The 8 Best Coolers for Every Type of Activity, From Picnics to Camping

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Whether you're looking to escape the confines of your house with a family camping trip or trying to socialize safely with a six-feet-apart picnic, you'll likely be eating plenty of meals outside this summer. In order to keep your food and beverages cold for al fresco dining, it's important to have a trusted cooler on-hand to get the job done.


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For long excursions, you'll want a big, sturdy number that is guaranteed to keep ice from melting. Quick jaunts call for a small, lightweight container that's easy to tote around. We've rounded up the best coolers for every occasion, so you're always prepared for an outdoor adventure.

Revered as the best hard cooler on the market, the Yeti Tundra is an impressive product. Thick, pressurized foam walls offer stellar insulation, which results in super long ice retention, and a freezer-quality gasket locks the cold inside. With non-slip feet and leakproof technology, it's very easy to use. The hefty price tag accounts for the impeccable quality and recognizable brand name of this cooler, and it's truly a worthy investment if you need strong reinforcements.

This RTIC rivals the Yeti Tundra and costs much less. It's arguably the most durable, indestructible cooler out there thanks to its roto-molded construction that's designed to resist bears. It also keeps ice frozen for up to ten days and includes a quick draining system that makes it easy to clean. Ideal for long camping trips in rugged conditions, this cooler will never fail you.

The Igloo MaxCold is a great all-around cooler. It's light for its size and maintains ice for multiple days, making it equally suitable for car camping trips, picnics, and backyard hangs. Igloo offers simple hardware replacements, so you can update hinges and handles if they wear over time. Most importantly, the price is extremely reasonable. You might even consider it a steal for such a dependable product.


If you're concerned with style, the vintage look of this Coleman cooler is sure to win you over. The retro, midcentury design isn't the only perk, though. It's large enough to fit 85 cans and built to double as a seat, so you can relax while sipping a cold drink. Though this classic steel cooler may remind you of the original 1954 model, it has updated technology that retains ice, resists rust, and drains without tilting.

For low-key outdoor meals, all you need is a small compartment to keep items cool. This little Coleman can hold a few drinks and sandwiches, which is perfect for a picnic. The clever FlipLip top becomes a serving tray with molded cup holders and the bail handle is easy to carry. At just $13.32, there's no reason you shouldn't own this handy cooler.

Those who prefer a soft-sided cooler will love this AO canvas version. A go-to for day trips, this cooler maintains ice for 24 hours without any leaking or sweating. When unzipped, it stands straight up for convenient packing and unpacking. It boasts a shoulder strap for easy mobility and a side pocket to store dry snacks, too.


If you're hiking or walking to your picnic destination, a backpack cooler is essential. Polar Bear makes the best, most comfortable one in the category, with adjustable shoulder straps and a two-inch-thick padded backrest. Its insulation is high-quality, keeping ice frozen for more than a day. Plus, there are water bottle pockets on each side of the exterior, as well as a mesh pocket in the front for dry snacks.

This sporty, tote-shaped cooler from HydroFlask is another great choice for daytime activities. It's outfitted with smart insulation, watertight zippers, and a wide-open top for easy access. Lightweight and self-standing, it's accessible and practical for picnics and car rides.