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Best Size Cooler For Camping

What Does Rotomolded Mean

7 Best Portable Soft Coolers for Camping & Outdoors

Rotomolded is also known as rotational molding. Its a term for the way that the plastic is manufactured. Rotating the materials while heating them ensures an even thickness and minimal flaw, so there wont be any weak spots or cold-loss spots on your cooler. This process is used to make other things like whitewater kayaks, which are mostly constructed of thick plastic that has to withstand the abuse of thousands of gallons of water, boulders, trees, and more. Rotomolded coolers are becoming increasingly more popular because of their durability, although the process does make these coolers more pricey.

What Size Cooler Do I Need For A Family

Whether youre family is making a day trip to the beach, or venturing on a weeklong getaway, a cooler will definitely come in handy.

If youve already bought a 20 quart for your couple and solo camping, you can try to squeeze in enough food for a family day trip, but its not recommended. The perfect size for a day outdoors with the family is anywhere between 25 and 35 quarts. This Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 is easy to carry with its backpack straps, alleviating any stress on your family trip.

For a weekend family trip 35-45 quarts should be more than enough, and anything between 45 and 65 quarts will feed your family for a week. Once again, be aware that these larger capacity coolers can weigh close to 30 pounds.

What Cooler Keeps Ice The Longest

Any cooler that claims to keep ice for up to 10-days will have the best ice retention ratings. Yeti, Pelican, and Engel are the 3 best options for ice retention.

Note on ice retention ratings: The number of days a cooler will keep ice is under the best situations. For example, the rating tells you how long the ice lasts if the cooler isn’t opened and the temperature is under 90-degrees. If you open your cooler a lot and the temperature is over 90-degrees, your ice will not last as long.

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Ice Retention And Cooling Capabilities

One of the trickiest things to nail down in researching coolers is ice retention. First and foremost, external factors play a huge role here. Air temperature has a big impact, as does direct sun, and the amount of ice you use is another important factor . It also matters how often you open the lid, thereby allowing cold air out and warm air in. For maximum performance, you can pre-chill your cooler prior to loading it up. This involves filling the interior with ice for at least a few hours to bring its interior temperature down. When youre ready to hit the road, swap in some fresh ice at that optimal ratio along with your drinks and food. On the flipside, if you leave your cooler sitting out in the sun before loading it up, you can expect it to be pre-warmed like an oven and not nearly as effective.

If you are looking for maximum cooling power, premium rotomolded coolers from brands like Yeti, RTIC, and ORCA are the clear leaders in keeping ice cold for long stretches. You definitely pay for the privilege, but you can expect multiple days of cold temperatures and solid ice in your cooler with these high-end offerings, and that time goes down as you move toward cheaper hard-sided coolers and soft-sided designs . If you need ice for extended periods , the cost is worth it. But for those on day trips or shorter overnight outings with access to new ice, an inexpensive cooler like the Coleman Xtreme or Igloo ECOCOOL is a fine option.

What Makes A Cooler The Best For Camping

The Best Camping Cooler For Your Needs In 2019

These coolers are not just for camping they can be for many other uses. What makes a camping cooler a camping cooler are a few factors seen below, most notably if it is Certified Bear Resistant. If you are only camping for a short-time, such as the weekend, then a smaller cooler will be more practical. However, just because it is on the smaller side, it should still be strong enough to withstand any adverse weather and critters. Additionally, you want to look for a one that is portable. If you are camping by yourself, youll need to be able to move it around easily.

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What Size Cooler Do You Need For 1 Person

If youre heading for solo camping, then opting for a minimalistic size ice chest is the way to go. Depending on the days youre planning on staying there, minimalistic coolers with a capacity of 8 to 20 quarts should be sufficient for your need.

However, for one-night camping, a cooler size larger than 8 quarts would be overkill. As the 8 quarts coolers from the leading brands like Arctic Zone and Coleman can house 9 cans easily and store almost 5 pounds of ice which is apparently more than enough room to store one meal. Whereas, 20 quarts of the chilly bin being a little towering can tuck up around 20 cans and 14 pounds of ice in its belly all alone.

These sizes would not only serve your purpose but also will let you relish the trip fun to the fullest. As, you can realize youll have to lug it all alone throughout the way, so the cumbersome alternatives will not only reap your energy unnecessarily but will also quell your spirit of enjoying. So, we highly advise you to avoid taking extra burdens to be able to move with the smaller size possible.

Grizzly Coolers Grizzly 400 Cooler

This will only be a reasonable choice for a select few as this is one of the BIGGEST camping coolers available. However, we felt obliged to include it as we do occasionally hear from those who will be going on a week-long elk, deer or moose hunts. If you are planning a long camping trip, the Grizzly 400 by Grizzly Coolers is one of your best coolers for camping. It is constructed to carry everything you need for your camping excursion to your campsite and back.

Similar to the Yeti 45 Cooler, the Grizzly 400 holds bear resistant certification by the IGBC. It has an unique latch system that makes it difficult for animals to break, especially when there is the added protection of two shackle padlocks.

While the Yeti 45 Cooler is geared towards camping trips that will last one or two days, the Grizzly 400 Cooler is geared toward longer camping trips, in particular, family camping trips. It will hold 500-12oz. cans or 200-20 oz. bottles. It is important to take into consideration that the Grizzly 400 Cooler is huge and heavy, weighing in at 90 lbs., while the Yeti 45 Cooler is only 22 lbs.

If you are going camping by yourself, you have to ask yourself if you want to be lugging around a 90 lbs. cooler. Another question to consider about the Grizzly 400 Cooler is the price. While the Engle 50 qt. DeepBlue and the Yeti 45 are roughly around the same price, the Grizzly 400 is about three times the cost of either of them.

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What Is The Best Sized Cooler For A Family Of 4

Anything under 20-Quart is going to be too small for a family of 4-5 people.

20-Quart is fine for a single day to the beach, or disneyworld or the a BBQ. But at that size youll have so much stuff in there and not enough ice youll only get a day of ice retention max.

In my opinion its better to get something around the 35-60 Quart capacity. But check out these discussions for some extra opinions.

My Yeti 45 is 37-Quart and while we used it as our primary cooler when living in the van we did find it too small and I would have preferred something around the 50-Quart capacity.

So for a single day 25-30 Quart is my recommendation for that I would recommend the Yeti BackFlip 24 Backpack cooler.

The 80/20 Rule When It Comes To Coolers

Top 5 Best Camping Cooler Review

I think a helpful way to decide what size cooler you want is to think about the 80/20 rule.

This rule states that:

80% of the time you will use your cooler for a similar purpose and only 20% of the time will you use it for a different purpose.

For me and my cooler 80% of the time I am using it camping with my kids. 20% of the time I use it for other uses that are different like a roadtrip by myself or with one other person.

For that 20% of the time my Yeti 45 is actually too big, but for the 80% of the time my Yeti 45 is exactly right.

So try and pick a cooler that suits your 80% perfectly and then just make do for the other 20% of the time, or maybe you need to buy a second cooler.

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Yeti Tundra Haul Cooler

Yeti revolutionized the world of coolers with its beefy construction and next-level tech that keeps your drinks cold for days at a time. So it makes sense that the Yeti Tundra Haul keeps the company as the gold standard for keeping your cold stuff so, so cold. Yetis Fatwall design hold up to two inches of insulation in this case Permafrost pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam. Plus that Neverfail hinge system and Coldlock gasket round out a bombproof construction.

Yeti coolers first brought the real cold, but they also brought a ton of weight. The Tundra Haul Cooler is luckily mounted on wheels, rolling easily and smoothly to help you not have to carry the massive cooler by itself. That Strongarm handle is a durable, welded lugger with comfortable grips, making it extra easy to pull it through whatever. And the solid, single-piece tires are durable, resistant to any bumps or sharps along the way to protect for the 45 cans of beer youll be able to roll down the trail.

Surprise surprise, the Yeti Tundra Haul cooler is next-level engineered and bombproof. Youd expect nothing less from the reigning industry leader.

Price: $399.99

Q: How Big Of A Cooler Do You Need For 3 Days Camping

Anywhere from a 40-quart to a 65-quart cooler is good for a 3-day camping trip. With that said, there are several other factors that go into sizing your cooler correctly. Think about how many people are going on the trip, how much food or drink you may need, and then size correctly. Camping in the heat of summer requires extra water and you need extra space. It never hurts to slightly oversize in case you need more space for whatever your trip throws at you.

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Types Of Outdoors Coolers

There are three common typesbasic, soft-side, and heavy-duty. There are a couple others we will skip over, including disposable and ice-less .

Those dont really count when figuring out how to store food and drinks at camp the foam ones are largely illegal in national and state parks now, and theyre a bad idea anyway and the ice-less units cant go far from a running car or a generator.

Basic coolers are the ones we all grew up seeing at picnics and family outings. They have relatively minimal insulation, and they only sort of seal around the lid . But they carry a negligible price tag at every hardware store and big-box across the country.

Soft-side coolers are a little more specialized for weight- and space-conscious consumers but tend to have slightly lesser insulation. A $30 soft-side cooler will hang just fine with a $20 Coleman hard-side, while a $300 softie can keep up with heavy-duty coolers of almost any type.

Heavy-duty coolers are a new category in the last decade. Their thick insulation, locking lids, and tight seals make them ideal for long outings and harsh conditions. But they weigh a lot more than either of their counterparts and cost a lot more, too.

Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler

11 Best Camping Cooler Reviews &  Buyer Guide [month_year]  The Outdoor ...

Cooler Type: Soft-sided | Weight: 5.1 lbs | Capacity : 17.8 | Materials: Thermoplastic urethane

For a soft sided cooler, the Flip 18 has great ice retention. It can keep food cool for up to three days.

However, theres only enough space to put a few steaks and maybe 16 cans of beer. By the time the ice melts, your food and drinks will be long inside your stomach.

Since its soft sided, its not bear-proof. But, its waterproof and puncture-resistant. For a soft cooler, its pretty tough.

The cooler has a top handle and a shoulder strap for carrying. Its somewhat bulky so its not really suitable for day hikes, but carrying it for a few miles shouldnt be a problem. The strap has an ergonomic pad, which prevents it from cutting into your shoulder.

This is a high-quality cooler that performs very well. However, it also comes with a premium price tag. Considering that for the same amount, you can find a hard cooler with a larger capacity and bear resistance, some might opt for a more economic option.


  • The outer part of the bag is resistant to punctures, water, mildew and UV radiation
  • A padded shoulder strap makes carrying more comfortable
  • Thanks to the rubber foam insulation, it keeps groceries cool for up to three days
  • Daisy chain straps at the front are great for attaching a bottle opener or a pocket knife
  • Thanks to its cubic shape, you can pack things like long-neck wine bottles


  • Very expensive for a soft cooler

Best for: couples going on a picnic.

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Personal/ Mini Coolers 4 To 10 Quart

Personal/ Mini coolers are considered as small lunchbox coolers. It is made to keep your items cold from morning until lunchtime. This cooler is ideal if you will have a single day camping. You can eat your lunch fresh. It is also perfect to use to work, picnic when you need to take food for yourself and one other individual. You can also take it in the car.

From Premium Rotomolded Models With Excellent Ice Retention To Wheeled Designs For Easy Transport Below Are The Years Best Hard

  • / Best Coolers and Ice Chests of 2022

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Whether youre headed to the beach, tailgating before your favorite sporting event, or camping in the wild, keeping your food and drinks cold is absolutely key. Thankfully, the market is packed with high-quality coolers that excel at everything from short day trips to week-long adventures. Below we break down our favorite hard-sided coolers and ice chests of 2022, including budget-friendly Coleman models, ultra-premium Yetis, and popular offerings from brands like RTIC, ORCA, Pelican, and more. For more background information, see our cooler comparison table and buying advice below the picks.

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Do You Need More Than One Cooler For Camping

Now, if youre wondering whether it is better to carry multiple coolers instead of one hefty one, then much to your delight, the answer is YES. Carrying a separate ice chest for drinks and food not only relieves the heavy burden from ones shoulder but also allows you to find the vittles you need in time.

But when youre invading nature all alone, it wont be a wise step for you to lug more than one cooler box. As itll be quite a hassle to keep track of multiple baggages singlehandedly. But again, one thing we cant disagree that, we have a habit of frequently getting drinks on our outings, and opening the chilly bin for this causes the snow to melt faster.

As a result, the quality of perishable food products degrades sooner. But, when youll have a separate cooler for drinks and food, the quality of your food items is guaranteed to remain high. So, when youre going in a group and have the budget to splurge on more than one ice chest at a time, then we recommend you to go for it.

Best Cooler Size For Outdoors

Best Coolers for Your Camping Trip: Yeti, Frosted Frog and More

The last major consideration is size. Unless youre an outfitter, caterer, guide, big-game hunter, or escape artist, you dont need a 350-quart cooler. Guys, if your wife asks, I will retract that statement and back you up, but dont put me in that position.

Most of you will be camping with family, a few friends, and the random guy from your office who overheard your plans and asked to tag along.

Youll carry dinner in a grocery sack and put drinks in the cooler with some ice and a few things for breakfast. That means youre looking for something in the 20 50 quart range. Fishermen will claim you need something bigger but, lets be honest, you probably only need a little one.

The best way to determine the right size is to plan the menu for one of your typical outings, buy the food and drinks, then stack it all neatly and measure the pile. Figure a 2:1 ratio of ice to food for trips longer than two days and switch it for overnighters. Any food thats going into the cooler frozen can be counted as ice.

After years of cooler use and abuse, thats my input. There are a dozen brands and hundreds of models on the market. Look to brand names, find good deals, or drop the big cash for a heavy-duty tank one time and youll be set pretty much forever. Now, get out there and enjoy the portable chill.

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