Best Lightweight Coolers Of 2022 We’ve Tested: Top Choices By Experts

Sara Ryan By, Sara Ryan
Updated
Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler
Image credit: Amazon.com

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler

"The Arctic Zone Cooler is the perfect solution for year-round outdoor adventures. The new design features a patented, "flip open" Zipperless lid and a removable SmartShelf for quick access to food and drinks. Features FDA compliant HardBody liner with removable SmartShelf and insulated front pocket." Read Review

2. Best For The Price: CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag

"With the capacity to hold 50 cans of your favorite beverage plus ice, this soft-sided cooler keeps food and drinks cold. This collapsible cooler folds down to less than 3 inches so you can store just about anywhere. The SnapBasket Cooler has a steel wire frame on top, a solid base, and a patented SnapHinge on each side for ultimate portability." Read Review

3. Best Portable: RTIC Soft Cooler 30 Can, Insulated Bag Portable Ice Chest Box

"The RTIC soft cooler is the perfect insulated cooler bag for any outdoor adventure. The soft, lightweight nylon shell protects your food and drinks from the elements, while its floating design gives you a great way to transport your goodies without the hassle of carrying around a heavy cooler bag. Ideal for a day at the pool or lake, no matter where your adventure takes you." Read Review

4. Best Versatile: YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Charcoal

"The YETI Roadie 24 Cooler is a durable, hardworking cooler that offers a cold and dry storage solution wherever you go. With its cool-to-the touch Permafrost insulation, the Roadie keeps food and beverages cold for hours. And with its built-in handles to help fit it into your car, the Roadie can be your companion on all your adventures." Read Review

If you’re looking to keep food and drinks cold without filling your backpack, check out these lightweight coolers. Whether you’re a frequent camper or simply love nature, lightweight coolers will make your excursions that much more enjoyable.

One of the best things about lightweight coolers is that they are generally inexpensive to purchase. They tend to have smaller capacities as well, so you won’t be paying an arm and a leg for something that doesn’t meet your needs either. If you’re looking for the best lightweight coolers on the market today, take a look below.

However, after investing in 19, we've come up with a name that's worthy of your requirement: Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze 30 Can Zipperless HardBody Cooler. If you desire extra features not included in this model, you might look into another one, CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag. It could better suit your needs.

Our Top Picks

  • Features FDA compliant HardBody liner with removable SmartShelf and insulated front pocket
  • Ultra Safe leak proof, easy clean interior lining; water and stain repellent, wipe clean exterior
  • Patented, "flip open" Zipperless lid allows for quick access to food and drinks
TOP Choice #2 CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag
Our Score:
9.5
CleverMade
  • Patented SnapHinges on both sides of the cooler bag offer structured support when the tote is open; to close the cooler, simply push the side hinges in, folding the compact bag down flat
  • The perfect size for food delivery services and a great solution to haul groceries from the store or farmer's market to your kitchen at home; comfortable handle and duffel bag handles make toting heavy loads easy
  • MULTIPLE USES – It’s the perfect ice cooler, drink cooler, travel cooler, beer cooler, lunch cooler, camping cooler, beach cooler. Features ​​2 inches of closed-cell foam.
  • IT’S A FLOATING COOLER – Not to mention it’s a floating cooler, it floats, so your drinks and snacks can go wherever you go. Ideal for a day at the pool or lake, no matter where the adventure takes.
4 YETI Roadie 24 Cooler, Charcoal
Our Score:
9.2
YETI
  • It's got a taller build than its predecessor, so it now accommodates a standard bottle of wine (or 2 liter bottle) upright, and is a better fit behind the driver's or passenger's seat of a car
  • ROTOMOLDED CONSTRUCTION - Evolved to be thinner and lighter-weight for easier transport, while still incredibly tough
  • The Roadie 24 holds 18 cans with a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio or 24 lbs of just ice. It measures 16 1/2” L × 14 1/2”W × 17 1/2” H
  • FULLY INSULATED: Lined with high-density insulation and food contact material.
  • KEEPS COLD: Keeps contents cold for all of your adventures. Reccomended to be used with reusable ice packs.
6 Coleman Rolling Cooler
Our Score:
8.8
Coleman
  • Heavy-duty wheels: Effortless rolling over any terrain
  • Xtreme Technology; Insulated lid and extra wall insulation keep ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • Have-a-seat lid: Closed lid supports up to 250 pounds
7 Soft Pack 40 Can Cooler, Blue / Grey
Our Score:
8.7
RTIC
  • Lightweight Yet Durable: The Soft Pack is prepared to take on every adventure with a heavy-duty nylon shell.
  • Go Big: This cooler has enough room to house 40 cans of your favorite beer or multiple days’ worth of meals — wherever your priorities lie.
  • Sweat-Free: Keep your drinks cold for up to 24 hours while avoiding the mess thanks to 2 inches of closed-cell foam and puncture and tear-resistant liner.
  • The Hopper Flip 12 has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers, with a capacity of up to 12 cans plus ice
  • The Hopper Flip 12 dimensions are 12 5/8 in long x 10 in wide x 11 ½ in high and an empty weight of 3.1 lbs
  • The only personal cooler that’s game for full days in the tree stand, early mornings in the duck boat, or afternoons on the water
  • ABOUT IGLOO: Born from a modest metalworking shop back in 1947, Igloo has been instrumental in redefining how we live, work, and play
  • HEAVY-DUTY CONSTRUCTION: This insulated cooler was blow-molded for added durability. Coupled with oversized hinges and stainless steel screws.
  • STURDY LATCHES & ERGONOMIC HANDLE: The BMX cooler comes with a unique t-grip latch system. The rubberized latches secure the lid to lock in the cold.
10 Igloo Polar 120 Qt. Cooler
Our Score:
8.1
Igloo
  • Reinforced swing-up handles with tie-down loop feature
  • Threaded drain plug for hose hook up and easy draining
  • Ultratherm insulated body and lid keep ice for 5 days at 90 degrees Fahrenheit
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Try one of the following guide to pick best lightweight coolers for you need

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the variety of choices when it comes to purchasing best lightweight coolers? Visitors didn't even know if a better option was available. We have a few suggestions which will make things easier and thus save you time and effort.

Review them out below to see whether the item you're looking for is right for you!

Wheeled (Rolling) Coolers

We mentioned above that if you have cooler needs such as mobility and large capacity or maximum ice retention it is a good idea to look into a hard-sided rolling model. These wheeled monsters can still be difficult to maneuver on uneven terrain, and will need assistance if there is no clear path. A rolling cooler is a good choice for camping, tailgating or days at the beach.

Cooler Construction

There are two main types of construction techniques used to make premium hard-sided coolers: injection molding and rotational molding. Yeti popularized rotomolding (even though they weren't technically the first company to do so) and is the dominant market at the top end. This type of cooler is made from a single, continuous piece of plastic which is then rotated to form the desired shape. These coolers have fewer stress points, so they are more likely to break under pressure. They also feature a thicker outer shell that ensures exceptional durability. Cost and weight are the main drawbacks.

Cooler Drain Systems

Many of our hard-sided coolers have drainage systems that allow you to drain the water out once the ice is melted. This is usually a pop-off or screw-on cap located at the bottom of cooler. Simply remove it and let the water flow out.

Bear-Resistant Ratings

Many top-rated hard-sided coolers can be listed as being bear-resistant. This is an important consideration if you are camping in bear territory. You should specifically look out for IGBC ratings. This indicates that a cooler has been tested and is in compliance with their regulations. You should ensure your cooler is included if you plan to travel in bear-proof gear or frequent backcountry areas.

Cooler Sizes (Capacities)

A few things to consider before we get started: Size. Importantly, coolers do not measure the interior capacity of all models. Some coolers use cans to measure interior capacity, others use liters or quarts. However, most manufacturers use quarts as a unit of measure. We've used that measurement in this article when it was possible. A final point: Don't let the product name fool you.

Weight And Portability

Weighing your cooler is an important factor for those who will be carrying it or moving it around regularly. For models with less capacity, they can weigh as little as 10-15 pounds and up to 50+ for those that have 75+ quarts storage. This number goes up dramatically when you load it down with food and drinks. Even though the handles are made of rope, some are plastic and others are nylon. They are too heavy to be carried for extended distances. We recommend wheels if portability is important. They are easier to carry for longer periods of time and more convenient for one person, so they're less burdensome.

Cooler Latch And Closure Systems

The cooler's closure or latch is a key feature of premium models and will play a major role in cooling performance. Two rubber T-handles are a common feature on high-end, hard-sided coolers. They keep the lid in place and prevent it from opening. They are extremely sturdy and user-friendly.

Ice Retention And Cooling Capabilities

Ice retention is one of the most difficult things to determine when researching coolers. This is largely due to external factors. The temperature of the air and direct sunlight have a significant impact. Ice quantity is also important. Most brands suggest a ratio of 2:1. You should also open the lid as often as possible to let warm and cold air into your cooler. Pre-chilling your cooler before loading it is a good idea to ensure maximum efficiency. To reduce the cooler's interior temperature, you should fill it with ice at least for a couple of hours. Once you are ready to go, add fresh ice in the right ratio. You can also expect your cooler to become pre-warmed if it is left out in the sunlight before you load it up.

FAQs

What Is The Best Hard Cooler?

There are many coolers. It really doesn't matter which cooler you choose. A cooler that is more resistant to damage will be the most suitable if you intend on using it every week.

How Much Do Coolers Cost?

Consider what your cooler will be used for. If you need it to store food or drinks for several days or at extreme temperatures then more money is an investment in food safety. A cooler that is cheap and cheerful may suffice if you just need to chill a handful of drinks for an afternoon barbecue.

Can I Use Dry Ice In A Cooler?

Most times, the answer is yes. Some coolers can be damaged by dry ice, but the majority should work fine. However, you will need to cover dry ice with blankets or other insulators. A cooler designed for dry ice is best if you plan to use it every day. You won't have to do any special tasks because the cooler has compartments to store dry ice.

Does Food Stay Cool In A Portable Cooler Without Ice?

But it will take longer than if you put ice inside the cooler. Insulation in the cooler stops food from heating up faster than if left out. The temperature of the cooler and how chilled the food were at the beginning will determine the time it takes to cool down. Even frozen foods will heat up faster if they are kept cool in a trunk compartment of a vehicle.

Which Size Cooler Do I Need?

Although you might feel compelled to buy a large cooler, make sure it fits in the car. Smaller coolers can be lifted without the need for assistance. However, coolers with larger capacities can hold more ice and so tend to stay cool longer than smaller models.
Higher coolers can store bottles more upright. Models with recessed lids are better for loading items higher, but they may become warmer.

How Long Does A Cooler Stay Cold?

It all depends on how efficient the cooler is at insulation. This includes the temperature outside, initial temperature of food and its stacking. Food can be kept cold for up to 4 days with ice (the best), in ideal conditions. A high-end cooler may even keep it chilled for as long as 10 days.

How Does A Portable Cooler Work?

Combining the insulation of the cooler with the ice you put inside, either ice cubes, ice packs, or foam, slows down warm air circulation and helps keep things cool.

How Do I Clean My Cooler?

Warm water and dish soap will generally clean your cooler. You can also use warm water and bleach to remove stubborn stains or odors.

Conclusion

The website has a buying guide for best lightweight coolers for your needs. It will assist you in determining what to purchase and how much was to purchase! If the above options do not meet your needs, consider Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Hard Coolers as an alternative.

Whether any of this makes it sound daunting or if you want more information, please give us a call, our members of the team are always happy to chat and brainstorm ideas with you!


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About Sara Ryan

Sara Ryan

Sara Ryan is a freelance writer and avid diver. She first discovered her love for diving while on vacation in the Caribbean and has been hooked ever since. Sara loves exploring new dive sites and observing the fascinating creatures that live beneath the waves. As a native of Colorado, Sara enjoys spending her free time hiking and camping in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. She also enjoys writing about her adventures in diving and wildlife conservation.

Read Sara's full bio