Best Cooler For Camping – Expert Review

Updated: February 12, 2024

Looking for the perfect cooler to take with you on your next camping trip? 

The best camping cooler overall is definitely the Yeti Tundra 65. It's spacious, durable and dry-ice compatible to keep your food and drinks (up to 39 cans and a quartered deer, thank you very much!) cool and fresh for longer. 

Then there's the Pelican Elite 50 Quart. The Pelican is loads cheaper than the Yeti (the camp cooler, not the mythical monster) and retains ice really well. What I also love about it is that it has some nifty extras like a stainless-steel bottle opener and 4 cup holders. 

This comprehensive guide will help you choose the best cooler based on your needs.

Best Camping Cooler

Best Overall

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, Desert Tan

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Engel Coolers ENG65 Cooler | 70 Can High Performance Durable Seamless Rotationally Molded Ice Box for Camping, Hunting, and Fishing - White

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Best Ice Chests for Camping

We reviewed over 12 campers for coolers for this article. Below are the best coolers for camping that made our short list.

  1. Yeti Tundra 65 - Best Overall
  2. Coleman 70 Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler - Best Value
  3. Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65 - Best Lightweight
  4. Outdoor Recreational Company of America Cooler
  5. Pelican Elite 50 Quart

Read our complete buyers guide for camping coolers.

Best Camping Ice Chests

1. Yeti Tundra 65

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler, Desert Tan

5/5 Overall Rating

YETI Tundra 65 Cooler weighs 27lbs when empty and measures 16”x30.5”x17.5”.

Its roto-molded exterior means it is virtually indestructible. Its interior has 3” of pressure injected polyurethane foam that provides PermaFrost insulation, coupled with an all-around brim seal and interlocking cover helps to keep ice for over 7 days.

The cooler is fitted with non-slip feet and anchor points for easy fastening during transit. It has easy handle side-grips and has extendable military-grade polyester rope handles to allow two people to carry it.

The extra thick FatWall is certified bear resistant which is always helpful when you are camping in areas bears are known to roam. The T-Rex Lid Latches are constructed from heavy-duty rubber and made with patented technology to ensure you’ll never have to deal with a broken latch again.

Main Features
  • FatWall design
  • PermaFrost insulation
  • Roto-molded construction
  • T-Rex Lid Latches
  • Interlock lid system
  • Double haul handles
  • Anchor point tie-down slots
  • Coldlock gasket
  • Vortex drain system
  • Never fail hinge system
  • Lipgrip handles
  • Bearfoot non-slip feet
What we like
  • Durable
  • Thick polyurethane insulation walls allow for a long ice retention period
  • Airtight lock which reduces cold air leaks
  • Easy to carry
  • 2-hinge system prevents breakages
  • Bear resistant
What we dislike
  • No cup holders on top of the lid
  • Expensive
Key Takeaway

The Yeti brand has an exceptional reputation and Tundra 65 Cooler is no exception. You can be sure to rely on this cooler to not only keep your food and drinks cool, but also be durable and easy to handle. This cooler has very few faults, you can’t go wrong.

2. Coleman 70 Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler

Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme 5-Day Heavy-Duty Cooler, Blue

4/5 Overall Rating

Like Yeti, Coleman have a fantastic reputation when it comes to coolers. The Coleman 70 Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler is a great option if you are looking for a quality cooler on a budget. The cooler measures at 29”x15.8”x18.2” and weighs only 14.2lbs, meaning it is fairly light as far as coolers go. Its 70-quart capacity is the equivalent to 100 standard cans.

The Xtreme insulation technology allows for ice retention of 5 days, even in 90-degree Fahrenheit weather. The cooler has a leak proof drain channel and comfortable handle grips. It has an EZ clean lid, which means it has a smoother surface that is easier to clean.

Its drain channel allows for easy draining without having to tilt the cooler. Another bonus of this cooler is its Have-A-Seat lid which can hold up to 250lbs and can be used as either a seat or a table top. The cooler also has cup holders and comes in a variety of colours to suit your preferences.

Main Features
  • 70-quart capacity
  • Have-A-Seat lid that can hold up to 250lbs
  • 4 built-in drink holders
  • Xtreme insulation technology
  • CFC, HFC, HCFE-free insulation
What we like
  • EZ clean lid
  • Cup holders
  • Have-A-Seat lid
  • Easy to drain
  • Cheap
  • Firm and comfortable grips
What we dislike
  • Poor locking system means it may not be suitable to transport in rugged locations as the lid may pop open
Key Takeaway

The Coleman 70 Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler meets the essential requirements you’d want from a cooler, with a few added features like the cup holders and Have-A-Seat lid. A fantastic option if you are looking for functionality on a budget.

3. Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65

Engel Coolers ENG65 Cooler | 70 Can High Performance Durable Seamless Rotationally Molded Ice Box for Camping, Hunting, and Fishing - White

4.5/5 Overall Rating

At 11.38lbs the Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65 is exceptionally light, making it easy to carry and transport.  Its roto-molded construction gives it structural surface strength. It has a 2” thick polyurethane foam that insulates against heat loss and gives an impressive ice retention period of 10 days.

Its ice retention ability is further enhanced by its silicone seal and marine-grade compression latches which ensure an airtight lock. This is a serious cooler for those looking to keep food for more than a week in rugged backcountry conditions.

The cooler is IGBC certified as bear resistant to protect your food and drinks from those pesky grizzlies. It has side handles and extendable ropes making it easy for two people to carry. This cooler is virtually indestructible and is built to last. 

Main Features
  • Silicone airtight gasket
  • Adjustable recessed marine-grade compression latches which ensures zero cold air gets transferred to the outside world
  • UV resistant construction
  • Dry ice compatible
  • Non-marking rubber feet
  • Anvil hinge – keeps lid upright when opened
What we like
  • Durable
  • Impressive ice retention
  • Bear resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
What we dislike
  • It does not come with any accessories
  • Does not have cup holders
Key Takeaway

This cooler is lightweight, bear resistant with a very impressive ice retention period. You really cannot go wrong with the Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG65.

4. ORCA 2 Cooler

ORCA 20 Cooler, Seafoam

4/5 Overall Rating

The ORCA 20 is a fantastic cooler, and even better, it is produced in the US.

The cooler measures at 14 x 10 x 11 inches and weighs 18lbs, making it a little heavier than the other options, but still light enough to transport and carry with ease.

The cooler has a roto-molded exterior, making it rugged and durable. It has a 3” integrated insulation wall made of foam to allow for an amazing ice retention period of up to 10 days.

It also has T-Rex latches for secure and easy closure. It comes with a top handle for easy carrying and has non-slip rubber feet to ensure it stays put during transit. The Outdoor Recreational Company of America Cooler is easily one of the best roto-molded coolers on the market.

The cooler also has an attached cargo net for extra storage. One of the best features of this cooler is its impressive lifetime warranty.

Main Features
  • Roto-molded exterior
  • Non-slip rubber feet
  • 3” Integrated foam insulation wall
  • T-Rex latches
  • Attached cargo net for extra storage
  • Top handle for easy carrying. Flex-grip handles
  • 75-quart capacity
  • Whale-tail rubber latches
  • Commercial grade rubber gasket
  • Bear resistant
  • Sleek design
What we like
  • Durable and rugged
  • Lengthy ice retention period
  • Quick lock and release latches make it easy to open and close
  • Made in America
  • Lifetime warranty
What we dislike
  • No drain cap
Key Takeaway

What better way to support American businesses than with a product that is actually well worth buying. The ORCA 20 has tough as nails construction with great ice retention. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

5. Pelican Elite 50 Quart

Pelican Elite 50 Quart Cooler (White/Grey)

4/5 Overall Rating

The Pelican Elite 50 Quart measures at 30”x20.3”x20.4” and weighs 31lbs, which although not light for a camping cooler is light enough to carry with ease. The cooler also comes in a range of fun colours to suit what you like.

Its body and handles are made of polypropylene and is rugged and durable, it is sure to handle the elements well. It has 2” thick polyurethane insulation and all-around the brim seal, meaning it is airtight and has an ice retention period of 10 days, perfect if you plan on camping for more than one week.

The Pelican Elite 50 Quart Cooler also has some fun features like 4 self-draining drink-holder, a stainless-steel bottle opener and integrated measuring board. This is a durable, high performing cooler than was created to last a lifetime.

Main Features
  • 3” locking latches
  • Reinforced lockable hasp
  • Stainless steel bottle opener
  • Anti-shear hinge system
  • Molded-in tie-down slots
  • 4 self-draining cup holders
  • Non-skid rubber feet
  • 50-quart capacity
  • 360-degree freezer-grade gasket
  • Drain cap
What we like
  • Quick and easy latch locking system
  • Bottle opener
  • Cup holders
  • Strong handles and slots for proper fastening
  • Durable
  • 10-day ice retention
What we dislike
  • Heavy
Key Takeaway

Although at 31lbs, the Pelican Elite 50 Quart cooler is a little heavier than desired, other than that it cannot be faulted. It will keep your food cold and safe for the duration of your camping excursion.

Buyer’s Guide For The Best Camping Coolers

There are many important considerations to make when purchasing a camping cooler as your regular, run of the mill barbeque cooler may not be up to the task.


Insulation is perhaps the most important quality to look for in a camping cooler. If you are camping, you intend on staying at least a few days in the wilderness and you need a cooler that is guaranteed to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold. 

Thick Polyurethane insulation should do the trick of keeping things cool for a good few days. It is also important that the lid has an airtight closure, to prevent any cool air from escaping. Good, strong latches are therefore also important.


The cooler needs to be made of robust and durable material in order to handle exposure to the weather and other outdoor conditions.

Roto-molding is something to look out for as it ensures the exterior of the cooler is tough enough to handle rough conditions. Flimsy handles and lids also won’t do.


You want your cooler to be fairly light as you will have to transport and carry it to your camp site.

You don’t want to be struggling to offload it from your car and then carry it a far distance. You want a cooler you can confidently carry to your campsite from your mode of transport.


The size of your cooler is completely dependent on your needs. If you are planning on a trip that spans several days you will need a bigger cooler than if you had just planned on an overnight trip.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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