If you’re planning a long weekend trip to the beach or maybe some lakeside camping, few pieces of equipment are more important than your cooler. Coolers have become as dynamic in both price and use as any other piece of outdoor gear. Regardless of what you want to use your cooler for, or how much you want to spend, the following list of cooler recommendations should help you with your next purchase.
Top Overall Recommendation—ORCA 58 Quart
For years, Yeti has been the undisputed king of coolers, but this model from ORCA has officially dethroned the king. In a test where temperature is measured for length of time below 40 degrees, the ORCA 58 lasted 24 hours longer than the next closest competitor. It has amazing insulation and the handles are incredibly comfortable- making it a great choice for a longer trip into the backwoods (you’re essentially getting an extra day of cold food and beverages). It’s not the cheapest model, but getting several days of ice-keeping ability is well worth it. You can also get the ORCA in smaller or larger sizes to fit your party’s needs.
Top Budget Pick—Coleman Xtreme 5-day 70 qt.
At around $50 for a 70-quart cooler that will keep ice for five days, the Coleman Xtreme 5-day is pretty tough to beat. The insulation capabilities are actually better than some of the higher-end models, and it has some other great features as well. The drain plug functions better than most high-end models and it’s extremely durable for the price. You can also get the Coleman Xtreme in a variety of other sizes, up to a 120 qt. option.
Top Durability Pick—RTIC 65
If you’re looking for a cooler you can give to your toddler when they go off to college, the RTIC 65 is a great choice. It’s on the expensive side, but the durability is second to none. However, even though it used the same roto-molded construction as other high-end models, it’s still on the cheaper side of the “high-end” scale. The insulation and performance are comparable with some of the best coolers on the market, and the fact that this thing will literally last for years and years makes it pretty hard to beat.