Coolers: You can’t leave home without them. Well, you can, but then you’ll be sad because you don’t have any cold drinks or decent food once mealtime rolls around. Coolers are an integral component of any outdoor adventure ranging from camping to floating, but it’s a bummer when they don’t perform as promised. We’ve rounded up some of the best options, and can assure you that your beers will stay cool until you finish that last day hike.
Did you know Otterbox—creator of the smash-proof phone case—is in the cooler market now? They are and they’re doing it quite well. The Venture 25 is a great pick for day adventures. The brand promises to keep ice for up to ten days, and while I can’t speak to that, I can say we left our protein shakes sitting inside for five days while locked in a hot car. We returned to the trailhead parched after a long backpacking adventure and were overjoyed to find icy-cold chocolate protein ready and waiting. Bonus: A nylon plug at the base makes it easy to drain out melted water.
Sometimes you want a portable cooler to accommodate life on the go, and that’s where the Hopper comes into play. This soft-sided cooler has a shoulder strap and enough space for 23 cans of beer (Yes, they measures, and yes, I verified). A wide opening makes it easier to load that past iterations, but the waterproof zipper is still tough to pull.
If a backpack is more up your alley, the Frostbite may be your jam. The top half is a business-as-usual backpack, but the bottom section unzips to expose a clamshell cooler compartment big enough for a six-pack of cans. When packed appropriately, Mountainsmith promises up to 12 hours of chilled goodness. My back is already thanking me.
Tubers rejoice! The Aqua Oasis is an admittedly bright solution to your floating problems. This insulated, leak-proof cooler fits in the center of an inflatable base, holding up to 24 cans. Of course, the base itself has six drink holders (marked with numbers to avoid confusion) so you can easily grab a drink from the cooler and stash it in the cup holder while floating down the Yampa.
I’ll be honest: the Coleman won’t keep your cans cold as long as the Yeti or Otterbox above, but you know what? Sometimes you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on gear. When that’s the case, the Coleman Steel-Belted is a great option. It is large enough to hold 85 cans and tall enough to stash upright two-liter jugs inside. Plus, the sleek stainless steel siding looks cool.
It’s a bit different than the rest on this list but this combo truly does make your life better. The seven-quart cooler locks the 1.5-quart Classic Vacuum Bottle inside the compartmentalized interior. For those who like to pack a lunch, this set is the absolutely best way to keep your meal organized, chilled, and ready to go.