Ultimate Gear Guide: Discover the Perfect Rugged Cooler for Unforgettable Fishing Adventures
Looking for the ultimate companion for your next fishing adventure? Look no further! In this article, we have curated a list of the best fishing coolers with wheels to keep your catches fresh and your beverages ice-cold. But wait, that's not all! We've also included the top coolers for camping, because who says you can't have a rugged cooler for fishing trips that doubles as a trusty camping companion? So whether you're reeling in the big ones or exploring the great outdoors, we've got you covered. Get ready to discover the crème de la crème of fishing coolers and camping essentials that will take your outdoor experiences to the next level.
Best Fishing Cooler with Wheels
In the second part of our guide, we want to provide you with some options if you're in search of a fishing cooler with wheels. Rollable fishing coolers have the advantage of being easily transported by rolling them instead of carrying them. This can be especially useful when they are fully loaded and become heavy. Here are a few good options.
Best Overall Rolling Cooler: YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Fishing CoolerKey features:
– Capacity: Up to 45 cans (plus ice) or 55 lbs of ice only
– Dimensions: 28.25 x 18.63 x 19.5 inches
– Weight: 32lbs
Why we picked it:
Once again, the YETI is our overall favorite choice when it comes to rollable fishing coolers. The YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler combines all the great features of a classic YETI cooler with extremely durable wheels.
The wheels of the YETI Tundra Haul feature YETI's NeverFlat construction, making them highly impact and puncture resistant. An arm handle made from welded aluminum ensures that you can easily pull the YETI Tundra Haul even when it's fully loaded. This cooler is the perfect choice for fishermen and women who don't want to carry a heavy cooler around on a hot day.
– Excellent, large wheels
– Fantastic lid closure
– Rather heavy at 32lbs
– Handle is somewhat short
Best Budget Rolling Cooler: Coleman Ice Chest | 316
Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 – Wheeled Fishing CoolerKey features:
– Capacity: Up to 101 cans (without ice)
– Dimensions: 28.20 x 15 x 18 inches
– Weight: 16.8lbs
Why we picked it:
The Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 is the perfect choice if you're looking for an affordable wheeled fishing cooler. For under $100, this is a great entry-level product that offers several premium features.
The Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 features 6-inch wheels that provide solid stability when rolling the cooler. When closed, the lid can support a weight of 250lbs, a feature that it shares with more expensive products like the YETI Tundra Haul. Despite having thinner insulation, the Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 can keep ice for up to 5 days. If you need even more capacity, consider the larger version featuring 100 Quart.
– Sturdy with 250lbs weight capacity for sitting on
– Good handle for pulling
– Closure could be better
Best Big Rolling Fishing Cooler: Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT
Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled Fishing 70QTKey features:
– Capacity: 70 quarts
– Dimensions: 33.3 x 17.2 x 17.6 inches
– Weight: 46lbs
Why we picked it:
As our last product in this review, we have chosen our favorite big rolling fishing cooler: the Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT. The large size of this cooler ensures that you can bring everything you need for a long day or even a weekend on the water.
The Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT comes with a basket cup holder and divider, allowing you to create multiple compartments. It has a built quality similar to YETI's, featuring industry-grade insulation and secure T-zips to close the top lid. The 7-inch wheels on the Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty Wheeled 70QT provide smooth rolling even when the cooler is fully loaded.
– Huge capacity
– Excellent ice retention
– Wheels work really well
– Heavy, especially when lifting it in and out of a truck
Best Coolers For Camping: The Details
It's time to delve into the details of the coolers we tested to help you determine the best coolers for your specific needs. First, we'll provide the general details 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
In order to maximize the performance of any cooler, whether it's one of the best coolers on the market or an economy cooler, there are several things you should do. While some of these may seem obvious, they require intentional planning to ensure optimal performance.
COOL THE COOLER
One commonly overlooked step that can significantly improve the performance of your cooler is to cool it before use. If your cooler is stored in a hot garage or shed and you immediately put ice and food in it, you'll greatly reduce its performance. The ice will first need to cool down the cooler itself before it can effectively cool and maintain the temperature of your food and beverages.
To overcome this, place frozen gallons of water in the cooler the night before and then add your ALREADY CHILLED FOOD AND BEVERAGES. This step allows the cooler to be pre-cooled, ensuring better performance. The same principle applies to warm food – avoid putting unchilled food in the cooler as it will impair its cooling capabilities. To achieve optimal performance, chill the cooler overnight before use and only add pre-chilled items.
OPEN AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
It's understandable that you may need to access your cooler frequently, but bear in mind that the more you open it, the quicker the cold air will escape, thus reducing the cooler's overall performance. Try to minimize the number of times you open the cooler, especially if you're storing perishable items that require constant refrigeration.
DON'T DRAIN THE WATER
The water that accumulates from melted ice in the cooler actually helps keep the interior cold. Unless the water is causing damage to your food, it's recommended to keep it in the cooler. If necessary, elevate items that may be affected by the water to prevent contact. Placing drinks at the bottom of the cooler is a suitable solution.
USE ENOUGH ICE
When packing your cooler, it's easy to skimp on the ice. However, if you're embarking on an extended trip, it's crucial to use an appropriate amount of ice to ensure maximum cooling. A general rule of thumb is to maintain a 2:1 ratio of ice to food. That means you should have TWICE AS MUCH ICE AS FOOD in the cooler for optimal performance. While this may require additional cooler space, it is the ideal scenario. If space is limited, be prepared to refill your ice supply frequently during your trip.
What Size Do I Need? Best Coolers For Hunting and Camping
WEEKEND CAMPING TRIPS
Determining the best cooler size for your outing depends on factors such as the number of people you're packing for. Generally, a 65-quart cooler is an excellent starting point for a weekend camping trip. If you have more than four people in your group, you may want to consider an 80 or 100-quart cooler.
WILD GAME STORAGE
Storing your big game harvest requires a larger cooler. If you're fortunate enough to harvest a deer, elk, moose, or pronghorn and plan to keep hunting, you'll need a cooler with adequate capacity. Our tests during the last hunting season found the following sizes to be a good starting point:
- 65-75 quart: Can hold 1 deer plus ice or 2 deer with minimal space for ice
- 110-125 quart: Can hold 3 deer with some space for ice
- 140-165 quart: Can hold 4 deer or 1 deboned elk with some space for ice
For extended hunting trips, it's best to have a dedicated cooler solely for game meat storage. Fill the cooler with blocks of ice or frozen jugs of water beforehand, as ice jugs won't create a pool of water like ice blocks do. This is especially important to prevent your game meat from sitting in water, even if it's ice cold.
Interesting Things We Learned: Best Coolers For Camping
- Coolers varied significantly in temperature swings throughout the day.
- Ice retention is not the only factor to consider – internal temperature is key. Just because a cooler still has ice doesn't mean it's safe for storing meat. The temperature needs to be below 40°F.
- Some coolers were able to maintain temperatures below 40°F until all the ice melted, while others couldn't.
- Ultralight coolers tend to have inferior thermal retention performance.
Our Top Picks for Fishing Coolers
Pelican Elite coolers are our top choice for fishing trips due to their unparalleled durability and performance. These coolers are designed to meet the highest standards in terms of durability, performance, and ergonomic design. With their origins in protecting equipment for defense, emergency, and scientific expeditions in harsh conditions, you can trust that your fish will stay fresh and well-protected. The Pelican Elite Cooler comes with a Lifetime Guarantee and is built with premium materials to ensure a lifetime of use. It offers extreme ice retention, press & pull latches, integrated cup holders, a built-in bottle opener, non-skid & non-marking raised feet, a fishing ruler on the lid, and a molded-in lock hasp with a stainless steel plate. Whether you're kayak fishing, going on a multi-day fishing trip, or tailgating during a big game, the Pelican Elite Cooler is the perfect solution for all your fishing needs. To learn more about why we love Pelican Elite Coolers, be sure to read The Best Cooler for Fishing: Pelican Coolers.
A. Pelican™ 50QT Elite Cooler
With a volume of 52.87QT, the Pelican™ 50QT Elite Cooler can hold enough food for a 2-day camping trip and either 24 or 34 cans, depending on whether ice is included. This size is perfect for kayak fishing trips, multi-day excursions, and more. The Pelican™ 50QT Elite Cooler is built with premium materials, designed to last a lifetime, and comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.
B. Pelican™ 70QT Elite Cooler
The Pelican™ 70QT Elite Cooler is a heavy-duty cooler designed for extreme conditions and long-lasting ice retention. With an internal volume of 72.42QT, this cooler offers ample space for all your fishing essentials. After adding ice, the cooler can hold enough food for a 4-day camping trip and either 24 or 46 cans, depending on whether ice is included. It is ideal for multi-day fishing trips, marine adventures, and more.
Best Fishing Cooler Quick Answer List
1. YETI Tundra 45
2. RTIC 45 QT Hard
3. Orca 26 Quart
4. Igloo 52 Qt BMX
5. Coleman Xtreme 5
6. YETI Tundra Haul
7. Coleman Ice Chest | 316
8. Seavilis Milee-Heavy Duty
Best Fishing Coolers on the Market in 2023
In this first part of the buyer's guide, we will present our top picks for fishing coolers this season. We will provide a detailed description of each product and explain why we believe they are worth considering. Rest assured that all the products we recommend are ones that we personally use and trust.
YETI Tundra 45
YETI Tundra 45Key features:
- Capacity: 28 cans (plus ice) / 34lbs of ice (only)
- Dimensions: 25 3/4 x 16 1/8 x 15 3/8 inches
- Weight: 23lbs
- Multiple colors
Why we picked it:
YETI, an American manufacturer, has gained a reputation for producing exceptionally durable outdoor equipment. While they are well-known for their waterproof bags and backpacks, their coolers, such as the YETI Tundra 45, are their flagship products.
The YETI Tundra 45 combines all the key features that make a great fishing cooler: excellent ice retention, durability, sturdiness, and a sleek design. This cooler can hold up to 28 cans (with ice), and it also includes a dry goods basket. With 3" inch insulation, extra-thick walls, and a tightly-fitting lid, the YETI Tundra 45 ensures that the interior stays cool even on the hottest days. Its unmatched sturdiness allows it to withstand rough treatment and even serve as a casting platform on a boat.
- Fantastic ice retention
- Very sturdy - you can sit or stand on it
- Many colors to choose from
- Heavy (particularly when fully loaded)
RTIC 45 QT Hard Cooler
RTIC 45 QT HardKey features:
- Capacity: 36 cans
- Dimensions: 26 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 15 7/8 inches
- Weight: 29lbs
Why we picked it:
The RTIC 45 QT Hard Cooler is another excellent hard cooler with a similar build to the YETI Tundra 45. This brand has gained a following among outdoor enthusiasts due to the quality of their products. The RTIC 45 QT Hard Cooler features secure T-latches and offers freezer-grade insulation. It can hold up to 36 cans and 40lbs of ice. Like the YETI Tundra 45, it is incredibly sturdy and can be used as a bench, tabletop, or cutting board.
RTIC claims that the RTIC 45 QT Hard Cooler can keep ice cold for up to 10 days, although our tests show that this may be challenging if the cooler is frequently opened. However, it easily keeps ice for a few days. It can be carried by one person and has dimensions similar to the YETI Tundra 45 but weighs slightly more at 29lbs.
- Very good ice retention
- Latches close very tightly
- Even heavier than the YETI Tundra 45
Orca 26 Quart
Orca 26 QuartKey features:
- Capacity: 24 cans - 18 bottles
- Dimensions: 23 5/8" x 17 3/4" x 14 5/8"
- Weight: 25lbs
Why we picked it:
The Orca 26 Quart is another exceptional hard cooler, proudly made in the USA, with dimensions similar to the YETI Tundra 45. It is available in a wide range of colors and sizes. The Orca 26 Quart features a durable, roto-molded construction that makes it nearly indestructible. Its lid system, similar to that of the YETI, ensures a tight closure that keeps the interior cool and fresh even in hot conditions.
One neat feature of the Orca 26 Quart is the small cargo net on the back of the cooler, which allows for the storage of small items. Additionally, like any high-quality fishing cooler, the Orca 26 Quart comes with a drainage spout for easy removal of excess water after a fishing trip or storing your catch.
- American made
- Excellent grip options
- Roto-molded construction for extra durability
- Ice retention not quite on the level of the YETI in our test
Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler
Igloo 52 Qt BMX CoolerKey features:
- Capacity: 83 cans (without ice)
- Dimensions: 25.98 x 16.34 x 16.54 inches
- Weight: 16.4lbs
Why we picked it:
The Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler is a great option if you're looking for a cooler that won't break the bank. While it may not match the sturdiness of the YETI Tundra 45 or the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler, it still offers high-quality features such as secure T-latches. The Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler can keep the interior cool for up to 5 days, making it perfect for shorter trips.
Despite its affordability, this cooler has a large capacity and can hold up to 83 12-oz cans. With a weight of only 16.4lbs, it's easy to carry even when fully loaded. Additionally, the cooler comes with a fish ruler on the lid, adding a convenient extra feature. While its dimensions are comparable to the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler and the YETI Tundra 45, it offers more interior space due to the stronger walls and insulation of its competitors.
- Solid cooling capacities
- Ice retention not at the level of the Orca or YETI (which is expected at this price point)
Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler
Coleman Xtreme 5 CoolerKey features:
- Capacity: Up to 100 cans (without ice)
- Dimensions: 28.25 x 15.75 x 18.25 inches
- Weight: 12.3lbs
Why we picked it:
If you are looking for a high-quality cooler at a budget-friendly price, the Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler is an excellent choice. Although it doesn't feature T-latches like the previous coolers, it still provides great cooling capabilities. It can keep the interior cool for a couple of days.
One of the advantages of this cooler is its large capacity. It can hold up to 100 cans (without ice), making it perfect for longer trips. The top lid of the Coleman Xtreme 5 Cooler also includes built-in cup holders, adding a convenient feature. While it may not be as sturdy as the RTIC 45 QTHard Cooler or the YETI Tundra 45, it is still lightweight at only 12.3lbs, making it easy to carry.
- Thought-through features like the cup holders
- Good for a day out (but not longer)
- Closure system is not the best (no lid closure)
In conclusion, whether you're embarking on an epic fishing adventure or planning a weekend camping trip, having a reliable and durable cooler is essential. With our detailed analysis and top picks for the best fishing coolers on the market in 2023, you can rest assured that your food, drinks, and catch of the day will stay fresh and cool throughout your journey. So, grab a cooler with wheels, pack it up, and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you have the perfect companion for your fishing escapades. Happy fishing!
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