Keeping your food and drinks cold in the great outdoors has never been as confusing — or expensive — as it is now. With countless options out there, we had to take a good long look into the best coolers for camping for 2022.
Here you’ll find an ice chest for whatever type of trip you plan on taking, whether a quick-and-easy car camping weekender or a multi-day hunting/fishing trip to your secret spot. No matter where you’re going, we’re just happy you’re headed outdoors.
The destination doesn’t matter; what does is finding a cooler to keep your food from spoiling and your beverages ice-cold. That’s why you’ll find vital information about ice retention times with each cooler review, so you know what to expect before setting up shop.
To ensure we recommended the best products around, we examined the top rotomolded and plastic-injected models from all the hottest cooler brands, including YETI, RTIC, ROVR, Pelican, Igloo, and others.
We also included an array of sizes ranging from small day-trip coolers to massive 120-quart portable freezers. There’s even a nifty little wheeled number further down the list.
So, let’s get on with it. Keep reading to see which of 2022’s best camping coolers will join you on your next adventure.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
BEST CAMPING COOLERS OF 2022
- Best Overall: RTIC 53 QT Ultra-Light
- Solid Inexpensive Option: Igloo BMX 52-Quart
- Top-of-the-Line Rotomolded: YETI Tundra 65
- Best Cooler for the Money: RTIC 65 QT
- Made in the USA: Pelican 70QT Elite
- Best Small Icebox: YETI Roadie 24
- Best Soft Camping Cooler: RTIC 30-Can Soft Pack
- Sub-$100 Weekender: Coleman Xtreme
- Rolling Ice-Chest for Off-Roading: ROVR ROLLR 60
- Factors We Considered When Reviewing Coolers
- Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Cooler
- Final Thoughts: Best Coolers for Camping of 2022
- More Gear & Resources
Best Overall Camp Cooler
RTIC 52 QT Ultra-Light
Weight: 21 lb
Internal Dimensions: 21″ x 13”x 14”
Capacity: 64 cans or 40 lb of ice
Best for: Keeping food/drinks cold for 3-4 people all weekend or longer on hunting, fishing, or camping trips
Campers looking for an affordable, lightweight cooler to stash their food and drinks should check out RTIC’s latest and greatest plastic-injection molded 52-Quart Ultra-Light model.
Lighter and more portable than a traditional rotomolded cooler, the Ultra-Light retains ice like those heavier ice chests while weighing 30% less. When we say it retains ice well, RTIC rates its peak performance at 10+ days when properly used.
That’s a bold claim, but campers who regularly use this cooler report that it does hold ice for an entire week. That’s a long time. So, if you’re a car camper hoping to keep those brats from spoiling over a long three-day weekend, rest assured that your pork is safe.
Heck, for hunting, fishing, or cracking beers at the beach, it’ll also get the job done. No, it’s not as sturdy, nor is it bear-proof like a rotomolded YETI cooler, but it’s incredibly durable and can be hauled by a single person (unless it’s completely maxed out).
Make no bones about it; we think the RTIC Ultra-Light is the best cooler for camping of 2022, especially for the money.
Inexpensive Yet Long-Lasting Ice Retention
Igloo BMX 52-Quart
We love 52-quart-sized coolers like the Igloo BMX, partly because they’re so portable. Unlike the heavier, unwieldy boxes we feature further down the list, a single person should have no problems toting the BMX 52 around.
Of course, loading it up with a bunch of ice and goodies will make it a bit tougher for a single person, but if you’re camping, you’ll most likely have a pal or two around to help. And, just because this Igloo cooler isn’t rotomolded doesn’t mean it isn’t tough as nails.
With blow-molded construction, rubberized T-latches, oversized hinges, and stainless steel reinforcements, this cooler will stand up to even the rowdiest camping trips you can throw at it. Plus, you’ll have cold drinks throughout your entire Memorial Day weekend since it’s rated to keep ice for four days.
If you want to save a few bucks and still get solid performance, the Igloo BMX 52-Quart ice chest makes for a great car camping, road trip, or extended weekend companion. And if you want a downright large cooler for a reasonable price, check out the BMX 72-quart.
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YETI Tundra 65
Weight: 29 lb
Internal Dimensions: 24.37” x 11.75” x 11.125”
Capacity: 42 cans or 52 lb of ice
Additional Sizes: 35, 45, 75, 105, 110 + Wheeled Version
Best for: Four-person camping weekends or longer trips with two people
If you want industry-leading ice retention, more add-on accessories than you can shake a stick at, and extreme durability, the best camping cooler for you is likely the YETI Tundra 65. It’s our top option for 2022 if you’re willing to drop some extra cash.
YETI’s built its stellar reputation in the hunting, fishing, boating, and outdoor communities by creating top-notch products that do what they say they’re going to: keep your food and drinks cold for a long, long time — we’re talking up to a week or more of ice retention. That’s great for people who camp outdoors for more than just a couple of days at a time.
Did we mention it can withstand a bear attack?
That’s right; the Tundra series is certified bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, an agency dedicated to determining whether a cooler can keep your food safe from bears. (If you want your Tundra to pass the test, grab a couple of locks beforehand.)
Overall, we think the 65-quart model is one of the best-sized camping coolers for all types of adventures, from car camping to extended hunting trips. It’s moderately portable, and if you want to take a load off, grab an added seat cushion.
Plus, with a 5-year warranty, you’ll rest easy knowing all those future burgers and dogs will be safe for years to come.
Best Cold Storage for the Money
RTIC 65 QT
Like the battle of good and evil, the RTIC vs. YETI battle remains locked in an eternal struggle over who gets your hard-earned cooler cash. We believe the RTIC option presents the better value for our money between the two brands.
We prefer the RTIC 65 QT over the YETI Tundra 65 since it actually has a 65-quart capacity. (The Tundra 65 only holds 57.2 quarts, surprisingly.) If you go with RTIC, you’re getting a bigger cooler overall, and the advantages don’t stop there.
The QT 65 is completely leakproof, meaning you can tilt, shake, or roll the ice box, and it won’t spill any water at all (unless you pull one of its two drain plugs). YETI can’t make the same claim about the Tundra 65.
Sure, you’ll use more ice with the RTIC because of its larger capacity, but the savings alone should compensate for the extra bags down the road. And with three inches of rotomolded insulation, your ice will last for a very long time.
If you’re looking to save some dough on a cooler for camping, hunting, fishing, or just lounging around, we consider the RTIC 65 the best option for the money of 2022.
Best MADE-IN-AMERICA Option
Pelican 70QT Elite
Weight: 33.3 lb
Internal Dimensions: 23.5” x 11″ x 14.3”
Capacity: 53 cans or 65 lb of ice
Best for: Long two-person camping trips or weekend bashes for four or more
Buying American-made products doesn’t just feel good; it pumps money back into the economy and helps support your compatriots. And wouldn’t you know it, one of the most enduring gear protection and case companies, Pelican, has a line of heavy-duty camping coolers made right here in the US of A.
With excellent ice retention on par with YETI and RTIC, their durable 70QT Elite rotomolded cooler is bear-rated. It features a handy fish ruler right on top for all the fishermen and women who camp out by the water.
Unlike RTIC and YETI coolers which use a rubber T-latch, Pelican utilizes rugged press and pull latches that are easy to open yet feel more durable than the competitor’s rubber attachments.
And Pelican is so confident in their products that they offer a full lifetime warranty on their coolers. Compared to all the other brands on this list, Pelican’s warranty stands heads and shoulders above the rest.
If you’re looking for one of the best American-made camping coolers with accurate internal quart sizing, excellent ice retention, and integrated cup holders, look no further than the Pelican70QT Elite.
Our Favorite Small Hard-Sided Icebox
YETI Roadie 24
Weight: 12.8 lb
Internal Dimensions: 10.9″ x 8.1″ x 13.25″
Capacity: 18 cans or 24 lb of ice
Best for: Single-person trips or workdays
Choosing between the small hard-sided RTIC 20 and Roadie 24 was tough, but what persuaded us to go with the YETI was its lofty internal height that can store most standard-sized wine bottles and two liters.
So if you’re the type who likes to enjoy a nice cold glass of white wine on a camping trip, you’ll be able to get your sip on with the Roadie 24. We hear kids love soda, so they’ll also be happy.
The small rotomolded Roadie 24 should also work perfectly as a lunch pail. Just toss it in your truck; its Fatwall design and insulation will keep ice for 2-3 days, depending on how hot it gets in the cab.
And with its included trays, you can keep your sandwich above the ice and avoid getting yourself into a dreaded soggy bread situation. Not to mention, it’s the perfect height to sit on while you enjoy that delicious lunch you packed.
And when you’re ready to call it a day and head for the hills, this little beast will hold 18 beer cans or a whopping 24 pounds of ice in an easy-to-pack form factor.
Ultimately, the Roadie 24 is the small cooler for overnight camping trips and long days at work.
The Best Soft Camp Cooler
RTIC 30-Can Soft Pack
Not all camping coolers must be large, hard-sided beasts made to keep ice for days. Some of us are looking for a cooler that’s lightweight and easy to carry around camp. Enter the RTIC 30-Can Soft Pack.
With its Nylon shell, this top-rated cooler will stand up to the rigors of the outdoors while being light enough to tote around the woods while slung over your shoulder.
Partly due to its closed-cell insulation, the RTIC 30-Can can float in water. So when you toss it to a clumsy friend in the river, you know it’ll stay afloat even if it starts traveling downstream. It should also retain ice for a full day, so you’ll have a frosty beverage waiting for you at midnight.
That’s why the RTIC 30-Can Soft Pack is our top small soft cooler on this list. It’s rugged, portable, and costs far less than the YETI alternative. What’s not to love?
Weekender Budget Buy Under $100
Coleman Xtreme 70-Quart
Weight: 12.3 lb
Internal Dimensions: 24” x 11.8” x 12.0”
Capacity: 100 cans
Best for: Family camping trips
Most campers probably don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a cooler, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a solid option at an easy-to-digest price.
That brings us to our next pick from the affordable camping brand everybody knows and loves, Coleman.
Their budget-friendly 70-quart camp cooler does almost everything the more expensive models can but at a fraction of the price. It keeps ice cold, stores food and beer, and even doubles as a sturdy seat at camp. What else could you ask for?
Coleman’s simple design doesn’t feature multiple-inch insulation layers, nor will it stand up to the test of a hungry grizzly. That’s okay, though. Not all of us camp out in bear country, after all.
According to campers who use it, it’ll keep ice solid for two days. And if you’ve got some stray Mountain Dews rolling around, the ice slush remaining after 48 hours will cool them down in time for the drive home.
If you want a reliable, no-frills cooler for your next family outing at the lake, the Coleman Xtreme shines. Just don’t expect the week-long ice retention of a $200+ ice chest. Heck, maybe you don’t need that high-end performance anyway.
Best Rolling Chest for Off-Roading
ROVR ROLLR 60
Our pick for 2022’s best rolling cooler for camping is the ultra-portable ROVR ROLLR. Not only will it keep ice for 2-3 days, but it’s one of the most functional products on this list.
Most rolling coolers for camping use plastic wheels that slide around easily and get caught up in cracks, but not ROVR. The ROLLR’s puncture-resistant pneumatic tires make it incredibly smooth and easy to wheel around — choppy terrain is no match.
It also comes with ROVR’s LandR bin, which will stash your tents, blankets, chairs, and other camping gear on top of the cooler to make packing your gear in and out a breeze. And if you want to boost your mobility even more, you can hook it up to a bicycle with ROVR’s BikR Kit.
Like the YETIs mentioned above, the rugged ROLLR is rotomolded and certified bear-resistant by the IGBC.
The ROLLR also includes several great internal organization pieces, like the dual-compartment DeepFreeze dry bin that keeps your ice and food separate. If you’ve ever been camping, you know to avoid water-logged dogs at all costs.
For perhaps the most fun, functional, and well-designed rolling cooler on the market, look no further than the ROVR ROLLR.
Our picks for 2022’s best coolers for camping have a lot in common. But before a product could make our list, we considered each of the following attributes when analyzing and reviewing it.
Most of the coolers we feature generally fit within a specific size range: 52 to 70 quarts. We think that’s the perfect size for a weekend trip, but we also included links to larger sizes if you have a large family or camping crew.
Also, if you’re just camping for a night, we included smaller, soft-sided coolers like RTIC’s 30-Can.
The most durable coolers on our list are the rotomolded models. Since they’re made of a single piece of rigid plastic, you can expect them to hold up well no matter how rough and tumble your camping trip gets
But even the less-durable models on this list must be strong enough to act as a makeshift seat or cutting board. Every cooler on this list is durable enough to serve you well for seasons to come.
Ice Retention & Insulation
What good is a cooler if it can’t keep your food from spoiling? We don’t think that makes for a very wise investment. Here, you’ll find well-insulated ice chests made to keep ice for an entire weekend or more.
If you’re searching for ice-keeping abilities, look to our best overall camping cooler, the RTIC 52 QT Ultra-Light. It’s 30% lighter than rotomolded coolers and will keep your food from spoiling for days on end, even in the summer heat. While not as insulated as a rotomolded model, it will work great for medium-length trips.
Type of Trip
Not all camping trips are made equal. Some car campers drive in on a Saturday morning and head back home on Sunday afternoon, while some leave for an entire week. That’s why we included models that can hold ice for all different types of trips.
If you’re the type of camper who likes to head off into the wilderness for up to a week, there are a few options here that’ll suit your needs — perhaps something like the RTIC 65 is the best camping cooler for you.
If you’re a car camper looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a night, you’ll also find a fitting match here. YETI’s Roadie 24 could work perfectly (and can double as an excellent work cooler, to boot).
Number of Campers
For medium-length camping trips with a couple of buddies, all of our 52-quart recommendations and up should keep your food and drinks cold for a few days at the very least.
And if you want to fill your cooler with ample drinks for a larger party to enjoy, we think the Coleman Xtreme is big enough to get the job done. As mentioned earlier, we’ve also included links for larger models if you want to go even bigger than 70 quarts.
If you’ve ever camped long enough to witness your hotdogs bobbing around in your cooler’s slush, you know the value of organization. That’s why most of our choices feature trays or bins that either come with the cooler or can be purchased separately.
A great example of a cooler with excellent organization is ROVR’s ROLLR 60. This rolling cooler will ensure your dry foods stay dry while allowing cans and other goodies to chill below in an ice bath.
Before we wrap this up, here are some tips on maximizing your cooler’s ability to keep food and drinks cold and safe to consume.
Check out the following pointers to wring even more capability out of your investment.
Cool Before Use
Cooling your ice chest before a camping trip can help keep ice longer. It’s easy to do; just put a bag of ice in it the night before heading for the mountains. You can also cool any components that go inside the cooler (like dividers or trays) in your fridge or freezer the night before.
Freeze Water Bottles
Instead of dumping ice into your cooler, many campers freeze water bottles and put them inside the cooler to keep temperatures down. Not only will doing so help you keep your food dry, but once the water melts, you’ll be left with a refreshing bottle of H20.
Keep it Separated
Designating certain areas of the cooler for food and drinks will keep your food from getting waterlogged and your drink containers nice and clean. Elevate your meats and other perishables with an organizing tray to keep them out of the slush, and you’ll be good to go.
If it’s 2022’s best coolers for camping you’re after, look no further than our nine top picks from brands like YETI, RTIC, Igloo, and more. These models retain ice, take a beating, keep food and drinks fresh, and hold during all different types of camping trips.
Are you the weekend warrior type who loves a good car camping adventure? One of these ice chests will undoubtedly suit your needs. Do you need a wheeled cooler to help you go deeper into nature than a car will allow? We’ve got an excellent option for that too.
Whether you’re looking for a burly rotomolded cooler or a lightweight plastic injection chest, your camp cooler should keep ice for as long as you ask of it. The outdoors can be unforgiving, so you must rely on your gear to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold.
After checking out our best camping coolers of 2022 post, we hope we have all the information you need to pull the trigger. If not, leave a comment below, and we’ll try and steer you in the right direction.
Stay cool, my fellow campers.
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