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There is a lot of debate between cooler enthusiasts as to what brands keep your goods iced down the best. One aspect that's often compared (and is super important to the casual ice chest user)? Mobility. Enter: the cooler with wheels. Heavy-duty coolers are great, but not when you have to drag them through the sand, haul them over gravely distances, or just generally enjoy life without a hernia. Save yourself the hassle and enjoy summer with ease.
Why Coolers With Wheels Are Worth the Splurge
You never realize how heavy some ice and a 12-pack of Miller Lite is until you are hauling it half a mile to the beach. While cools with wheels may be more expensive than the carry-all model, I can assure you your lower back with thank you two-fold the next day. If you are planning on taking your cooler on lots of off-roading adventures, opt for a model with larger wheels. Plus, most (if not all) of these models offer cup holders, bottle openers, and drain plugs. They all keep ice cold during your outdoor activities, and here are our favorites below:
1. A Classic Favorite
Ah, the old trusty Coleman Xtreme. Looks like your Dad in jean shorts, smells like the cramped back seat of a station wagon (we kid), and keeps an ice cube frozen for an unbelievably long time. We're talking up to five full days. It has a retractable handle and can hold up to 84 cans: It's a classic for a reason.
2. Best Option for a Camping Weekend
Getting into more hard cooler territory here, the Trailmate holds 70 quarts and adds an important addition for a perfect camping weekend: tablespace. The stainless steel legs might work better for beach days than camping trips, but it will outperform soft coolers easily. We love the features like a storage pocket, cup holders, a removable butler tray, dual bottle openers, and tie down loops to haul things like camping or beach chairs around. Essentially, this will be the perfect option for a camping weekend away, and is a must-have for any summer adventure.
3. A Durable Option You'll Have for Years
If you know anything about the YETI brand -- and their array of durable, high-quality products -- then you'll love this cooler. Besides the fact that this option is the sleekest, most aesthetically-pleasing option, it's also one you'll have for many, many years. It features an aluminum arm with comfortable grips, pressure-injected foam and two-inches of insulation which makes ice stay cool for a long time, and an armored construction that the brand claims makes it "virtually indestructible." Yep. If you use a cooler every summer and have to replace your cooler every summer, this is a splurge worth spending on. We also love that it will triple digit temperatures are no match for this incredibly made option. One reviewer writes: "the absolute best cooler on the market." We can't help but agree.
4. An Affordable Soft-Shell Option
This beverage cooler can hold up to 100 pounds! How many cans of beer is that (it's 60)? This soft-shell option will come in handy for parties, beach day trips, camping trips, and more. It's material lining is odor-proof and resists stains, but this one made the list because it's removable: it comes attached to a trolley, but you have the option of taking it off, making it the perfect cooler to keep in your trunk. Reviewers say it's sturdy and useful for groceries, too.
5. Best for Fishing Trips (and Emergencies)
This cooler may be a splurge, but you're paying for some top-notch durability. It made our list because this made-in-the-USA 45-quart cooler has 10 days of ice retention -- which means this is going to come in handy when the power goes out and you've got to save your groceries! It's also great if you fish or hunt -- it even comes with an integrated fish scale on the top. We also like the leak-proof drain plug, sturdy locking latches, tie down slots, and bottle openers. It even comes with a lifetime warranty: if it breaks, they replace it forever. The brand even claims it's bear-proof -- not that you'd want to test that out.
This post was originally published on April 14, 2021.