5 Camp Coolers That Get The Job Done (2024)

cooler at campsite

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When you’re gearing up for a weekend in the great outdoors, a reliable cooler is as essential as your tent and sleeping bag. It’s not just about keeping beverages chilled; a top-notch cooler ensures your food stays fresh and safe from wildlife. In the world of camp coolers, technology has come a long way, merging durability with impressive ice retention capabilities.

A high-quality camp cooler can make the difference between a refreshing beverage on a hot day and the disappointment of a lukewarm drink. Foam insulation is a core feature to inspect, as it’s responsible for keeping the contents cold. A well-insulated cooler with a tight seal should maintain ice for several days, but the best models keep things icy even longer.

When looking to purchase a camp cooler, consider capacity and portability, ensuring it aligns with your needs. Additional features to watch for include bear-resistant certifications, drainage systems, and ease of cleaning.

Armed with knowledge on the must-haves for an effective cooler, you’re well-equipped to navigate through options and zero in on a product that will meet the demands of your outdoor adventures. Let’s dive into the specifics of the best camp coolers available, focusing on those that combine top performance with user-friendly features for your camping trips.

Best Camping Coolers

With a plethora of options out there, we’ve narrowed down the best camp coolers that offer superior insulation, durability, and convenience. Whether you’re a casual weekender or a seasoned wilderness explorer, you’ll find the perfect cooler to match your needs on our carefully curated list.

Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme

Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme

You’ll appreciate how this cooler’s rugged wheels make pulling through rough terrain a breeze, not to mention the ice retention that keeps your provisions chilled for days.


  • Remarkably retains ice for up to 5 days even under high temperatures
  • Spacious design holds a good stock of 84 cans, saving you from frequent restocking
  • Built-in cup holders and sturdy have-a-seat lid add convenience and extra functionality


  • When fully loaded, it may be heavy, which could challenge some users during transport
  • Wheels, while sturdy, may struggle on very rugged or sandy terrain
  • Lid seating is practical but may not be comfortable for prolonged periods

Taking the Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme on your latest outing, you’ll marvel at the seamless blend of storage capacity and cooling efficiency. The insulated walls and lid work in tandem to keep your drinks and food cold, confirming its stated ability to maintain ice for five whole days even when you’re camping out in the sweltering heat.

With the generous interior, you can load up this cooler without concern, knowing it accommodates a significant number of drink cans. You won’t be making frequent trips to the store for more ice or beverages. Once you’re packed and ready to go, you’ll see the wheels come into their own, handling the cooler’s weight with ease, especially if you’ve got a full load.

The telescoping handle and durable wheels imply you can roll your provisions to your campsite effortlessly. If your hands are full, the heavy-duty wheels afford you the convenience of moving your cooler without strain. And should you need a makeshift table or seat, the have-a-seat lid is a game-changer; it’s incredibly steady, supporting up to 250 pounds with ease.

Sure, the cooler, when full, can be a bit heavy to lift in and out of the car but that’s a small trade-off for its size and cooling prowess. On uneven terrains, the wheels might require a bit more grunt to maneuver, but they’ll get you to your picnic spot. The lid’s seating arrangement is practical for quick rests but won’t replace a chair if you’re looking for comfort during extended chill-out sessions.

Overall, the Coleman 50 Quart Xtreme stands out for its portability, capacity, and impressive ice retention, aligning perfectly with what you seek in a reliable camping cooler.

Coleman 316 Series Cooler

Coleman 316 Series Cooler

This Coleman 316 Series Cooler will be your trusty companion for all your outdoor excursions, reliably keeping your food and drinks chilled for days.


  • Retains ice for up to 5 days, even at 90°F
  • Designed for portability with sturdy wheels and handles
  • Offers a generous capacity, fitting over 160 cans


  • The heavy build may require two people to lift when full
  • Some users report the latch may not secure the lid effectively
  • Cup holders may not be deep enough to prevent spills

Gearing up for a weekend camping trip, you can pack the Coleman 316 Series Cooler to the brim. Be amazed at its spacious interior — it truly can haul all the necessary provisions with room to spare. Rolling the cooler to the campsite is a breeze, courtesy of those robust 6-inch wheels. It fels durable, managing the rough terrain without a hitch.

Throughout your trip, this cooler proves its worth by keeping beverages and perishables ice cold, thanks to its high-quality insulation. The ability to sit on the closed lid came in handy during group gatherings, adding an extra seat when camp chairs were scant.

Cleaning up after the outing is no fuss at all. The stain-resistant liner made the task swift, and the leakproof channel drain means you can empty melted ice without having to turn the cooler upside down. Convenience certainly seems to be at the heart of this cooler’s design.

RTIC 52 Quart Hard Cooler

RTIC Hard Cooler

You’ll appreciate how the RTIC 52 Quart Hard Cooler marries lightweight design with impressive insulation.


  • Exceptionally lightweight for the size
  • Keeps contents icy for an extended period
  • Multiple uses with convenient carry-ability


  • Draining melted ice can be a bit cumbersome
  • Might be oversize for short day trips
  • Without careful handling, the surface can show wear

The RTIC 52 Quart Hard Cooler is remarkably easy to tote around, a boon on those long walks to your campsite. When you pop it open after a day under the sun, you’ll likely find your drinks just as cold as if they’d been in a fridge. Your back will thank you for choosing this over its heavier contemporaries.

When your camping trip stretches over a few days, you won’t be darting out to restock on ice thanks to the cooler’s superior insulation. It’s more than just a cooler – doubling as a makeshift bench or a step stool, this cooler could quickly become the MVP of your outdoor gear.

Its generous size means you can pack meals and drinks for the whole family, turning a weekend get-together into a hassle-free experience. The convenience and versatility of this cooler make it a reliable companion for everything from fishing trips to backyard BBQs.

Igloo Sportsman 110 Qt

Igloo Sportsman Cooler

Your outdoor adventures need a reliable cooler, and the Igloo Sportsman might just be the workhorse you’re looking for.


  • Keeps ice intact through sweltering days
  • Telescoping handle eases towing
  • Durable wheels roll smoothly on uneven terrain


  • Maneuvering can be challenging when fully loaded
  • Drain plug could be prone to leaks if not secured properly
  • Heavy even when empty, making it cumbersome for some users

The behemoth size of this Igloo cooler can store provisions for your entire camping troupe. Whether you’re out fishing or camping, you’ll notice it’s adept at keeping your supplies chilled. The insulation is no joke — after a full day in the sun, I cracked it open to a cold beverage, as if it had been in a fridge.

Tugging it along to your campsite? You’ll feel the difference with the telescoping handle; it’s a back saver. Plus, the rugged wheels handle rocks and roots without a fuss.

However, when packed to the gills, you might feel the heft. It’s sturdy, sure, but that comes with its own set of muscles to move. And while the drain plug is handy for easy clean-up, make sure you twist it tight to prevent leaks. I’ve learned to check it before heading out.

Lasting through a weekend with zero ice top-ups, the Igloo Sportsman has proven to be more than just a big box — it’s a trusty sidekick for your outdoor escapades. Just remember, you’ll need a friend to help lift it into the truck, but once you’re off, it’s smooth rolling and chilled sips all the way.

Coleman Chiller Series Cooler

Coleman Chiller Series Cooler

You’ll find this cooler to be an excellent companion for all your outdoor adventures, keeping your drinks and perishables chilled for the duration.


  • Exceptional ice retention capability
  • Portable design with folding handles
  • Ample space, holding up to 31 cans with ice


  • Not designed to be used as a seat
  • Top does not secure upright when open
  • The cooler’s weight can get hefty when fully loaded

The Coleman Chiller Series Cooler’s insulation efficiency is impressive. It’ll keep your drinks icy in the most unforgiving temperatures, making it a reliable partner for camping trips. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a day at the beach, you can trust this cooler to maintain a frosty interior.

What stands out about this particular cooler is its portability. Despite its substantial storage capacity, the swing-up handles ensure convenient transportation. Even when fully stocked, the cooler can be loaded into your car without breaking a sweat.

However, as robust as it appears, this cooler isn’t made to double as a seat. Applying too much weight on the lid could risk damage. Plus, the lid can be a tad inconvenient as it does not stay open on its own. You might need an extra hand when digging through to grab a cold one.

Overall, for its size and chilling capabilities, the Coleman Chiller Series 48qt Cooler exceeds expectations without stretching your budget. Versatile for a variety of uses, it’s a no-frills, durable cooler that will serve you well on those sunny days out.

Buying Guide

Capacity & Size

You’ll need to consider how much space you require. A larger cooler can store more items but will also be heavier and less portable.

  • Personal use: 25-30 quarts
  • Small group (3-4 people): 30-50 quarts
  • Large group: 50+ quarts

Insulation & Ice Retention

Look for coolers that offer the best insulation for your needs, which is crucial for keeping contents cold for an extended period.

  • Day trips: Minimum ice retention of 1-2 days
  • Weekend camping: 2-4 days
  • Extended trips: 5+ days


Your cooler should withstand outdoor conditions. Look for features that indicate sturdy construction:

  • Materials: Hard plastic or high-grade metals for outer shells
  • Hardware: Stainless steel latches and hinges


Consider how you’ll transport your cooler.

  • Handles: Comfortable grips or handles
  • Wheels: For easier movement over various terrains

Ease of Use

Your cooler should open and close easily and provide convenient access to items.

  • Lid: Secure yet easy to open
  • Drainage: Leak-proof with easy-to-use drain plugs

Additional Features

Some coolers come with added perks that might influence your choice.

  • Built-in bottle openers
  • Cup holders
  • Ruler on lid for measuring fish catch


Set a realistic budget for what you can afford while considering that higher prices can often mean better quality and longer ice retention.

Insulation1-2 days2-4 days5+ days
Additional FeaturesFewSomeMany

Use this guide to weigh the features that are most important to you and find the cooler that best fits your needs.

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