Top-rated Coolers for Outdoor Adventures: The Ultimate Guide

Are you tired of warm drinks and soggy food ruining your camping trips? Look no further! We've scoured the market and tested the top coolers out there to bring you the ultimate guide on the best coolers for camping. Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or just starting your adventures, we've got you covered. From the best overall cooler to the most water-resistant option, we'll help you find the top-rated cooler for your outdoor adventures. So, pack your bags, grab your gear, and get ready to experience cold drinks and fresh food like never before!



Best Coolers For Camping: The Details


Let's delve into the specifics of the coolers we tested so you can determine which ones are the best for your needs. First, we'll provide an overview of each individual cooler we tested, followed by a comparison of their performance, features, and specifications.





Tips to Get the Most Out Of Your Cooler – Best Coolers


Best coolers for camping, best coolers for hunting


To get the best performance from any cooler, regardless of whether it's one of the top coolers on the market or a budget option, there are several things you should do to maximize its performance. While some of these may seem obvious, they require intentional planning to ensure optimal results.




This is a less commonly practiced technique that greatly improves the performance of your cooler. If you store your cooler in a hot garage or shed and immediately fill it with ice and food, as many of us do, it will considerably reduce its performance. The ice has to first cool down the cooler, and then cool and maintain the cold temperature of your food and beverages.


Best Coolers for camping, hunting, fishing, and best cooler for the money


To optimize the cooler's performance, place one or two frozen gallon bottles of water in the cooler the night before your trip. Then, only place ALREADY CHILLED food and beverages in the cooler. The same principle applies to warm food – avoid putting unchilled food in the cooler, as it will reduce its performance. In summary, chill the cooler overnight before your trip and only add chilled items to the cooled ice chest.




It's obvious that the less you open the cooler, the longer it will keep your food cold. However, it can be challenging to resist the temptation of accessing your favorite snacks or beverages. You and your family members may unknowingly open the cooler 20-30 times a day.




The melted water in the cooler aids in keeping the interior cold. Unless the water is affecting your food, there's no need to drain it. Whenever possible, keep items elevated above the bottom of the cooler to prevent them from being ruined by the melting ice, allowing you to retain the cold water within. Placing your drinks at the bottom is an excellent option.




Best Coolers for camping, hunting, fishing, and best cooler for the money


When packing your cooler, it's easy to be conservative with the amount of ice used. While this may be acceptable for short trips, if you're going away for an extended period of time, it's advisable to use a 2:1 ratio of ice to food. That's right – put TWICE AS MUCH ICE AS FOOD in the cooler to maximize its performance. Of course, this is the ideal situation, but you may not have the space to bring an extra cooler or a larger one to make it possible. In that case, be prepared to visit a convenience store frequently to replenish your ice supply.



What Size Do I Need? Best Coolers For Hunting and Camping




When it comes to choosing the best coolers for your outing based on size, it depends on various factors such as the number of people you're packing for. In general, a 65-quart cooler is a great starting point for a weekend camping trip. If you're packing for more than four people, you may want to consider an 80 or 100-quart ice chest.




Best Coolers for camping, hunting, fishing, and best cooler for the money


Storing large game harvests requires a different approach. If you're fortunate enough to harvest a deer, elk, moose, or pronghorn and want to continue hunting, you'll need a larger cooler. During our testing, we found the following sizes to be a good starting point:


  • 65-75 quarts – 1 deer plus ice; 2 deer with little room for ice
  • 110-125 quarts – 3 deer with some room for ice
  • 140-165 quarts – 4 deer or 1 elk (de-boned) with some room for ice

If you're embarking on a long hunting trip, it's advisable to have a dedicated cooler specifically for your game meat. Pre-fill the cooler with ice blocks or frozen jugs of water before heading out. Using ice jugs instead of ice blocks prevents the accumulation of water at the bottom of the cooler, which is beneficial when storing wild game. It's best to avoid having your game meat sit in water, even if the water is ice-cold.


Interesting Things We Learned: Best Coolers For Camping


  • Some coolers showed more variation in daily temperature swings than others.
  • The ability to hold ice for a long time doesn't necessarily indicate the cooler can maintain a safe internal temperature for storing meat (the temperature must be below 40°F).
  • While some coolers were able to maintain sub 40°F temperatures until all the ice melted, many others could not.
  • Ultralight coolers generally have poorer thermal retention performance.


Best coolers of 2023


Steve Conaway/CNET In our previous cooler test, Cabela's 60-quart cooler was ranked as the best large cooler. However, that title is now held by a Magellan Outdoors model. Nevertheless, when it comes to keeping things cold, Cabela's Polar Cap option is unbeatable. It had the lowest internal temperature throughout testing and maintained that low temperature for about 20% longer than its closest competitor.


The prices for the 60-, 80-, and 100-quart Cabela's models range from $300 to $400. You're paying for exceptional performance with these coolers. While they may not have many flashy features, they do have built-in bottle openers on their rubber latches, a pressure relief valve for easier opening when the interior pressure rises, and rubber padded feet to reduce direct heat transfer. They are also certified bear-resistant.


Steve Conaway/CNET Magellan's largest cooler performed very closely to Cabela's Polar Cap Equalizer. The difference in the lowest recorded temperature between the two was less than one degree Fahrenheit (44.6 vs. 45.5 degrees). If your main goal is to keep things cold, the question becomes whether that extra 0.9 degrees is worth paying an additional hundred dollars for. 


My recommendation is to save your money and use it to stock your cooler. Magellan Outdoors coolers have a fantastic feature – double-sided hinge latches. The hinges themselves act as the latches and are located on both sides of the cooler, eliminating the need to reach over the lid or ask someone to grab your drink. Additionally, this model has wheels for easy transportation and metal bottle opener inserts on either side of the cooler.


Steve Conaway/CNET Yeti is a brand known for its superior performance (though it comes with a higher price tag), and their coolers consistently rank at the top. The Tundra Haul is no exception. Although it didn't achieve the lowest overall temperature, it maintained its lowest temperature for a much longer time compared to its competitors. The Haul is equipped with rugged "Neverflat" wheels, which allow it to be taken further into rugged terrain than most other coolers. It's highly portable and offers maximum cooling duration.


Steve Conaway/CNET Yes, I know. Another Magellan cooler. It wasn't planned this way, but the test results speak for themselves. Just look at the graphs. This cooler outperformed its competitors by a significant margin. The other coolers have thinner walls, which hampers their insulation capabilities. Although the other coolers are cheaper and some come in backpack format, I personally believe that all soft-sided coolers are not great choices. They don't get as cold and are unable to maintain a consistent temperature for long periods. Of course, there may be some who disagree and are satisfied with slightly cooler-than-room-temperature charcuterie samples and red wine during their hour-long hike to a scenic spot. Moving on…


Steve Conaway/CNET The previous title holder in this category was the Coleman Stacker, one of the cheapest coolers we've tested. However, the best value doesn't always mean the lowest price. The RTIC cooler performed impressively well, achieving very low temperatures. It had the lowest temperatures among the midsize coolers, comparable to the largest coolers we tested.


Priced at $220, the RTIC cooler is currently the cheapest in both the midsize and large cooler categories, excluding the Igloo BMX 52qt Cooler, which performed poorly. If you're looking for great performance at a more affordable price compared to its competitors, the RTIC cooler is a reliable choice.


Steve Conaway/CNET The performance of this newcomer cooler and the previous title holder, the Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler, was nearly identical. The Yeti achieved a slightly colder temperature, while the Magellan held its temperature for a bit longer. The deciding factor here is the price. At $120, the Magellan Outdoors cooler is less than half the cost of the Yeti cooler. 


In addition to its exceptional performance, the Magellan cooler offers several extra features such as the dual-side latches that also serve as hinges, allowing you to open the cooler from either side. It also includes a couple of bottle openers, a metal-reinforced lock area, and a drain plug. For a detailed review of the Magellan Outdoors Dual Open 20qt Cooler, click here.




Best Overall: RovR RollR


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


The RovR RollR came out on top in our ice retention test. It's easy to maneuver and offers additional features like a bike attachment, making it ideal for adventurous campers. 


Key Features


  • Capacity: 60 quarts (claimed), 52 (measured); 45-quart and 80-quart capacity also available
  • 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) 


  • Best-in-class ice retention
  • Easy portability with wheels
  • Excellent drainage system


  • Higher price compared to other options
  • Interior volume is smaller than claimed by the manufacturer

Product Description

The RovR RollR is undoubtedly the flashiest cooler in our test, featuring bulky 9-inch wheels, a roller handle, and a convenient pop-top storage bin. However, don't be fooled by the extras – this cooler performed exceptionally well in our ice retention test. It took nearly two days for a single bag of ice to melt inside.


The added features of this cooler make it particularly appealing for those planning to venture into rugged terrain. The 9-inch wheels make it easier to pull over tricky trails, despite its substantial weight of 50 pounds. The sitting pad on top of the cooler can be converted into a stash bin for transporting additional items. For campers going further afield, there's even a bike attachment available (sold separately) to attach the cooler to a bicycle.


One unique aspect of this cooler's design is its interior. The wheels create a step-down shelf on one side. At first glance, this may seem like an awkward design, but it proves to be useful when the ice starts to melt. The melted water collects in the pocket, which can be easily drained using the built-in drainage port. This prevents your food from becoming soggy in a pool of water. Additionally, a vertical basket is provided to store food on the drainage end of the cooler, preventing it from being immersed in water and creating a barrier to prevent the rest of your food from moving around. Despite its unconventional design, it's well-thought-out.


The main drawback of the RovR RollR is its higher price. It was the most expensive option during our testing, especially considering its actual volume is smaller than the claimed 60 quarts. Some users may find the rubber latches somewhat challenging to use, as they require some effort to open and close while checking the ice. The drainage system also required some adjustment initially, as there was leakage when the drainage port wasn't fully closed. However, when properly handled, it doesn't pose any issues.


All things considered, if you're willing to invest a little extra for an upgraded camping experience, the RovR RollR is an excellent choice.



Easiest To Use Cooler



Convenient To Load, Carry, Open, Clean And Close


RTIC Outdoors


Exterior Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 18 inches | Interior Height: 14 inches | Capacity: 52 quarts | Weight: 21 pounds | Wheels: No | Extras: Yes | Warranty: 1 year


Best for:


  • Campers who need to carry a 50-plus quart cooler without wheels
  • Those who enjoy a good value and want to spend less
  • Adventurers seeking a decent cooler that's easy to load, unload and clean

Skip if:

  • Beyond just reasonably durable, you actually need something certified bear-proof

Among the coolers on this list, RTIC Outdoors makes the easiest to use option. Their Ultra-Light coolers are built using injection molding, making them both thick and lightweight. Despite its size and insulation, this cooler is relatively light and offers more capacity than similar options.

Operating this cooler is simple and hassle-free. Instead of requiring a strong grip to stretch down rubber latches, securing the lid is as easy as pushing each latch into place. Opening and closing the lid is a cinch as well.


One feature that sets this cooler apart is its easy-to-use rubber latches. Many coolers with rubber latches can be difficult to operate, but that's not the case with the RTIC 52 Quart Ultra-Light. Additionally, this cooler is tall enough to accommodate vertical soda and wine bottles, making it convenient for loading. It also comes with two drain ports, making cleaning and maintenance easier.


Another unique feature of this cooler is its divider, which doubles as a reusable ice pack. While not used in the insulation test, this divider is a functional and practical addition to the cooler.


In terms of multi-day insulation, the RTIC's performance was average compared to other coolers in the field. It held up well for the first 36 to 48 hours, but eventually, all the ice melted and the meat temperature rose above the desired threshold. While it performed better than some coolers, it was not as impressive as others in terms of insulation.


Priced at $200, the RTIC offers a good value for its size and weight. While it may not have the best overall performance, it stands out for its ease of use.



Best Insulated Cooler



Predictably Strong Performance




Exterior Dimensions: 25.8 x 15.4 x 16.1 inches | Interior Height: 10.6 inches | Capacity: 34.8 quarts | Weight: 23 pounds | Wheels: No | Extras: No | Warranty: 5 years


Best for:


  • Overnight provisions for four
  • Drinks for a day on the water, or at the campsite
  • Pretty much any outdoor location or unpredictable conditions

Skip if:

  • You're looking to save money
  • You don’t care about brand recognition
  • You want something small that's also portable

Yeti is a well-known brand in the cooler industry, and their Tundra 45 cooler lives up to their reputation. While not the largest cooler in this round-up, it offers excellent insulation and is suitable for overnight trips or day outings in various outdoor settings.

The Tundra 45's smaller size allows for better insulation performance compared to larger coolers. During the insulation test, it consistently maintained lower internal temperature and meat temperature. After 60 hours, it still had 2 pounds of ice left, showcasing its impressive ice retention.


In terms of design, the Tundra 45 features rubber pull-down latches that can be a bit difficult to operate. It does not come with additional accessories like a metal basket or the ability to accommodate certain bottle sizes. Yeti offers a range of optional accessories on their website, along with helpful advice for packing the cooler efficiently.


While Yeti is considered a premium brand, the Tundra 45 is priced competitively compared to other coolers on the market, making it a good choice for those who value insulation performance.



Best Water Resistance: ORCA Cooler


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


The ORCA Cooler provides exceptional water resistance, as only a small amount of water escapes from the seams of the lid.


Key Features


  • Capacity: 58 quarts; 20-quart, 26-quart, 40-quart, and 140-quart capacity also available
  • 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
  • Widest variety of sizes available of any cooler in my test


The ORCA Cooler is highly regarded for its exceptional water resistance. During testing, only a minimal amount of water escaped from the seams of the lid. It is available in various sizes, allowing users to choose the one that best suits their needs.


The ORCA Cooler has a capacity of 58 quarts and features IGBC-certified locks. It is larger and heavier compared to other coolers in this round-up, weighing 36 pounds.


While it excels in water resistance, the ORCA Cooler may not be the best choice for those on a strict budget, as it is priced higher than some other options. However, if you prioritize water resistance and require a cooler in a specific size, the ORCA 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 excellent value, providing ample storage space and a lower price compared to other coolers in its size range. 


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 price
  • Large volume works well for larger groups
  • Best interior volume to exterior volume in my test


  • No tray insert
  • Wide size makes it difficult for one person to move

The RTIC Hard Cooler is a great option for those looking for a spacious cooler at an affordable price. With a capacity of 65 quarts, it offers ample storage space, making it ideal for larger groups or extended trips. It is also available in a 45-quart capacity.

This cooler has a simple rectangular design that maximizes interior space. Its dimensions are 32 x 17 x 18.5 inches for the exterior and 26 x 12 x 13 inches for the interior. However, due to its larger size, it may be difficult for one person to move.


While the RTIC Hard Cooler does not come with a tray insert, additional accessories such as cooler baskets and dividers can be purchased separately. These accessories can help organize the cooler and keep certain items separate from the ice.


In terms of performance, the RTIC ranked in the bottom half of the insulation test. However, it still maintained ice for a significant amount of time, making it suitable for most camping trips.


Considering its size, storage capacity, and price point, the RTIC Hard Cooler offers excellent value for those in need of a larger cooler.



Best Features: YETI Wheeled Roadie


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


The YETI Wheeled Roadie stands out for its exceptional features, including a telescopic handle, durable wheels, an easy 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 move around
  • Excellent latching mechanism and drainage ports


The YETI Wheeled Roadie is a standout choice due to its impressive features. It offers good ice retention and comes with a range of convenient features that make it easy to use.


One of the notable features of this cooler is its telescopic handle, which can be extended to a comfortable height for most campers. The handle makes it easy to maneuver the cooler, especially when paired with the durable wheels. The latching mechanism is also simple to use, offering secure closure. Additionally, the drain plug is of high quality and requires minimal effort to operate.


The YETI Wheeled Roadie has a capacity of 48 quarts, making it suitable for various outdoor activities. However, it does not come with additional accessories like a basket or dividers.


While it may not have the best ice retention compared to other coolers, its exceptional features and ease of use make it a top choice for those who value convenience.



Best for Smaller Cars: Stanley Adventure Cold for Days


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


The Stanley Adventure Cold for Days is the perfect size for smaller cars and offers good ice retention, making it suitable for road trips. 


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 works well for smaller cars


  • May not have enough storage space for longer adventures

The Stanley Adventure Cold for Days is the ideal cooler for those with smaller cars. Its compact size makes it easy to fit in smaller vehicles while still providing enough storage space for short trips.

With a capacity of 30 quarts, this cooler offers good ice retention and performed well compared to others in the test. It is not rotomolded like some of the other coolers, but it still holds up in terms of insulation.


The Stanley Adventure Cold for Days features a streamlined design that works well for smaller cars. It is lightweight, weighing only 13.6 pounds, making it easy to carry. However, it may not have enough storage space for longer adventures, so it is best suited for weekend trips or shorter getaways.


In terms of price, the Stanley Adventure Cold for Days is an inexpensive option compared to other coolers in its size range. It offers good value for those who need a smaller cooler for their road trips.



Ice retention


When shopping for a cooler, one of the main factors people consider is ice retention. This refers to how long a cooler can keep ice frozen, which is important for keeping drinks cold. Expensive coolers on the market claim to excel in this area, with roto-molded coolers designed specifically for maximum ice retention. However, I wanted to go beyond a standard ice retention test to get a more complete picture of a cooler's performance.


Instead of using a full load of ice in each cooler, I chose to use an amount of ice equivalent to 10% of the cooler's volume. This meant less ice, which posed a greater challenge for the coolers and allowed for a more detailed examination of their performance relative to each other. To track the ambient temperature inside each cooler, I placed the ice in each one under an elevated jar containing a propylene glycol solution (diluted antifreeze) with a temperature probe. By tracking the temperature above the ice, we were able to gather more meaningful data and consider additional variables.


In order to ensure a consistent starting temperature, I conducted these tests in a climate-controlled chamber in our appliance lab. Each cooler was left open in the room for several hours before the test to allow them to reach room temperature (around 80 degrees Fahrenheit), simulating outdoor summer conditions.


The results of the test were enlightening. After 48 hours (or 72 hours for larger coolers), I had a detailed graph showing the minute-by-minute temperature inside each cooler. The differences between coolers were significant. To make the data more manageable, I divided the coolers into categories based on size: small (less than 40 quarts), midsize (40-59 quarts), and large (60 quarts or more).



Mobility and durability


During the testing process, I also considered the design and features of each cooler, paying particular attention to durability. There were some notable observations, such as the lid on the Igloo Latitude wheeled cooler, which did not lock shut and had flimsy plastic hinges. Additionally, the plastic wheels on this cooler did not inspire confidence. On the other hand, the Rovr Rollr wheeled cooler stood out with its rugged design, featuring heavy-duty wheels, a sturdy steel handlebar, and the option to tow it behind a bike using a $50 accessory. I also appreciated the divider in the interior, which allowed for easy organization and separation of items. The Rovr cooler could also be customized with different interior liner designs. The only downside was that the T-shaped handlebar did not have rubber grips in the middle, which would have made it more comfortable to carry one-handed.


When it comes to wheeled coolers, the choice between the Rovr Rollr and the Igloo Journey Trailmate 70qt All-Terrain cooler depends on the intended use. The Rovr Rollr is ideal for camping trips with its durability and off-road capabilities, while the Igloo cooler is better suited for a day at the beach with the family.


If you plan on camping in an area where bears are a concern, investing in a bear-resistant cooler is a wise choice. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee maintains a list of certified options, which includes several models from Cabela's, Orca, Rovr, Magellan Outdoors, and Yeti.


Sturdiness is another important factor to consider when choosing a cooler, especially if you plan on using it as a seat while camping. Most of the coolers I tested were sturdy enough to sit on, but some went above and beyond. For instance, the Bison Gen 2 Cooler not only felt premium to the touch, but it also advertised itself as an ideal casting platform for fishing trips. It even offered non-slip traction mats for the lid in various designs. However, despite its premium feel, the Bison cooler did not retain cold air as well or for as long as other roto-molded models, and it also came with a higher price tag.



Latches and lids


Let's discuss hinges and latches in more detail. Some coolers have removable lids, which is often an indicator of lower-quality coolers that won't perform as well. However, the Magellan Outdoors coolers stood out with their double-latching, double-hinged lids, earning them the titles of best small and large cooler. The double-latched design allows the cooler to be opened from either side, and the lids can be completely removed if desired.


In contrast, newer cooler designs from brands like Yeti, RTIC, Orca, Cabela's, and Frosted Frog feature rubber T-shaped handles that can be difficult to secure. Even as full-grown adults, these handles proved challenging to pull down. On the other hand, I found other latching mechanisms, such as those on the Xspec 60qt cooler, Amazon's Commercial 20qt cooler, and the Lifetime 55qt high-performance cooler, to strike a better balance. These latches have rubber straps to secure the lid, but they also have plastic handles at the ends of each strap, making it easier to achieve a secure fit. Despite this, the Magellan Outdoors coolers still stood out as having the best latching mechanism.


The Yeti Hopper Backflip 24, our first backpack-style cooler, offered the convenience of hands-free carrying with its backpack design. It also had numerous straps and hitching points, making it versatile for hiking or beach trips. Since it is a soft-sided cooler, it does not have latches; instead, it relies on a zipper that claims to be water- and leakproof. During our tests, we confirmed that it lived up to these claims. Another soft-sided cooler, the Magellan Outdoors model, had a similarly reliable zipper setup.



Final thoughts


It should come as no surprise that brand reputation plays a role in cooler performance. Yeti coolers are known for their quality, but they also come with a higher price tag. It's worth considering other respected brands that offer more affordable options, such as Magellan Outdoors, Frosted Frog, RTIC, and Amazon Commercial.


On a final note, it is somewhat surprising that high-end coolers have not introduced more innovative features, such as built-in batteries for device charging or even solar panels. If you are interested in these types of features, you may have better luck exploring crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, although it's important to approach such campaigns with caution. Mega-coolers like the Coolest Cooler and the Infinite Cooler have gained infamy due to production delays and dissatisfied customers. Always exercise skepticism and consider sticking with tried-and-true coolers like the ones I have recommended above.



Other coolers we've tested


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



Capacity considerations


Before we discuss performance, let's talk about capacity. There is no uniformity in size and shape among coolers, aside from the popular 50-quart size. Size and shape have an impact on performance, as a 75-quart cooler like the Frosted Frog has a larger task than a 45-quart RTIC when it comes to ice retention.


To accurately evaluate each cooler's performance, I made sure to measure them accurately. Instead of just counting how many cans each cooler can hold, I filled them with water until closing the lid caused some water overflow. I measured the exact number of quarts each cooler could hold, which is crucial information when dealing with melted ice. The smaller and cheaper models were generally conservative in their estimates, with coolers like the Coleman Xtreme and Igloo Latitude wheeled coolers having a few extra quarts of capacity than advertised.


However, the more expensive models didn't quite live up to their advertised capacity. The Rovr Rollr wheeled cooler, priced at $400, claimed to have a capacity of 60 quarts, but it could only hold 52.8 quarts of water when measured. The $219 RTIC wasn't as spacious as expected either, holding only 39.6 quarts of water instead of the specified 45 quarts. On the other hand, the 55-quart Lifetime High Performance Cooler exceeded expectations, holding 62.4 quarts of water. Yeti's Hopper Backflip 24 soft-sided backpack cooler had the most accurate volume measurement among the coolers tested, with an internal volume of 26.42 quarts instead of the stated 22.5 quarts. The worst offender was the Tourit Backpack Cooler, which offered only 65% of its claimed 30-quart capacity.


{Image: Cooler full of water}(


I conducted these measurements to ensure accurate comparisons between coolers. Capacity is an important factor to consider when choosing a cooler, as it directly affects its performance and functionality.



Products Tested


The selection of a cooler ultimately boils down to personal preference, although it is rooted in scientific evaluation. Despite their shortcomings, the following coolers made the initial cut for testing. They each have their own impressive qualities, making them a potential solid option for you. Here is the list of coolers I tested:


  • Igloo EcoCool Latitude 52: This cooler is notably the cheapest and lightest among the group. It is designed with post-consumer plastic and eco-friendly foam, emphasizing its positive impact on the planet. Despite having thinner walls, it offers about 50 percent more capacity compared to similarly sized coolers like the Yeti Tundra 45. However, the insulation test revealed its poor performance. I had to stop the test at the 48-hour mark when it ran out of ice and could no longer keep the meat safely cool. Additionally, the lack of a built-in mechanism to keep the lid shut is a downside. Although the lid includes cupholders, they compromise its insulative abilities. Ultimately, the Igloo EcoCool Latitude 52 is a better and more environmentally conscious alternative to a styrofoam chest for short outings. However, it doesn't compete at the same level as the other coolers in this test.
  • BruMate BruTank: This cooler stands out with its integrated 2.8-gallon reservoir that allows direct dispensing of your preferred beverage from the outside tap. The reservoir can also be used as a separate compartment for storing dry goods, although I removed it during the insulation test. The cooler's lockable lid features an integrated manual pressure relief valve. It comes with a metal basket and plastic divider, accommodating tall bottles. However, it is considerably heavy, especially relative to its capacity, and expensive. The ring-style rubber latches make opening the lid challenging. Although it performed adequately in the insulation tests, it was an underdog due to its large capacity. In summary, the BruMate BruTank is an excellent cooler that falls short of surpassing the competition in any specific category, except for its remarkable integrated tank feature.


  • Orca 40 Quart: The ORCA cooler is a strong contender that was challenging not to acknowledge as a category winner. It is bear-proof and well-designed, featuring a convenient cargo net storage compartment. Additionally, it is available in a wide range of color options. It performed well in the insulation test, being narrowly beaten by the similarly priced Yeti and tying with the significantly less expensive Academy in terms of ice retention. However, opening the lid proved to be very difficult as it consistently got stuck. The absence of a relief valve meant that cooling down created a partial vacuum inside the cooler with a tight seal, making it physically demanding to open. Furthermore, it is one of the heaviest coolers relative to its capacity. Nevertheless, it remains an outstanding cooler, and Orca now offers a new 80-quart model with twice the capacity for an additional $125.


  • RovR RollR 60 With LandR Bin: It was a tough decision to not highlight this cooler as a category favorite. It is consistently recognized as one of our favorites. The large pneumatic tires offer unparalleled performance. It is bear-proof and features metal bars for attaching a lock. Despite weighing 45 pounds, it can be easily carried solo and fits well in various vehicles due to its shape. It provides ample storage space, with a tall internal two-compartment dry bin, and a removable folding bin on top for carrying extra beach or camping accessories. However, it is the most expensive cooler among the group. The ring-style rubber pull-down latches make it challenging to open and close the lid. As expected, given its size, it fell short in the insulation test. Despite not being affordable for everyone, it would undoubtedly be my top choice for rugged trails or sandy beaches.

In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the best cooler for your outdoor adventures, it's essential to consider factors such as durability, insulation, water resistance, and ease of use. After extensive testing, our top recommendations for 2023 include the RovR RollR for its overall excellent performance and the ORCA Cooler for its impressive water resistance. If you're looking for the best value, the RTIC Hard Cooler is a fantastic option, while the YETI Wheeled Roadie stands out for its exceptional features. Lastly, if you have a smaller car, the Stanley Adventure Cold for Days is the perfect fit. With these top-rated coolers, you can enjoy longer-lasting ice retention and keep your drinks and food chilled for hours on end. So, gear up and get ready for your next camping trip with these reliable and high-performing coolers.


Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Cooler for Boating Vacations
Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Cooler for Boating Vacations

Discover the ultimate guide to finding the best cooler for your boating vacations - essential tips, expert advice, and top picks reviewed. Keep your drinks icy cold and your excursions hassle-free with the perfect cooler for all your maritime adventures.

Author: Travis Torres Author: Travis Torres
Posted: 2023-11-22 00:28:07
Unraveling the Superiority of Rotomolded Coolers: Optimal Choice for Camping
Unraveling the Superiority of Rotomolded Coolers: Optimal Choice for Camping

Discover why rotomolded coolers are the ultimate camping companion, offering unrivaled durability, superior insulation, and optimal ice retention. Explore how these coolers outperform the competition, keeping your food and beverages chilled for longer, ensuring a hassle-free outdoor adventure.

Author: Travis Torres Author: Travis Torres
Posted: 2023-11-22 00:27:05
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Wine Cooler Under Counter: Factors, Options, and Expert Tips
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Wine Cooler Under Counter: Factors, Options, and Expert Tips

Discover the key factors, extensive options, and breathtaking expert tips in our comprehensive Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Wine Cooler Under Counter. Elevate your wine experience and find the perfect wine cooler to suit your needs with our expert recommendations. Don't settle for less, click now to make the most of your wine collection!

Author: Travis Torres Author: Travis Torres
Posted: 2023-11-09 05:04:46
The Top Yeti Cooler Alternatives: Finding the Perfect Fit for You
The Top Yeti Cooler Alternatives: Finding the Perfect Fit for You

Discover the ultimate Yeti Cooler alternatives that perfectly match your needs. Explore a range of top-quality options designed to keep your beverages icy cold on any adventure. Find your ideal alternative and elevate your outdoor experience today!

Author: Travis Torres Author: Travis Torres
Posted: 2023-11-09 03:39:27
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How frequently do you employ coolers? You'll need to learn more details about them. Don't fret; we're here to offer assistance. Here at, we always aim to provide the most bang for you. - since 2022

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