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The 11 Best Coolers of 2020

The 11 Best Coolers of 2020

Keep drinks ice-cold all day, everyday.

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From barbecues, beaches, backyard weddings, and beyond, a good cooler is key to keeping a party going. A spacious one keeps you from rearranging your drinks or, even worse, sip room-temperature beverages, while an easily-transportable cooler bag makes it easy to host a satellite party.

With that in mind, there's a range of coolers to consider: classic box coolers to keep drinks ice-cold and party-goers pleased; swing-over-your-shoulder coolers for hiking, biking, and more; heavy-duty backpacks for mountain trekking and white-water rafting; and coolers aimed at keeping white wine at the perfect temperature. Wherever you’re headed, here are the best coolers for all types of drinkers.

Best Overall: Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler

This Coleman cooler is a classic. It’s massive (carries 54 quarts and measures 26 x 17 inches), yet durable—pull it around the park or leave it out under any weather condition without worrying about scratches and dents, thanks to its rust-free hardware. The brand’s ‘have a seat’ construction means the cooler even doubles as a bench (holding up to 250 pounds). If it doesn’t hold up to its promise, Coleman offers a six-year warranty on the product.

The retro-leaning design of this Coleman cooler adds a hint of charm. But don’t let its look fool you—the cooler can keep ice frozen for up to four days in 90-degree temperatures and hold up to 85 cans. Consider it the perfect festival partner in crime.

Best for Camping: YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

This YETI cooler is a pint-sized powerhouse: at 14 x 14 x 19 inches, it’s large enough to carry the bare necessities (a few bottles of wine, a solid 16 cans of beer, a full picnic of snacks), yet small enough that it’s not as cumbersome as larger coolers.

This particularly petite cooler boasts all the capabilities of larger items in the YETI line, like ColdLock Gasket technology, keeping items ice-cold for over a day. The fat-wall design adds an extra two inches of insulation, and Permafrost insulation uses pressure-injected polyurethane foam to keep ice frozen for long days. A rotomolded construction means that through all the bumps and scrapes (think dinging it on a tailgate), the cooler remains indestructible.

The roadie cooler is equipped for wherever your adventures take you—molded tie-downs mean you can anchor it to your boat or trailer, and if not, non-slip feet keep it in place, even when the road gets slippery. When you’re using it for the day, the Vortex drain system slips the water out quickly.

Best Wheeled: Igloo Trailmate Journey 70 QT Cooler

Calling all fans of festival season: Igloo’s 70-quart carry-all cooler (34 x 20 x 24 inches) is equipped to travel through grassy fields and dirt road campsites. And this cooler isn’t your average outdoor accouterment—there is a mobile device stand for watching movies or playing songs from your tablet, and its Ultratherm and cool-rising technology keeps frosty air circulating through the cooler.

There are also more traditional cooler features, like bottle openers, butler trays, drain plugs and dry storage. A food basket keeps your snacks separate from your sips, while a glide handle, aluminum, and stainless steel construction, and oversized wheels make it easy to haul your cooler wherever you go. This Igloo cooler is equipped to handle provisions for the whole crew, from multiple cup holders to enough storage for 112, 12-ounce cans.

Best Backpack: Otterbox Trooper 30 QT Cooler

Made for durability and portability, Otterbox’s Trooper Cooler holds up to 30 quarts (measuring 21 x 17 x 11 inches) in a travel-friendly backpack. And, despite being close to the body, the cooler will keep ice cold for three days. While that may sound like a recipe for back problems, the carrying straps are designed to hold the weight of all the cans, bottles, and ice you’ll need. Once you’ve reached your destination, the backpack expands wide (and can be opened with one hand for a sip on the go) to double as an ice bucket.

Exterior waterproof pockets make it easy to store all your must-haves. True to Otterbox’s signature phone cases, this backpack also boasts an all-encompassing Lifetime Warranty, but you likely won’t need it—the bag is water-, puncture-, UV-, and chemical-proof thanks to a thick nylon exterior and a heavy-duty base (the brand even promises the nylon will hold up in rushing rapids).

Best Tote Bag: Coleman Collapsible Cooler

Ready to haul from the car to the campsite, this portable Coleman cooler can hold up to 54 cans, but can quickly fold flat to save space. Better yet, the bag can keep ice cold for 32 hours (even in scorching, 90-degree temperatures).

This tote bag holds everything you’ll need for a low-cost cooler—its sturdy construction (9 x 15 x 15 inches) carries nine bottles of water or 12 bottles of wine, with treated liners that resist the usual odors and mold that come with carrying food and beverages. The main zippered compartment is secured with a thick strap, and a handy shoulder strap, that’s also cushioned and adjustable, means you can carry it anywhere you please without the repercussions of sore shoulders. Think of this as your go-to bag for casual weekend adventures.

Best Heavy-Duty: YETI Hopper Backflip 24

For adventure seekers, YETI’s adrenaline-inspired backpack is set for traveling the slopes, riding waves, or heading out on long-run fishing trips. It’s tall and wide (13 x 19 x 8 inches), yet designed to disperse weight across your back, meaning you can stay active without having the backpack impact your performance. Sport-designed, ergonomic shoulder straps and additional chest and waist belts let the bag hug tight and secure against your body.

Like all of YETI’s adventure bags, its leak-proof, Hydrolok zipper and DryHide shell protect contents against snow, sleet, water, and heat. Not just a cooler, the bag doubles as an adventure backpack—stow it in an overhead bin or load it up with clothes for a weekend trip. The ultra-durable bag is equipped to handle 20 cans of beer (using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio) or 25 pounds of ice, while Coldcell insulation keeps things cool.

Best Eco-Friendly: Igloo Recool Cooler

If you’re not looking to invest in a high-end cooler nor use a single-use styrofoam container, opt for Igloo’s re-cool cooler— it’s made from recycled paper and Alkyl Ketene Dimer, a naturally-made mixture that waterproofs upcycled paper pulp.

Although it’s designed to replace a single-use cooling container, this cooler can hold ice for up to 12 hours and water for five days and can hold 75 pounds of goods. Keep in mind that the 15 x 11 x 11-inch cooler is on the smaller size: perfect for beer and soda drinkers, but not as much for oenophiles (it’s a tight squeeze for wine bottles). Each cooler lid contains four molded-in side handles and four cup holders. The Igloo container can be reused with care—just empty and air dry after use.

Best for Adventure: Tourit Cooler Backpack

Road trips, cycling adventures, beach days, and beyond: Tourist's cooler backpack is an excellent companion for all types of outdoor activities. At 15 x 11 x 11 inches, it can hold a party’s worth—30 cans, kept ice-cold through walking paths or hiking trails. Multiple compartments, including two side pockets, an iPhone holder, and a roomy front pocket, meaning you can store beers, but also keep food, sandwiches, money, and more separate from the suds.

Bottle holders on the side of the backpack hold water bottles or umbrellas. Its PEVA hot-pressed material chills contents for 16 hours, and ventilated materials keep condensation out of clothes and surroundings, while inner insulation prevents leaks. The best part: its stylish design looks more like a commuter bag than a rugged hiking sack, making it versatile for work lunches or quick picnics.

Best Budget: Igloo Quantum 12-QT Cooler

Igloo’s no-frills, 12-quart cooler contains all you’ll need for a quick, weekend getaway. Thanks to its compact size (12 x 11 x 12 inches) and budget-friendly price tag, this bang-for-your-buck cooler is best used for short day-trips, beach days, or to work as a lunch bag. It packs away 18 cans and more: a storage compartment in the lid means you can toss in your keys, cell phone, wine opener, or more when you’re on the go.

There are two cup holders on top for your beer, which also self-drains away any excess moisture. For rougher climates, the lid locks with molded loops to protect contents (think, when it’s time for a dip in the water), and Igloo’s cool-rising technology keeps things chilled throughout the day. A taller profile means you can slip taller cans and wine bottles into the cooler with ease.

Best for Everyday: Polar Bear Coolers Bag

Cooler bags are a great way to tote libations and provisions to work, picnics, and more. This Polar Bear option is made of luggage-grade nylon with double-stitched detailing, meaning it can bear rugged conditions. Or, practically any condition—the sleek exterior looks akin to an upscale gym bag and a (personalizable) side pocket can carry any other accouterments. At 14 x 7 x 12 inches, this soft-sided cooler can hold a lot for a bag—12, 12-ounce cans, or five pounds of ice. Plus, an ergonomic strap won’t rub or chafe as you carry it. A two-year warranty protects you from any accidental bumps and scrapes.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, expand the bag and load it with ice. The one-inch thick, 10 gauge insulation keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours, even in sweltering temperatures.

Best for Wine: Reduce Wine Cooler Set

Use an easy chill bag to BYOB to picnics, sunset hikes, or a dinner party with your Champagne pre-chilled. Even if your bottle isn’t cold to start, pop your bottle in the BPA-free cooler and it will bring it down to prime drinking temperature. There’s no need for a gel or ice pack either—simply fold the bag flat, slip it into your freezer the evening before you will need it, and pull it out the next day.

From there, the cooler will keep its contents chilled for up to 36 hours (slightly less, if you’re facing toasty temperatures). A full zipper closure means you can pull bottles in and out—think of the bag as a portable ice (free) bucket. The cooler also comes with two, ultra-durable wine glasses for sipping on the go.

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Kate Dingwall is a seasoned beverage writer, with work appearing on Wine Enthusiast, Tales of the Cocktail, and others. She likes her wine ice-cold and is always in for a camping trip.

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