Choosing the Best Cooler for Family Road Trips: Top Picks and Expert Tips
Are you gearing up for a family road trip? Don't forget the most essential companion: the best cooler for family road trips. Whether you're heading to the beach, exploring the mountains, or embarking on a cross-country adventure, a reliable and efficient cooler is a must-have to keep your drinks cool and your snacks fresh. In this article, we've gathered a comprehensive list of the top coolers on the market, with options ranging from hard-sided to soft-sided and various sizes to suit your needs. Discover the ultimate coolers that will ensure your road trip is cool, refreshing, and memorable. Keep reading to find your perfect companion for the open road!
Different Types Of Coolers
No gathering is ever complete without a fantastic portable cooler! And there are numerous types of coolers available. They include:
- Soft-sided coolers
- Hardshell Roto-Molded Coolers
- Backpack cooler
- Hard plastic coolers
- Metal coolers
- Canvas cooler
- Neoprene cooler
- Nylon cooler
- Polyester cooler
- Polypropylene cooler
- Styrofoam cooler
- Vinyl coolers
- Budget cooler
- Cooler with wheels
So, when would you need each type of cooler?
Soft Sided Coolers
Soft-sided coolers are perfect for light day-to-day use. They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, especially during the summer when it's necessary to keep food and drinks cold while away from a fridge. You can rely on a soft-sided cooler for several hours of insulation.
Hardshell Roto-Molded Coolers
Rotomolded coolers are hard-sided ice chests that are durable and excellent for ice retention. These coolers have been proven by fishermen and campers to be thicker and more airtight, keeping the temperatures inside consistent and preventing outside heat from entering more effectively.
A backpack cooler is ideal for families engaged in day hikes, sports activities, camping, and picnics. These activities require maintaining specific temperatures for food and drink while also needing the convenience of easy and quick transportation.
Hard Plastic Coolers
Hard plastic coolers are one of the best options for long trips or rugged environments. They have better ice retention, larger capacities, and more rigidity, making them suitable for adventures in challenging conditions.
Metal coolers can be made of either aluminum or stainless steel. They are durable and ideal for rough terrains.
A canvas cooler is perfect for carrying small or cold items like quick snacks or lunches. They are ideal for picnics or walks.
Neoprene coolers are small, lightweight, and portable, making them perfect for short trips or keeping items cool for a limited time. They are commonly used as personal coolers for cooling wine or drinks.
Nylon coolers provide quick access to cold drinks, such as mineral water, making them suitable for road trips. They are small and require intentional packing.
Polyester coolers are similar to canvas coolers in terms of size and design. They are ideal for carrying lunches or using during team practices. They are flexible and can be folded or pressed flat when not in use.
Polypropylene coolers have a rigid design, making them great for camping, fishing, and hiking. They are resistant to chemicals, acids, solvents, and oils.
Styrofoam coolers provide an effective and affordable way to control temperatures. They are widely used for shipping foods due to their superior insulation. They can also be used at home and are suitable for small road trips.
Vinyl coolers are perfect for outdoor nights as they can keep ice solid for up to 24 hours. They are made of waterproof material and come with a carrying strap.
Budget coolers offer a low cost but high value. They are solid coolers that can withstand sitting on and are easy to carry and move around. They are ideal for outdoor activities and road trips.
Cooler With Wheels
A cooler with wheels is perfect for sports participation as it can be wheeled across any terrain. It also has a handle on the opposite end of the wheels, making it easier to roll behind.
How big of a cooler do I need for a road trip?
The size of the cooler you need for your road trip will depend on the number of people and the duration of the trip.
Most coolers are measured in quarts, which is a quarter of a gallon. It can be difficult to visualize how much will fit in a cooler based on this measurement, so manufacturers often provide information on how many drink cans can fit.
Keep in mind that you'll want to leave plenty of space in the cooler, about 30-50% of its capacity, for ice. Therefore, it's advisable to choose a slightly larger cooler than you think you'll need.
Here are some general guidelines for choosing a cooler size:
Day trip for 1-2 people: Up to 30 quarts
Weekend for 1-2 people: 30-45 quarts
Week for 1-2 people: 45-60 quarts
Weekend for a family: 45-60 quarts
Week for a family: 60 quarts
Every family and road trip is different, so it's important to plan ahead and determine the appropriate cooler size to avoid ending up with a cooler that's either too small or too large.
What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Coolers For Road Trips
One important consideration when shopping for a cooler is whether you prefer a hard shell or soft shell cooler. Each type has its pros and cons. Soft shells are typically lighter and can fit into tight spaces more easily, but they may be prone to getting squished. On the other hand, hard shell coolers offer superior protection and better insulation, keeping your food and drinks cold for longer periods of time.
You should also think about the carrying system of the cooler. Some coolers have handles, while others have shoulder straps. Some soft shell models even function as tote bags or backpacks. Consider which type of carrying system suits your preferences. If you choose a cooler with a strap, ensure that the material is soft and comfortable. The closure system is also important to consider. Zippers can sometimes be inconvenient in the car, so options with magnets or flip-up designs are often more convenient. Other useful features to look for include pockets, internal shelves, or special sleeves for water bottles.
Over the years, I have taken numerous road trips and tested various coolers. Check out my list of the best coolers for road trips below.
Key Features To Look For In A Road Trip Cooler
Before purchasing a cooler for a road trip, consider the following factors:
When selecting a road trip cooler, pay attention to its internal size and volume rather than the exterior dimensions. A cooler's capacity is typically measured by the number of cans it can hold. Additionally, consider the capacity for ice that the cooler can accommodate.
The thickness of a cooler's walls determines its insulation capabilities. There are two types of insulation: polystyrene and foam insulation. If you need your road trip cooler to keep your food and beverages hot or cold for extended periods, opt for polystyrene or permafrost insulation. However, if you're making shorter road trips, a foam insulation cooler may suffice.
Consider portability when purchasing a road trip cooler. Hard coolers are typically larger and heavier, with a more massive outer body and thick insulation. Soft coolers, on the other hand, are lightweight and have foam insulation and fabric bodies. Choose the type of cooler that suits your transportation needs.
Cost is an important factor to consider when purchasing a car cooler. The cost of the cooler will greatly impact your choice. If you have a tight budget, it may be best to opt for a soft cooler. However, if cost is not an issue, a hard cooler may be a better choice.
Construction And Durability
A hard cooler is an ideal choice for camping, fishing, and hunting trips, as they are designed to withstand rugged environments. Soft coolers may not offer the same level of durability.
Some coolers come with additional features that can be useful. When looking for road trip coolers, consider features such as a shoulder strap, cup holders, and more.
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How Did I Choose The Best Coolers For Long Road Trips
I have been on many long road trips, from solo adventures to family trips with children. I have also reviewed numerous coolers and have extensive knowledge about their specifications, ice retention capabilities, and usability. This gives me unique insight into the best coolers specifically for long road trips.
Make Sure You Prepare Your Cooler For a Long Road Trip
Last month, my Dad took my Yeti 45 on a long road trip to a Blueberry farm to pick blueberries. He loaded the cooler with blueberries and a bit of ice to bring them home. However, the ice melted quickly because he hadn't prepared the cooler ahead of time.
Coolers with thick insulation, like Yeti coolers, can absorb a lot of heat when not in use. This heat can cause the ice to melt faster once it is loaded into the cooler. That's why it's important to bring down the cooler's temperature before packing it. You can do this by using sacrificial ice or frozen water bottles the night before your trip. By doing so, your cooler will work much better and hold ice for a longer period of time.
Click here to read more tips on how to keep ice longer in a cooler.
How to choose the best cooler for a road trip
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which features are most important when choosing a cooler. Here are some factors to consider:
Price is obviously a significant factor when looking at coolers. Determine your budget to narrow down your options.
Consider the size of the cooler. How long is your trip and how many people are going? Are you comfortable with a smaller cooler that may need to be refilled more frequently, or do you prefer a larger cooler that can hold all your food at once?
Most coolers are made of canvas, plastic, or metal. A soft-sided cooler made of canvas is a good choice if you want a lightweight and foldable travel cooler. If durability is more important and weight is not a concern, a plastic or metal cooler may be the better option.
Many coolers come with additional features like cup holders, bottle openers, drains, wheels, handles, or backpack straps. Consider which features are important to you.
The weight of the cooler can be an important factor. If you are traveling alone and need to handle the cooler by yourself, a lighter cooler may be more suitable. However, if you are traveling with others, a heavier cooler may not be as much of an issue.
Consider how the cooler is secured. Some coolers have latches/clasps, zippers, magnets, or other closure systems. If you need additional security or worry about items falling out, choose a cooler with a secure closure system.
Additionally, if you are camping or spending a lot of time outdoors, choose a cooler that is animal or bear-proof to prevent critters from accessing your food.
What types of coolers can I choose?
While there are many factors to consider when buying a cooler, there are four main types to choose from:
A basic cooler is typically used at pool parties or barbecues to store drinks. These coolers have thinner insulation and can keep items cold for only a few hours. They are less expensive and easier to transport.
Examples of basic coolers include the Coleman Xtreme and the Coleman 316 series.
Soft-sided coolers are lightweight, flexible, and easy to store. They are suitable for picnics, hikes, and solo travelers. Soft-sided coolers are often made of vinyl, polyester, and/or foam.
Examples of soft-sided coolers include the Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze and the Yeti Hopper M30.
Heavy-duty coolers are designed to be durable and have thick insulation for long ice retention. They are more expensive but can last for years.
Examples of heavy-duty coolers include the Yeti Tundra 45 and the RTIC Hard Cooler.
Electric or plug-in coolers do not require ice. Instead, they are plugged into the car's cigarette outlet to keep items cool. However, they require the car to be running to operate and may drain the battery if left on while the vehicle is off. They may not cool as effectively in hot car temperatures since they rely on the outside temperature to regulate the inside temperature.
An example of an electric cooler is the Coleman Thermoelectric.
Which cooler is better: a hard-sided or a soft-sided?
Both hard-sided and soft-sided coolers can be the best choice depending on different situations.
Hard-sided coolers are better if you need longer ice retention, protection from animals while camping, durability, or a larger size.
Soft-sided coolers work best if you need something lightweight, small, or moldable for easy storage and transportation.
How do you pack a cooler for a road trip?
Now that you have your cooler, here are some tips for packing it to keep items cold for as long as possible and protect your food:
- Bring down the temperature of the cooler before packing by using sacrificial ice or frozen water bottles the night before your trip.
- Chill your food and drinks before putting them in the cooler. Do your shopping a day or two before the trip to ensure the food is already cold.
- Freeze water bottles to serve as ice and be consumed later.
- Consider using two coolers: one for food and one for drinks. This will reduce the number of times you open the food cooler, keeping it colder for longer.
- Fill the cooler to about 50-70% with food and drinks. Use the remaining 30-50% for ice, ensuring the cooler is completely full to prevent air pockets.
- Use plastic containers or double bag your food to prevent waterlogging.
- Store meats separately from raw foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Do not dump the cold water as the ice melts. The cold water helps to keep the remaining ice from melting faster. However, if the water becomes warm, empty it and add more ice.
- Only open the cooler when necessary to minimize the amount of cold air escaping.
- Store the cooler out of direct sunlight and avoid leaving it in a hot vehicle if possible.
Top Tips for Keeping Foods and Drinks Cool on the Road
Keeping your food fresh while on long road trips can be challenging and messy. Here are some tips to prevent your food from spoiling:
Start with a Cold Cooler
The way you store your cooler is important. Make sure to store it in a cool place like the basement before packing your food and drinks.
Pack Cold Items in Your Cooler
When packing, make sure to cool everything you need to bring. Take items directly from the refrigerator. If you have a multi-day trip, you can freeze some drinks to use as additional cooling aids.
Do Not Expose the Cooler to Heat
To maximize cold retention, keep your cooler cool. Find a shaded spot for it, or use a towel to shield it from direct heat.
When packing, group meals together and place the ones you plan to use first on top. Items that need to stay cool longest should go at the bottom. Use a mix of ice cubes, crushed ice, and ice blocks or bags. The loose ice hugs your food and drinks, while the larger pieces help keep out heat.
Keep the Water
Depending on your cooler type, how often you open it, and how it's packed, the ice will eventually melt into water. Don't drain it, as it helps keep your remaining ice cool and prevent warmer air from entering.
1: YETI Tundra 65 Cooler
Ratings: 4.8 Out Of 5 (Over 3,000 Reviews)
The YETI Tundra 65 Cooler is a perfect companion for outdoor adventures, including road trips and backyard BBQs. With up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation, this cooler can keep your food and drinks ice cold for days, eliminating worries about melting ice and warm beverages. Its durable design ensures long-lasting performance. The YETI Tundra Cooler offers great value for money and is considered one of the best coolers on the market today.
- Exceptionally durable
- Ice retention for almost a week
- Beautiful design
- slightly heavy
"After 4 days in the hot sun, we took out the remaining adult beverages, and the ice still hadn't melted. Don't hesitate - this is the best cooler ever."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices for YETI Tundra 65 Here!
11: Coleman 316
Ratings: 4.5 Out Of 5 (Over 1,400 Reviews)
The Coleman Ice Chest is the perfect companion for road trips or camping adventures. It features swing-up handles for easy carrying and lifting. The seat lid allows you to enjoy a snack without opening the chest. This cooler can hold up to 80 cans and can keep ice for up to 4 days in temperatures of up to 90°F/ 30°C. It offers ample space for storing ice, food, and drinks.
- Drainage hole
- Cup holder on the lid
- Lid doesn't stay open for filling
"Great investment - this cooler will last us for years to come. Love the cup holders on the lid too! If you want a cooler that can hold a lot of drinks and keep ice solid for a few days, this is the one."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices for Coleman 316 Here!
Engel HD30 or HD20
Best All-Around Cooler for Long Road Trips
The Engel HD30 and the newer Engel HD20 are the best all-around coolers for long road trips. They have the best ice retention among soft-sided coolers and can compete with hard-sided coolers when it comes to keeping ice. You can load up your cooler the night before your trip and not worry about running out of ice until you reach your destination. These coolers are large enough to fit a good amount of ice, food, and drinks (30-Quart and 20-Quart respectively). They are suitable for family trips or single travelers. The tote-style design makes them easy to fit in your car. They are completely waterproof and come with tie-down points for added security.
Learn more about the Engel HD30 in my full review.
The top zipper is easy to open, making it convenient to access while driving or with the help of your road trip buddy.
To see the latest prices for the Engel HD30 and HD20, click the links below:
See the latest price of the Engel HD30 at Amazon
See the latest price of the Engel HD20 at Amazon
Yeti Roadie (or Similar Sized Alternative Brand)
Best For: Single trips or trips with one partner
The Yeti Roadie is a small 20-Quart hard cooler that can hold ice for 2-3 days. It's perfect for solo trips or trips with a travel buddy. The rubber gasket makes it splash-proof and mostly leak-proof, preventing spills. It has tie-down points for secure fastening. The Roadie can store a good amount of ice, drinks, and food. It is comparable in size to the Yeti Hopper Flip 18 but is cheaper and offers longer ice retention.
If you're on a long road trip alone, you can place the Roadie on the front seat with the lid facing you as the driver. This way, you can easily access your items without cooling escaping. The Roadie can handle the hot car during pit stops, allowing you to leave it in the car overnight without worrying about melting ice. It comes in various fun colors and is backed by a 5-year warranty.
To see the latest prices and color options for the Yeti Roadie, click the link below:
See the latest price of the Yeti Roadie at Amazon
Alternatives to the Yeti Roadie
If you like the idea of the Yeti Roadie but want something more affordable, there are several decent options available:
The RTIC 20-Quart cooler is extremely similar to Yeti in terms of performance, durability, and design. It offers the same features as the Yeti Roadie but at a lower price.
See the latest price of the RTIC 20 at Amazon
Nash Sub Z
The Nash Sub Z cooler is slightly larger than the Yeti Roadie but still compact. It offers similar ice retention performance but at a fraction of the price, even cheaper than the RTIC cooler. It also comes with a soft top seat that provides back support, turning the cooler into a comfortable chair.
See the latest price of the Nash Sub Z at Amazon
The Ozark Trail cooler is a 26-Quart budget-friendly option that generally sells for under $100 at Walmart. While its ice retention is not as good as the Yeti, it can still hold ice for around two days, which is sufficient for a long road trip. It's a great choice for those on a tight budget who still want a personal-sized roto-molded cooler.
See just how cheap the Ozark Trail 26 is at Walmart.com
Best For: Affordable Cooler for the Trunk
For those traveling with family, kids, or a large group, it may be helpful to have a smaller cooler in the front for items needed during the next leg of the trip, and a larger cooler in the trunk to store everything else. The Coleman Xtreme is a great and affordable option for a larger trunk cooler. Starting at 50-Quart, these coolers are larger than some of the other options mentioned earlier. However, they don't take up as much floor space as a Yeti 65. With ice retention rated for up to 5 days, these coolers provide ample time for a long road trip. The Xtreme coolers are incredibly cheap and perfect for those who want something that will keep ice for a decent amount of time without breaking the bank.
See just how cheap Coleman Xtreme coolers are at Amazon
RTIC Soft Pack
Best For: Small Compact Cooler
If you're in need of a small, lightweight, and portable cooler, the RTIC Soft Pack is one of the top choices available.
It provides sufficient insulation to keep ice frozen for 2 to 3 days, and it's completely waterproof and leak-proof. Additionally, its wide open lid allows for easy access to all your items while you're on the road. For a comprehensive review of the RTIC Soft Pack, visit this link.
The RTIC Soft Pack comes in various sizes, starting from the small 8-can version, which is perfect for solo travelers. If you require more space for additional people or longer trips, there is also a 40-can version available to accommodate your needs. When it comes to small soft-sided coolers for road trips, the RTIC Soft Pack is among the best. For a list of more top brands, check out this comprehensive guide.
Overall, this cooler offers excellent value for its price point. It is made with high-quality materials, ensuring durability, and it keeps ice frozen for an extended period while remaining waterproof. For the latest prices of RTIC Soft Pack coolers on Amazon, click here.
2: ORCA COOLERS 40
⭐??Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5 (Over 100 Reviews)
The ORCA COOLERS 40 provides the peace of mind you need for an enjoyable journey, with ample space for your favorite beverages and snacks to last for days.
Thanks to its superior insulation, the ORCA 40 can maintain optimal freshness and temperature for up to 10 days. Its non-slip feet ensure stability, whether you're at a campsite or embarking on a long road trip.
For those who value camping and road trip essentials, the ORCA 40 delivers on its promises. With a robust solid design, lockable feature, and great drain plug, it offers an overall fantastic experience. While it has tight seals, some users have noted this as a minor drawback.
One satisfied customer's experience reflects the overall satisfaction: "Used on a 3-day camping trip in the desert where temperatures ranged from mid 80s to low 40s. It was packed to the brim with food and we only needed 1 bag of ice the entire trip."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For ORCA 40 Here!
3: Engal ENG50 48 Quart
⭐??Rating: 4.6 Out Of 5 (Over 50 Reviews)
The Engal ENG50 cooler is the ideal choice for a high-quality and durable cooler for any road trip. Its user-friendly design makes it effortless to access your items when needed, and its excellent insulation ensures your food and drinks remain cold for extended periods.
Despite its compact size, the Engal ENG50 provides ample space, making it suitable for traveling with items such as a dog crate. It offers great value for money, providing numerous features at an unbeatable price.
Customers rave about the Engal ENG50's solid construction, durability, and ability to withstand any challenges. One satisfied reviewer states, "Trust me on this, this is a great cooler and here is why: it will hold up to the punishment you subject it to."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Engal ENG50 Here!
4: DOMETIC CFX3
⭐??Rating: 4.6 Out Of 5 (Over 300 Reviews)
For an efficient cooler that caters to your road trip needs, the Dometic CFX3 Travel Cooler is an excellent choice. Designed to make life on the road easier, this cooler offers a wide range of features suitable for long trips.
Thanks to its robust construction and efficient cooling system, the Dometic CFX3 ensures your food and drinks stay cool regardless of the external conditions. Its versatility extends beyond road trips, making it a valuable asset for daily life.
Customers praise the cooler's solar power option, solid build quality, low power consumption, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and quiet operation. So far, no significant drawbacks have been reported.
One satisfied buyer puts it simply: "Hands down, this cooler fridge is beyond great. Quality is second to none. It does exactly as advertised. I would do a pro and con, but there are zero cons."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Dometic CFX3 Here!
5: Titan Deep Freeze Cooler
⭐??Rating: 4.7 Out Of 5 (Over 12,000 Reviews)
The Titan Deep Freeze Cooler is a heavy-duty travel cooler that comes highly recommended by road trippers and outdoor enthusiasts. Its unique zipperless feature ensures easy access without the risk of items falling out or spilling.
The cooler's HardBody liner with SmartShelf allows for efficient organization and secure storage of both hard and soft items. Its adjustable Backsaver shoulder strap with a soft anti-slip pad adds to the overall comfort and convenience, making it easier to carry throughout the day without straining your back.
Cleaning the Titan Deep Freeze Cooler is a breeze, adding to its overall appeal. It boasts a waterproof interior, a comfortable strap, and excellent ice retention for up to 3 days. Some users have noted that the side zippers can be fragile, but this is a minor issue.
One satisfied customer states, "I definitely recommend this bag to anyone because it is well made and looks to last a very long time."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Titan Deep Freeze Cooler Here!
6: Yeti Tundra Haul Portable Wheel Cooler
⭐??Rating: 4.8 Out Of 5 (Over 3,000 Reviews)
The Yeti Tundra Haul Portable Wheel Cooler is one of the top choices for road trip coolers with wheels. Its innovative wheel design allows for easy maneuverability, similar to a roller suitcase. Transporting it from your car to your campsite or tailgate party has never been easier.
The Yeti Tundra Haul is built to last, with a heavy-duty construction and an indestructible rotomolded exterior. This cooler surpasses all expectations.
Customers praise its durability, smooth gliding wheels, practicality, and certification as grizzly bear proof. While it can be heavy to lift into a vehicle, the benefits outweigh this minor drawback.
One satisfied customer sums it up: "Worth every dollar. So much so, I purchased two. The wheels are very rugged—the individuals who wrote an alternate perspective in their review were very wrong."- Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Yeti Tundra Haul Portable Wheel Cooler Here!
7: YETI Hopper Backflip 24
⭐??Rating: 4.8 Out Of 5 (Over 2,500 Reviews)
The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 is a versatile cooler that functions as both a backpack and a cooler, making it an excellent choice for road trips and hikes.
Its soft-sided construction keeps your items cold while remaining lightweight and comfortable to carry.
In addition, this cooler features the most reliable and leakproof zipper available, ensuring the safety of your food and drinks.
With ample space for snacks, beverages, and meals, the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 is an essential companion for your outdoor adventures!
✔??Strong and comfortable straps
✔??Durable hazmat zipper
✔??Easy to clean
❌While it offers exceptional value, it may not be the cheapest cooler on the market.
"Love this. Super durable. This thing is very handy and perfect for cookouts and parties." - Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Here!
8: ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler
⭐??Rating: 4.7 Out Of 5 (Over 174 Reviews)
Whether you're a weekend road tripper or an avid outdoorsman, the ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler is the perfect choice for all your cooler needs.
Its lightweight and backpack-style design allows for easy access while providing comfort during wear.
You can even use it as a day bag on your explorations!
Additionally, it can keep ice cold for 24 hours, ensuring your food and drinks stay fresh even in hot conditions.
Moreover, it boasts leakproof, buoyant, and waterproof properties, making it suitable for any situation.
With all these features combined, the ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler is an excellent option for any road trip!
✔??Various appealing color options
"Outstanding quality! Beyond what I was expecting. Perfect for deer hunting, packing up, and hiking in the woods. Super heavy-duty and lightweight. Outstanding construction." - Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For ICEMULE Pro Collapsible Backpack Cooler Here!
10: EchoSmile 35 Quart
⭐??Rating: 4.4 Out Of 5 (Over 350 Reviews)
If you're in search of an affordable cooler that can keep your food and beverages cold for extended periods, the EchoSmile 35 quart cooler is the perfect choice!
It offers ample space to accommodate a large quantity of refreshments and snacks, making it ideal for family outings and camping trips. Additionally, it features a built-in fishing ruler on the lid, catering to anglers.
This cooler is exceptionally durable and has no trouble withstanding ice, capable of keeping your items cool for up to seven days!
It is also versatile, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The EchoSmile 35 quart cooler provides the quality of more expensive options without the hefty price tag – making it an excellent value for your money!
✔??Easy to clean
❌Long and narrow design
"We used this in the back of our vehicle during a week-long trip through the mountains in CO. It performed exceptionally well, keeping our food cold and the ice lasting the whole time. A great purchase for the value." - Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For EchoSmile 35 Quart Here!
13: Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag
⭐??Rating: 4.4 Out Of 5 (Over 3,000 Reviews)
If you're planning a long road trip and don't want to carry multiple coolers, the Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag is the perfect solution for you!
With its extra-large capacity, it can easily accommodate all your food and drinks without occupying excessive space.
Additionally, its unique double-decker design allows for organized storage and quick access to your essentials.
The Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag is not only suitable for road trips but also highly versatile. Whether you're going on a camping trip or doing grocery shopping at the farmers' market, it simplifies your life wherever you go.
✔??Holds its shape well when open and empty
✔??Great construction with solid stitching and seams
❌Zippers can be stiff
"Love this cooler. Easy to pack and spacious. Keeps items cool and frozen for extended periods! A fantastic purchase!" - Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag Here!
12: Igloo Heavy-Duty 25
⭐??Rating: 4.6 Out Of 5 (Over 12,000 Reviews)
For one of the best coolers to take on a road trip, you can't go wrong with the Igloo Heavy-Duty cooler!
This sturdy cooler has been specifically designed with your travel needs in mind. Crafted from durable materials, it can withstand whatever challenges come its way.
Equipped with skid pads, it ensures that your food and drinks remain secure during transportation.
This cooler will undoubtedly make your drive less stressful, especially for long road trips. Its spacious interior eliminates the need for cramming all your essentials.
If you're searching for a reliable and durable travel companion for your next road trip, look no further than the Igloo Heavy-Duty cooler!
✔??Can be used as a seat
❌Lacks a drain plug
"I must say, it's solid! It is built like a tank! I work in the Traffic Control industry, and it looks like Igloo finally made a cooler just for me!" - Read More Reviews Here!
✅ Check Prices For Igloo Heavy-Duty 25 Here!
5 Best Coolers For Road Trips
When embarking on a road trip, it's essential to have a cooler filled with partially melted ice, storing your favorite drinks and snacks. Here, we present the top coolers for car travel.
Best Compact Road Trip Cooler: YETI Roadie 24 Cooler
The YETI Roadie is an exceptional cooler for weekend road trips and epic adventures. It boasts several features that make it an ideal companion for your journey.
- Its taller, slimmer build allows for a better fit behind the car's passenger or driver's seat.
- The quick latch offers easy one-handed access to the contents.
- Thin and lightweight design for convenient transportation.
- Can hold 33 cans, 8 bottles of wine, or 26 lbs of ice.
- Empty weight is 13.1 lbs.
- The carrying strap length is not adjustable.
- No drain included.
You can purchase it directly from Yeti and take advantage of seasonal discounts here.
Best Large Cooler for Road Trips: Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler
The Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler is perfect for long road trips under harsh conditions. This heavy-duty ice chest is engineered for exceptional performance and durability, ensuring your drinks stay cold for days.
- Resilient build with metal kick plates and reinforced base.
- Able to maintain ice for up to four days in 90F temperatures.
- Sturdy rubberized latches to lock in the cold.
- Can hold a 12-pack of cans and long-neck bottles.
- Plastic hinges may be a drawback.
- Rubber latches may eventually wear out.
- No drain provided.
Best Wheeled Cooler For Road Trips: YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
If you're looking for a cooler with wheels that combines functionality and style, the YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler is an excellent choice. This cooler is perfect for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, or attending a game.
- Equipped with a heavy-duty strong arm handle for easy towing.
- Comes with a 5-year warranty for added peace of mind.
- Features the best wheels among all rolling coolers.
- Provides excellent insulation to keep your items cold.
- May become heavy, weighing up to 80 pounds when fully loaded (37 pounds when empty), making it difficult to handle alone.
- Compared to other products, it may be considered expensive.
You can purchase it directly from Yeti and take advantage of seasonal discounts here.
Best Backpack Cooler For Road Trips: Coleman 28 Can Backpack Soft Cooler
For those seeking a portable and wearable cooler backpack for road trips and camping, the Coleman 28 Can Backpack Soft Cooler is the top choice.
- The seams are heat welded to ensure the ice does not leak out.
- Multiple pockets, including a large front pocket for storing napkins and accessories.
- Padded adjustable straps and handles for added comfort.
- Spacious enough to fit 28 cans.
- The waist strap does not expand.
- Not leakproof.
Best Budget Cooler For Road Trips: Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels Xtreme Wheeled Cooler
The Coleman Portable Cooler with Wheels Xtreme Wheeled Cooler is a high-quality option for tailgating parties, picnics, and camping trips. It has a generous capacity of up to 84 cans and the added convenience of wheels.
- Built-in cup holders on the lid provide easy access to beverages.
- Equipped with wheels for convenient transportation.
- Offers a 50-quart capacity, accommodating up to 84 cans.
- Provides ice retention for up to five full days.
- Not as sturdy as more heavy-duty coolers.
Bonus - Best Breastmilk Cooler Bags!
If you're specifically searching for a compact cooler to keep your breastmilk chilled while traveling by car, there are more compact options available. These coolers easily fit in the front of your vehicle.
Skip Hop Grab And Go:
This versatile insulated cooler bag from Skip Hop is the perfect grab-and-go solution for your car.
You can easily fit two tall baby bottles, whether they contain pre-boiled water for formula feeds or pre-pumped breastmilk straight from the fridge.
Remember, when feeding your baby on the go, it may be beneficial to have a portable bottle warmer in the car to quickly get the feeds ready at room temperature.
Another great in-car option for bottles and smaller infant snacks is the smaller YETI lunch bag
When it comes to road trips, having the best cooler is essential to ensure that your family's drinks and snacks stay cool and refreshing throughout the journey. After researching and reviewing various options, we have narrowed down the top five coolers that are perfect for road trips. From the rugged YETI Tundra 65 Cooler to the versatile ORCA COOLERS 40, these coolers provide ample storage space and excellent insulation to keep your food and drinks cold for extended periods. Whether you prefer a hard-sided or a soft-sided cooler, there is something on this list for everyone. So, before you hit the road, be sure to equip yourself with one of these top-notch coolers and make your family road trip an unforgettable experience.
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