The 3 Best Coolers for Camping in 2021

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I’m not sure that I have ever enjoyed myself more than I do when I am with friends and family at our camp grounds. The togetherness that you feel with people when you’re in the wilderness with no distractions, (doing nothing but enjoying each other’s company while drinking and eating like pigs), is as good as it gets for me. And I imagine that I am not the only one who feels this way. 

There isn’t much that can ruin my good time when I’m in the wilderness, but there is one sure fire way to turn me from a “happy camper” to an irritated, irate mess of a being. Spoiled food and warm drinks. Take a look at the best coolers for camping.

I’m sure you’ve had that awful experience of being on the lake in the hot sun pop open the cooler and grab an icy-cold brew, only to reach into the cooler and grab a handful of water and warm beer. 

Or maybe you put all the food in the cooler to keep it safe from pests, and upon waking up in the morning, you find a slew of ants and other insects infiltrated your foods security and is now feasting on YOUR feast. These moments are the absolute worst camping experiences I have ever had. They do nothing other than infuriate me. But why do these things happen?

The single biggest reason a cooler will fail to protect your food or keep your drinks cool is that it lacks a seal that is tight enough that it keeps the outside air from seeping in through the lid.

Another big reason they fail to keep drinks cold is that it does not have enough insulation to keep the cold temperatures in the cooler, and the hot temperatures out of the cooler. Today, my aim is to remedy this common camping problem. I have three coolers that are great for camping. I’ll go through each one and hopefully, by the end of this you will have an idea of what cooler best fits your camping needs.

Best Coolers for Camping

Engel Coolers High-Performance ENG35

Engel touts itself as the original high-performance cooler manufacturer, and the ENG35 is doing nothing but upholding their reputation as a top-tier manufacturer of coolersThis cooler has two inches of polyurethane insulation around the entire cooler, giving it excellent insulation power. In Fact, it is capable of keeping ice for up to ten days making it among the best insulating coolers on the market.

The lid is lined with all silicone gaskets to keep all the air inside of the cooler, as well as keeping the hot air on the outside. And the seamless rotationally molded structure makes sure that your cooler has consistent insulation capabilities throughout the entirety of it – there are no hotspots in this cooler.

 Here’s what’s best about this cooler. Engel gives you a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty, basically, when it comes to coolers, you will have nothing to worry about for a decade. Oh, by the way, it’s also an IGBC certified bear resistant cooler.

Should you get this one?

I love the cooling property of this cooler, I do. The problem with this product is that it has flimsy rubber latches that have a tendency to break off. When this happens, you essentially have an unsecured cooler, negating some of the great qualities that we spoke about earlier. Luckily, this is covered under their warranty.


Pelican Elite Cooler

Here is another sweet product with terrific cooling capacity. It also has a two-inch casing of polyurethane around it but goes a step further by adding a freezer grade gasket around the lid. This cooler keeps your drinks icy cold may be infinitely I’m not sure yet. 

Pelican has long been a brand I use for transporting firearms or any other high-risk items, and they have brought their attention to security to the cooler game. This cooler won’t – I’ll say again – this cooler WILL NOT come open once it has been secured unless of course, you want it to. It has very reliable press and pulls latches that are easy to use and hard to break.

Should you purchase the Pelican?

I’ll be the first to admit; I have a slight (maybe more than slight) bias for Pelican products. But I believe 100% that this is a product that you will love the moment you take it on your first camping trip. Pelican may not be the standard for high-quality coolers in everybody’s mind, but the elite series may change yours. I would definitely spring for this one.

Yeti Roadie

Yeti, according to everyone I have ever spoken to and every review I have ever read, is the undisputed king of the cooler game. The Yeti Roadie is no different. The Roadie has, like the other coolers, has a roto-molded construction giving it great longevity.

But it goes a step further than any other cooler on the market by giving it a three-inch permafrost insulation throughout.

Yeti’s trademark technology “ColdLock” gasket makes sure that no air escapes or somehow find its way inside of the cooler. Plainly put, your drinks, food, or whatever else you put in there has zero chance of being exposed to the conditions of the outside world (unless you don’t close the lid – but duh).

Should you purchase the Yeti?

As I said, the Yeti is the reigning champ of cooler greatness, and that means you will have to fork over championship prices. But man-o-man is it worth it if you plan on spending a lot of time camping, so I would say this would be a purchase well worth the money. If you need a larger size cooler, look into the Yeti Tundra series.

Wrap – Up

For me, picking my favorite cooler of these three is a daunting task. You can’t go wrong with the Yeti, like ever. But I completely love anything that Pelican cases ever makes, and their Elite Series cooler is no different. I think if you are looking for the cooler that is objectively better than anything else, the Yeti is where you should spend your money.

But my brand loyalty has me taking a great long look at the Pelican Elite. I hope you liked our choices for the best coolers for camping.


Looking for a soft cooler? Read about the best one here.

Need a wheeled cooler? We like this one here.

What is the best cooler on the market? Read more about it by clicking here.

Meet the Author

'Mountain Man' John

'Mountain Man' John is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. He has a passion for learning anything and everything to help sustain his and his families way of life post SHTF. He frequently shares his knowledge on a variety of topics from his hands on DIY projects, learning new skills such as hunting and trapping along with reviews on his Survival related purchases - Prepping has been in his family for generations, it's in his blood.