Esky By The Sea

THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST CAMPING COOLER

A cooler is one of the most essential pieces of camping gear. You need it to keep your perishable food items and drinks cold for the duration of your camping trip. Since food and water are valuable resources, a cooler can make your outdoor experience more comfortable and enjoyable. There are many different kinds of coolers but only the best one will be able to meet your camping needs. Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing the best camping cooler for you.

COOLER TYPES

There are a lot of different coolers ranging from Styrofoam boxes to large professional grade coolers. For the purpose of camping, though, there are three main types: soft-sided, plastic and metal.

• Soft-sided coolers are small and occupy less space. They typically have a bag or lunchbox shape that’s flexible and easy to carry. This type of cooler is very affordable but offers minimal insulation. It’s ideal for those who are going on day trips.

• Plastic coolers are the most common kind of camping coolers. They’re made from moulded polyurethane foam so they’re durable and offer moderate insulation. Most models feature a seal around the lid to prevent cold air from escaping the cooler.

• Metal coolers are more heavy duty than traditional plastic coolers. However, they also tend to be heavier and more expensive. The metal casing also tends to be susceptible to dings and scratches after a while. If you’re concerned with the appearance, you can opt for a simple stainless-steel design.

• Electric coolers act like a little refrigerator so there’s no need to put ice inside. This means less hassle compared to the other coolers. However, it will only work if you have a power source. Some campsites have outlets and allow generators. Others, unfortunately, don’t.

High-end coolers can keep your food and drinks cold for longer periods of time. These offer maximum insulating capabilities, tight seals and complex locking leads. They’re also very durable. This kind of cooler is suitable for longer camping trips and rough terrain. The trade-off, however, is that a high-end cooler tends to be very heavy and expensive.

INSULATION PERFORMANCE

Insulation performance is one of the most important factors when choosing the best camping cooler. How long will it be able to keep your food and drinks cold? Usually, the better the insulation, the more expensive the cooler. So, if you’re only camping for the weekend and your campsite has an ice machine nearby, you won’t need a heavy-duty cooler anymore. On the other hand, if you’re camping in a remote area, you’ll need a well-insulated cooler to prevent your perishable food items from spoiling.

SIZE

Coolers come in different sizes. To find the best camping cooler for you, think of the average duration of your camping trips and how much food and drinks you typically bring along. A lot of campers will even have separate coolers for food and drinks.

A cooler in the 20 to the 50-litre range is suitable for one to two people who are camping for the weekend. This is also the ideal size for a secondary cooler. Meanwhile, a 50 to the 70-litre cooler is ideal for two to three people who are camping for multiple days. Choose a 100+ litre cooler if you’re camping with more than four people and longer than a weekend.

DURABILITY

Today’s coolers have a standard moulded construction, which is as sturdy as it can get. However, there are some specific touches that will increase a cooler’s durability. For example, coolers with metal hinges will last longer than those with plastic hinges. Some other features to look out for when choosing the best camping cooler are the latches, spout and lid gasket.

EASE OF USE

The best camping cooler should also be easy to use. If a cooler has a draining hole, you won’t have to lift it to remove the melted ice water. A cooler with wheels and handles will also be easier to move around.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Coolers also have additional features that can contribute to your comfort and enjoyment. Some have cup holders and insert trays for storing condiments and small items. You can also consider having section dividers to help organise larger coolers.

The best camping cooler will provide you with sufficient space for all your food and drinks. It shall also offer excellent insulation so that the contents are kept cool for a long period of time. Apart from these two basic requirements, your preferences for design, build, price and ease of use will also come into play.

If you find something that meets all your camping needs, fork over the cash and get it delivered immediately. You should probably get two. You will need two, at least, when camping or fishing. One for drinks, one for food, and another for the fish!

 


 

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Jake Taylor
jake.taylor@dinga.com.au

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.