What Kind of Camping are You Doing?

If you want to get the best cooler, then first you should identify your needs, then decide whether you should invest in a soft, hard, or a high-end cooler. For one-day camping, choose a soft cooler and for multiple days, choose a hard cooler.

With the advancement in time and technology, now many different types of coolers are available in the market. But one thing you have to keep in mind is that not all coolers are created equal and you should only choose one that fits your needs and budget.

So if you are in the market for a cooler for camping, then this camping cooler buying guide has a lot to offer. In this guide, you will learn how to choose the right cooler for your camping needs. So before jumping into the other main things, you must know about the different types of coolers as it will help you make a better selection.

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Types Of Coolers

1- Soft-Sided Coolers

Soft-side coolers feature a backpack design and the best thing about these coolers is that they are very portable. Soft coolers are made to hold snacks, small meals, drinks for a few people. These types of coolers are generally priced low because they can only keep the food items fresh for 24 to 30 hours, which makes them perfect for picnics, day trips, hiking, or any short trips.

They are not durable and powerful, so if you are only going for camping for one day, then you can go with soft-sided coolers. Though they can easily maintain non-perishable foods, if you are taking perishable foods such as meat or milk, then you have to be very careful and try to keep the temperature below 40 degrees.


2- Hard-Sided Coolers/Standard Coolers

Hare-sided coolers are one of the most popular coolers and they are specially made for people who are planning for a few days camping trip with a small group of people. These types of coolers are budget-friendly and can easily keep the food fresh for one or two days.

However, some good quality hard-sided coolers also come with additional features such as lockdown lids and rubber seals, which improves their ice-retaining capabilities.

They come with good space and if you use them properly, then you can also keep foods safe for 3 to 4 days. Hard-sided coolers come with ergonomic design, which makes them very mobile.


3- Rotomolded Coolers/High-End Coolers

The third category of coolers is rotomolded coolers, which are also known as high-end coolers. As the name suggests, these types of coolers are the most expensive and provide a lot of useful features as compared to other coolers. It is a perfect choice for people who camp for multiple days. So if you are a hardcore camper and need extra ice-keeping power, then you should consider rotomolded coolers.

They are made of high-quality materials and use the best technology to keep your food fresh for many days. They come with amazing durability and can withstand the toughest climatic conditions. However, these coolers are heavy and expensive, but if you are traveling to a place where you cannot replace the ice, then these coolers can be very useful.

After discussing all the basic information regarding different types of coolers, it’s time to discuss the factors that you should consider before choosing a cooler. All these factors will help you choose the right for your kind of camping. So let’s get started.


Factors To Consider To Choose The Right Cooler

1- Size

Size is one of the most important factors that everyone should consider while choosing a cooler for camping. Now to determine what size will be perfect for your needs, you have to ask some questions. The first one is how much food items you want to keep cool and how much space the cooler has.

The majority of coolers are measured in quarts, while the small ones are measured by the number of cans they can hold. Coolers that are less than 25 quarts are good for overnight stays and evening trips. They can easily hold enough food and drinks for a small group.

Though if you are camping with a large group, then you should consider choosing bigger options. You can opt for coolers that are above 75 quartz as they will provide you enough space to store food for more people.


2- Durability

Durability is another very important factor that you should consider. If you are planning for a camping trip where the cooler will remain under the tent all time, then you can choose a regular soft-sided cooler. It is very lightweight and perfect for these situations. On the other side, if you are going for multiple day’s trip through the forests, they should opt for a durable cooler.

However, coolers with tough exteriors are slightly expensive but they can easily survive all types of conditions. Apart from this, most people also use their coolers as chair during longer camping and hiking trips, so if you are also intending to do the same, then you will need a stronger cooler that can withstand your weight.

Though if you are camping in a forest, then you should also make sure that the cooler is bear-resistant. Bears have great smelling powers and the smell of candies and other snacks can attract them as well as other wild animals. And if that happens, then it can cause a lot of damage to you and your campsite, which can also be very dangerous.


3- Portability

It doesn’t matter how useful and advanced the cooler is, if you can’t transport it, then there is no point in buying it. That’s why it is very important to look for coolers that are portable and can easily be shifted here are there. While purchasing the cooler, you should analyze the design well as it is the main factor that affects the portability.

Some smaller coolers come with one-handle design and many bigger coolers come with ropes or side handles that make the transportation easier. There are also some coolers that feature inbuilt wheels for easy mobility. Apart from this, you can also find some coolers with straps and telescopic handles, so it totally depends on your needs.


4- Insulation

Insulation is also a major factor that plays an important role in determining whether the cooler is right for you or not. You should always check the insulation capabilities of the cooler before investing in it. As compared to soft-sided coolers, hard-sided coolers are equipped with better materials, which makes them more efficient for ice retention.

So if you are planning to keep perishable food, then a hard-sided cooler is the right choice for you, especially if you are camping for multiple days. Better insulation and durability are the factors that increase the price of the coolers, but they are worth paying for.

However, traditional coolers will also provide food protection for some hours but higher quality coolers come with a thicker, denser, insulating material, which provides better ice retention.


5- Materials

Though when it comes to material, then only a few options are available but you should be very careful while choosing them. If you talk about the soft-sided coolers, then they are made from fabric and are ideal for short trips. They are very compact and also come with some external pockets to keep smaller items.

Coming to the hard-sided coolers, they are available in different materials such as metal or plastic. These materials provide better insulation, which helps in keeping your food cold for a longer period. However, these coolers come with amazing space but you also have to arrange some extra space.


6- Additional Features

Some years back, cooler systems were used to be very simple but now they come with different features. So once you have a made of list of some good coolers, you should start filtering them on the basis of additional features. There are some coolers that feature a locking mechanism.

This feature is mostly available on bear-resistant coolers, so if you are camping in the wild, then these types of coolers would be better for you. Apart from this, you should also look for coolers that come with a pop-up draining system. This makes it very easy to remove all the melted ice and saves you from putting extra work and time.


Final Thoughts

Choosing the right cooler is very important as it can affect your entire camping journey. To get the best cooler, you must identify your needs first, then make any decision. It’s not necessary that you have to put a lot of money, you just need to research well, and come up with a one that can keep your food cool without for the required period.

Apart from this, you should also choose the right sized cooler, so you won’t have to put extra efforts and energy into transferring it. At last, you should only buy a cooler from a company that is known for providing quality products. I hope this article will solve some of your doubts and queries.