Best cooler for canoe camping

Best cooler for canoe camping

Best Powered Cooler

Dometic CFX3 45

Lowest Temperature Achieved: -7.6º F | Power draw while cooling: 50.7 Watts

If you spend enough time car or van camping, you might consider upgrading from the old ice chest to a powered cooler that uses the energy from your vehicle or camper to keep things cold exactly like your fridge at home might. The best powered cooler we have tested is the seriously impressive Dometic CFX3 45. It offers some of the coldest achievable temperatures and above-average insulation. It’s built rugged and tough enough to withstand those questionably-maintained roads you may find yourself driving down. And it is practically bursting at the seams with ridiculously convenient features and well-thought-out usability. Two internal baskets make loading and locating things that much easier, as you can lift out the basket to find what you need. An internal light helps you find that last beer in the dark, and a tall interior easily accommodates your celebratory champagne. A free app on your phone lets you easily control and monitor your powered cooler without having to get out of your sleeping bag or camping chair.

Though the Dometic CFX3 doesn’t have an energy-saving mode like many other powered coolers, it does have different levels of battery conservation that ensure it won’t prevent you from starting your car in the morning. And even while cooling, it draws just 50.7 watts, which is on the low end of powered coolers we tested. Our biggest complaint about this cooler is that its cords are barely over six feet long, which just doesn’t get you very far from the outlet. It’s also very expensive, but if you’re ready to take the plunge into the iceless world of powered coolers, the Dometic is consistently the best-performing model we’ve tested.

Read review: Dometic CFX3 45

Related: Best Powered Cooler of 2022

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Why You Should Trust Us

This review is the brainchild of a team of testers, led by Senior Review Editor Maggie Nichols. Maggie has been playing and guiding in the outdoors for over fifteen years, from backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail to kayaking the Caribbean. She is an avid camper and even lived in her teardrop trailer for several seasons. She spent eight years at Iowa State University completing two science degrees and teaching numerous college science courses, so she has a comprehensive understanding of the importance of rigorous and scientific testing processes. Maggie doesn’t underestimate a great cooler’s value, whether it’s for off-grid living, celebratory summit beers, road trips, or backyard barbecues. She ropes in friends and family to her testing to gain perspectives from all ages and abilities. Our testing team also includes Max Mutter and Steven Tata. Max spends most springs harvesting maple syrup at a remote tree farm and relies on ice chests to keep that perfect amber elixir from spoiling. Steven has spent numerous months living and climbing in Yosemite National Park, where he lacks a fridge; instead, he stores all of his food in a cooler, working to keep it safe from the hundreds of black bears that call the park home. Maggie, a trained scientist, put her head together with Steven, a mechanical engineer, to design our detailed, intensive insulation testing process.

This review represents over 600 combined hours spent using, abusing, and meticulously testing over 35 different ice chests over a span of eight years — not including the time spent researching hundreds of new and promising models to find the ones worthy of inclusion. We ran and re-ran insulation tests under controlled but harsh laboratory conditions. We dragged our test subjects through the gravel, sand, mud, and grass while road tripping, tailgating, camping, and hanging out on the beach. We asked our friends and family, who span three generations, to help us dive into these coolers (sometimes literally) and identify the top performers. From being dropped from waist height, thrown into vehicles, jumped on by a 200lb tester, dragged across hot surfaces, yanked on, jerked around, and otherwise abused, these chests have seen it all.

Analysis and Test Results

The market for ice chests continues to grow over the years, resulting in some extremely close competition and hard-fought rivalries. To help you find the right model, we tease apart performance differences between contenders, implementing specific tests spanning five exhaustive, mutually exclusive metrics. We test the insulation performance, durability, ease of use, portability, and features of every single model. As some performance aspects are more important than others, we weight each metric accordingly. Below, we discuss our test results and which models stand out in each area.

Value

Though our scoring system of each contender’s performance does not include the cost of the unit, we recognize that this is a crucial aspect influencing the decision of which one to purchase. This particular market includes a huge range of prices that make one wonder if a plastic box could be worth that much money. In some cases, that extra cash does bring excellent insulation performance, greater utility, and convenience. In other cases, you can spend far less without a substantial drop in overall performance. It’s also helpful to consider how often you find yourself needing the cooling and insulating services these ice chests provide and how burly and rugged you need your gear to be.

When it comes to high durability and above-average insulation and usability, the RTIC 65 is a fantastic example of a high-value item. This lower-priced (yet over-performing) model has been accompanying our team for years of adventures now, handily getting the job done for weekends full of summer fun. If you don’t need such a beefy box or a lengthy time frame for storing delicate food items like raw meat, the Coleman Xtreme 70 is another good choice, saving you both money and weight. On the other hand, if you’re the type of explorer heading off the grid for extended periods and pushing your gear to the limits, the extra cash you’ll drop on the Yeti Tundra 65 is well worth the investment. This bear-resistant box provides top-notch insulation and superb usability that’s become our team’s go-to companion for longer trips.

Insulation

The most important metric for most of us is how well an ice chest keeps food cold and fresh. This metric is also the source of a lot of really extraordinary claims from manufacturers. From models with “5-Day” in the name to stickers boasting up to 16 days of ice retention, it seems that just about every product out there will knock your socks off. That is until you read the fine print, which typically includes a litany of stipulations such as the entire chest has to be pre-chilled (walk-in freezer, anyone?), its contents must also be pre-chilled or even frozen (no more buying drinks straight off the shelf and tossing them in the cooler), you can only open it once a day when it’s cool (what about lunch?), or you’ll need twice as much ice as food (gonna need a bigger cooler…) While all these things will of course help extend the life of your ice and, therefore, the freshness of your food, it’s unlikely that you’d actually be able to follow all these rules every time you use it. So we tested a more realistic usage. We bought some ice, filled each model about ⅓ full, and put a mixture of cold and room temperature cans in them. Then we simulated a midsummer trip by sealing them in a heated room for over a week while tracking and recording each unit’s internal temperature.

There are two critical temperature thresholds we made a note of; 40º F, and 50º F. 40º F is the maximum acceptable temperature recommended by the FDA to ensure food safety, as it minimizes the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Put simply, keeping refrigerated food items below 40º F greatly reduces the chance of food spoiling and making you sick.

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The 50ºF threshold we highlight represents the average maximum ideal temperature to serve beer. The American Homebrewers Association breaks down the optimal serving temperature range for different types of beer, which we based this threshold on. We chose 50ºF in part as an average maximum ideal beer serving temperature and also to easily see the rate at which each cooler gains degrees as its ice melts within by comparing how much time there is between when each model crosses the 40º and 50º lines.

The Orca 58 and Yeti Tundra 65 are the winners of our demanding insulation testing. Both maintained a temperature of less than 40º F for 6.5 days. While the Orca outlasted the Yeti here by just shy of 30 minutes, the Yeti then hung out below 50º F for an hour and a half longer than the Orca, demonstrating that it has a slower warming rate. When all was said and done, the top-scoring Tundra 65 provided a whopping 7.3 days of sub-50º F refreshments.

Additional close contenders include the Pelican Elite Wheeled and RTIC 65, which both maintained FDA safe temperatures of less than 40º F for about six days and acceptable beer temperatures for just shy of 7 days. These are impressive scores for a lineup with an average performance of maintaining sub-40º temperatures for just over 4.2 days, and sub-50º for just over 4.7 days.

Just because a cooler is rotomolded doesn’t necessarily make it the best insulator. For example, the OtterBox Venture, one of several non-rotomolded chests we tested, lasted five days below that critical lower temperature threshold, a performance that bested numerous rotomolded models. The Coleman Xtreme is another great example. Though it lasted just 4.1 days under 40º F, it came in only 14 hours behind several burlier (and far more expensive) rotomolded models.

Among mid-sized models, it’s useful to point out that the internal volume of the Yeti Tundra 45 measures roughly 35 quarts. Don’t let the “45” throw you off. We measured the Orca 40 true to its name with 40 quarts of internal volume. In our insulation tests, the Tundra 45 eeked out a marginal win, lasting 3.8 days under 40º F. Impressively, with an extra 6 quarts of internal volume, the Orca 40 maintained food-safe temperatures for 3.5 days. These two top-scoring options continued to warm at nearly equal rates, with the Tundra 45 topping out at 4.2 days of sub 50º F and the 40-quart Orca 40 crossing that final threshold at 3.8 days.

The small, personal-sized models can’t keep up with their larger brethren regarding insulation. The Yeti Roadie 24 impresses us, though, and is the best personal-sized model we tested. It lasted 2.8 days in keeping its contents under 40º F and just a few minutes shy of 3 full days under 50º F. Not far behind, the Igloo BMX 25 also scores well in this arena. It managed to maintain sub-40º F temperatures for 2.6 days, besting the similarly sized Stanley Adventure 30 by several hours and leaving the Pelican 20 Elite in the dust (which had a disappointing performance of just 1.4 days under 40º F).

Of our test subjects with a manufacturer’s claim for ice retention attached to them, not a single one lived up to it in our tests. As the market continues to grow, many manufacturers have stopped including specific number-of-day claims or have started adding asterisks to those claims that require limiting conditions to exist for them to be met. However, while the results from our insulation testing are in many cases far below some of the manufacturer’s claims, we went out of our way to push these competitors to their limits. There are many tips and tricks that can help you get even more from your ice, such as pre-chilling the cooler, keeping it in the shade, and packing a 2:1 ice to contents ratio.

Durability

Knowing your investment will last through years and years of adventures is important for any piece of gear you own, and these products are no exception. Though we didn’t have ten years to spend testing each model, we spent months subjecting them to prolonged use and a fair amount of abuse to see how they stood up to the pressure. We overextended hinges, jumped on lids, yanked on latches and handles, and dropped full chests from a carrying height. We set accident-prone friends, young children, and hefty humans loose on them to see what they’re made of by pushing them in ways more typically spread across many years of use. We filled each model with water to see how well their seals worked (or if they worked at all) and left them all out in the scorching midday desert sun for hours on end to see what would happen. Several of our top-performing contestants have been in regular use for several years now, and each season we update their durability and performance information, documenting how they change over time.

Several of the models we tested have IGBC certification – what does that mean, though? A certification from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee verifies that the product in question has been tested by said committee and meets minimum standards for design and structural standards that are considered “bear-resistant” by a team of grizzly bear experts. The IGBC specifically states that this does not mean the product in question can’t be opened or destroyed by a bear, nor does it mean the product is leakproof. With that said, even the minimum construction standards required to deter a hungry 10 foot long, 900 lb grizzly lend a lot of credibility to the durability of a product. Models we reviewed that are IGBC certified include the Yeti Tundra 65 and Tundra 45, OtterBox Venture 65, Orca 58 and 40, Pelican Wheeled 80 and Elite 20, Engel 65, Arctic Zone Titan 55, and Rovr RollR 60. These products proved to be very durable, despite the fact our team was unable to find a grizzly bear willing to test each of them rigorously.

Additionally, several other aspects add to each one’s overall durability, beyond just a sturdy hinge and a set of bearproof locks. The latches and handles don’t factor into an IGBC rating, as they are entirely irrelevant to bear safety but extremely relevant to any model’s longevity. Rubber T-grip latches are popular as a durable, easy-to-use solution for keeping your ice chest closed. The Yeti Tundra (both the 65 and 45 models) latches performed the best in our durability testing, with a combination of thickness and sturdiness mixed with the right amount of flexibility to stay tightly in place when needed and not give away to the incessant yanking of a bored four-year-old. Even after several years of use, the Tundra 65’s latches are virtually the same as the first day we got it. If you prefer thicker, sturdier latches and don’t mind the extra muscling they require to operate, the Orca 58 and Orca 40 both have brawny rubber T-grips (in the shape of orca tails) that practically exude security and confidence.

The RTIC has visually similar rubber latches that are much more flexible. As such, they are easy to use, lacking the stiff stubbornness of many other latches. Still, more flexible rubber might have a shorter lifespan than denser rubber, though we haven’t had an issue after using this product for years. The Igloo IMX 70qt is similar, with exceptionally flexible, soft, easy-to-use latches, also giving us pause about how well they’ll hold up through years of UV and user exposure. For the time being, though, this is just a concern and not something we witnessed during our extensive testing. TheIgloo BMX also has T-grip latches with slightly different shapes and thicknesses that both get the job done just fine.

The Xspec 60qt, Engel, OtterBox Venture, and Yeti Roadie 24 are some that buck the trend of popular T-grip closure mechanisms on high-end coolers. The Engel has part-rubber-part-metal latches, and the Xspec mixes plastic clasps with rubber straps that ditch the brawn for a bit more finesse when securing them. After multiple years of use, we’ve noticed the Xspec rubber sections have tightened up over time. This makes them just as secure as ever but requires slightly more force to operate. The Roadie 24 and OtterBox Venture both have plastic and rubber latches similar to the Xspec, but they’re both exceptionally easy to use, requiring less finagling and feeling much stronger overall.

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When it comes to handles, models with immobile handles have an additional advantage. Many models accomplish this by having two sets of handles—one indented in the sides of the chest for single-person lugging and a second set of mobile handles that extend above the top of the chest for two-person toting. The Engel, Tundra 65 and 45, Xspec, Titan, Orca58 and 40, RTIC, and Igloo IMX all follow this model. The thick handles jutting out from the OtterBox sides also impressed us with their obvious strength. Overall, the contenders with the most durable combinations of design, construction, and features are the Roadie and Tundra models, with the Orca and Rovr not far behind.

That being said, there’s something a little bit extra about a plastic box that’s not only well-designed and durably built but clearly shows attention to detail at every turn. The Orca 58 and 40 both are those coolers. Where so many competitors have visible screws holding on the latches (Kenai 65) or hinges (Igloo BMX 25, Coleman Xtreme 70, and others), rope ends and knots visible (RTIC, Engel, and others), or even tiny plastic ridges leftover on edges from the manufacturing process (Yeti Tundra models), every unit we’ve tested from Orca appears clean and polished. These details perhaps don’t matter in the long run from a durability standpoint, but go a long way toward making your expensive cooler look as impressive as its price tag and performance suggest.

Ease of Use

So your cooler works. And it’s going to last a good long while. But is it a pain in the bum to use? Ease of use is a critical factor in your overall happiness with any given product. We tested each model’s ease of use by, well, using them. A lot. We gauged how easy each one is to open and close – does the lid stay open while you load it? Are the latches easy to maneuver with full hands? We also observed how easy they are to load: is it a conducive configuration for oddly-shaped items? Is it tall enough for 2-liter soda bottles or celebratory champagne? Does it come with any handy features like a dry bin for items that shouldn’t touch ice or soak in slushy water?

We gauged the ease of grabbing the handles without looking and noted whether they require extra steps to slide them out into place or push them back down out of the way. We evaluated each drain (if there was one) to see how thorough a job it does and how simple it is to use. And for wheeled models, of course, we considered how that pair of spinning discs affects the chest’s usage when you’re not actively pulling it around.

Both Pelican models we tested – the Pelican Wheeled and the Pelican 20 stand out to our testers as having exceptionally easy-to-use latches. Unlike the rubber latches of many of their competitors that you stretch into place, Pelican’s latches are a simple push design, featuring a release button in the middle that ‘unlocks’ the lid, allowing you to lift the latch away from the body and raise the top. When asked by a four-year-old which model she thinks is the easiest to open, she picked the Pelican latches, hands down.

The Xspec, Roadie 24, and OtterBox Venture are also notable for innovative and fairly effortless latch experiences. Both of these big boxes combine a rubber latch for tightness and security with a plastic locking mechanism that makes them a breeze to use and requires much less brute strength than any of the 100% rubber latches demand. The Kenai 65 features mostly rubber, stretchy latches, but swaps out the rubber T-grip section for short metal posts that grip grooves underneath the rim of the body. Though they’re comfortable and easy to use, they proved to be less secure when jostled or dropped, and occasionally popped open during our testing.

The Stanley Adventure has plastic latches that are simple to use with one hand. They require just a minimal amount of pressure to seal your precious cargo or access its delicious contents, but the long-term durability of these plastic latches isn’t confidence-inspiring. Interestingly, the Igloo Mission 50 pairs fully metal latches on a plastic-bodied cooler. They’re not as secure as most other latches, but they’re very easy to operate.

As far as drains go, several products have dual-function drains, meaning there’s a hole through the shaft of the drain plug that lets water run out without having to remove the entire drain cap. Of course, if you want a faster flow, a total plug removal is advised, but don’t misplace that cap, as most models we tested don’t come with a leash to keep it attached to the body of the box. The Tundra(s), RTIC, Engel, Arctic Titan, Orca(s), Kenai, Xspec, Stanley, and Rovr all have this handy dual drain hole feature.

The drain plug isn’t the only factor that makes emptying water easy or annoying. Most of the contenders we tested also have a sloping channel behind the drain to help gravity pull water out. Still, several have unfortunately paired this with a large lip or other obstruction that then stops your drainage progress before it’s 100% complete. Models that we found the easiest and most thorough to drain include the Engel, Kenai, Xspec, Orca(s), Titan, and Tundra(s), which all feature either a tiny lip or a sloped lip to make emptying your meltwater a breeze. The Arctic Titan has an oversized drain to decrease the time you spend emptying it. And if one drain isn’t enough for you, the RTIC features two drains, one on either end.

We also considered the overall shape and size of each competitor as part of its usability score. Models featuring a compact, packable shape and handles that hide away easily are easier to pack into a vehicle for your next adventure. On the flip side, those products with large handles and awkward shapes that are difficult to Tetris into the back of the minivan, along with everything else you need for the party in the park, don’t score as well. Of course, the internal dimensions and capacity also make a big difference in what you can bring with you in your icebox and how many extra bags and boxes you’ll need to bring along. And the proportion of these dimensions to one another also makes a big difference. A low and long model is easy to find things in but harder for one person to carry. On the flip side, one that’s too narrow and tall is easier to carry but harder to locate items that have wormed their way to the bottom. The Xspec strikes a very happy medium, narrow enough for simple solo carrying, tall enough to fit an upright bottle of wine, yet shallow enough to find whatever you’re looking for easily. If you’re interested in a smaller capacity option, we’re big fans of the exceptionally useful 40-quart volume and compact shape of the Orca 40.

The RTIC and Rovr RollR are two more of our favorites among the crowd for their ease of use. The Rovr has a sizeable dry bin and tall interior with nearly vertical walls, making it much more comfortable than most models to pack it exactly how you want it and keep it organized. This is a feat made even more impressive by all the bouncing you’ll be doing with the enormous wheels over debris on your way to the party. It also boasts one of the tallest internal heights of any model we tested, so you can rest assured your chilled Pinot Grigio will stay that way all day. The RTIC offers a similarly simple interior that’s spacious enough to bring a ton of food with you on your hunting trip or camping adventure. Its dual drains make cleaning it a breeze, and the flexibility of this model’s rubber latches means it’s easier to open and close with a single hand than other rubber-latched models.

Portability

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At first glance, the matter of portability seems obvious: wheels? Portable. Small size? Portable. Large capacity? Not so portable. And while, in general, this is true, it’s not the whole story. We not only considered these self-evident factors in our testing but also looked at them in more detail. We challenged every pair of wheels to roll not only over the smooth, paved driveway of your friend’s house but also over the soft sand at the beach, the chunky construction debris that’s strewn across the path to the park, and the lumpy uncut grass of your Saturday picnic spot. We scrutinized every handle’s design, shape, location, and comfort while carrying a full load. And we considered not just the sheer weight of each chest, but what that weight gets you in terms of capacity – as in how worth it are the extra pounds? We filled them up and loaded them in and out of cars, slogged across beaches, and traipsed through neighborhoods to see which ones bashed against your knees, bite the backs of your heels, or formed blisters on your palms.

Much to no one’s surprise, personal cool-boxes like the Pelican 20, Stanley Adventure, Yeti Roadie, and Igloo BMX are much more portable than larger models. A combination of low weight, small size, and large carrying handles help make this possible. But being small isn’t the only aspect affecting portability performance. Among these smaller coolers, the Igloo BMX has a much broader, more comfortable to use, plastic top handle, and a smoother overall design that makes carrying this product full of heavy glass bottles of craft beer a much more pleasant experience. It also weighs less by a significant margin, which adds to its portability. The Roadie 24 has a flexible webbing strap that more comfortably facilitates an over-the-forearm carry. It also has a pair of indented handles hiding underneath both sides of the top for two-handed carry. The Stanley, as the largest of the small coolers, is the toughest to carry. It lacks a top handle and instead has just two hard plastic handles on each side, requiring a fairly uncomfortable and uncushioned two-handed carry. The Pelican 20 is also less enjoyable to carry, with a hard plastic top handle and a tall, gangly shape with too many rigid edges that smacked our legs and ankles as we walked.

Wheeled coolers may appear astoundingly portable, but we found that their actual usefulness in this metric is wildly dependent on their wheel design and clearance. We’ve tested several rolling models over the years. The Rovr is the only one with actual rubber tires filled with air (aka pneumatic tires), the same as a vehicle or bicycle. While competitors may point to this as a downside (more maintenance, the potential for flats, etc.), it makes for a vastly better system of pulling. The juddering of pulling hard-wheeled models over even smooth surfaces, like city sidewalks, can quickly leave blisters on your hands from the vibration of the plastic wheels (this really happened to a tester). But pulling the Rovr with its air-filled wheels lets you glide over imperfections in the ground and keeps your hands happy.

Equally as important, the Rovr’s handle swings out far enough from the chest’s body to avoid painful heel smashing. And with motocross-style rubber handles located on the edges of the sides of the wide trolley handle, it’s clear that this product is designed with the user in mind. Lastly, the bike attachment accessory is seriously impressive. Initially skeptical, we now use it all the time. Attachment is easy, and the flexible, pivoting arm allows for freedom of bike movement and no loss of turning radius or steering ability. We are so genuinely impressed by this rolling icebox’s portability that we hardly even notice or mind its heavier initial weight.

As for large, non-wheeled models, we still noticed many differences that lend themselves toward making specific units more portable than others. The Coleman Xtreme is just a few ounces heavier than the personal-sized Igloo BMX, which is astounding for its 68 quart capacity. The Engel and Tundra 65 both are relatively portable as well; their combined overall shapes and mid-50-quart capacities make finding what you’re looking for easier. They’re big enough to bring everything you need without being so big that they require two people to lift them out of the car. The Xspec is slightly larger but maintains the same overall dimensions ratio (shorter length, taller height – but not too much to make it hard to find that last beer under all the ice), making it reasonably easy for a single person to carry a short distance. Interestingly, the RTIC is the only model we tested with straight-up foam handles for a two-person carry. You may not enjoy lugging its extra weight around, but at least it probably won’t leave big red marks on your fingers.

Mid-sized models offer a middle ground between the many large options that can often be overkill for a simple picnic or road trip but offer more storage space than the small personal chests. The Orca 40 is our favorite medium-capacity contender. It fits a full 40 quarts of contents as well as whatever you can cram into the large external storage pocket covering the back of the box. Its taller, narrower shape is also more comfortable for a single person to carry from the car to the beach.

Features

Little things that make a product easier to use, more conducive to your lifestyle, or help you not have to carry so much stuff with you can make a difference in how excited you are to use it. But not all features, add-ons, and extras are created equal, and their value may depend on how and where you intend to use your gear. In general, we gave higher scores to more universally useful features, such as a leash for the drain plug (so you don’t lose it), internal baskets or dividers to keep your food fresh the way you want it, and the ability to hold dry ice, which extends the cooling capacity. Other features that are still useful but are more specific to certain styles of use received lower scores. These include things like cup holders, bottle openers, and measurement notches. We also only ranked contenders based on the features they come with and not on all the accessories you could choose to purchase for an additional charge. That said, many manufacturers offer some exceptionally handy add-ons that, should you choose to purchase them, can easily turn a product into your perfect hunting companion, tailgating buddy, or camping friend.

The OtterBox Venture, Rovr RollR, Arctic Titan, Yeti Tundra 65 and 45, and Igloo IMX all come with practical interior dry storage options, which is great for holding aside some clean ice for drinks or keeping sensitive food out of ice water. The Igloo IMX wire basket is a tighter wire weave, making it much easier to keep small items contained than most other models. The Titan, Tundra 65 and 45, and both Igloos all feature a simple basket that sits across the top of the opening, while the OtterBox is a similar concept but is a solid plastic bin instead.

The Rovr’s dry storage goes above and beyond since it has a large dry bin that extends to the bottom of the interior. It also attaches to the side of the interior with a simple hand screw, which means it won’t move during transit like all the other baskets are wont to do. The OtterBox, the Coleman Xtreme, Pelican, and Igloo Mission 50 all have leashes attaching their drain plugs to the body of the chest. Both Pelican and larger Igloo models, the Engel, and the Xspec also all have built-in bottle openers hidden in various spots. Helpfully, many of the units we tested are rated to hold dry ice, so feel inspired to take that long midsummer canoe trip with your Xspec, Tundra, OtterBox, Engel, or RTIC ice chest.

If you’re an angler, you might appreciate a model with an integrated ruler across the top to measure your catch. Many of the options we tested have this feature, including the Pelican Wheeled, Arctic Titan, Xspec, Igloo IMX, and Igloo Mission 50. Still, others have specific slots to tie them down in your boat, backseat, or truck bed.

The Rovr RollR does a bang-up job of living up to its claim as being “the most feature-packed 60-quart cooler ever.” Beyond the ultra-useful internal dry bin, this compact roller features a 60 quart external dry bin that attaches right to the top of the lid, literally doubling the number of things you can cart with you. When it’s time for storage, or you get to your destination, the dry bin folds down flat and can easily and securely be stored on the top of the lid. We found these two features to be very handy in countless situations. And if you are so inclined to make additional purchases, the Rovr can be mounted to the back of your bicycle like a tiny, ice-filled wagon.

Conclusion

We’ve been researching, testing, and retesting popular coolers for years to bring you the most competitive models out there, and this most recent round of contenders is no exception. After months of rigorous side-by-side testing and years of extended examination and use of top performers, conducted by our experts and a veritable crowd of friends and family who also enjoy fresh food and cold drinks, we got to know these models quite literally inside and out.

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