15 Best Road Trip Coolers You’ll Love

Here Are the Best Road Trip Coolers!

If you’re planning an awesome road trip vacation soon, you are probably going to bring along drinks and snacks for the drive. After all, keeping a good cooler will keep your food and drinks fresh cold.  So here are my favorite picks for the best road trip coolers that will meet your family vacation needs!

Best Large Road Trip Coolers

If you’re traveling with a large group, or if your road trip will take several days, a large cooler is going to be your best bet. Here are the ones I love the most.

Coleman 316 Series Cooler

Depending on your needs, you can certainly make the argument that this is the perfect road trip cooler.  Why?  Well first, Coleman is a trusted name with a long-standing reputation for quality. 

And second, this 316 Series Cooler, in the 120-quart size, has an impressive capacity of being able to hold up to 204 cans. The design is “classic Coleman”, with handles that lift up for easy carrying and a lid that securely latches. A convenient water drain opening makes it easy to clean this cooler out after each use.

This large cooler boasts being able to keep ice solid for up to six days, and online user reviews seem to indicate that claim is true. If you’re on a long-distance road trip and don’t want to constantly replenish your ice supply, this cooler is a good choice.  For convenience, there are four cup holders molded into the lid, which is sturdy enough to use as an extra seat if needed. 

Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Cooler

This Coleman cooler is another version of the 316 Series described in the above paragraph, but this one has the added bonus of having wheels. With one large handle and one end and heavy-duty wheels on the other end, you can pull this cooler like a wagon. It’s so much easier than trying to lift a heavy cooler full of ice and snacks!

If your road trip includes camping, or even just stopping at parks or rest areas for picnic meals, you will love the ease of being able to simply wheel this cooler over to an outdoor table for a relaxing break.

This cooler comes in three sizes, 62 quarts, 65 quarts, and 100 quarts. Even the smallest size of this model can hold approximately 100 cans, so it’s a good choice if you need a good-sized cooler that doesn’t take up too much space in your vehicle.  It also features the same cup holders in the lid and the capacity for being used as a seat like the other 316 Series models.

Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler

The Yeti brand is considered by some to be a “gold standard” when it comes to outdoor coolers. The Tundra 75 model is one of their larger coolers, measuring 33.5 inches across and 17.5 inches tall. Yeti coolers keep ice solid for nearly a week due to the 3 inches of insulation in the cooler walls. 

If you’ll be using this cooler in the heat of Summer, this ability to keep the contents cool for a longer period of time is invaluable. Because the insulation is so thick, the inside capacity is somewhat smaller than coolers with comparable outer dimensions. The Tundra 75 is a 75-quart cooler, and it holds approximately 57 cans of beer.

The impressive insulation is only one of the remarkable features of this cooler. It also is extremely durable, and is certified as “bear-resistant”. Heavy-duty rubber latches help to ensure a tight seal on the lid. Because of the unique construction of this cooler, it’s also one of the heavier models available. It weighs approximately 34 pounds empty. Once it’s filled with ice, food, and/or drinks, it becomes very heavy to move around. 

The Yeti brand coolers are expensive. This model sells for $450 on Amazon. However,

if your road trips include a lot of camping, or if you’ll be camping while on your Disney vacation, a Yeti cooler might be worth the investment.

Igloo Polar 120 Quart Cooler

Igloo is another trusted brand of cooler that has been around for a long time. The Polar 120 Quart model is a somewhat basic large-capacity cooler at a decent price.  It holds up to 188 cans, which means there is plenty of room for several days worth of food and drinks. 

The drain plug on this model is threaded, so you can attach an ordinary garden hose to it for easy draining. Another great feature is that there are UV light inhibitors in the lid, which make it resistant to sun damage and help keep the contents cooler on very hot days.

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Best Small Road Trip Coolers

If your road trip will only last a day or two, you’re not traveling with a large group, or you’re trying to conserve packing space in your vehicle, there are many smaller-sized coolers that you will love.

Igloo 11 Quart Tagalong Cooler

If your road trip is only going to take a day or two, this small cooler from Igloo brand is an excellent choice. It will retain ice for 2-3 days and holds up to 14 cans. It’s the perfect size to hold a few drinks and some light snacks. 

There is an adjustable shoulder strap that can be made long enough to carry this cross-body style. Sturdy lid locks and an interior gasket in the lid help to prevent spills or leakage. It’s a fun bonus that this small cooler is available in a variety of cheerful, bright colors!

Camp-Zero 16L Tall Cooler

This cooler from Camp-Zero is one of the most efficient smaller models around! The tall design is perfect if you don’t have a larger vehicle and need to maximize packing space. You can fit approximately 20 cans in this cooler, and it’s tall enough to accommodate wine bottles upright if needed.

This is made to last with a hard shell exterior and a dual latch lock system. The features a freezer-grade gasket for outstanding ice retention. It is even compatible for use with dry ice!

Igloo Retro 25 Quart Picnic Basket Cooler

Somewhat recently, Igloo brought back new and improved versions of some of their most popular designs from the 1980s and 1990s. Many people were quite happy to see the Picnic Basket Cooler return!

The first thing you’ll notice about this cooler is that it’s so cute! The color selections are perfect for Summer and definitely bring on the 1980s/1990s vibe. But the standout feature is the “picnic basket” style handles. They are hinged and come together up to the center of the cooler, which makes it easy to carry this cooler even with just one hand.

This 25-quart model can hold approximately 36 cans. The contents are kept cool with Igloo’s “Thermecool” foam insulation, which is a clean, eco-friendly insulation.  

Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler

The Tundra 35 model from Yeti includes all the advanced features of larger Yeti coolers, in a more compact size. This cooler, in spite of the smaller size, can hold approximately 20 cans.

Just like the larger Yeti coolers, their extra-thick insulation and durable construction make this stand out from other cooler brands. These features also make it a heavier cooler, with an empty weight of 20 pounds.

Like the larger models, this is one of the more expensive coolers with a price of $275.00. 

Best Soft Side Coolers

If you want a cooler that doesn’t take up much space and is easier to carry, a soft-side model is a really a great choice.  Here are some of my favorites that I think you’ll appreciate, as well.

Tourit Cooler Bag

This cooler bag from Tourit has a spacious 48 can capacity and will keep food and drinks cold for approximately twelve hours. It has a padded handle on the top as well as a detachable shoulder strap, so it’s comfortable to carry.

A really nice feature of this bag is that it is fully collapsible! When not in use, you can fold it completely flat. This makes it a nice choice if you want to bring it on your trip as an extra cooler in addition to a larger one. 

RTIC Soft Cooler Insulated Bag

This insulated bag cooler from RTIC does an amazing job of keeping the contents cold for nearly 24 hours. It has two inches of closed foam insulation that not only keeps the inside cold, but it also helps this bag float in water! 

A sturdy zippered top keeps it from leaking, and the bag is made of a tough nylon fabric. It is available in several sizes, ranging from the smallest which holds 12 cans, to the largest size which holds 40 cans. 

SeeHonor Soft Sided Cooler Bag

This bag from SeeHonor has so many great features, not the least of which are the multiple compartments! In addition to the main compartment that can hold 30 cans, there is a front pocket that can hold small objects such as napkins, cutlery, sunglasses, etc. There are also two side pockets that are big enough for water bottles, and it also has a bottle opener.

Four layers of insulation will keep the contents cold for approximately twelve hours. On the top, there is a smaller zippered opening so you can just grab what you need from inside without having to unzip the entire lid. This helps keep everything inside cool; the less outside air you let into the cooler the more cold air it will retain. 

Best Backpack and Tote Bag Coolers

Backpack and tote bag coolers are the perfect accessories to carry snacks and drinks with you during a Disney World vacation! You can pack drinks and food in them to enjoy while visiting any of the Disney theme parks or water parks (or wherever your road trip will take you). I also think they’re quite nice for keeping any medications cold that are temperature sensitive.  Here are my favorite backpacks and tote bags.

Oniva Disney Tote Cooler Bag

If you’re looking for a stylish way to keep snacks and drinks cold while visiting a Disney theme park or water park, you will love this insulated tote bag! It comes in a variety of styles featuring Disney characters

In addition to being made of durable polyester with thick PVC insulation, this bag also has a zippered outside compartment to carry your wallet, phone, sunglasses, etc. You can fit a lot in this bag; it has a generous 24-can capacity. 

Maelstrom Cooler Backpack

This cooler backpack is not only stylish (available in many fun colors), but it has so many pockets to keep your stuff organized. The Maelstrom Cooler Backpack features a roomy zippered main compartment, one top zipper pocket, one front zipper pocket, one front cutlery storage pocket, two mesh side pockets, a hidden back zipper pocket, and one shoulder strap card pocket. 

The high-density insulation and leak-proof liner inside help to keep food cold for up to 16 hours. You can fit up to 35 cans in this backpack, making it a great size to carry a full day’s worth of drinks and snacks.

Elviros Cooler Backpack

This cooler backpack wins when it comes to organization, roominess, and cooling ability. The five-layer insulation boasts that it can keep food cool for up to 24 hours. It is slightly larger in size than many backpacks, but it features one zippered pocket in front. 

This pocket is perfect for small items such as your phone or wallet, four large front zippered pockets for plates and cutlery, and an attached bottle opener for extra convenience. The rope design at the bottom of the backpack is perfect to store a lightweight picnic blanket.

Cobalt Soft Side Cooler Tote

Cobalt is a brand known for manufacturing high-quality, durable coolers. This spacious cooler tote with a capacity to carry 24 cans is made of their highest quality standards using strong PVC tarpaulin material, a waterproof PEVA lining, and reinforced zippers and straps. 

While it doesn’t have any pockets or compartments to keep things more organized, it is easy to carry and you can fit a lot into this tote. Even though it is built for long-lasting durability, it weighs only two pounds when empty. 

How to Pick the Best Cooler

Whether your road trip will last several days or just one long day, you should keep a few things in mind when choosing the best cooler for your needs.

First, consider the size of the cooler you should use. If you decide to use a large cooler, take a few minutes and measure the space in your vehicle, then compare it to the size of the cooler you want to buy. Don’t forget to allow enough space for luggage, any other camping gear you might be bringing, and toys and games to keep the kids amused.

Large coolers are great, but it might make more sense to have two medium to smaller size coolers. It could be easier to organize space for two smaller-sized coolers as opposed to one larger model. You can keep food in one cooler, and drinks in the other. Your food will stay cold longer the less you open the cooler lid, and you’ll probably be opening the cooler more often to get drinks.

If your road trip destination is Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you might think about having a portable soft-side cooler or backpack cooler with you. These are great for carrying snacks and water with you while you visit the Disney Parks. They’re easier to carry than a small hard-side cooler, and take up less packing space as well.

This article was written by Kimberly and edited by Michael.

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