Best camping cooler 2018: keep your food stash fresh

Exchange pot noodles and instant pasta for fresh ingredients with our list of the best camping coolers

The best camping coolers

Either it’s taking a trip to the campsite shop every time you get hungry (which gets expensive) or it’s pot noodle for breakfast, lunch and dinner (not really acceptable now you’re an adult), so purchasing a camping cooler or cool box is pretty essential for any happy camper. With it, you can keep your bacon and eggs fresh, the beers cool and even make your stash of BBQ food last an entire weekend. 

The best camping cooler needs to combine space with fantastic insulation, which is exactly what the Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler does. Packed with freeze blocks and ice cubes, this camping cooler should keep your food cool for up to 2 days. Combine its functionality with price and it’s made our top spot. 

Insulation and space are the most important factors to consider when you’re looking to purchase a camping cooler, but you may also want to think about whether you want to go electric. Coolers like the DC/AC Electric 24 L Coolbox hook up to your car battery; just make sure you check the battery is up to the job first. 

Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler 28QT

1. Igloo Marine Ultra Cooler 28QT

Igloo is the name and igloo is the game with this camping cooler

Capacity: 31L
Cold performance: 2 days
Weight: 4kg
Reasons to buy
+Heavily insulated+Drainage for melted ice

If you’re looking to take a weekend’s worth of BBQ ingredients with you, this cooler promises to keep food fresh for up to 2 days. It features an insulated lid which should provide extended ice retention and a triple-snap drain plug which will allow any melted ice to filter out. 

With a pull along handle, it’s easy to transport your cooler full of goodies to your pitch and featuring a UV protection, rust proof shell, is more than prepared to stand up to the great British summer. It’s RRP is under £50, too, which makes it one of the most cost-effective on our list.

Coleman 50QT Xtreme Wheeled Cooler

2. Coleman 50QT Xtreme Wheeled Cooler

Promising to keep things cool for up to 5 days, this is the one for long weekends away

Capacity: 47L
Cold performance: 5 days
Weight: 5.6kg
Reasons to buy
+Keeps food cool for 5 days+Doubles up as a camping seat

Not only does it have the cool capacity for five days’ camping, it’s large enough to fit 5 days’ worth of food, too. While it’s more expensive than our first pick, it’s probably worth the extra spend if you’re a keen camper. 

The lid features foam insulation with enables it to keep food cool for extended periods of time. It’s also strong enough to be used as a seat or alternatively, the lid features four cup holders to keep drinks safe from spillage. With a telescopic handle and large wheels, it’s easy to lug it across the campsite, too. 

DC/AC Electric 24 L Coolbox

3. DC/AC Electric 24 L Coolbox

For a continuous cold supply, hook this coolbox up to your car battery or pitch electric supply

Capacity: 24L
Cold performance: Without power - 5 hours
Weight: 5.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Hook up to mains or car battery+Reliable cooling

With both a car battery and electric hook up adapter, you can ensure that your precious bacon rashers, sausages and beers remain cool for the entire length of your trip. 

While the capacity may be on the small side compared to other camping coolers in the list and it’s the heaviest, if you require a reliable means to keep your food cool you can’t really go wrong. 

If you’re looking to hook it up to your car battery intermittently throughout your trip, you may want to make sure your car is up to the job first - a jump start exit from the campsite probably won’t be your finest hour.  

Marko Auto Accessories Coolbox

4. Marko Auto Accessories Coolbox

The best camping cooler for a weekend with your mates

Capacity: 7.5L
Cold performance: Without power - 3 hours
Weight: 4kg
Reasons to buy
+Enough room for 6 beers+Hooks up to your car battery

While capacity may look on the small side, Marko have conveniently pointed out that there is enough room for 6 cans of beer and a limited stash of food – a pack of burgers and pack of sausages for an awesome first night BBQ? 

It hooks up to your car battery and will remain cool for 3 hours unhooked, so you shouldn’t have to keep it connected all the time. If you’re looking to get on more of a sesh, the 10L version has enough room for 16 300ML tinnies - yes, we are full of important info. 

John Lewis Cooler Box 22L

5. John Lewis Cooler Box 22L

This list isn’t complete without a trusty cooler box

Capacity: 22L
Cold performance: 6 hours
Weight: n/a kg
Reasons to buy
+Great for day trips+Separate section for delicate items

No boot is fully packed for a camping trip without a cool box or cool bag, especially if you’re planning on making plenty of day trips.  If you’re more of a cool bag person, check out the Fortnum and Mason offering below. 

If you prefer the idea of a box (this one does keep your food cool for longer), stay right here. A John Lewis classic, this cool box feature a large main compartment for your larger food packages and a top section to store more delicate items. 

Fortnum & Mason canvas cool bag

6. Fortnum & Mason canvas cool bag

Handy for an overnight camping trip or for day trips away from the campsite

Capacity: 20L
Cold performance: 3 hours
Weight: n/a
Reasons to buy
+Classic design+Shoulder strap for easy carrying

Keep your dinner ingredients cool until you reach the campsite or keep your picnic fresh with this canvas cool bag. Featuring the classic Fortnum & Mason design, this classy cool bag provides plenty of room and promises to keep food cool for three hours. 

There’s an over the shoulder strap for easy transportation and the wraparound zip enables easy access to your goodies inside.