Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.
Are you looking for the best food storage coolers for your next summer outing? We prepared a list of the five of them, which you might need. Fittingly, this list has an extensive buying guide. Indeed, together with some crucial information on using coolers.
Obviously, when heading out for a picnic or camping, make sure to always take one with you. Besides that, it stores your food, gives enough space for everything, and keeps it fresh at the same time. Likewise, imagine heading out to a picnic, and your ice cream melting. That would be a disaster!
In the following article, we will look at our 5 favorite coolers. In addition, we will go through their intended use, design, longevity, and pros vs. cons.
The 5 Best Coolers for Food
Last update on 2021-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. YETI Hopper Portable Cooler
Who hasn’t heard about YETI coolers? This YETI Hopper Portable Cooler is the number one of our choice.
This model features a leak-proof zipper that will not allow any moisture to leave the cooler bag. Moreover, what we love the most about it is the many ways of transportation. They made it portable in any scenario, like a bag or carry-on. It should be noted that the possibilities to store dry ice and frozen products really live up to their name. In the end, Yeti produces the most durable coolers. Apart from this, a shell-like outer layer of the bag backs this up.
The item itself weighs only 2.8 lbs and can store up to 6 cans. Above all, this cooler really isn’t your average soft cooler. It’s something in between. Not only that the cooler has amazing portability and durability. But also combined with light weight and storage space. That’s why we put it on the top of our best coolers for food list.
- Durable shell
- Included bottle opener
- Waterproof zipper
- Might be too small for some users
2. Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Zipperless Hardbody Cooler
If you’re looking for a hard-walled cooler, this might be your go-to. The Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze is affordable and comes in numerous sizes. Fittingly, by using science, this cooler reflects heat inside the box, instead of absorbing it.
Nevertheless, it holds so many extra pockets and gadgets that you will have a pocket for everything. Besides, when we set out with it, we didn’t need almost any extra gear. This beauty comes with a bottle opener, zipperless lid, and all the space you need to section with boxes.
Amazingly, this cooler keeps ice cold for up to three days. It comes in sizes that fit 16, 30, and 48 cans. Likewise, these sizes can fit your food comfortably in it, depending on the size of your party. In addition, the item is also transportable because of its side strap.
- Hard walls
- No-zip lid
- Extra compartments and shelves
- Outdoorsy design
- Only one strap
3. Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler
This classic-looking and simple Coleman cooler can hold ice for up to 4 days. Additionally, this cooler has a flip-open cast, so it’s not a hassle to open it up. Also, the feature provides quick access to your food and drinks. Besides the vintage design, this cooler can hold your sandwiches and cans. Above all, it’s perfect for any tailgate or picnic party.
The steel handles give it a great way of transportation. Likewise, they feature rust resistance and ample storage space. It can hold the inside temperature, even if the outside is at 90 degrees. In the end, this is a traditional hard cooler. Additionally, it’s made for storing as much food as possible and keeping the temperature low.
This heavy-duty cooler is perfect if you want to take part in a laid-back Sunday afternoon barbecue. Nevertheless, due to its size and small handles, this model definitely isn’t among the best food coolers for hiking.
- Hard walls
- Traditional sturdy design
- Enough space for four people’s food and beverages
- Heavy-duty durable cooler
- Hard to carry with small handles
4. YUOIOYU Insulated Food Delivery Bag
If you’re looking for something that works as a cooler and keeps your food fresh, why not try a YUOIOYU Insulated Food Delivery Bag? This item is simple and perfect for any outdoor picnic you and your family might want to take part in.
They insulated the inside to keep your food hot and fresh, for your consummation. Also, with a durable outer shell, mid-layer with foam and foil lining, the walls are insulating. Additionally, what we love about this item is that it folds flat when needed.
- Durable walls
- Small storage space needed
- Not a food cooler
5. Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler
Another Coleman model we want to share with you is the Coleman 48-Quart Performance Cooler. Likewise, it holds the inside temperature for up to three days. This is quite a while since it also holds up to 48 quarts of food and drinks.
Fittingly, you don’t have to flip this cooler when you want to drain it. On the contrary, you can use a side drain to let the excess water out of the container. This simple design features a handle for carrying and a hinged lid. If you ask us, this model is perfect for any family outing.
- Hard foam-filled walls
- Holds up to 48 quarts
- Good value for money
- Included side-drain
- Too simple design
- Not suited for all outdoor activities
How to Buy the Best Coolers?
Clearly, this guide will teach you how to look for and how to buy the cooler you need out there. So, if you still didn’t find the right one for you on our list, we encourage you to look for one yourself.
Next up, we have a list of characteristics you need to think about when purchasing your next food cooler.
Cooling System – Insulation
The most important of all metrics when talking about a cooler is insulation. Regardless of how much effort, design, and time was put into a cooler, it all comes down to one thing. That is, how much time can it keep the food inside cold?
Indeed, there are models that guarantee five to sixteen days’ worth of insulation. But, most models can keep food cold to medium cold for 1 to 2 days. Again, this depends on several factors like:
- Outside temperature
- Have you frozen the products inside
- How much ice is inside of the cooler
- Is the cooler pre-chilled
- How many times you’ve opened the lid
Regardless, a crucial part of insulation plays the insides of the walls. Still, we can line them with nylon, foam, or any other insulating material. Mostly, the walls are made of plastic and can store water in them too. This is another way to keep your food insulated.
According to the stiffness of their walls or sides, coolers can be made out of soft or hard material. Likewise, we have all seen hard-sided party coolers and soft backpack coolers in the park. According to this, we divide them into two segments:
Hard Walled Coolers
Hard walled coolers are bigger and offer more space to store your drinks and food into them. In addition, they are very sturdy and can last for years, when purchased new and used moderately. Fittingly, most of them have double walls with foam insulation.
We would recommend using this type of cooler when going on a multi-day trip. Despite, even when bringing food for a birthday picnic or camping with extended family. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best food storage cooler for a multi-day trip, a hard cooler will do it.
These coolers are designed to hold the cool of your food for days at a time. Luckily, hard-walled coolers come in different sizes. Likewise, they are ranging from smaller ones, fit for one person. On the contrary, most of us know hard-walled coolers from parties. These coolers can fit up to 200 cans in them.
Soft Walled Coolers
A soft walled cooler is better if you’re bringing along some beverages and lunch. As well, we use soft coolers for day hikes, after-work picnics, and lunches outside. What we love about them is that they can be compressed. So, when you do this, one can store their cooler away in the pocket of their backpack.
But, needless to say, we use a different insulation system with soft food coolers. It insulates your food and beverages with nylon and many layers of shells. Logically, an original system without foam keeps the temperature for shorter periods. Even so, most soft coolers do so for up to one day.
Regardless, these coolers are soft and light. Their light weight and easy-to-carry nature make them a perfect choice. Even though they provide less capacity, they are perfect for day outings.
Another feature of our buying guide is portability. Likewise, using your food cooler depends on how it can be transported. So, if it’s supposed to sit there like a refrigerator, there is no use in buying it for camping. On the other hand, you’re probably looking for a portable cooler. One which you will take with you on outings, regardless of weather and distance from your car.
Now, imagine having to walk a mile to your camping place. This is, while your cooler is constantly slipping from your hands. Therefore, some models guarantee should look for portable food coolers with straps. It’s even better if the cooler has wheels or side straps to be carried like a backpack.
In the end, if you’re looking for a cooler to take with you camping, think ahead. It must have at least one strap.
Small things make or break a product. Likewise, the same goes for food cooler features. How many features you need depends on how you plan on using your product. So, here are the best features we have, so far, seen:
- Cup holders
- Bottle openers
- Side straps
- Drain and drain plug
That is, depending on how you plan to use your cooler, some of these additions can make it the best cooler in the world. So, if you plan on using it during a party, we recommend choosing a cooler with a bottle opener. Therefore, if you want to bring food for a week, we recommend choosing one with dividers.
Another possibility when buying any kind of cooler is how you’re going to use it. In other words, you will need different coolers for different activities. So, if you plan on making a party in the park or if you’re gone camping for the week, you will need different food coolers.
So, if you plan on making a multi-day trip, plan accordingly. That is, set out a list of how much food you will need, either per person or per day. Then, make a list of ingredients that need to be refrigerated, and list how much of each ingredient you need.
Once you make the list of refrigerated foods, try to picture how much room you might need. Following this, choose the one that suit your needs. Now, think of whether you need soft or hard walls, and how many days you’re planning to stay, size, and duration of cooling.
After you have looked through these possibilities, pick out a cooler accordingly. Remember, the freshness of your food depends on your food cooler. In the end, if your food has gone bad, you might have to head home unexpectedly. Who wants that?
FAQ: Food Storage Coolers
Q: What Should I Look for When Buying a Cooler?
A: When buying a food cooler, look first at what they made the cooler off. Thus, the cooler should be durable because you don’t want to keep buying coolers every season. Likewise, the ideal cooler insulation should be long-lasting. So keep in mind all the factors of insulation. Remember that most coolers can keep your food cool for at least 1 – 3 days, depending on size.
The cooler should be easy to transport. So, the strap and handles need to be sturdy and comfortable for your back or shoulder. Also, weight should be one of your priorities. Especially if you plan on carrying it with you.
Q: Are Hard or Soft Coolers Better?
A: Depending on your intended use, both hard and soft coolers can be useful. So, if you plan a longer stay or are cooling food and beverages for many people, consider hard coolers. They offer longer cold retention and store more items. On the other hand, if you plan on making a day trip, the best coolers for food storage are soft coolers. That is because of their size and light weight.
Q: What Is the Best Size Cooler for Camping?
A: The size of your cooler depends on how, where, and when you plan on using your cooler. That is, around 25 to 40 quarts is a good size for a cooler for one or two people on a 3-day camping trip. So, if you’re looking for something that fits food for more people, try a 45 to 70 quarts cooler. Additionally, this is a perfect cooler for three or four people on a camping trip.
Q: Can You Put Ice in a Soft Cooler?
A: Yes, you can put ice and ice packs in a soft cooler. This will help your cooler keep your food and beverages cold. Previously make sure you don’t tip it over because the melted water can spill if your cooler isn’t zipped.
Q: Is a Yeti Worth the Money?
A: When talking about YETI, remember that with the price tag comes quality and durability. YETI coolers are long-lasting and provide longer insulation. Therefore, they are a premium cooler brand. If you ask us, YETI is worth the money. Especially if you are constantly in need of a good and durable cooler.
For us, the best food storage cooler is the YETI Hopper Portable Cooler! We love it for its simple but versatile design, amazing additional features, and capacity.
In addition, one can take this cooler with them to any outing. Think hunting, hiking, picnicking, to camping. It’s super secure, easy to transport, and light in weight. Therefore, we put it in our first place, without a doubt.
We hope our article helped you in deciding which cooler to choose. Even if you didn’t find any of our choices fit your needs, you could use our buying guide. Regardless, we are sure this article helped you in choosing the right model for your needs.