A hard-sided cooler is a perennial must-have, useful for keeping your tailgate drinks cold in the fall, the daily catch fresh in the winter and making sure there’s a crisp beverage waiting for you at the end of a long afternoon of yard work in the spring and summer. And while standard-issue versions will keep their contents at a cool temperature for a little while, a hard-sided, double-walled cooler is key if you need to keep something on ice for much, much longer.
That’s because most modern hard-sided coolers have dual-wall insulation, which allows for superior ice retention, which can mean days of ice-cold temperatures instead of mere hours. This type of construction has the added benefit of making the cooler itself extremely durable.
In short, hard-sided coolers are a heavy-duty option for days that require heavy-duty work or play. Here are four great options that’ll stay cool under pressure.
1. YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler
YETI’s reliable, over-engineered coolers changed how we think and talk about hardshell coolers. This bear-proof (yes, you read that correctly) option is tough as nails and will keep your food and drink ice cold for a long, long time thanks to its two-inch-thick fatwall design that’s filled with pressure-injected foam that helps keep ice from melting. It has two wheels and a handle that make it easy to tote around from the tailgate to the lake and back again. If you’re looking for the best of the best, this is it.
Pros: Unparalleled ice retention.
Cons: Its construction makes it heavy, even when it’s empty.
2. Pelican Elite 150 Quart Cooler
If you’re planning on base camping for a week at a time, don’t leave home without Pelican’s Elite Cooler. Boasting up to 10 days of ice retention, it keeps food fresh and drinks cold longer than most options in its class. Inside, there’s 150 quarts of internal volume, or about 200 12-oz. cans. Beyond this, it boasts a leak-proof design.
Pros: It offers long-lasting retention.
Cons: It doesn’t have wheels or handles, so good luck toting it around if it’s full.
3. Grizzly 75 Quart Cooler
Sometimes, less is more. While the Grizzly cooler doesn’t pack as many features as other options, it does what it’s meant to do and does it well—and that’s keeping things cold. At 75 quarts, it’ll haul a lot of stuff (up to 80 cans) while managing to still keep your beverages ice cold for days at a time. Plus, it’s dual-drains makes for a lighting fast cleanup once the ice melts. It’s the best way to upgrade from a soft-sided cooler to something a little more robust.
Pros: Large storage capacity.
Cons: Not as feature-heavy as other options.
4. Coleman 54-Quart Cooler
If you’ve yet to take the plunge into the world of hard shell coolers, this Coleman option is a fantastic entry purchase. A great value buy, it’s got a retro charm that’s befitting of a heritage brand. But looks aren’t everything if it can’t hold a lot, so you’ll rest easy knowing it’s got room for up to 85 cans. Plus, with insulation, you’ll have four-days worth of ice retention in up to 90-degree weather. Offered in a variety of colors, there’s certainly an option befitting of everyone’s personal preference.
Pros: Days of ice retention and a variety of great-looking colors to choose from.
Cons: Not as large as other options.