Going Camping? Here's what you need to know when choosing a cooler.

Camping cooler? Let’s be real, a lot of the time when we go camping it is not to an extremely remote location in the wilderness which takes days of hiking to get to. For most camping experiences you will be bringing along lots of food, drinks and snacks to keep you going. After all, making a campfire and cooking is part of the experience. 

To make sure that you are able to keep everything cold from big to small, food to wine to water, we have made a breakdown of coolers that will make your camping experience better! There are many things to consider when it comes to a cooler, such as ice retention, volume, weight and of course this all depends on what you are using it for and your needs. Let’s start with:

What type of Camping Coolers are there?

1. Hard Coolers

Designed to be tough and endure rough conditions like being dropped, beaten and attacked by wild animals. Cold Coolers have a hard outer shell and come in many different shapes and sizes. Many of the bigger ones have wheels which you will need if going for a large size. Great for backyard barbecues or trekking out to the beach.

which cooler

2. Soft Coolers

With a soft outside these coolers are usually lightweight and easy to carry around, bonus points for portability! Think of cooler bags with an over the shoulder handle or a backpack. These coolers are recommended for day activities, such as a barbecue, outdoor concert or sporting event. You wouldn’t stock a whole weekend’s worth of food into a soft cooler, it’s more like a daypack for the beers. 

backpack cooler

3. Powered Coolers

You can compare this to a mini portable freezer. Usually it comes with a plug so you can hook it up to a power outlet wherever you are. Usually these are quite expensive. If you are a road trip junky then this would be the cooler for you! Electric coolers are able to keep everything cold while powering up through the car.

Keeping drinks cold does not need to come at the cost of the planet. With coolers made out of biodegradable materials and no plastic cooler option there is no need to harm nature. By eliminating small plastic bags of ice you are already being more eco conscious.

eco friendly cooler

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What size cooler should I get when camping?

  1. Personal Size Coolers

Keeping your home brought lunch cold can be a challenge so using a small cooler that fits a snack, drink and your lunch is a great way to keep your lunch cold over time. Other than bag coolers there are a variety of small coolers out there. If you are just wanting to cool a single beer can or a bottle of wine there are small coolers on the market which are very efficient in keeping that temperature low. 

We are all familiar with the neoprene covers for bottles and cans that have funky prints or logos on them. The newer type of coolers on the market have freezer bullets, integrated or removable, that absorb a tremendous amount of cold and have a slow release giving off cold for hours. Check out Coolenator’s range of coolers if you are looking for bottle coolers.

2. Small Coolers

Need a little more room than the one meal pack then opt for a cooler that is about 20 to 35 liters. With this size you could pack for a day trip for about 4 people. Great for a picnic. For a couple you could go a weekend with this size, if you are not a big drinker that is! Around 20 liters would fit an average of 30 cans in the bag. With two campers you could have a drinks bag and a food bag to split it up. This way you won’t need to be dragging a large cooler around and you will stay mobile.

3. Medium Coolers

Not too big, not too small! Catering for a few meals for a couple or a full day outing for a family at the beach. 

4. Large Coolers

If you have regular garden parties and want a second fridge to keep lots of bottles and/or cans cold then investing in a large cooler can be very convenient. Fishers can use large coolers to keep their catch fresh. Make sure you check out lightweight options if you are going to be taking it camping or fishing.

What do you want out of a cooler?

Now it’s clear what type and size of coolers are available. It’s important to factor in your needs. Does the cooler need to be easy to carry? You would think the bigger than better but the bigger the cooler the harder it is going to be to carry. Especially if it is filled with booze, food and ice cubes. If you do choose to go for a large cooler make sure it has wheels on it. 

Another important point to think of is how versatile you want your cooler to be. Some come with a temperature gauge, cup holders, bottle openers or baskets. Remember sometimes 2 coolers are better than one. If you organize the cooler properly you can make sure that you don’t open both of them constantly. Most likely you will be opening the drinks cooler more often than the cooler holding the food. Which means that the ice in the food cooler will not melt as quickly therefore cooling for longer. 

Keeping in mind one of the most important factors to check before buying a cooler is the insulation. Yes we all like a cooler that is pleasing on the eyes but a cooler that works properly and keeps our drinks and food cold is the end goal! Typically coolers work by the walls being insulated with foam. Nowadays there are many innovative ways to keep the cold insulated. Check out how to keep drinks cold while travelling?

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