Camp Coolers?

I have been looking around for a nice camp cooler to use for extended canoe camp trips w/no portages, but have not found anything that really seems to be the right one. Most seem to be of the picnic type with light insulation if any, no latches (or poor quality ones), or huge. All the soft coolers seem to be darkly colored. I may resort to making my own if nothing else.

Anyone have one that they really like?


The metal Coleman coolers are pretty good. They have a latch and will keep things cool for a couple of days, depending on the temps. On the expensive side though.

Check into coolers made for rafting
Research some rafting supply stores (NRS, etc) for coolers. Most are built w/desert heat in mind and are generally built with higher insulating value foam and far more robust. Double as camp tables also. Usually NOT cheap, but will keep your beer, I mean foods cold much longer.

Never! Ever!
Volunteer ta carry a ‘yaker’s cooler! Yer do it once an’ dems always expect yer ta do it agin’. Ah’ now jus’ ett all their vittles before we git ta de campsite - dat’ll larn’ dem…

Fat Elmo

I am also looking for a good cooler for camping. They claim they have the coldest coolers.

Those Galaxy coolers are awesome but more $$ than I expected to pay.

I have been thinking of making one myself. I have a 6 gallon white poly bucket with screw on lid-“O” ring sealed. It is designed as a wine fermenting pail and has a small spigot along the bottom side and a small hole in the lid for an air lock. I don’t think it would be too difficult to line the inside with an appropriately cut/sized military closed cell foam sleeping pad. The hole in the lid could be used to run an eye bolt through in order to hang up away from critters. It should work with a vinyl drybag inside to make for easy cleaning. Just not sure if the sleeping pad will be enough insulation.

Seattle Sports make soft coolers. I have one i’ve used for several years. Works great. Med. blue color. VF

Coleman Extreme
I have one of the larger Coleman Extreme coolers that I use for car camping. Supposed to keep ice frozen in the cooler for 5 or 7 days (forget which) even in 90 degree temps. I’ve been very happy with its quality, though if you don’t fill it all the way with cold items and ice it doesn’t keep everything as cold as long. It has those plastic/poly hinges and no latches, so it isn’t terribly heavy duty.

Good luck in your search…I don’t think you’ll find what you seek without spending some $$$.

ditto coleman extreme
use one of you nrs straps to keep the lid secure. You have two unused straps everytime you unload the boat anyway. I also carry a small “daycooler” so the big cooler only get opened once or twice a day.

No matter how you fill them, the best
they do in Texas is three days.

wrongo fat Elmo
I figure I need to carry the kayakers cooler. Otherwise I am too fast for them.

Igloo makes some nice, low cost, efficient coolers. If you’re looking for all out retention, look at their Maxcold line:

Their marine coolers are pretty good to, but I don’t think they’ll keep things cold quite as long as a Maxcold, but they’re no slouch:

I’ve never found a cooler with a latch I trust, so if I’m taking one on the water, I just cinch the lid down with a spare tie down strap.


camp coolers…
I purchased a soft sided cooler from NRS. Its yellow trimmed in black. Two zippers and a carrying strap that work very well. I have had it 2 yrs now and it works great. It will generally hold ice up to 3 days, and if I use block ice almost 5. It fits under the deck of my kayak and I always take on all my trips. The great thing about it is if I no longer require the use of it, it will fold down.

I have both
the Coleman Extreme 36qt and the Igloo Max Cold Ice Cube w/wheels.

The Ice Cube since it is narrower fits in almost all of my boats, but it is a bit tall and could cause some stability problems. I mainly use it in my Dagger Legend on extended trips and I normally keep the ice level below the gunwales. It requires 30lbs of ice to last the claimed 7 days. I have gotten 4 90 degree plus days out of about 20lbs of ice.

The Extreme 36qt is a good cooler, but it requires 20lbs of ice to make good on its 5 day claim. If you have that much ice in it,its totally full before food and beverages. With 10 to 15 lbs of ice, its good for a weekend. Plus I bought a seat cushion that straps to the top, so it doubles as an extra camp chair. Downside is that its 28" wide, so if you have a small solo, it may be akward to carry.

The secret in Texas
to having your ice last is to keep your coolers in the house the night before you put ice in them.

Nesting hard-sided and soft-sided
I was given a soft-sided cooler that just happened to snugly fit over a hard-sided rubbermaid cooler I already had. Don’t know if I’d go this route if it weren’t given to me, but the combo works pretty well - extra insulation and the zipper on the soft-side secures the hard-side lid in case of capsize. The soft-side is dark colored however. On a trip last summer I saw several people putting wet white towels over their coolers, so something like that is an option if you end up with a dark colored one.

camp coolers…
Forgot to mention that NRS sells replacement liners for their soft side coolers. So if you ever have a puncture, or find its impossible to get clean you may replace them.

Yea, you get about half a day extra
Keeping them out of the sun helps some too.

Look for a Coleman Lowboy cooler. Dunno if they still sell them, but they were steel-sided, about 48-quart size, and fit perfectly under a thwart. Came with a bottle-opener built in to the handles (probably not as important these days, when everything is twist-off). I still got mine!


They do
but upon closer examination, they are not very well insulated and are very expensive compared to their plastic counterparts. The one I saw at a Coleman outlet was in the $60 range. Its a case of “not buildin’ em like they used to”