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From being thrown into vehicles, dropped from waist height, jumped on by a 200 lb tester, dragged across hot surfaces, yanked on, jerked around, and otherwise abused, these chests have seen it all. For the ultimate in portability, the IceMule Pro is where we turn to. Though the number of backpack-style soft coolers has continued to increase, this one is the only one we truly find comfortable to carry for serious and longer distance hikes. Its walls can be inflated or deflated to match your load, body, and preference and its shoulder straps are soft and flexible. It offers solid insulation to keep your peak-bagging beverages chilled until you reach the summit and an easy roll-top design that’s beyond simple to use. Made of thick, waterproof material, this backpack cooler proved itself more than capable of holding its integrity through all our backcountry rough handling.

Overall, it wasn’t quite as durable as the Rovr, but I think they’re mostly designed for different purposes. If I’m trekking into the woods for a weekend with a couple of pals, I’m going to take the Rovr, no question. But if I’m headed to the beach with the family for a day, I’m probably going to opt for the Igloo. The Rovr Rollr wheeled cooler fared much better, thanks to a rugged design that features heavy-duty wheels, a sturdy steel handlebar and an optional $50 accessory that lets you tow it behind your bike. I also liked that the interior comes with a divider that makes it easy to keep items you don’t want getting wet separate from the ice and that you can customize it with different interior liner designs.

Several models I’ve tested from Cabela’s, Orca, Rovr, Magellan Outdoors and Yeti all make the cut. Rovr pegs the capacity of its $400 Rollr wheeled cooler at 60 quarts, but I could only fit 52.8 quarts of water inside when I measured for myself. The $219 RTIC wasn’t as spacious as expected, either, holding just 39.6 quarts of water before overflowing with the lid closed. The last time I tested coolers for this list, I had Cabela’s 60-quart version of this cooler listed as the best large cooler. But in the big picture, if you want stuff to stay cold, you literally cannot beat Cabela’s Polar Cap option.

Now let’s compare that to most of the newer cooler designs on models like Yeti, RTIC, Orca, Cabela’s or Frosted Frog that have rubber T-shaped handles you have to stretch to secure the lid. I asked three other adults to secure these handles and out of the four of us, two were successful, one unsuccessful and the last successful only after an excessive amount of struggling. Performance is important, but design matters, too — and sometimes, it’s a deal-breaker.

To help you find the right model, we tease apart performance differences between contenders, implementing specific tests spanning five exhaustive, mutually exclusive metrics. We test the insulation performance, durability, ease of use, portability, and features of every single model. As some performance aspects are more important than others, we weigh each metric accordingly. Below, we discuss our test results and which models stand out in each area. This review is led by Senior Review Editors Maggie Nichols and Genaveve Bradshaw. Maggie has been playing and guiding in the outdoors for over fifteen years, from backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail to kayaking the Caribbean.

The RTIC offers a similarly simple interior that’s spacious enough to bring a ton of food with you on your hunting trip or camping adventure. Its dual drains make cleaning it a breeze, and the flexibility of this model’s rubber latches means it’s easier to open and close with a single hand than other rubber-latched models. Additionally, several other aspects add to each one’s overall durability beyond just coleman ice chest a sturdy hinge and a set of bearproof locks. The latches and handles don’t factor into an IGBC rating, as they are irrelevant to bear safety but pertinent to any model’s longevity. Rubber T-grip latches are popular as a durable, easy-to-use solution for keeping your ice chest closed. Even after several years of use, the Tundra 65’s latches are virtually the same as the first day we bought the cooler.

We’ve got your outdoor needs covered, from the top-ranked camping chairs to get comfy in at the end of the day and our favorite camping tents for when it’s time to hit the hay. For longer trips or events where more storage space is needed, look for Coleman Xtreme coolers. You can find coolers in this line that offer anywhere from 28- to 120-quart capacity, guaranteeing you have plenty of room for all kinds of food and drink. These options also ensure that ice inside the cooler remains frozen for 3-5 days, depending on conditions.

Still, others have specific slots to tie them down in your boat, backseat, or truck bed. Not only will it keep your food cold for a very long time, but it’s also all but indestructible. If you’re really serious, you can even add a reflective material on the outside of your cooler (this is an excellent tip for camping in summer heat). After the 4th day, the Coleman was about 90% water and 10% ice but still very cold.

Both Coleman Xtreme and Igloo Maxcold series features a drainage system, and both coolers’ inside are angled towards the drain, so you don’t need to lift one side of the cooler to drain the water. The best way to keep ice from melting quickly in your cooler is to keep it closed as much as possible. Other ways to keep ice longer are to pack your cooler as full as possible, pre-chill food and drinks before storing, and drain out the water periodically. Therefore, some models are more suitable than others depending on what you will be using your cooler for and where you’re going.

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