There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on the cooler size that is right for you. You will likely need to consider how many days you are camping, how many people you are camping with, how many perishable food items to bring, etc.
What Size Cooler Do I Need For My Camping Trip?
We want you to enjoy your camping trip with as little stress as possible. In this guide, we’ll highlight a few common camping scenarios and help pair you with the right cooler for the trip.
What Size Cooler Do I Need For 1 Person?
If you’re camping by yourself, you’re going to want a smaller cooler. Not only are you going to be eating less food, but also you’ll want a cooler that isn’t too difficult to lug on your own.
Coolers that fall into the small category range from about 8-20 quarts. On the smaller end, 8 quart coolers like the Yeti Hopper can carry 8 cans and 5 pounds of ice. An 8 quart cooler combines lightweight design and spacious interior make it a perfect cooler for short overnight or weekend trips on your own.
If you want a larger capacity cooler, maybe to store the fish you catch while camping, 20 quart coolers will do the job. The Driftsun 20 quart hard-sided cooler, for example, has the capacity to simultaneously hold 18 cans and 12 pounds of ice.
What Size Cooler Do I Need For a Couple?
One of life’s great pleasures is being able to enjoy the outdoors with someone you love. Want to bring a bottle of champagne to celebrate your relationship, or have a romantic outdoorsy picnic? For outdoorsy couples, we recommend coolers between 20 and 40 quarts.
If you and your partner are only venturing out for a weekend, 20 quarts is the perfect size. To put 20 quarts into perspective, the Giantex 20 quart cooler can store 20 cans and 14 pounds of ice.
Another factor to keep in mind is the length of time that it’ll keep your meals cold. This can vary from brand to brand, but any 20 quart cooler should easily last a weekend trip.
If you and your loved one are camping for up to a week, we definitely recommend bringing a 40 quart cooler. The Grizzly Hardsided 40 quart cooler has the capacity for 32 cans and 20 pounds of ice. While these coolers can handle a large load, they may not be the best choice for non-drive-in campsites, as the Grizzly Hardsided 40 weighs 24 pounds when empty.
What Size Cooler Do I Need for a Family?
Whether you’re family is making a day trip to the beach, or venturing on a weeklong getaway, a cooler will definitely come in handy.
If you’ve already bought a 20 quart for your couple and solo camping, you can try to squeeze in enough food for a family day trip, but it’s not recommended. The perfect size for a day outdoors with the family is anywhere between 25 and 35 quarts. This Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 is easy to carry with it’s backpack straps, alleviating any stress on your family trip.
For a weekend family trip 35-45 quarts should be more than enough, and anything between 45 and 65 quarts will feed your family for a week. Once again, be aware that these larger capacity coolers can weigh close to 30 pounds.
The length of stay and size of your party aren’t the only factors you should consider when purchasing a cooler.
Budget is an obvious limitation for thrifty campers. Coolers come in all varieties, with some high end 45 quart coolers costing upwards of $400. If you’re looking for a more budget option, Igloo is an inexpensive brand with a variety of sizes to choose from.
Another consideration is the size of your vehicle. There’s a lot to pack when you’re camping, and even coolers with similar quartage can vary in dimension, so be sure to double check before you purchase. For example, more expensive coolers like Yeti have 2-3 inches of insulation making them more voluminous than you might expect.
Lastly, you should keep extra features in mind when purchasing a cooler. Coolers like the Pelican Elite have large wheels to aid in transportation, and the Coleman steel-belted cooler has a preinstalled bottle-opener. Some coolers come with cup holders, and every cooler has a different kind of strap or handle to help maneuverability.