The Best Coolers For Your Next Picnic, Tailgate, Or Camping Trip

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The Insider Pick:

  • Whether you're heading out for a weekend camping trip, an afternoon in the park, a tailgating party, or you're grilling in the backyard, you'll need a cooler if you like cold drinks and fresh food.

  • The Coleman Performance 48-Quart Cooler is our top pick because it's a true classic that stands the test of time with its incredible low price and three-day ice retention in 90-degree temperatures.

To the fisherman, a reliable cooler makes the difference between bringing home fresh fillets or wasting the catch as it spoils in the heat. At the tailgate party or picnic, a good cooler means cold beer and soda instead of warm swill. For the campers, a cooler keeps food chilled and safe for days on end even when the nearest refrigerator is a three-day hike back out of the woods. And so forth. Frankly, I feel confident that you know plenty about using coolers. When it comes to choosing a cooler, however, I think I can help.

I own four coolers, which I readily admit is a bit excessive. But they're just so damn handy, right? I only use two of them all that often, these being a large hard-shelled classic and a soft-sided compact cooler. There's nothing wrong with the other two coolers, one is just a bit small for the family and the fourth is simply redundant, yet I can't bring myself to part with it.

It's probably going to surprise you just how much some coolers cost. But what also might be a surprise is the fact that a great cooler can be a lifetime purchase. No, buying a cooler is not as important or complicated a decision as selecting a car or a major appliance, but you will almost surely have the cooler for many years more than any vehicle, fridge, or washing machine, so you owe it to yourself to choose wisely. Be ready to spend a few bucks if it turns out the cooler that best suits your needs happens to be pricey.

The five coolers on this list are all distinct from one another in multiple ways. There's a good chance that a few of them will be the outright wrong choice for some people, but there's a great chance that at least one will be the absolute best cooler for you. Read on to see which of our picks fits your needs.

Here are our top picks for the best coolers you can buy:

Updated on 07/02/2018 by Owen Burke and Steven John: Added the CleverMade cooler tote to replace an older pick and added the RovR RollR cooler as our pick for a cooler with wheels. We also added the Vibe Element 70 with wheels and the Coleman's new 55-quart Super Cooler as alternates for longterm use, the Yeti Hopper BackFlip 24 for a more longterm use backpack cooler, and the RTIC Soft Pack 30 for a more affordable soft cooler. Updated prices and formatting.

Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider's Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

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The Best Coolers For Your Next Picnic, Tailgate, Or Camping Trip

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The Best Coolers For Your Next Picnic, Tailgate, Or Camping Trip