With summer in full swing, now is the best time to assess your cooler situation. Whether you’re looking to lug your favorite beers to a tailgate or perishable sundries on your next adventure, you need a great cooler. There’s a decent chance you could use an upgrade so we’ve refreshed this list with a collection of the best coolers for summer and beyond. Whether you want portability, durability, capacity, or affordability, there’s at least one cooler on this list that will check all the boxes for you.
The Best Coolers For Summer
The Best of the Best: Yeti Tundra 45 Hard Cooler
We’re willing to bet that most of you had never heard of rotomolding–the process of heating a mold, filling it with material, and rotating it for even thickness–ten years ago. Rotomolded coolers are the standard these days. They can keep ice for up to 10 days. They’re durable enough to toss around without breaking. Oh yeah, and they’re bear-proof. Yeti is the brand that made it happen, and they’re the gold standard to this day. The Tundra 45 has the same straightforward design and bulletproof functionality that built the empire with just the right amount of space for a weekend away.
The Best Classic Cooler: Coleman 54 Quart Steel Belted Cooler
Does this cooler look exactly like the vintage cooler you used to pull juice boxes out of when you were a kid? Absolutely, and that’s exactly why we love it. The Coleman Steel Belted Cooler is a classic that holds up to this day. With enough space for 85 cans and the ability to retain ice for up to 4 days, this iconic cooler with a painted steel body performs in both the function and form departments.
The Best Backpack Cooler: IceMule Pro Cooler 23L
What Yeti is to hard-sided coolers, IceMule is to backpack coolers. They’re built with an extra-tough 1000-denier tarpaulin exterior and a heavy-duty inner layer that’s twice as thick as most soft-sided options. With a roll-top design and padded straps, they’re easy to carry and access even when you’re in the backcountry. We like the Pro Cooler 23L because it holds up to 18 cans with ice and keeps it cool for up to a day. It’s also great for the boat or the lake because it floats.
Best Cooler for ALL of the Beer: RTIC 145 QT Hard Cooler
When you’re going to be using your cooler as an outdoor refrigerator at base camp, you need something spacious, durable, and well-insulated. That’s where this rotomolded RTIC 145 QT comes in. With enough interior space for more than six full cases of beer and ice, you’ll have plenty of room for everything. It’ll keep ice up to 10 days, has an integrated locking system, and can be used as a bench or tabletop if necessary.
Best Rolling Cooler: RovR RollR 60 Cooler
RovR broke big a couple years ago after a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that promised “the most feature-packed cooler ever!” They delivered and then some. This is the best rolling cooler out there. Big, chunky, 9″ all-terrain rubber tires make it a breeze to navigate everything from pavement to sand. It also has a clever pull beside handle so you never again have to worry about hitting the backs of your legs when you’re moving it.
Best Cooler For Your Boat: Igloo Leeward 72QT Marine Cooler
Igloo has come a long way since the flip-top Playmate coolers you probably remember. Their new line of Leeward Marine Coolers are their most rugged and durable options to date, which makes them the best boat coolers around. Ultratherm Technology keeps food, beverages, and your catch cold for up to 5 days. It even has body armor on the corners and tie-down brackets to make sure everything stays put regardless of how fast you’re going.
Best Yeti Alternative: Xspec 60QT Rotomolded Cooler
There are a lot of brands that have knocked off Yeti designs over the years. Few of them deliver like this Xspec 60QT Rotomolded Cooler. It’s built with the same technology, amount of insulation, and features that make rotomolded coolers so effective and popular. The only real difference is the Xspec costs around thirty percent less which gives you some extra cash for beer and meat.
Best Cooler for Alone Time: Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler
The Yeti Roadie 24 is nowhere near the largest option on this list, and that’s a good thing. Whatever it lacks in size, it more than makes up for durability, portability, and versatility. The perfect personal adventure cooler, the Roadie combines Yeti quality with enough space for the day’s food, drinks, and ice—without being cumbersome. Bonus points because it doubles as a seat when you need a break or want to fish.
Best Budget Cooler: REI Co-op Pack-Away 24 Soft Cooler
As much as we try to plan things in advance, you never know when the mood for a picnic or a day at the beach is gonna strike. Skip the styrofoam coolers you can buy at the convenience store or the bodega in favor of this Rei Co-op soft cooler. With enough space for the essentials for the whole family, this has you covered time and time again. Even better, it folds flat so you can tuck it away in your trunk so you’re ready to go whenever the mood strikes.
The Best Soft Cooler: OtterBox Trooper LT Cooler
The biggest problems with soft coolers are durability, leaking and ice retention. OtterBox took their decades of experience in phone protection and used it to fix all those soft cooler problems. The OtterBox Trooper LT Cooler combines a soft cooler body with a reinforced base and hard top to save on weight without sacrificing durability. Factor in space for 28 cans, a leakproof seal, 3 days of ice retention and an accessory mounting system and you have the recipe for a cooler that will last a lifetime.