Outdoor coolers have the same adventurous spirit as those who carry them. They’re designed to be dropped, beaten, submerged and even attacked by wild animals, all while keeping their contents intact and cold for days. Whether you’re planning on taking one deep-sea fishing, big game hunting, paddling down some Class-5 rapids or simply going to a tailgate, one of these coolers is worthy of the adventure.
Without ice, a cooler won’t stop your perishables from perishing. The makers of these coolers suggest pre-chilling them, which entails putting ice in them the day before or storing them in a cool, dark place — or both. This way, when you’re actually looking to use your cooler, the new ice won’t melt as quickly, allowing the cooler to maintain its cold for longer. It’s also important to evenly distribute ice to ensure everything in the cooler is the same temperature.
Yeti Hopper Two 30 Softside Cooler
No other soft-side cooler holds a candle to Yeti’s Hopper 30. Along with being the first completely leakproof softside travel cooler, it’s also completely waterproof; it’s made with the same material as high-performance whitewater rafts and features a Hydrolok zipper, the best-performing zipper in the world. The Hopper Two 30 can handle 18 canned beers and 26 pounds of ice.
ORCA 40-Quart Cooler
The two founders of the “Outdoor Recreation Company of America” wanted a cooler to take fishing and hunting — and that’s what they created. The company’s coolers are all American-made, sourced with 100 percent American materials, and can literally withstand a bear mauling. The company’s 40-quart cooler weighs 24 pounds, is roto-molded and boasts a lid gasket to prevent ice from melting and anything from spoiling for days. All Orca coolers have a lifetime warranty — plus, a portion of each purchase gets donated to several American conservation groups and charitable organizations.
Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
The Yeti Tundra 75 is the perfect cooler for your next fishing trip. The 75’s non-slip feet have the same molding as popular boat coolers, so it’ll easily slot aboard your current boat. It has enough space to house two cases of beer and the keepers you reeled in. But the Tundra 75 isn’t limited to the waters; it’s small enough for one person to carry, it’s roto-molded and it has several layers of pressure-injected insulation to hold ice for several days.
25-Quart Bison Cooler
The 25 is the smallest cooler Bison makes, but it has the same toughness and cold retention of the company’s larger coolers. Designed with heavy-duty rubber latches, a tight-sealing rubber gasket and nearly two inches of insulation, this waterproof and leakproof cooler will preserve anything for five days, and a drop or two won’t damage it. But remember: even though it’s smaller, it’ll still weigh twice as much as a well-stocked daypack. So carry it over short distances, or with another person.
Pelican Elite 70-Quart Cooler
Pelican is known for making high-quality cases for everything from drones to cameras. The brand’s Elite coolers feature a freezer-grade seal and ultra-durable handles, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. The guarantee insures the cooler “against breakage or defects in workmanship.”
While Orion may not be a household name like Yeti, its coolers retain cold as well, are durable and come in a plethora of color combos. But don’t just take our word for it, check out Matt and Agnes Hage’s Instagram account. The Hages are professional outdoor photographers who travel to the most remote parts of the globe. Their cooler of choice? Orion.
OtterBox Venture 45
Otterbox is new to the cooler game, but the company’s injection-molded Venture cooler has some innovative features. In addition to being Certified Bear Resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, the cooler includes an easy-locking mechansim and a built-in bottle opener.
IceMule Pro Cooler XX Large
If you need to hike in your cold goods, the IceMule Pro is the way to go. It’s a soft-side cooler built as a backpack — complete with 40 liters of carrying capacity. Always wanted to have a party up on that cliff? No problem. The Pro Cooler XX Large can hold 36 cans plus ice thanks to its welded seams, which are rated to 65 pounds.
Igloo Sportsman 20
Made in the USA, the Igloo Sportsman 20 packs a mighty punch for its size. The roto-molded design, easy-carrying handle and aluminum hardwear make it more than worthy for a day trip on a boat or an overnight at the campsite.