Hardcore camping enthusiasts have a lot to consider when it comes to a cooler that meets their needs. Is it durable? Is there enough storage space for a week or more food and drink? What’s the insulation like? How much does it weigh, if it has to be hauled by hand from place to place? There’s also the price factor—is a high end cooler needed, or will a mid-range or even cheap cooler do? We’ll take a look at three models here.
The ORCA 58
Weighing in at 31 lbs. empty, packed with food, ice, and beverages this cooler will be HEAVY. Don’t let the weight trouble you though, because with great weight comes great insulation. If you’re setting up a base camp and doing day hikes, you’ll be glad you invested in this $400 beauty. It retains temperatures of below 40 degrees for a full 6 days, and ice for 7, allowing you to go further away from ice suppliers for longer. The construction is quality, durable plastic with thick, strong latches and pin style hinges that are made for wear and tear.
The Engel Deep Blue
This cooler advertises a 65 quart capacity but holds just 53 quarts. Even so, with a weight of 26 lbs. empty, it still provides pretty good insulation retaining a temperature below 40 degrees for 5 full days and ice for 6. This cooler is perfect for long weekends, or shorter trips away from ice suppliers. Solidly designed handles, hinges and latches make it very durable, and the lid and seal are excellent with no leakage. This cooler retails around $330 and would make for a reasonably priced gear investment providing quality usage.
Not quite ready to invest in a hardcore cooler but still want a cooler that comes close to performing like one without the heavy price tag? Keep reading.
The Coleman Xtreme 5 Day
Weighing in at just 13 lbs. and priced between $61-$70 at different online retailers, this is by far the best value for casual campers. It retains temperatures below 40 degrees for 3 full days and ice for 5. Its slimmer design makes it very car camping friendly, fitting easily into trunks and hatchbacks. This model comes in three sizes—70, 90 and 120 quart, with the price range topping out at $100.
For further information on these coolers and more, get comprehensive reviews at Outdoor Gear Labs Cooler Reviews