It’s important to have a good quality ice chest or camping cooler when you are camping to keep your food fresh, to keep your ice for many days, and to keep your beverages cold. The cheap low end cooler will only keep ice for a day or two, but these high quality coolers can keep your ice for five to seven days, to last your whole camping trip without having to make trips down to the store to buy more ice.
Ice Chest Features to Look For:
1.Size - Big enough for all your food and drinks 2.Durability - Strong enough to last year after year 3.Insulation - Well insulated to keep your stuff cold and so your ice will last 4.Convenience - Wheels, or lightening as an example can be a nice addition
#1 Cooler Size
The size of the cooler is important, from both a “big enough” and a “small enough” perspective. A large cooler is great so that it can hold all your food, and drinks, as well as a big block of ice, and lots of ice around your perishables. If you are limited on space, and don’t carry much in your cooler, you may opt for the smaller sized coolers to save on space and weight if you have to carry it for a distance.
#2 Cooler Durability
One of the worst things you can do is to buy a cooler that won’t last more than a season or two. The typical thing that breaks on a cooler is the hinges and the clamp that keeps the cooler closed. The higher end coolers will have these parts made with metal for durability as the typical plastic ones will break over time. Then if you are like me, you will lose your cooler lid on the way to your camping destination. The good news for this is that they do sell after market hinges and brackets that you can add to your cooler that will run you about twenty to forty bucks, if you break your plastic hinges, so that you can replace them.
#3 Cooler Insulation
A higher end ice chest will be thicker and have more insulation so that your ice can last five to seven days, depending on the model. Buying a higher quality cooler with more insulation is worth the up front cost, because it will save you money in the long run by not having to buy so much ice and not have to make several trips to the store while you are on your camping trip. It is so worth it!
#4 Cooler Convenience
There are some additional features that are nice to haves if you are looking for some extra convenience or ambiance items. A few examples are wheels, to help you wheel your ice chest around instead of carrying all the extra weight in your arms. Lighting is very nice to have, though a nice headlamp will also do the trick. It is also nice to have trays, dividers, or a split lid, depending on how you prefer to use your cooler. A seat cushion on top of the cooler is also a nice to have feature so you can have an extra seat around the camp fire, on your boat, or when you are fishing from shore on your favorite lake.
YETI® Tundra® 65 Cooler
The YETI® Tundra® 65 Cooler will keep your food and drinks colder for a longer period of time than most other coolers on the market. It’s more durable too, with it’s molded in, full length, self stopping hinges that you will never have to replace. Unlike those cheap ice chests that you grew up with where you had to constantly replace your ice chest or it’s hinges. It features two inches of polyurethane foam insulation in the walls and lid, along with a freezer quality sealing gasket to lock in the cold for extraordinarily long term ice retention. YETI Tundra ice chests have been thoroughly, and successfully tested, as a bear resistant container for use on public lands occupied by grizzlies or other bears.
Igloo BMX 52 Quart Cooler
The Igloo® BMX 52 Quart Cooler is ready for your roughest adventures! It is very durable with its thick foam walls and an insulated lid pair with Cool Riser Technology® that creates space between hot surfaces and the cooler to deliver exceptional cooling. It will keep your ice colde for up to five days in 90 degree temps. The rubberized T-latches lock the lid closed, while large hinges and stainless steel screws stand up to years of opening and closing without breaking on you like those other brands. The swing up handles are reinforced with stainless steel, and have rubber grips for nonslip transport. Added UV inhibitors to help ensure it will stand up to blistering sun and a built in ruler so you can measure your catch. Comes with a manufacturers 3 year warranty to give you that assurance that you are investing in a cooler that will last.
Coleman 316 Series 52 Quart Cooler
The Coleman® 316 Series™ 52 Quart Cooler has plenty of room for your food and drinks for a day at the beach with your family and friends. It is also the perfect size for a quick overnight adventure, or a family party at home to hold the drinks for your get together. It can hold ice for up to 3 days in temperatures reaching 90°F,. It has swing up handles for easy carrying. It has molded cup holders which makes it perfect for tailgating, or putting in between your lawn chairs camping. Molded-in cup holders in the lid fit up to a 30-oz. tumbler, ensuring your drink doesn't end up on the ground. If you need to take a seat, the Have-A-Seat™ lid supports up to 250 lbs.About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Ice Chest Cooler Shopping Experience Awaits!