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‘Tis the season for camping trips, backyard barbecues and yacht parties, and having an ice-cold, carbonated (and possibly alcoholic) drink on hand can be all the difference between a mediocre and awesome day. It might seem simple but there’s an entire science behind keeping a beverage cool for hours on end, which is why a cooler is a worthy splurge before going into Fourth of July weekend. But with a growing amount of options available, you also want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for, with a cooler that offers effective insulation, a durable exterior and relatively light weight for transportation.
Luckily, there’s a type of cooler for every type of social gathering, from light, weight soft-pack coolers for a family picnic day to party-sized coolers on wheels for the nomadic party animal. Here are the best coolers to snag right now, just in time for the Fourth.
Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler
Any of Yeti’s hard-sided Tundras will basically out-cool any other cooler on the market, keeping food and drinks fresh for days on end for long trips. The Haul boasts a heavy price tag but you won’t ever have to replace it; it lives up to its name by offering unmatched insulation power and tough walls that will last a lifetime. If you don’t need something that intense, you can also opt for Yeti’s more affordable options like the Tundra 65 or 45.
RTIC Hard Cooler
Most newer cooler models are constructed with rotational molding, a heated mold filled with powdered plastic material that works to create tougher, more durable walls than simpler Igloos coolers you may remember towing around in years past. While most rotomolded coolers are fairly similar in function, the RTIC offers you the best bang for your buck, offering comparable durability to the Yeti Tundra but for $100 cheaper.
17% Off Vintage Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler
This high-capacity, heavy-duty cooler also features a charming retro design. It can accommodate up to 85 cans, with four day ice retention in temperatures up 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Its compact build, with comfort-grip steel handles, make for easy portability.
Coleman Reunion Steel Ice Chest
If you prefer function over form, then the Coleman Ice Chest is worth the few extra bucks. The steel construction keeps it durable enough for years on end, with matte black and silver options that can handle roughing around. It can carry up to 85 cans just like its steel-belted companion, with a convenient channel drain for no-tilt draining that makes clean up easier than ever.
Igloo Party Bar
Are you on drink duty for this weekend’s party? Then you’ll want to go with the Igloo Party Bar, which can hold up to 212 12 ounce cans. It has an Ultratherm insulated body for long-lasting ice retention and Cool Riser Technology that further improves cooling performance by elevating air away from hot surfaces. Plus, it comes with wheels for easy transportability, removable drink dividers for convenient organization and even a handy stainless steel bottle opener on the side.
Rovr Rollr Portable Cooler
The Rovr Rollr will get you through any rough terrain you might find yourself in. If you’re prone to spontaneous trips, then you’ll want to opt for this insulated portable cooler, which rides on nine-inch all-terrain tires for easy and agile transportation. Ice will stay cool for up to 10 days in the cooler’s rotomolded elevated body, which can hold up to 60 cans and 10 pounds of ice.
Patio Rolling Cooler
Bring the bar (and party) with you wherever you go, with this affordable vintage style cooler. The insulated basin keeps drinks cold for up to 36 hours and can hold up to 110 12 ounce cans. The wheels lock in place for stability once you know where you want to post up, while a handy bottle opener and cap catcher makes it easy for anyone to pop their bottles open as soon as they grab a drink.
Igloo Grateful Dead Cooler
Keep your whole 2021 hippie vibe flowing all the way to the beach or the park with this cute Igloo collab with Grateful Dead, featuring the band’s signature bears and tie-dye coloring. The vintage-styled coolers returned with a motif that says, “there’s probably something good in here.” If you’re on the hunt for the more elusive blue cooler, head to Target. If you’re on the hunt to really get in the Burning Man mood, though, check out our full list of the best Grateful Dead merch.
Hydroflask Unbound Soft Sided Cooler Pack
This soft-sided cooler doubles as a backpack, making it perfect accessory for a hike or beach day. In addition to insulated walls that keep your contents cold for up to 48 hours, it comes with an aquaseal zipper and welded seams that ensure leakproof transport.
L.L. Bean Softpack Cooler
L.L Bean’s popular soft cooler is the perfect size for a family picnic. Its light weight, adjustable straps, and exterior pockets are a good fit for any quick trips that don’t require something as intensive as a Yeti or Igloo.