They may seem like a simple accessory, but coolers can play an integral part of the tailgating experience. Some may even argue that the quality of your cooler can make or break a tailgating event because their purpose is to house 2 key ingredients to a successful tailgate: food and drinks. If your cooler is unable to keep the food and drinks cool it could make for an unpleasant outing. Additionally, a lot of functionality and style has been built into coolers more recently. No longer do you need to hide your plain looking cooler off to the side, you can display it with a sense of pride. Yes, we may overlook their importance and the role they play, but today we are going to put together a list of some of the best tailgating coolers available to purchase and show what kind of features to look for.
What to consider in a cooler
There are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for a new cooler:
- Outside storage
- Overall looks
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YETI is a premium brand that commands top dollar, but their overall quality and build can be worth the investment. This model is great for tailgating because of its mobility and simple design.
- The Haul is the first-ever YETI cooler on wheels. Perfect for taking the Tundra’s legendary toughness and unmatched insulation power the extra mile
- NeverFlat Wheels – A solid, single-piece tire construction that is impact- and puncture-resistant
- StrongArm Handle – A durable welded aluminum arm with comfortable grips. The curved design tracks left or right for heel-friendly towing
- Permafrost Insulation – Pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid makes sure your ice stays ice. Note: Tundra Haul is not compatible with the dry goods basket.
Coleman is a well-known and established brand known for their outdoor camping gear and equipment. This cooler is heavy-duty, great for keeping ice for multiple days, and even has a cutting board built into it.
- Retains cold and keeps ice for 7 days at temps up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to 2.5-Inch lid and floor insulation, 2-inch sidewall insulation, and tight-fitting gasket Seal around lid
- Antimicrobial liner and integrated cutting board resist odor, mold, mildew, and fungus from forming on them
- Storage basket separates dry items from ice and beverages
- Dual-size drain for easy draining of excess water from a standard hose or a fast 2-inch gate mouth
This model is great if you don’t want to break the bank for a cooler. For its’s affordability, durability, reliability, and overall performance this cooler is a great value.
- Keeps ice up to 5 days at temps up to 90°F thanks to an insulated lid and extra insulation in walls
- Holds 100 cans and has molded cup holders on top of lid to keep drinks close and prevent spilling
- Leak-resistant channel drain lets you remove excess water without tilting cooler
- Have-A-Seat lid supports up to 250 pounds so you always have a place to sit and rest
- Comfort-grip no-crush handles for easy, pinch-free carrying
- EZ-Clean top uses a smoother surface that easily wipes clean
Igloo is known for their variety of coolers and ice chests that are manufactured here in the United States. In addition to this model’s durability, overall build, and capacity, it’s design and look will surely set this cooler apart from the rest.
- Heavy duty blow-molded construction with reinforced base for increased strength and protection.
- Extremely durable yet lightweight with proven 4-5 day ice retention at 90°F
- UV inhibitors protect the cooler against sun damage for extended life. Capacity: 83 12-ounce cans, 52 quarts (49 liters)
- Rust-resistant, stainless-steel hinge rods and hardware provide extended performance.
- Rubberized T-grip latches keep lid secure.
- MaxCold body with 20% thicker foam and insulated lid provide advanced cooling performance and up to 5-day ice retention.
RTIC provides both hard and soft coolers, tumblers and other types of drinkware and containers. The 65 is a tough looking model that delivers quality for a great value. The size will give you plenty of room for all of your drinks and foods to get you through the weekend.
- Roto-Molded Construction, Heavy Duty T-Latches, Freezer Grade Gasket, Molded Tie Down Slots
- Up to 3″ of Insulated Walls, Non-Slip Feet, Integrated Locking System
- Rapid V-Drain System, No Fail Hinges, No Sweat Exterior, Cool Lift Design
Bison coolers are proudly made in America and in addition to their coolers they provide hard cases, drinkware, and apparel. This model is known for its quality, ice retention, warranty, and durability.
- Premium cooling: Pressure-injected 2″ thick lid and insulated walls for maximum ice retention. Double-wall silicone gasket for tight seal keeps perfect insulation for premium cooling.
- Heavy duty durability: Durable, roto-molded construction. You can drive a truck over this cooler…seriously. Two heavy-duty rubber latches with cantilever hinge system. Full-length durable self-stopping hinges.
- Seriously portable: Open, ergonomic grab rails make it easy to carry, tie down, and secure. Oversized anti-skid rubber feet. Perfect all-purpose cooler for sporting events, camping, fishing or tailgating.
- 30 day trial & 5-year warranty: All Bison Hard Coolers come with an industry leading 5-year warranty and 30-day trial. If you don’t love Bison Coolers, send it back and you’ll receive a full refund.
Driftsun may not be as well-known, only being founded in 2014, but they offer a premium product that is well-built. Their coolers come in a variety of sizes as well. This cooler is mobile, tough, rugged, and has a huge capacity for all of your tailgating needs.
- Insulated: 110 Quart Ice Chest holds ice for days on end with up to 30 inches of commercial grade insulation, Freezer Style gasket, and ColdSeal Latches
- Features: Military-grade nylon rope handles, GorillaGrip Non-Slip Rubber Feet, Molded Tie-Down Slots with Lock Plates, Recessed No-Leak Drain Plug, Pressure Release Valve, 2 Built-In Bottle Openers, and More!
- Seriously tough: Virtually Indestructible Rotomolded Thermoplastic Construction with Heavy Duty Rubber ColdSeal Latches and Exterior UV Protection
- Seriously cold: 3” inches of commercial grade insulation and cold-keeping freezer style rubber gasket keeps your items colder for longer!
This cooler makes a straight up statement. You will be the talk of the tailgating lot with this motorized cooler scooter!
- Motorized cooler with 4 stroke engine, 49cc, 2+ HP
- 4 wheel stability made for all terrain conditions
- 48 liter locking cooler
- Wheelie bar and safety bumper
- Disc brakes
This by no means is a definitive list of coolers that are available, but we do hope that this gives you an idea and understanding of all the options that are available. I personally have a Coleman portable wheeled cooler with my Alma mater (North Dakota State University) designed on it and I’ve taken it tailgating numerous times. It holds up well for my needs and is a great conversation starter, what type of cooler do you have or prefer to use? Sound off in the comments below!
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