The Best Coolers for All Kinds of Summer Activities

Whether you need a portable cooler for hiking or a multi-functional option for the backyard, we've got you covered.

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May 27, 2021

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An excellent cooler is essential for summer. Whether you're storing water for a hiking trip or toting a cooler of cold ones to the beach, a dependable cooler that isn't a hassle to carry around can be a game-changer. And with so many options on the market, it can be hard to figure out which cooler best suits your needs, which is why we broke down a bunch by our favorite summer activities below.

Whether you're an avid camper, dedicated hiking enthusiast, enjoy tailgating or just love throwing pool parties, we found a cooler for you. To make our picks we took into consideration size, weight and how far it would need to be transported —plus, any special features the cooler has. No matter what you need your icebox for, this guide can help you pick the perfect model.

Coolers for the Beach


You already know that YETI is the Cadillac of coolers, but the addition of puncture-resistant wheels (the first with this feature) and two inches of insulation makes this version built to go the extra mile. From camping and fishing to a family barbecue or pool party, this cooler can handle it all this summer.

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This classic individual-sized cooler is perfect for a day at the beach. The 4-quart capacity is big enough to store drinks, lunch and a snack for one. Pro tip: Place it on the corner of your beach blanket to weigh it down.

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Bring this backpack cooler to a bonfire on the beach. It's got a large middle compartment to store cold beverages and snacks and the side pockets can hold bottles of wine or beer for the adults.

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Coolers for Camping


This large cooler can hold enough food for a weekend away. It's really affordable and great for light camping trips where you won't plan to encountering many bears or other food-stealing animals.

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Camping with just a few people? This smaller cooler can keep food cold for hours — some claim even days — making it perfect for storing cold drinks and perishables during your camping stay.

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Otterbox is known for its indestructable phone cases and this cooler lives up to that same expectation. For a more rugged camping trip, this cooler will protect your food from the elements.

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Coolers for Backyard Hangouts


This electric cooler plugs into an outlet and can play music or charge your phone while it cools your beverages.

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Break out this rolling cooler for your next backyard party. If you have a different setup every time, this patio cooler is easily portable, so you can put it wherever you find room.

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For anyone who throws a party with a theme or specific decor style, this patio cooler is perfect. We love the wood detail on the outside that ensures this cooler will really fit in with whatever look you're going for.

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