The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Cooler for RV Trips: A Comprehensive Review and Buying Advice

Looking for the best cooler for RV trips? Look no further! We've scoured the market and put together a list of the top coolers that are perfect for your camping adventures in 2023. Whether you need maximum ice retention, water resistance, or value for your money, we've got you covered. Join us as we explore the best coolers of the year, providing you with in-depth reviews, buying advice, and everything you need to know to make the right choice for your RV trips. Get ready to keep your food and beverages chilled to perfection while enjoying the great outdoors!

Best Overall: RovR RollR

ROVR RollR cooler sits open on a dock. Why It Made the Cut

The RovR RollR emerged as the top performer in the ice retention test. It offers easy maneuverability and comes with additional features, such as a bike attachment, that will be particularly appealing to adventurous campers. 

Key Features

  • Capacity: 60 quarts (claimed), 52 (measured); also available in 45-quart and 80-quart capacities
  • Dimensions: 26.5 x 20 x 21 inches (exterior); 19.5 x 10.5 x 12 inches (interior)
  • Weight: 49.5 pounds
  • IGBC-certified (bear-proof locks sold separately)
  • Outstanding ice retention
  • Easy portability with wheels
  • Excellent drainage
  • Relatively expensive compared to other options in our test
  • Interior volume does not match the manufacturer-provided measurements
Product Description

The RovR RollR stands out with its impressive design. It features large 9-inch wheels, a roller handle, and a convenient pop-top storage bin. However, its performance in the ice retention test is what truly sets it apart. It took nearly two days for a single bag of ice to melt inside this cooler.

The additional features of this cooler make it especially suitable for rugged terrains. The wide wheels with a diameter of 9 inches make it easier to navigate over rough trails, despite its weight of 50 pounds. The sitting pad on top of the cooler can also be converted into a storage bin, allowing you to transport extra items to your destination. For campers going on longer trips, there is even a bike attachment available (sold separately) to attach the cooler to your bicycle.

One unique aspect of this cooler's interior design is the step-down shelf created by the wheels on one side. Although it may seem unconventional at first, this design serves a practical purpose when the ice starts to melt. The meltwater collects in the pocket created by the wheels, allowing for easy drainage through the drainage port. This prevents your food from becoming soggy in a pool of water created by melted ice. The cooler is also equipped with a vertical basket that can store food on the drainage end without immersing it in water. This basket also acts as a barrier to prevent other items from sliding over.

The main drawback of the RovR RollR is its price, which was the highest among the options tested. Additionally, the interior volume of the cooler did not match the claimed 60-quart capacity. Some users may find the rubber latches somewhat challenging to use, requiring extra force to open and close them while checking the ice during testing. Initially, there were also some issues with the drainage, as ice water leaked out onto the floor. However, after adjusting the drainage port, the leakage stopped. These minor inconveniences aside, the RovR RollR remains an excellent choice for those willing to invest in enhancing their camping experience. 

Best Coolers of 2023

Steve Conaway/CNET In my previous cooler testing, I had listed Cabela's 60-quart version of this cooler as the best large cooler. However, the title now belongs to a Magellan Outdoors model. Nevertheless, when it comes to keeping things cold, Cabela's Polar Cap option simply cannot be beaten. It achieved the lowest internal temperature during testing and maintained it for approximately 20% longer than its closest competitor.

The prices for the 60-, 80-, and 100-quart models range from $300 to $400, and this cost reflects the superior performance of Cabela's Polar Cap cooler. While it may not have extravagant features, it does offer built-in bottle openers on the rubber latches, a pressure relief valve to ease opening when the interior pressure rises, and rubber padded feet to elevate the cooler and reduce direct heat transfer. Furthermore, it is certified bear-resistant.

Steve Conaway/CNET The performance of Magellan's largest offering closely rivals that of Cabela's Polar Cap Equalizer. The temperature difference between the two was less than a degree (44.6 vs. 45.5 degrees Fahrenheit). Therefore, the decision whether to pay an extra hundred dollars for that additional 0.9 degrees comes down to personal preference.

In my opinion, the extra cost is better spent on filling the cooler with supplies. Magellan's hard-sided coolers boast a convenient double-sided hinge latch design that eliminates the need to walk around to access the other side of the cooler. These models are also equipped with wheels, making transportation easier, and feature metal bottle opener inserts on both sides of the cooler.

Steve Conaway/CNET Yeti has established a reputation for delivering top performance (albeit at higher prices), and their coolers always rank among the best. The Tundra Haul is no exception. Although it didn't reach the lowest temperature overall, it maintained its lowest temperature for a significantly longer duration than its competitors. The Tundra Haul is equipped with rugged "Neverflat" wheels, allowing for travel to more remote and rugged terrains compared to lesser coolers. Its mobility sets it apart, ensuring maximum cooling efficiency for extended periods.

Steve Conaway/CNET Yes, another Magellan cooler. It wasn't planned that way, but the performance results speak for themselves. Just take a look at the graphs. The performance gap was significant enough that I couldn't name another winner even if I wanted to.

The competitors have thinner walls, resulting in lower insulation capabilities. While the other options are more affordable and some even come in backpack formats, I personally believe that all soft-sided coolers are not the best choice. They struggle to reach and maintain sufficiently cold temperatures. However, I understand that some individuals may disagree and be content with keeping their charcuterie samples and bottle of red wine slightly cooler than room temperature during an hour-long hike to a scenic spot with a city view. Let's move on...

Steve Conaway/CNET The previous title holder for this category was Coleman Stacker, one of the cheapest coolers we tested. However, the best value isn't solely determined by the lowest price. The RTIC cooler performed impressively, achieving the lowest temperatures among midsize coolers. Its temperatures were competitive even against the largest coolers we tested.

At a current price of $220, this RTIC cooler offers exceptional performance at a friendlier price compared to its competitors. The only exception is the Igloo BMX 52qt Cooler, which performed poorly among midsize and large coolers. Therefore, if you're seeking excellent performance at a more affordable price, the RTIC cooler is a reliable choice.

Steve Conaway/CNET The performance data between this newcomer and the previous titleholder, the Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler, were nearly identical. The Yeti achieved slightly colder temperatures, while the Magellan cooler maintained its temperature for a slightly longer duration. The deciding factor here is the price. At $120, the Magellan Outdoors unit costs less than half of the Yeti cooler.

In addition to its performance, the Magellan cooler offers various extras, including a dual-side latch design that also functions as hinges, allowing easy access from either side of the cooler. Additionally, it is equipped with bottle openers, a metal-reinforced lock area, and a drain plug.

Read our Magellan Outdoors Dual Open 20qt Cooler review.

Best Camping Cooler Reviews

Let's explore some of the top camping coolers available today.

Best Overall – Large

1. Yeti Tundra 45

Yeti Camping Cooler The Yeti Tundra 45 comes at a higher price point, but it offers exceptional value, especially for frequent campers.

Yeti coolers, including the Tundra line, are known for their superior insulation and exceptional durability. With a 3-inch thick polyurethane foam layer and rotomolded construction, these coolers can keep ice cold for up to a week. They are even certified as bear resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The Tundra 45 model can hold up to 28 cans or the equivalent amount of food, with features like no-slip feet, a freezer-style rubber sealing gasket, flexible rubber latches, and built-in tie-down points. Yeti coolers have also gained popularity as a status symbol in outdoor circles.

The only drawbacks of the Tundra 45 are its weight (23 pounds when empty) and its high price tag.

What We Like:

  • Superior Insulation
  • Unbeatable Durability
  • Bearproof Construction
  • Easy to Use
  • Lots of Special Features

What We Don't Like:

Best Overall – Small

2. Yeti Roadie 24

YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Aquifer Blue

The Yeti Roadie 24 is a top-notch personal cooler. Despite its smaller size, it is spacious enough for one person on short camping trips. It is also a popular choice for road trips.

The Roadie 24 stands out for its build quality, with rotomolded construction, polyurethane foam insulation, thick rubber latches, integrated hinges, and a freezer-style rubber gasket. It offers features like non-slip feet, four tie-down points, a metal handle with a cushioned grip, and a built-in drain. Its versatility and sleek design make it a compelling option.

However, like all Yeti coolers, the Roadie 24 is quite expensive and relatively heavy.

What We Like:

  • Versatile
  • Easy to Use
  • Convenient Features
  • Nearly Indestructible Construction
  • Quality Insulation

What We Don't Like:

Budget Option – Large

3. Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70

Coleman Xtreme Cooler The Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70 is a budget-friendly option that performs well enough for camping.

Despite its lower price, the Xtreme 5-Day 70 offers decent insulation. It can retain ice for up to 5 days, thanks to its thick walls and effective lid. It is lightweight and spacious, with a minimalist design that allows for ample storage. The cooler also has a sleek appearance.

While it may not match the insulation and durability of higher-end models, the Xtreme 5-Day 70 provides good value for its price.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Decent Insulation for Price
  • Large Storage Capacity
  • Built-In Beverage Holders
  • Lightweight Design

What We Don't Like:

  • Not Airtight
  • Not Very Durable

Budget Option – Small

4. Igloo BMX 25

Igloo camping cooler The Igloo BMX 25 is an excellent choice for a personal-sized cooler.

Despite its small size and lightweight design, the BMX 25 offers impressive build quality. It is lighter than comparable coolers like the Yeti Roadie 24. Its insulation is effective, providing around 3 days of ice retention, with the potential for more with a freezer-style rubber gasket. The BMX offers good value overall and can withstand the rigors of camping.

The cooler's drawbacks include some potential issues with individual components, such as the hinges and lack of a freezer-style rubber gasket.

What We Like:

  • Great Value
  • Good Insulation
  • Durable Construction
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to Use

What We Don't Like:

  • Poor Quality Hinges
  • Doesn't Seal Completely

5. Orca 58 Quart

Orca Cooler The Orca 58 Quart is a rotomolded cooler that is perfect for family camping trips.

The cooler's tall and narrow design saves space but can be less convenient to access. However, it offers excellent insulation and durability. Orca claims it can keep food cold for up to 10 days, depending on conditions. The cooler also includes features like a rubber sealing gasket, integrated hinges, thick rubber latches, burly rope handles, and built-in tie-downs. One standout feature is the netted pocket on the back of the cooler. The main drawbacks are the high price and heavy weight.

What We Like:

  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Insulation
  • Bearproof Construction
  • Built-In Storage Net
  • Durable Components

What We Don't Like:

6. Pelican Elite 70

Pelican Cooler The Pelican Elite 70 is a high-end cooler that offers exceptional insulation and durability.

Although it has a slightly lower capacity than advertised (around 54 quarts total), the Elite 70's robust design provides superior insulation. It can keep ice for up to 5 days or even a full week with minimal opening and closing. The cooler is built to last for years and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Its features include raised non-skid feet, a built-in bottle opener and cup holders, and comfortable handles. The main drawbacks are the high price and the heavier weight.

What We Like:

  • Excellent Insulation
  • Long Ice Life
  • Extremely Durable
  • Rugged Good Looks
  • Lots of Built-In Features

What We Don't Like:

  • Expensive
  • Smaller Capacity Than Advertised

7. RTIC SoftPak 20

RTIC Cooler The RTIC SoftPak 20 is a high-quality soft cooler and a great alternative to hard coolers.

Compared to other soft coolers, the SoftPak 20 offers excellent value. It is more affordable than most rotomolded coolers and is lightweight and highly portable. While it may not be suitable for multi-night trips, it provides good insulation for day trips and outings, with approximately 48 hours of ice retention. The cooler's exterior is durable, and it comes with a padded shoulder strap for comfortable carrying. The only major drawback is the challenge of the waterproof zipper, which requires effort to open and close.

What We Like:

  • Good Value
  • Lightweight Design
  • Durable Exterior
  • Padded Shoulder Strap
  • Easy to Use

What We Don't Like:

  • "Sticky" Zipper
  • Less Insulation than Hard Cooler

8. RovR RollR 80

RovR RollR, Portable Wheeled Camping Cooler (80 qt.) (Moss)

The RovR RollR 80 is the top choice for a wheeled cooler for camping.

Unlike other wheeled coolers, the RollR 80 can easily handle rough terrain. Its large inflatable wheels, comfortable "motocross" handle, and high ground clearance contribute to its excellent portability. The cooler also offers rotomolded construction for insulation and durability. It may not have the same ice retention as other top models, but it can still keep ice for around 5 days. Additional features include a rubber sealing gasket, non-skid feet, six tie-down points, and a secure storage basket. The main downsides are the high price and heavy weight.

What We Like:

  • Large Wheels
  • Comfortable Handle
  • Lots of Features
  • Decent Insulation
  • Durable Construction

What We Don't Like:

9. Ozark Trail 73

Ozark Trail Cooler Ozark Trail is a reputable brand known for its affordable and reliable outdoor gear.

The Ozark Trail 73 is a large and spacious cooler suitable for long camping trips with the whole family. It offers one-piece rotomolded construction for superior insulation and durability. With thick insulation, it can keep ice for up to five days. The cooler provides good ice retention and impressive durability at a reasonable price.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Quality Insulation
  • Durable Construction
  • Spacious Design

What We Don't Like:

Types of Coolers for Camping

Enjoying a camping coolerTo help you find the best camping cooler for your needs, here are the different types you can choose from:

  • Soft Coolers: These are lightweight and portable, similar to insulated bags. They are ideal for day use due to their smaller size and lower insulating power.
  • Hard Coolers: These are the original style of camping ice chests and remain the most popular option. They may be heavy, but they offer the best ice retention and are highly durable. They come in various sizes, styles, and prices.  
  • Powered Coolers: These coolers function like portable mini fridges and use electricity from your vehicle's DC outlet, a portable power station, portable solar panels, or another power source. Many powered coolers don't require ice and are quite expensive.
Although our focus is primarily on hard coolers in our best camping cooler reviews, as they are the preferred option for camping, we do review one soft cooler for those who prefer a more portable model.

Camping Cooler Buying Advice

group campingConsider the following factors to narrow down your options for the best camping cooler:

  • Type of Camping: The type of camping you'll be doing, whether it's family camping, solo camping, walk-in camping, car camping, kayak camping, or any other type, will determine the type of cooler you need.
  • Number of Users: Larger groups of people will require a larger cooler, while smaller groups may opt for multiple smaller coolers. Consider the size that best suits your needs.
  • Trip Duration: Longer trips without access to ice restocking will require a larger cooler to store your perishables. Shorter trips or camping road trips where you can replenish ice every couple of days may require a smaller cooler.
  • Expected Weather: If you're camping in extremely hot weather, choose a cooler with thicker insulation and a freezer-style gasket for better performance.
  • Type of Food: The type of food you plan to cook and store in your cooler will impact the cooling power you need. Meat, dairy products, and eggs require more cooling power compared to fruits, vegetables, and beverages.
  • Wildlife Encounters: If you're camping in bear country, a bear-resistant cooler is essential. Ensure you follow all camping food storage best practices, and check the list maintained by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee for bear-resistant products, including camping coolers.
Use your answers to these questions to assess and prioritize your needs while reviewing the best camping coolers below.

Best for Smaller Cars: Stanley Adventure Cold for Days

The Stanley Adventure for Days cooler drains on a dock. Why It Made the Cut:

This mid-sized cooler comes in second for ice retention and is the perfect size for those traveling in smaller cars for multiple days.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 30 quarts
  • Dimensions: 21.5 x 18.5 x 15.5 inches (exterior); 13 x 11 x 12 inches (interior)
  • Weight: 13.6 pounds
  • Not IGBC-certified
  • Inexpensive
  • Streamlined design suitable for smaller cars
  • May not have enough storage space for longer adventures
Product Description:

For campers with sedans as their primary vehicles, a three-foot long cooler capable of storing enough food for a family of six for a week is excessive. The Stanley Adventure Cold for Days is the perfect size for a weekend trip for a family of four, with enough room for snacks and beverages. Two people will have plenty of space for longer getaways. This cooler performed well in ice retention tests, ranking second overall. Despite not being rotomolded like some other coolers, it features a simple click latching system that is easy to manage and a connected drainage port cap to prevent loss. Additionally, it is significantly cheaper compared to other coolers, making it a great choice for beginners or those on a budget.

Best Features: YETI Wheeled Roadie

YETI Roadie sits open on dock. Why It Made the Cut:

The YETI Wheeled Roadie not only had the third-best ice retention among the coolers tested but also offers convenient features like a telescopic handle, durable wheels, an easy-to-use latching mechanism, and a quality drain plug.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 48 quarts (20-quart and 60-quart capacity also available)
  • Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20.5 inches (exterior); 14.5 x 11.5 x 15.5 inches (interior)
  • Weight: 25.8 pounds
  • Not IGBC-certified
  • Good ice retention
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Excellent latching mechanism and drainage ports

Product Description:

Moving a high-quality cooler can be a hassle, but the YETI Wheeled Roadie makes it much easier. With its roller-bag-like appearance, this cooler's maneuverability is impressive. It features a telescopic handle that can extend up to 3.5 feet, making it comfortable to lift for campers of all heights. The larger and more durable wheels on the YETI Roadie improve its ease of movement compared to standard coolers. It performed well in ice retention tests, surviving two nights without much ice melt. The cooler's snap-latch design is significantly easier to use than rubber latches found on other coolers, and the waterproof drainage port requires minimal effort to open. The YETI Roadie also comes with a basket and can accommodate a second one and a divider, allowing for organized storage of food at different temperatures. If ease of use is your top priority, especially for boating and camping, this cooler is an excellent choice.

Best Value: RTIC Hard Cooler

RTIC cooler sitting on a dock. Why It Made the Cut:

The RTIC Hard Cooler offers middle-of-the-pack ice retention capabilities at an affordable price, making it the best budget-friendly option.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 65 quarts (45-quart capacity also available)
  • Dimensions: 32 x 17 x 18.5 inches (exterior); 26 x 12 x 13 inches (interior)
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • Not IGBC-certified
  • Affordable
  • Large volume suitable for larger groups
  • Best interior volume to exterior volume ratio in the test
  • No tray insert
  • Wide size makes it difficult for one person to move
Product Description:

If you're looking for a simple cooler to keep your provisions chilled without any extra features, the RTIC Hard Cooler is the right choice. Its classic rectangular design maximizes interior space, and the rubber T-latches with rope and foam handles make it easy to transport. This cooler's longer length (almost 3 feet) may make it challenging for one person to move, so it's recommended to seek assistance. The RTIC 65 QT Hard Cooler is rotomolded like many others in its category. While it doesn't come with a bin for storing items above the ice, RTIC sells separate cooler baskets and dividers on their website. In ice retention tests, this cooler performed well, lasting a significant amount of time for most camping trips. Its interior volume to exterior volume ratio is the highest in the test, compensating for some insulation loss. If you prioritize getting a large, affordable cooler, this is an excellent value option.

Best Water Resistance: ORCA Cooler

ORCA cooler sits slightly ajar on dock. Why It Made the Cut:

The ORCA Cooler stands out with its exceptional water resistance, ensuring minimal leakage even when turned on various sides.

Key Features:

  • Capacity: 58 quarts (also available in 20-quart, 26-quart, 40-quart, and 140-quart sizes)
  • Dimensions: 27 x 19.5 x 19.5 inches (exterior); 20 x 13.5 x 13 inches (interior)
  • Weight: 36 pounds
  • IGBC-certified (locks sold separately)
  • Extremely water-resistant
  • Wide variety of sizes available

Product Description:

The ORCA Cooler's exceptional water resistance sets it apart. Initially, opening this cooler may seem challenging due to its tight seal, but unscrewing the drainage port allows for air and pressure release. Even when filled with room temperature water, this cooler resists leakage, with only a small dribble escaping from the front. However, when filled with ice and sealed for longer periods, the cooler becomes entirely waterproof. The cooler's latch system, though effective, can be difficult to use compared to other options, particularly for children. However, if you plan to use the cooler for boating and camping, its superior water resistance makes it an excellent choice.

Ice Retention

When shopping for a cooler, one important factor to consider is ice retention. This refers to how long a cooler can keep a full load of ice frozen. Higher-end coolers, specifically those made with roto-molding, boast excellent ice retention and justify their higher price tags.

However, I believe that relying solely on an ice retention test may not give us the full picture. While some coolers may keep ice frozen for longer periods, focusing solely on the melting point disregards other important factors. I wanted to evaluate performance not just after days but also after hours, before any ice had even melted.

To achieve this, I modified the ice retention test by using an amount of ice equivalent to 10% of each cooler's total volume. Less ice posed a greater challenge for the coolers, allowing us to assess their performance more accurately.

In order to monitor the ambient temperature inside each cooler, I placed the ice in each cooler under an elevated jar of propylene glycol solution with a temperature probe in it. Elevating the jar helped us measure the ambient temperature more effectively, providing additional variables to consider.

small-cooler-capacity-comparison.png 9 more See all photos

I conducted all of these tests in one of our appliance lab's climate-controlled test chambers. Before testing, I ensured that each cooler sat open in the room for several hours to allow them to reach room temperature (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

The results of the test were enlightening. After 48 hours (or 72 hours for the largest coolers), I obtained a detailed graph showing the internal temperature of each cooler on a minute-by-minute basis. The temperature differences between coolers were quite significant. To provide further context, I categorized the coolers into size groups, including small coolers (less than 40 quarts), midsize coolers (40-59 quarts), and large coolers (60 quarts or more).

Mobility and Durability

During the tests, I also carefully evaluated each cooler's design and features, paying close attention to durability concerns. For example, I was not impressed with the lid of the Igloo Latitude wheeled cooler. The lid lacked a locking mechanism, and the plastic nub hinges were flimsy. Pulling the lid even slightly caused it to come off completely. Additionally, the cheap plastic wheels did not leave a good impression, especially for camping purposes.

On the other hand, the Rovr Rollr wheeled cooler performed much better. It boasted a robust design with heavy-duty wheels, a sturdy steel handlebar, and even had an optional accessory for towing it behind a bicycle. The interior of the Rovr cooler also featured a divider that allowed for organized storage and customization with different interior liner designs. My only gripe was that the T-shaped handlebar lacked comfortable rubber grips in the middle, where you typically hold it with one hand while carrying the cooler.

Igloo cooler openIgloo Trailmate cooler showcasing its features.

Moving on to wheeled coolers, the Igloo Journey Trailmate 70qt All-Terrain cooler impressed me with its plethora of extras and features. While it may not be as durable as the Rovr cooler, it serves a different purpose. If I were going on a weekend trip with friends into the woods, I would choose the Rovr without a doubt. However, for a day at the beach with the family, the Igloo cooler would be my preference.

If you plan on camping in bear-prone areas, investing in a bear-resistant cooler is highly recommended. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee provides a running list of certified options, which includes several coolers from the ones I tested, such as Cabela's, Orca, Rovr, Magellan Outdoors, and Yeti.

It is also worth considering whether your cooler is sturdy enough to double as a seat, especially for camping purposes. Most of the coolers I tested could be used as seats, but some went the extra mile. For example, the Bison Gen 2 Cooler advertises itself as an ideal platform for casting during fishing trips. Additionally, they offer nonslip traction mats for the lid in various designs. While the Bison cooler felt like a premium product and had excellent build quality, it did not retain cold air as well or as long as other roto-molded models. Furthermore, it was significantly more expensive than the Xspec 60qt High Performance cooler, which provided similar performance at a more affordable price.

Latches and Lids

cooler latchThe Magellan Outdoors cooler features a double-latching, double-hinged removable lid for easy access and versatility.

Let's delve into the topic of hinges and latches. Some coolers have good ones, some have bad ones, and some don't have any. Coolers with removable lids tend to be more affordable options that do not perform as well as top-tier coolers, with one exception. Magellan Outdoors offers a double-latching, double-hinged removable lid, and they have been our top picks for both small and large coolers. This design allows for easy access from either side, and you also have the option to completely remove the lid.

In contrast, newer cooler models like Yeti, RTIC, Orca, Cabela's, and Frosted Frog employ rubber T-shaped handles that can be challenging to secure. Even as an adult, these handles can be difficult to latch properly. I had three other adults attempt to secure these handles, and out of the four of us, only two were successful, one failed, and the last one succeeded after significant struggling. While performance is crucial, design is equally important, and sometimes, it can make or break a cooler.

I understand that a rubber strap latch is cost-effective and requires low maintenance for manufacturers. However, I've come across a latching mechanism that strikes a balance between rubber latches and models like Magellan Outdoors. Coolers like the Xspec 60qt, Amazon's Commercial 20qt, and the Lifetime 55qt high-performance cooler feature rubber strap latches with plastic handles at the end of each strap. These handles can be leveraged against the mounting point to achieve a secure fit without the struggles associated with rubber T handles. Despite this, Magellan Outdoors remains my top choice for the best latching mechanism.

a blue backpack coolerA durable and versatile backpack cooler, suitable for hiking and camping.

Moving on to backpack coolers, we tested the Yeti Hopper Backflip 24. While its overall performance was not outstanding, it had some noteworthy features. First and foremost, it functions as a backpack, providing the convenience of having free hands while transporting it to the beach or during a hiking trip. The backpack also offers plenty of straps and hitching points, making it suitable for both hiking and beach outings.

Since it is a soft-sided cooler, it does not have latches and instead relies on a zipper. The zipper claims to be both water- and leakproof. During our capacity evaluations, we filled the cooler with water to test its claims. It held water without any leakage even when sloshed around, proving its effectiveness. Our previous top pick for the best soft-sided cooler, the Magellan Outdoors model, also features a similar zipper setup.

Final Thoughts

Not surprisingly, brand reputation plays a significant role in cooler selection. Yeti coolers are renowned for their performance but come with a higher price tag. However, there are other respected brands that offer coolers at more affordable prices. Magellan Outdoors, Frosted Frog, RTIC, and Amazon Commercial coolers are all worth considering across their product range based on my observations.

One aspect worth mentioning is the lack of high-end coolers with unique bonus features like built-in batteries for device charging while camping or even solar panels. If you desire such features, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo might be your best bet. However, it is important to exercise caution and skepticism when backing such campaigns, as many have experienced production delays and dissatisfaction with the final product. The Coolest Cooler and the Infinite Cooler are prime examples of this. Extensive research and reading through comments on crowdfunding campaigns are recommended before making a financial commitment. Ultimately, opting for a reliable cooler with proven performance, such as the ones I recommend above, may be the wisest choice.

Other coolers we have tested

These coolers are currently available for purchase and have been tested by us over the past few years. Here is a list of them with brief insights:

  • Lifewit Collapsible Cooler Bag 24L (25 quarts): This is a handle-carry soft-sided cooler. It is popular on Amazon, but it did not perform well in terms of keeping things cool during our testing.
  • Tourit Cooler Backpack (20 quarts): This is another popular cooler we found on Amazon. These backpacks were not great for cooling, but this one is stylish and has a metal bottle opener attached.
  • OlarHike Cooler Backpack (23 quarts): This cooler is similar to the Tourit. It may not be as attractive, but it can hold a bit more.
  • Amazon Commercial Rotomolded Cooler, 20qt (20 quarts): Amazon has a line of roto-molded coolers that perform better than most. They have one of the best cooler latching designs. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • Camp Zero 20L Premium Cooler (21 quarts): This cooler has average performance. It offers neat color options and four lid molded-in cup holders.
  • Frosted Frog 20qt Rotomolded Ice Chest (20 quarts): This brand was requested by multiple CNET readers. It has excellent performance, but not the best. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • Klein Tools Work Cooler (17 quarts): This cooler is sturdy, but not great for traditional cooling. It may work well for keeping your lunch cool.
  • Orca Light Blue 40 Quart Cooler (40 quarts): This cooler has a high price tag for average performance in this category.
  • Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler (52 quarts): This cooler has a neat and "BMX-y" look, but it has the worst performance among midsize coolers.
  • KENAI 65 Quart Cooler (65 quarts): This cooler has a classic design and great color options, but only average performance.
  • Frosted Frog 75QT Cooler (75 quarts): Similar to the other Frosted Frog model we tested, this cooler offers reasonable pricing for excellent performance.
  • Bison Gen 2 Cooler (50 quarts): This cooler has a higher price tag, but it can reach the coldest temperature in its category. However, it cannot maintain that temperature for long.
  • Cabela's Polar Cap Equalizer Cooler (60 quarts): This cooler is one of the most expensive on the list, but it has been titled as the best large cooler in the past.
  • Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler (33 quarts): This cooler reaches the lowest temperature among small coolers but has a high price tag.
  • Rubbermaid Ice Chest Cooler (48 quarts): This cooler has one of the worst temperature performance among midsize coolers. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • Coleman Xtreme Marine Cooler (70 quarts): This cooler has a large capacity and is a solid choice for less than .
  • Coleman Xtreme Wheeled Cooler (50 quarts): This cooler has poor performance in midsize cooler tests, but it is less than $50. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • ...

    (Update: Currently unavailable.)
  • Lifetime High Performance Cooler (55 quarts): This cooler performs well and is a good deal at just over $100.
  • Orca Classic Cooler (58 quarts): This cooler was previously awarded the best midsized cooler for a reason, but it comes with a steep price tag.
  • Pelican Elite Cooler (50 quarts): This cooler gets colder than most, but it does not hold the temperature as long as others.
  • Yeti Roadie 24 Cooler (20 quarts): This cooler has average performance. It maintains a steady temperature once reached.
  • Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Insulated Backpack Cooler (22 quarts): It is a backpack, but most other coolers perform better.
  • Coleman Portable Cooler (16 quarts): This is one of the cheapest options at only $23, but it does not hold its temperature for long. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • Pelican 20 Quart Elite Cooler (20 quarts): This cooler is not as competitive as others in comparison.
  • Coleman 24-Can Party Stacker Portable Cooler (23 quarts): This cooler gets very cold but cannot maintain that temperature for long. It is priced at only $30.
  • Rubbermaid 45qt Blue Wheeled Cooler (45 quarts): This cooler has average performance, but it is only $33 and has wheels. (Update: Temporarily out of stock.)
  • Xspec 60 Quart Roto Molded High Performance Cooler (60 quarts): This cooler is one of the best we have tested. It was previously named our best overall cooler and is priced at $270. It has top-notch features and performance.
  • Igloo Trailmate Journey 70qt All-Terrain Cooler (70 quarts): This cooler is feature-rich and has excellent performance. It is priced just above average.

Capacity considerations

Before discussing the performance, let's talk about capacity. While certain sizes of ice chests, like 50-quart, are more popular, there is no standard size or shape for coolers. Apart from determining how many cans of beverages each cooler can hold, size and shape also impact performance. For instance, a 75-quart cooler like the Frosted Frog has more to handle compared to a 45-quart RTIC when it comes to the same amount of ice.

To accurately evaluate the performance of each cooler, I took into account the size differences. However, I needed precise measurements to do so. Instead of relying on the manufacturer's capacity claims or counting the number of cans that can fit, I filled each cooler with water until it overflowed when the lid was closed. I measured the exact number of quarts each cooler could hold, which is crucial information when dealing with melted ice. The smaller and more affordable models were often conservative in their estimates, while larger models like the Coleman Xtreme and Igloo Latitude wheeled coolers had a greater capacity than advertised.

However, some more expensive coolers did not live up to their claims. For example, the 60-quart Rovr Rollr wheeled cooler could only hold 52.8 quarts of water, while the 45-quart RTIC could only hold 39.6 quarts. On the other hand, the 55-quart Lifetime High Performance Cooler exceeded expectations, measuring at 62.4 quarts. Yeti's Hopper Backflip 24 had the most understated volume among all the coolers tested. It claimed space for 20 12-ounce cans, but in reality, it could hold 26.42 quarts. The Tourit Backpack Cooler was the worst offender, only offering 65% of its claimed 30-quart capacity.


Our test of the top camp coolers was based on ice retention. To have a level playing field, I placed one bag of store-bought ice in each of the seven coolers at the same time and kept them in the same room. Whenever I checked the ice in one cooler, I checked it in all of them. I also tested the watertightness of each cooler, including the drainage port and lid, by filling each cooler with water and tipping it in different directions. Additionally, I tested the ease of operation for each cooler's latching system.

While the Otterbox Venture had handles and a simple latching mechanism, it did not stand out compared to others. It also had the worst ice retention, not lasting a full 24 hours despite its bulky insulation.

I also considered the accessories provided with each cooler, its portability, and the overall cost. Recommendations also took into account the size, ease of use, and how well each cooler could fit inside a typical car camping vehicle (not overlanding or RV).

Dometic CFX3 25 Powered Cooler

Dometic manufactures some of the finest electric coolers currently available in the market, and their flagship product is the CFX3. The remarkable feature of this cooler is its versatility in power sources - you can power it using an AC outlet, a DC car port, or even solar panels. With the help of a smartphone app, you can conveniently control the temperature remotely, adjusting it anywhere between -7.6ºF to 68ºF as per your requirements. With a storage capacity for 40 12-ounce cans, this model offers ample space. However, if you need more storage, the CFX3 is also available in various sizes. The larger versions provide dual zones with separate temperature settings for keeping drinks and frozen foods at suitable temperatures.

Purchase the Dometic CFX3 25 Powered Cooler from Camping World

Adding any of these coolers to your camping gear would prove extremely useful. They come in different sizes to cater to individual preferences. Incorporating one into your RV will enhance its versatility and storage capacity, making any camping trip more enjoyable.

In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best cooler for your RV trips, you can't go wrong with the RovR RollR. With its durable construction, ample storage space, and impressive ice retention capabilities, it outshines the competition. However, if you're looking for more options, we've also reviewed other top coolers like the Stanley Adventure Cold for Days, YETI Wheeled Roadie, RTIC Hard Cooler, ORCA Cooler, and Dometic Patrol. No matter which cooler you ultimately choose, our camping cooler buying advice and methodology will help you make an informed decision. So grab your favorite cold beverage, load up your cooler, and embark on your next exciting RV adventure with confidence!

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