Best cooler option

Anything to do with camping, fundamentals, secrets, etc...

Best cooler option

Postby Nick.Bed » Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:26 pm

So what's a good setup for cold food storage... That isn't a $1500 powered cooler or a $300 Yeti. I will be putting power in my trailer, but just starting the build in the next couple of weeks and don't want to drop big money on a expensive cooler quite yet.
Teardrop Inspector
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:34 am

Re: Best cooler option

Postby friz » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:00 pm

I use a large coleman extreme for beverages an less perishables and a small RTIC for more perishable items.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
The "Sin Bin"
User avatar
The 300 Club
Posts: 471
Images: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Best cooler option

Postby tony.latham » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:06 pm

We like the Coleman 54 qt Steel cooler.


Prices vary considerably for them. So shop around if that's what you're looking for.

User avatar
Gold Donating Member
Posts: 3596
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere

Re: Best cooler option

Postby Socal Tom » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:51 pm

How long do you plan to camp, and how much space do you have?
Socal Tom
Donating Member
Posts: 1097
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am
Location: San Diego Ca

Re: Best cooler option

Postby Squigie » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:33 pm

I use what I've got, which are certainly not the best: A Coleman Xtreme 50-60 qt (not certain what the exact capacity is, but it's in that range). An Igloo 100 qt. And a handful of Coleman beverage "stackers".
There have been many more over the years, but they weren't worth keeping, or died horrible deaths.

The Stackers are terrible. You're doing very well to get ice to last a day. I rarely use them any more, except when I need to try to keep things from freezing.
The large Igloo is primarily a meat transport cooler. But I use it for whatever is necessary, whenever it's necessary.
The Coleman Xtreme is my go-to, do-all cooler. The 5-day claim is pretty fair for ice and use by adults. In cooler weather, with responsible use and placement, I've still had remnants of the original ice after 9 days. No matter the weather, if children are always sticking their grubby little hands in the cooler and leaving the lid open, 2 days is pretty optimistic for ice.

You can always stack the deck in your favor, however, no matter what you use:
Pre-chill your cooler before you load it. I usually add 20-40 lbs of ice to my cooler(s) the day or night before I intend to load them. (The water will be drained, and the ice will stay on for the ride when food is loaded.)
Use frozen bottles of water, instead of ice cubes. No water, and less surface area to melt.
If you know you'll be gone 3+ days, freeze the food that you won't be getting to for a few days. Freeze your meat. Take smaller containers of milk and freeze all but the first one you'll be using. Etc...
Keep them in cool places, and shaded. Throw blankets or other insulation over them, when possible.
If I know I'm going somewhere I won't want to come back out of until the trip is over (meaning no ice runs), or I'll be battling heat for some or all of a moderate-length trip (5-9 days), I pre-chill with dry ice and add 5-10 lbs on top of the food after loading.
(Just don't over-do it. I've frozen the entire contents of my cooler before, by using too much ice on the bottom and dry ice on top. We still had ice at the end of an eleven-day trip, in the high desert, in early September, though... :roll:)
User avatar
Teardrop Advisor
Posts: 78
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:52 am
Location: Southeastern ID

Re: Best cooler option

Postby PCO6 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:40 am

I have a Coleman Extreme that I like. I bought an Ozark Trail 25 litre cooler at Walmart ($110 CDN) and have used it on my last 3 trips. It's been good too. It's a roto-molded cooler much like a Yeti. It's lockable and certified bear proof (when locked). It's probably not as good as a Yeti but it can be purchased for a lot less money. What I don't like is that it's fairly heavy (most of this type are) and it doesn't have a drain (larger ones do). My wife also isn't crazy about the rubber latches. I found them a bit hard to use at first but I got used to them. ... lsrc=aw.ds
User avatar
Teardrop Builder
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:08 pm
Location: Newmarket, Ontario

Re: Best cooler option

Postby working on it » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:30 pm

* I also have a Coleman Extreme (and a smaller Igloo MaxCold) I like, but they're old-school (I've had them for 15 years) and not as efficient as newer tech coolers, since they only last for two days in Texas heat. I recently bought an injection-molded 24-qt Igloo IMX ($80 USD at Sam's Club), that compares with the Ozark Trail (but it does have a drain), and it works well, up to 4.5 days. But, for my deep-frozen meat storage, I made a cooler-in-a-cooler (putting a 14-qt Igloo Ice Cube inside a larger 48-qt Igloo Ice Cube, with pink foam, Great Stuff, and extra bulb seals under the larger lid), which works for 5 days, if I only open it once a day.

* Since I'm not a rabid camper, only going 3 or less times a year, I couldn't justify getting a Yeti or such, or re-configuring my galley area to squeeze in a modified dorm fridge (with extra battery, dedicated inverter, and associated wiring), or a Dometic/ARB type 12-volt fridge/freezer (usually $500 and up). So, I'll just have to limit trip length to 4 days, and make do with what I have. Freezing as much as you can beforehand, and just using items as they thaw, seems to work the best for me...I no longer have warm drinks on my return trip home from camp.
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", rugged, 4x8 TTT, 2150+ lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube braked axle, 3000 lb.springs, active-progressive bumpstop suspension
  • *27 x 8.5-14LT AT tires (x 3) *Weight Distribution system for single-beam tongue
  • *100% LED's & GFCI outlets, 3x fans, AM/FM/CD/Aux. *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill, vintage skillet
  • *zinc/stainless front & side racks *98"L x 6" diameter rod & reel carrier tube on roof
User avatar
working on it
1000 Club
1000 Club
Posts: 1922
Images: 455
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:05 pm
Location: DFW Texas

Return to Camping Secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest