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When you’re camping, it’s important to do a bit of forward-planning. Often food and drinks can go stale or off if standing in the heat for too long, so a good cooler set up can keep things fresh and ready to eat for a number of days.
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best coolers for summer camping on the market at the moment, and we will also look at a few pointers that may guide you when it comes to choosing the right one to buy for your needs.
What type of cooler is best for me?
Portability is a big part of camping, so keeping your requirements in mind and not buying too bulky when buying a cooler is a good idea.
For longer trips, larger boxes might well work best - we’ve included a good few large options here but bear in mind getting them around - we’d definitely recommend if you’re purchasing a larger option to check out a few with telescopic handles and wheels.In terms of insulation, most modern coolers are rated to a high specification and use food and drink safe polyurethane that keeps everything secure inside.
Additionally, many coolers on this list also have durable hinges, seals and latches, so are watertight and dust-proof, adding an extra level of protection to what’s inside.
If you’re looking for something to keep liquids cool when on shorter trips, solo hikes or backcountry wild camps, we’d opt for something a little smaller like the Coleman Performance Jug below. It’ll give you the same performance as larger setups but in a much more portable, personal, carryable unit.
Best coolers for camping at a glance
- Best for tough adventures: Yeti Silo 22.7L Water Cooler
- Best for weekend camps with the kids: Coleman Xtreme 28QT Cooler Box 27L
- Best for short trips: Coleman Performance Jug Cooler 2.8L
- Best for multiple drinks options: Yeti Roadie 24L
- Best for on-the-go-camping: Igloo Latitude 16 Cool Box
- Best for ease-of-use: Icey-Tek 40L Cube Cooler Box
- Best for food storage: Petromax Fully Kitted Cool Box
- Best for long-term storage: Vango E-Pinnacle 40L Cool Box
Yeti products are created with rugged expeditions in mind, so while it’s a little more expensive than some of the others on this list, we’d trust the Silo water cooler with proper adventures.
It’s high-performance credentials go beyond what it’s made out of too - it’s dryhide material and welded seams also work to keep wetness out so you can be sure that no matter what you throw at it, or submerge it in, what’s in the box will stay cool, dry and ready to consume whenever you need it.
If it’s just water you’re after, there’s a handy tap at the bottom, which is a nice touch.
If you have a few more hungry mouths to feed and water, this is another option from Coleman that we think ticks a lot of boxes (if you pardon the expression).
The insulated lid and extra insulation on the walls of the box means that whatever’s inside stays cool for long weekends away, and the large opening means it has a number of different uses - fill it with ice, drinks, or food for the family.
If you’re looking for a cost effective box that still has enough space for snacks for everyone, we’d recommend this.
If you’re just after something to keep water cool when on a weekend hike or camping trip, you can’t go far wrong with this Coleman option.
It can hold 3.8L, so not enough to mean the weight becomes prohibitive, and we think it’d be a great option for casual summer camping when staying hydrated is a priority.
It’s made from Polyurethane Foam, so it’s well-insulated, and although it doesn’t necessarily host quite the same technical specs as other coolers on this list, we’d certainly trust it for those who are looking for a good solution on a budget.
This option, again from Yeti, proves that they’ve thought about their target market and on paper it’s one of our favourite products.
The selling point is that it’s tall enough to fit bottles of wine standing up, at the same time as being diminutive enough to fill the space behind the driver’s seat of the car. Very clever!
As with other Yeti products, it’s also rough, tough and able to withstand anything you can throw at it. It’s available in an array of appealing colours, too.
We really liked this Igloo option as it makes carrying it around large campsites a breeze.
Not only does it have a convenient carry handle on the body of the box itself, it also has a telescopic handle that can be extended much like a suitcase to pull it along by its wheels.
The carrying and towing options notwithstanding, we also think for the price it’s a very worthwhile investment as it benefits from excellent build quality and ruggedness.
Worth noting that it’s not quite as large as some of the other boxes on this list, though.
We really liked the drain plugs on the Icey-Tek cool box that allows for easy cleaning and maintenance. We also liked the fact it’s available in a wide range of colours.
It even can be used as a seat and the brand sells a cushion separately that attaches to the top of the box! It’s a versatile unit - it boasts a strong hinge and is made from a durable material that allows it to hold ice below 5 degrees celsius for nearly 10 days.
If you’re an outdoor chef in waiting, this is definitely the box we’d go for. It comes in 25L or 50L flavours and ships with a number of different accessories - including bottle openers and a basket that slots in so you can keep your food and ingredients separate to your drinks.
At more than £200 it’s an investment, but it’s tough, sturdy and versatile enough to be useful in a range of different camping and outdoor adventure setups.
If you have access to power wherever you’re camping, or perhaps would like a cool box setup for your campervan, this is a great option from Vango as it also boasts an impressive 40L of storage.
It can be powered from either an AC-230V mains socket or by a DC-12V in-car socket, meaning you can keep stuff cool wherever you go.
As a thermoelectric coolbox, it states it can also cool up to 16°C below the ambient temperature, which is impressive, and we also like the fact that it has a telescopic handle and sturdy wheels for ease of use on larger campgrounds.