Best Cooler for Camping

Camping allows you to enjoy the great outdoors, and something that allows you to enjoy the outdoors more fully is not being hungry or thirsty. That’s where a camping cooler comes in. It keeps perishable items chilled for added longevity like a regular cooler, but the best cooler for camping needs to have added elements to make it suitable for outdoor use, discussed below.

How to Pick the Best Cooler for Camping


This should be perhaps the biggest factor in picking a camping cooler. What do you intend to use the cooler for, and how much do you need to store? If you want to spend a few days on your own in the woods, a single-person cooler that can hold Tupperware and a few bottles of water should be suited for you. These can be small enough to carry over your shoulder without being too heavy.

If you plan to feed 2-4 people, you’ll need a heftier cooler that you can’t put on your back or shoulder. This cooler will most likely be heavier because its volume is larger. This cooler will most likely also need wheels to help move it around.

Coolers for more than four people will have to fit not only food and drink but plenty of ice as well. Of course, the heavier a cooler is, the more people you’ll need to lift it and more space in your transportation to accommodate it.

Larger coolers tend to keep items colder longer, though, kind of like gigantothermy in large animals. The larger something is, the easier it is to stay hot, and the opposite can be true for cold items too. While more efficient at cooling, larger coolers will be more expensive.

Therefore, the intended use of the cooler determines the cooler’s size, and thus its price and efficiency at keeping items cold.


To wheel or not to wheel? Cooler wheels allow you to drag a heavy cooler on the ground, avoiding the need to carry it with your arms and risk hurting your back or dropping it. Smaller coolers, such as those intended for one to two people, can be slung over the shoulder and taken with you as you walk, improving portability.

Ice, heavy, and food can get heavy when put in a cooler, so think about how you plan on carrying all that stuff before buying a cooler for camping.

Useful Features

Some coolers with wheels have handles to help you drag it along the ground. Others have bottom drains to get the water from melted ice out of the cooler without having to tip the whole thing over.

Other coolers come with latches to prevent contents from spilling while in transportation, and other brands include plastic partitions for your cooler to help you organize it upon purchase. You’ve probably seen coolers with a molded drink holding tray on the lid to act as a sort of table, which is another useful feature for some.

These extra features aren’t necessary, but they can be useful. If you’re looking for a cooler to make camping easier, spending a few extra bucks on the above perks improves the comfort of your trip out. If you’re looking for simplicity without bells and whistles, you can forego certain features to help save money.

Best Cooler for Camping Under $50

TOURIT Insulated Leak-Proof Backpack Cooler

Our first cooler on the list doesn’t look like a traditional cooler, but this backpack has a larger double-decker insulated cooler interior. 

The bottom compartment holds roughly 28 cans, so it can hold not only a few meals but drinks as well. But the backpack design allows hands-free cooler portability, especially since the cooler itself is lightweight and durable.

The outside of the cooler is made from a 600D Oxford, tear-resistant, water-resistant liner. It’s leak-proof as well, so you don’t have to worry about water trickling out from the cooler and onto your clothes. There’s also multiple pockets and compartments to aid organization. 

Overall, the Tourit Insulated Backpack Cooler does its job well at a low price, making it affordable and easy to use in a variety of situations in addition to camping.


  • Backpack design
  • Leak-proof
  • Includes multiple pockets and compartments for organization
  • Holds about 28 cans
  • Lightweight and durable


  • Zipper may be difficult to close
  • Lacks internal support so the cooler can sag into itself

Coleman Heavy-Duty 70-Quart Cooler

Back to a more traditionally designed cooler, the Coleman Heavy-Duty 70-Quart Cooler has an insulated lid and extra wall technology to keep ice frozen for up to five days — even if the outside temperature is as high as 90°F.

This cooler is large, with a volume that can hold up to 100 cans. The cooler itself is also structurally sound and durable, allowing it to be a seat for someone 250 lbs and under. The lid also has cup holders molded into it so that it reduces the chance of a drink falling over and spilling.

This Coleman cooler has handles on the side for easier portability. The surfaces are also smooth so that you can clean them easier. There’s also a leak-resistant channel drain to remove liquid inside the cooler without you having to tip it over.


  • Sturdy, large cooler holds up to 100 cans
  • Keeps ice frozen up to 5 days in up to 90°F
  • Can be a seat for someone 250 lbs and under
  • Molded cup holders in the lid
  • Leak-resistant drain to remove internal liquid without tipping cooler over


  • Cooler itself is a little heavy at 13.5 lbs
  • Can be hard to move with no wheels, even with comfort-grip handles
  • No included tray to keep items (e.g., sandwich bags) from getting wet

Best Coolers for Camping Under $100

Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler

For another Coleman heavy-duty cooler but with wheels, this is for you. This cooler stores ice for up to 5 days in weather up to 90°F. This cooler can hold up to 85 cans, and even has 4 cup holders molded into the lid.

The all-terrain wheels allow you to transport this cooler with ease — saving you from having to pick up a heavy cooler with your arms, legs, and back.


  • All-terrain wheels
  • Plug to drain liquid without having to tip it
  • Holds up to 85 cans
  • Keeps drinks cold in temperatures up to 90°F
  • Molded cup holders in the lid


  • Hinges are a bit weak, so they can break easily
  • May be too large to fit in a car trunk unless it’s an SUV

Coleman Steel-Belted 54-Quart Cooler

For a truly heavy-duty cooler, check out the Coleman Steel-Belted 54-Quart Cooler. It not only has a high-capacity, holding up to 85 cans, but it has a retro design that’s more eye-catching than other coolers.

You can sit on this cooler, as the lid supports weight up to 250 lbs. The cooler also keeps ice frozen for up to four days in temperatures as high as 90°F. The steel is rust-resistant and durable, so it can handle the rugged outdoors. There’s also comfort-grip steel handles to let you easily carry the cooler wherever you need it.


  • Stainless steel body with a charming retro design
  • Keeps ice frozen up to four days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • Draining plug
  • Have-a-seat lid hops up to 250 lbs
  • Holds up to 85 cans


  • No wheels for easier transportation
  • Locking latch feels a bit flimsy

Best Coolers for Camping Overall

Igloo BMX 72-Quart Cooler

The Igloo BMX 72-Quart Cooler is a high-capacity, durable, and efficient. The extra-thick foam walls and insulated lid offer impressive cooling capabilities, and the rubberized T-latches give you a secure closure to help keep in the cold and prevent spills.

The cooler’s handles are reinforced with stainless steel and provide a rubber grip to provide secure lifting with ease. The skid pads on the bottom of this cooler provide an extra layer of protection for the corners and reinforce its durability.


  • High-capacity
  • Durable
  • Rubberized T-locks 
  • Keeps items frozen up to 5 days
  • Stainless steel enforced handles


  • No wheels
  • No cup holders on the lid

YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

With a leak-proof zipper and closed-cell foam technology, the YETI Hopper cooler keeps items cold while still being portable. 

The cooler holds up to 12 cans plus ice, and the seams and zippers are 100% leak-proof. The DryHide shell is waterproof and resists mold and punctures. The wide opening allows you to access the contents with ease.


  • Leak-proof zipper and seams
  • Closed-cell foam technology keeps items cold for hours
  • DryHide shell is waterproof and tear-resistant
  • Strap and handles make for easy portability
  • Holds up to 12 cans plus ice


  • No pockets for additional organization
  • Zipper sometimes malfunctions


For larger coolers to hold a lot of stuff, we recommend the Coleman 62 Quart Xtreme 5 Wheeled Cooler. Not only does it keep items cold, but it has wheels for easier transport.

For smaller coolers with added portability, we recommend the YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler, as it provides hands-free portability while keeping items cool and organized. Still, this list provides the best cooler for camping, so you can’t go wrong with any choice.