3 minutes. It’s one of the quietest models we tested and gets the coldest. There’s so much we love about this powered cooler.

My #1 Recommend: Pelican Progear Elite

RovR Wheeled Camping Rolling Cooler with Wheels 80

The Pelican ProGear Elite cooler is my #1 pick for the best cooler that is like Yeti but cheaper. It’s one of the most affordable of all the Yeti alternatives and it outperforms the Yeti in terms of ice retention.

I absolutely love this cooler because of its added features that are better than any other cooler on the market.

Handles The handles on the Pelican are great. There is both molded handles if you are carrying by yourself and thick, tough fold out handles for carrying with a friend. These handles feel great to use and are much sturdier than the rope handles found on the Yeti.

Latches The latch system on the Pelican is leagues ahead of any other cooler. Press the latches in and they click and lock into place. Easily undo them by pressing the red button and lifting up. Easy for anyone to do, even young children, but also REALLY robust. So much so that these are even bear resistant without any padlocks .

The Pelican also has slightly better ice retention than the more expensive Yeti and it is one of the best-priced coolers on the market.

This was the first ever cooler I purchased and I couldn’t be happier with it. Highly recommended.

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What Is The Best Type Of Cooler To Buy

If youre looking for the best cooler to keep contents cold, a hardside cooler is much better than a softside one. They are also more durable.

But really, the answer to this question is so personal. Whats the best type of cooler for you? If you need help answering that question or narrowing down your choices, wed recommend comparing our best picks.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats

Emily Cappiello has been a housewares journalist since 2006. She was an editorial assistant and then a senior editor at trusted housewares trade magazine HomeWorld Business, and she was the executive editor of Gourmet Insider Magazine, a trade publication that focused on the independent housewares audience. She has spent her career testing products, hosting panels, aiding in product development and marketing, and in sales-focused training courses by housewares vendors.

This roundup was updated by Taylor Rock, Commerce Editor for The Spruce Eats. She knows how important it is to keep food and drinks chilled for an extended period of time, especially at the beach on a hot summer day when refreshments are vital. Taylor and other staff members from The Spruce Eats, Simply Recipes, TripSavvy, and more, personally tested two soft coolers on this roundup at the Dotdash Meredith Lab in Brooklyn, New York.

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Best Brands Within The Price Range

As a matter of fact, it is relatively easy to find a high-quality and affordable cooler. If you dont want to go broke and striving to find the best cooler under $100 focus on the Coleman and Igloo brands. They are just as well known and of the same quality as Yetis, but are a lot more affordable. They have many reliable options for many occasions. For example, Coleman Xtreme Series Portable Cooler a sturdy, extra-insulated cooler can be used for both road trips and large home parties and it goes for just $60. Igloo Ice Cube for instance costs less than $30 and is great for those prioritizing mobility over sturdiness, as it is spacious, but portable and easy-to-use wheeled cooler.

Cooler Most Similar To Yeti: Rtic

Cheap Coolers- Under $100 Best Budget Cooler For Ice Retention

RTIC coolers are by far the cooler most similar to Yeti in almost all design aspects. In fact when they were launched their entire marketing campaign was designed around comparing themselves to the Yeti cooler.

This ultimately led to a lawsuit where RTIC was forced to redesign their coolers, but even post redesign the coolers still look just like a Yeti. It’s really only the logo and some minor design features that it away as an imitation cooler.

RTIC’s slogan is Overbuilt, Not Overpriced and their coolers are significantly cheaper than Yeti’s, saving over $100 on the most popular 45-Quart cooler and even more on larger coolers.

But it doesn’t seem to scrimp on quality. Multiple ice retention tests have shown RTIC to either be on par with the Yeti or to actually outperform it and Amazon reviews are consistently high, with hundreds of reviews to read through, many of which come from people who have previously owned a Yeti or other cooler and speak very highly of the RTIC.

The Major Difference Between RTIC and Yeti Size

Apart from the price and slight design differences the only major difference between the RTIC and the Yeti is the size of the coolers. This is because the actual capacities of Yeti coolers is smaller than the numbers would make you believe.

A Yeti 45 is actually 37.6-Quart while an RTIC 45 is 45-Quart.

So not only are you saving hundreds of dollars by going with an RTIC but you’re also getting a larger cooler than the Yeti for that cheaper price.

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