When someone is planning a trip to the outdoors, it is important to have a way to keep food cold and keep ice in your cooler from melting, as this will ensure the food doesn’t go bad during the trip. On the other hand, when it comes to choosing the right cooler, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the options available. Because each type of cooler has its own benefits and drawbacks, here is a look at each type to help you make a decision.
What We'll Cover
The Soft-Shell Cooler
Also called a soft-sided cooler, this is an ideal cooler to use for short-term trips. These coolers show up in various designs, including:
- A hard inner liner
- An insulated fabric shell
- A soft shell on the outside
- Flexible backing with compression for added storage
- Sometimes the capacity to carry it as a backpack cooler is built in
- Pockets to hold cooler ice packs
This is the most straightforward cooler that someone can find. These coolers also tend to come with a number of additional benefits, including padded straps for easier carrying along with pockets on the outside to fit a wallet, car keys, or a GPS. These coolers are ideal for keeping food cold for a day or two; however, they don’t last much longer than this. Because the coolers are flexible, these also fit into small spaces, such as cars, kayaks, boats, and bike baskets.
The Roto-Molded Cooler with a Hard Shell
This cooler is very different from the soft-sided cooler, as a roto-molded cooler has been built from a single slab of material. The interior is a single piece, and the cooler stays well-insulated and durable. On the other hand, this also makes the cooler heavy and more difficult to transport. If someone is looking for a heavy-duty camping cooler that will keep food cold for days, this is the answer. These coolers have exceptional impact resistance, strong rubber latches, grab points and feet that will prevent the cooler from skidding. The benefits of roto-molded coolers are worth it.
The Thermoelectric Cooler
This is a different cooler that requires a reliable power source. Using what is known as the “Peltier Effect,” this cooler can be used to either heat or cool its contents. The major benefit of this cooler is that someone will be able to avoid having to deal with wet, slushy food items. Furthermore, because these coolers don’t have any ice inside, they can be used to transport more food. On the other hand, these coolers are going to require a power source. Finally, these coolers also have a limited cooling or heating range that is impacted by the temperature of the outdoors. Nevertheless, for those with a power source, these coolers can get the job done and chill food quickly.
Find the Right Cooler
Those who are in search of a cooler need to first think about what they are going to use the cooler for. Then, take a look at all the options available and find the one that best meets those needs. The right cooler, whether it’s a wheeled cooler, large cooler, or bear-proof cooler, can make a big difference in the quality of the trip and a great addition to your camping kitchen setup!