10 Best Coolers of 2024

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A woman and a puppy sitting in a float tube next to the Rovr Rollr 60 cooler at the river's edge
Rovr Rollr 60 – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Tasty food, cold drinks, and the great outdoors – the perfect summer trifecta! Whether you’re heading out for a picnic at your favorite watering hole, or a full-blown expedition into 4WD country, a quality cooler makes all the difference. There are a lot of options out there, but don’t worry, we did the hard part for you.

Our experienced team of testers rounded up over 20 of the most raved-about coolers on the market and put them to the test. We compared chill chests based on price, insulation, durability, and portability to gauge which coolers truly are the best. Keep reading to find the best cooler for your adventures.

If you relish honing your camping culinary skills, you’ll want to pick up one of our favorite stoves. And once the meal is prepped and ready to eat, you can really make your setup feel like home with a camping table and chairs for the whole crew.

Quick Picks for Coolers

Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

Best cooler overall: Coleman 316 Series 70 Quart ($85)

Spacious, stylish cooler with a value price: Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler ($200)

Best insulated cooler for the price: RTIC 65 ($290)

Best soft cooler: YETI Hopper Flip 12 ($250)

Best waterproof backpack cooler: IceMule BOSS ($375)

Durable & well-insulated cooler for long trips: YETI Tundra 65 ($350)

Budget soft cooler for day trips: REI Packaway 24 Soft Cooler ($55)

Best value soft cooler: Hydro Flask Carry Out 20L ($90)

Most durable cooler: Pelican 50QT Elite ($300)

Highly-insulated cooler with wheels: Rovr Rollr 60 ($450)

What’s new

The CleverHiker team has been on countless camping trips to test how the newest coolers on the market stack up against our favorites, and our list has seen some big changes:

  • The Coleman 316 Series 70 qt is a great choice for short trips, and takes the number one spot for it’s balance of low weight, affordability, and excellent performance.

  • We love the retro look and giant interior of the Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler. It offers unrivaled durability thanks to a sleek metal exterior, and you’ll have plenty of room for all your food and drinks over a long weekend.

  • The roto-molded RTIC 65 cooler offers an outstanding bang for your buck with top-tier durability and performance (it can keep ice up to 10 days!) at an excellent price point.

  • The REI Packaway 24 Soft Cooler is our top pick for a portable, soft-side cooler ideal for lunches and day trips. It can be carried like a bag when full, but folds flat when not in use.

Coleman 316 SERIES 70 Quart

Best cooler overall

Price: $85

Empty Weight: 12 lb. 6 oz.

Volume: 66.2 L

Sizes: 52, 70, 120, 150, wheeled


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Ample interior space
  • Retains ice for up to five days
  • Built-in cupholders


  • No latch to keep closed
  • Not as durable as some

It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get a great cooler. The Coleman 316 Series 70 qt is very effective at keeping things cold for multiple days, and it gave the more expensive coolers a real run for their money in our performance tests. If you’re looking for a no-frills option with some serious volume, this is the cooler for you.

Of all the coolers we own, the Xtreme is the one we tend to use the most because it’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and has plenty of interior space. It even has built-in cupholders, so it can double as a convenient side table between two chairs. And, it’s durable enough – season after season, this cooler keeps performing.

It may not be as rugged as some of the fancy rotomolded coolers out there, but it covers our needs for most trips without being overkill, and it’s a fantastic value.

Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

Spacious & stylish cooler with a value price

Price: $200

Empty Weight: 15 lb. 11 oz.

Volume: 54 qt


  • Durable metal exterior
  • Lightweight
  • Ample interior space
  • Stylish vintage details
  • Keeps ice up to 4 days
  • Portable


  • Less insulated than some
  • Exterior can get hot in the sun

Hit the outdoors in style with the retro Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler. The classic metal exterior gives it a timeless look and provides reliable old-school durability. We love that we can use it as a seat, side table, or step stool around camp. The Steel-Belted Cooler is the “goldilocks” size for weekend trips too; it has plenty of interior space for a generous amount of ice, food, and drinks without being overly bulky or difficult to haul. The downside of the durable metal exterior is it warms up in the sun, so you’ll want to keep it in at least partial shade for hot summer trips. Overall, it’s an excellent value for the money and a charming choice for your camping adventures. And, if you want a slight upgrade – featuring a built-in bottle opener, plus a modern matte finish – check out the Reunion Steel-Belted Cooler.


Best insulated cooler for the price

Price: $290

Empty Weight: 36.5 lb.

Volume: 65 qt.

Sizes: 20, 45, 65, 110, 145-quart


  • Retains ice for up to 10 days
  • Durable
  • Certified bear-resistant
  • Bright colorways
  • Excellent closures


  • Heavy
  • Less interior space due to thick insulation

If you’re ready for an upgrade in performance and durability, but can’t stand the thought of spending half your paycheck on a cooler, the RTIC 65 is an excellent value. It earns a Budget Buy badge as one of the most affordable roto-molded (super insulated) coolers on the market, and it performs just as well as the more expensive brands. It’s tough-as-nails and capable of retaining ice for well over a week if you prep it right, and the rubber lid closures are effective and hold tight even after thousands of times opening and closing the lid. The RTIC 65 has a great balance of cost and quality, and is practical solution for anyone who needs to keep their food (especially meat/fish) reliably cold on multiday trips.

YETI Hopper Flip 12

Best soft cooler

Price: $250

Empty Weight: 3.4 lb.

Volume: 12.4 qt.

Sizes: 18 L


  • Durable materials
  • Excellent ice retention
  • Portable
  • Many exterior lash points
  • Stable


  • Expensive
  • A bit bulky for it's size

If you live an active lifestyle, a portable soft cooler like the YETI Hopper Flip could easily become your favorite piece of gear. Whether you’re carrying your lunch, a variety of beverages, or a full picnic’s worth of charcuterie, the Hopper Flip can handle it.

This stylish, side-sling cooler bag brings the best in ice retention and rugged durability to all your activities from the campsite to the BBQ. Goods stored in the Hopper will stay ice-cold all day long in the sun if you load it up right. It also performs admirably on multi-day trips and fits perfectly in the backseat of the car to keep refreshments close at hand.

Accolades aside, there’s no denying that the Hopper is a bit pricey. That said, we think it’s well worth the investment if you prioritize quality, and are willing to pay more upfront for a cooler that’ll last for many years of trips and adventures.

IceMule BOSS

Best waterproof backpack cooler

Price: $375

Empty Weight: 7.5 lb.

Volume: 31.7 qt.

Sizes: IceMule Pro, IceMule Classic, and IceMule Jaunt (lighter and smaller with backpack straps)


  • Easy to carry
  • Retains ice for up to 3 days
  • Durable materials
  • Waterproof
  • Floats in water
  • Doubles as a dry bag
  • Pockets and gear loops


  • Expensive
  • Bulky
  • Zippers can be sticky

The IceMule BOSS is, well… the boss when it comes to water activities like rafting, kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding. It’s impressively comfortable to carry thanks to the well-padded backpack straps and hipbelt, and it easily retains ice for multiple days. Since the BOSS is 100% waterproof and insulated with both foam and air chambers, it floats, so your food and drinks will stay safe when fishing, dayhiking, and rafting. It can double as a dry bag for your phone, keys, wallet, or a dry change of clothes as well. The BOSS is a super durable, high-quality backpack cooler that will stand the test of time on your adventures.

YETI Tundra 65

Durable & well-insulated cooler for longer trips

Price: $375

Empty Weight: 29 lb.

Volume: 65 qt.

Sizes: YETI Roadie (24), 35, 45, 65, Haul (with wheels), 75, 105, 110, 125, 160+


  • Retains ice for up to 10 days
  • Durable
  • Certified bear-resistant
  • Basket for dry goods
  • Excellent lid closures
  • Bright colorways


  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Less interior space due to insulation

It isn’t any wonder why the YETI Tundra 65 has made such a big name for itself. Its best-in-class insulation makes it very efficient, so you can keep ice the way it should be on long trips: frozen. The Tundra is also extremely tough. No matter how hard you play, you don’t have to worry about dents or breaking hardware, and we’ve put our coolers through the wringer for many years with almost no wear and tear to show for it. This level of durability means it’s bit of a beast to carry, but the durability and ice retention are practically unrivaled. You’ll pay more for this YETI model than others on this list, but the Tundra is an extremely attractive and well-made cooler that won’t let you down no matter how harsh the conditions.

REI Packaway 24 Soft Cooler

Budget soft cooler for day trips

Price: $55

Empty Weight: 1.6 lb.

Volume: 34 qt.

Sizes: 6, 12, and 24 – cans


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Convertible
  • Space-saving
  • Pockets and gear loops
  • Folds flat when not in use


  • Less insulated than some
  • Zipper leaks
  • Not as durable as hard coolers

The REI Packaway 24 Soft Cooler is our go-to cooler bag for lunches, day trips, potlucks, and everything in between. It converts from a tote to a cube-style bag with the click of two buckles, and it folds flat when not in use to save space. Even though it doesn’t retain ice as well as some others, it’s one of our most-used coolers because it’s lightweight, easy to carry, and easy to store. For anyone that needs an efficient, stylish, and effective small cooler that can withstand daily use from the office to the trailhead, this is the cooler for you. Because the Packaway Cooler is so affordable and versatile, we own it in multiple sizes and love them all.

Hydro Flask Carry Out 20L

Best value soft cooler

Price: $90

Empty Weight: 2 lb. 8.3 oz.

Volume: 21 qt.

Sizes: 12 L, 20 L


  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Multiple ways to carry
  • Retains ice for up to three days


  • Less insulated than some
  • Less durable than some

The Hydro Flask Carry Out is perfect for active people who need a high-quality grab-and-go cooler that works well for day trips to camping and everything in between. It’s small enough that it’s easy to throw over your shoulder and it won’t take up too much space in the car. The straps are built to last, and it’s perfect for daily use or chillin’ in the footrest for long roadtrips. It’s also surprisingly spacious – we easily fit a whole case of seltzers and a hearty array of  snacks in it. The Carry Out keeps things deliciously chilled for multiple days of enjoyment, and we found that the cooler’s flat top makes a convenient side table between two camping chairs. You won’t find a better quality and more stylish soft cooler than the Carry Out, especially for the price.

Pelican 50QT Elite

Most durable cooler

Price: $300

Empty Weight: 26.4 lb.

Volume: 50 qt.

Sizes: 20, 30, 45 (with wheels), 70, 80 (with wheels), 95, 150 – quarts


  • Retains ice for up to 10 days
  • Durable
  • Certified bear-resistant
  • Comfortable handles
  • Locking latches
  • 4 Cupholders
  • Built-in bottle opener


  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Less interior space due to insulation
  • Bulky lip around lid

If durability and long-term ice retention are your priorities, the Pelican 50 Quart Elite is an outstanding choice. It’s built like a tank and has super thick insulation, which makes it very efficient and nearly indestructible. We find that the lip for the lid is bulky and takes up more space than we’d like, but it does accommodate a built-in bottle opener for when you’re kicking back at camp. Because the Elite has such burly walls, there’s less interior space than there is in other coolers – although this Pelican model is easily one of the most impervious to hot sun, so the ice inside stays frozen. If you need a cooler you can really trust in the most rigorous conditions or on weeks-long trips, the Elite is almost unrivaled.

Rovr Rollr 60

Highly-insulated cooler with wheels

Price: $450

Empty Weight: 45 lb.

Volume: 60 qt.

Sizes: 45, 60, 80


  • All-terrain wheels
  • Retains Ice for up to 10 days
  • Durable
  • Interior organizer
  • Certified bear-resistant
  • Accessories available
  • Towable by bike (with BikR Kit)


  • Very expensive
  • Heavy
  • Less interior space due to thick insulation
  • Lid locks can be finnicky

With the Rovr Rollr 60, your cooler becomes a party wagon: it comes with everything you a camp chef or bartender might need. There’s an organizer inside to keep produce or dry goods separate, and Rovr offers an array of accessories like cup holders, a prep board, and even umbrella support. At 45 pounds empty, the Rollr is undoubtedly heavy to get in and out of the car, but once its unloaded the inflatable tires make it easy to pull over any terrain. The other downside of this cooler is it’s expensive, and the latest version doesn’t come with a top storage bin, so you’ll have to shell out a bit more if you want that feature.

The Rollr is so well-designed and has such excellent ice retention, it’s well worth the price if you’ll use it a lot, and it’s built to last for many, many years. The Rollr is a stellar investment for families, groups, and couples who need a mobile cooler for long days at the park, a workhorse for cold drinks at the barbecue, and a sturdy cooler for walk-in campsites.

Top-down view of the Coleman 316 Series 70 Quart cooler full of ice, food, and drinks
Coleman 316 Series 70 Quart – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

What’s Most Important to You in a Cooler?


Quality coolers can be expensive, but performance and functionality are well worth paying a bit more for if you spend a lot of time outdoors. That said, some of our all-time favorite coolers are relatively easy on your wallet, and you’ll find quality options at a variety of price points below.

Best high-end coolers


Modern coolers with thick insulation offer outstanding reliability on long trips and serious expeditions. But, not everyone needs a cooler that can keep ice for over a week. For weekend warriors and those who prioritize shorter trips, we recommend less insulated coolers for affordability and better portability.

Best coolers for day trips


If you put your gear through the wringer on a regular basis or use your gear frequently, it’s worth investing in a rugged, well-built cooler that will last a long time. The most durable picks on this list are robust enough to literally take a beating from a grizzly bear, and will last for many years.


Soft coolers are the easiest to tote around if you’re on the go. They’re lightweight, comfortable to carry, and versatile. If you want a large-capacity cooler that’s portable, choose one that’s lightweight, or one that has wheels. For some coolers, consider adding a wheel kit.

Best portable soft coolers


Coolers with thick walls keep contents cold for a long time. But the thicker the walls, the smaller the interior volume – in other words, the less stuff you can fit inside. If you want to be able to fit in as much ice, food, and beverages as possible without having to size up, a lightweight cooler with average insulation might be your best bet.

Critical Cooler Considerations


The capacity of most coolers is measured in quarts or liters. The right way to pack a cooler will vary depending on your needs. Some people may prefer to go with less ice so that they can store more cans. And some people may want to go with more ice to maximize cooling performance. We recommend aiming for a happy medium between maximizing storage and ice longevity.


Rotational molding, or roto-molding, is a process that allows manufacturers to inject and evenly distribute liquid insulation into the walls of hard-sided coolers using specialized machines. The insulation material hardens and gives the cooler thick, rigid walls that are both durable and excellent at retaining cold.



Hardware, like hinges, latches, handles, and drains, is usually the first thing to break on coolers, especially if the pieces are plastic. Thankfully, many companies sell replacements. You can even upgrade some parts from plastic to metal if they’re available for your specific cooler. The most durable coolers, like the RTIC 65Rovr Rollr 60Pelican 50QT Elite, and Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler will have far fewer issues with hardware over time.

Coleman 316 Series 70 Quart – Photo credit: Heather Eldridge (CleverHiker.com)

Honorable Cooler Mentions

The following coolers didn’t make our final list, but they’re very popular and they’ve still got a lot of good things going for them. You never know, one of these coolers might be perfect for you:

Igloo Recool – Biodegradable single-use cooler made with recycled materials.

Coleman 42-Can Wheeled Soft Cooler – Affordable lightweight cooler with wheels that work well on flat surfaces.

Cool Trail Split Pack Cooler – Affordable backpack cooler with upper compartment for hiking essentials.

Igloo MaxCold 70 – Classic affordable lightweight cooler with plenty of interior space.

Orca ORCT040 40 Qt. – Roto-molded cooler at a lower price point.