Travel & Adventure

Best Coolers In 2024: ORCA vs RTIC vs YETI vs Ozark vs Igloo vs Coleman & More!

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You reach in the cooler for a cold brewski and discover that all of your ice is melted and your beer is lukewarm at best. No one likes a warm beer (or wasted food). Keep your six-pack and other produce colder longer with an upgraded cooler and premium ice chests.

Best Coolers With Wheels: Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler Review

Igloo Marine Breeze Roller Cooler

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This 28-quart Igloo cooler is made of polypropylene and can be easily transported thanks to its wheels. It has UV inhibitors to protect the contents from sun damage. It has a relatively low price point compared to its competitors and it can comfortably fit into your car’s trunk or the backseat of your vehicle.

  • UV inhibitors
  • Telescoping handle
  • Cool riser technology
  • 41 can capacity
  • Soft wheels won’t mark up a boat’s surface
  • Drain plug
  • Claims to keep ice solid for up to 3 days
  • Doesn’t roll on sand well


Best Cooler For Road Trips: Ozark Trail Review

Ozark Trail Premium

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This Ozark Trail soft sided cooler is small enough to fit in your vehicle’s backseat for your next road trip. This cooler includes a shoulder strap for hands-free carrying and side handles for sturdy control. It has a side pocket where you can put snacks, like granola bars, that you can quickly grab. It also has dual bottle openers.

  • 36 can capacity
  • Can hold ice for a couple of days depending on the weather
  • Complaints of the cooler leaking


Best 20 Qt Cooler: ORCA Review


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Customers rave about this 20-quart cooler from ORCA stating it holds ice for around 5 days consistently. The construction of this cooler is highly durable and made in the United States. Many customers have said they leave this cooler in their vehicle filled with beverages for up to a week and it performs great.

  • 24 can capacity and some ice
  • Made in the USA
  • Lid gasket ensures a tight seal
  • A few complaints of ice melting after 1 day


Best Cooler For Ice Retention: YETI 75 Tundra Review

YETI Tundra

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The YETI Tundra is one of the best coolers for keeping ice thanks to the 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation. YETI has an excellent reputation for constructing high-quality coolers that can be used for backyard BBQs or backcountry adventures. These are known to be some of the best high end, heavy duty coolers.

The number of days the YETI will keep ice depends on the weather, but many reviews claimed theirs had ice for 6 days. The only “complaint” we could find is that these coolers can get expensive, but we feel that for the quality of the product, it’s worth it.

  • Permafrost insulation
  • 50 can capacity
  • Bear-resistant
  • Durable T-Rex Lid Latches are heavy-duty
  • Drain plug
  • Includes a dry goods basket
  • Many reviews say it holds ice for 6 days
  • None found


Best Cheap Cooler: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler Review

Arctic Zone

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This cooler is available in 4 different sizes: 9, 16, 30 and 48 can and the best cooler for the money. You can get the size you need and at a reasonable price. It has a zipperless lid, which helps keep it from leaking. It also has a SmartShelf, which lets you keep heavier, hard objects (like cans) away from softer objects (like sandwiches). It has a Rhino-Tech exterior which is stain and water resistant and easy to clean.

  • Insulated exterior pocket
  • Claims that the 16 can size holds ice after 2 days and the 30 and 48 can sizes hold ice after 3 days
  • SmartShelf
  • Complaints of it not keeping ice from melting


Best Beach Cooler: Coleman Xtreme Series 50 Quart Review

Coleman Xtreme

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You want your beach cooler to be able to roll on sand, if possible. The trouble with sand is that the looser it is, the harder it is to wheel a cooler. Sand that is more packed down is easier to roll your cooler on and we think this Coleman Xtreme is your best shot at getting your cold drinks out on the beach.

The insulated cooler can hold ice for up to 5 days in temperatures up to 90°F. The lid also has 4 cup holders molded into it, so you don’t have to worry about spilling your drink or kicking sand into it accidentally.

  • Telescoping handle
  • 84 can capacity
  • 2 wheels
  • Drain plug
  • Claims to hold ice up to 5 days
  • 4 cup holders in the lid
  • Complaints of the durability of this cooler


Best Cooler For Camping: RTIC Cooler Review

RTIC Cooler

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When you’re camping, you want to pack as few items as possible because you’re limited on space in your vehicle and you don’t want to extend the setup time. This cooler can be used as a bench, non-slip step stool, tabletop and cutting board in addition to storing your cold items. This RTIC cooler is commonly used for camping, fishing, boating, tailgating and more.

  • 36 can capacity
  • Drain plug
  • Keeps ice for about 5 days, depending on use and weather
  • Multi-purpose
  • Impact resistant
  • Some customers have received coolers with faulty pieces


The Art Of Packing Your Cooler

I’ve gone on many camping trips and let me tell you, the weather and the way we pack our cooler makes a huge difference in how long the ice lasts for us. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Freeze Milk Jugs

Save some milk jugs and fill them 3/4 of the way and freeze them. Not only does this save you money on ice but it also lasts longer than all those little cubes of ice. The downside of this is you may not have enough space in your cooler for frozen milk jugs, so this may not be an option every time.

Play Tetris

I’m totally guilty of packing the cooler by throwing everything into it and calling it good. The times I’ve packed the cooler this way are the times the cooler doesn’t retain it’s cold temperature as well.

I’ll admit, my husband is way better at this than I am (but to be clear, it’s not something I want to be great at ha!). Having everything organized and tight together helps keep everything cold. Plus, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for after everything’s covered in ice.

Chill Your Cooler

We keep our coolers in the garage, but before we go on a trip (typically during the summer), we bring a cooler inside to cool it down some. This can improve the ice retention drastically, especially when it’s 95°F outside and 70°F in the house.

If you’re using your cooler in the winter, we’d suggest the opposite. Stick your cooler outside and then pack it instead of having it warm and cozy in your house at 70°F.

Pack Things Frozen

If you’re packing water or other non-carbonated beverages, consider freezing them ahead of time. You may not want to do this for all your beverages and this will depend on the length of your trip (you probably don’t want to freeze your drinks for a day trip).

You can also freeze meat that you don’t plan on cooking until your third or fourth day. It will thaw over time and also help keep everything in the cooler cold.

Keep It Closed

You know what you packed in your cooler. Don’t open it up and stare into it like we all tend to do with our refrigerators as if we have no idea what we purchased for groceries that week. Keep that thing closed to help it retain its cold temperature unless you know exactly what you’re getting out.

Place It In The Shade

This is a big one that you might not think about. Having your cooler in the shade can help retain that ice for a more extended period.

Use A Separate Cooler For Food And Drinks

If you’ve got the space, pack your drinks and food separately. You’re more apt to reach into your cooler for an ice-cold beverage than for food. By keeping them separate you’re opening up your food cooler less and keeping that ice longer.

How To Clean A Cooler (Video)

Below is a quick video showing you how to clean a cooler. Remember after it’s clean to leave it out and open to air dry. The slightest bit of water can create a perfect environment for mold.

More Cool Tips: Are You Going Camping?

If you plan on camping, a cooler isn’t the only item you’ll need to pack. Take a look at the best tents available as well as an overall camping gear checklist to make sure you don’t leave home without the essentials.

Decide on a cooler? Let us know which one in the comments!

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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