If you are an outdoor enthusiast, then the ability to preserve your food cold and fresh during trips is a thing of foremost importance for you. Having to drink your beer warm can really spoil your mood, not to mention that eating the meat of doubtful freshness can cause food poisoning. Buying a food cooler is a natural solution to the problem and the most popular at that. However, is there a point in talking about the best cooler?
What Cooler is the Best for You
There are generally three types of coolers – traditional, soft-side, and high-end – which differ in their characteristics, features, performance, and price. Large high-end models are unsurpassed when it comes to durability and insulating capacity. Soft-side coolers are best suitable for short trips because of their portability, and basic ones are unbeatable at their price. To be able to make the right decision and choose the best cooler based on your needs, you should answer a number of questions.
Question #1: How long would you like your cooler to keep cold?
High-end models of coolers can keep cold a few days longer than their traditional counterparts. You may consider buying a high-end cooler if those extra days matter for you, but there is one more option. You can purchase additional ice while on a trip extending the performance of your traditional cooler. However, this option is only reasonable if long trips are not the part of your routine. You’ll spend more money on ice otherwise.
Question #2: Do you need your cooler to be ruggedly built?
If you are going to use dry ice, don’t hesitate and buy a heavy-duty cooler. The temperature of dry ice is extremely low, and only high-end models are built good enough to stand such exposure. Such models have increased durability and if you are going to make trips pretty often and the conditions are harsh, an additional investment may be entirely justified. Pay attention to the hinges as well. Hinges on heavy-duty models are much more durable, and if you are not used to closing the lid carefully, it may be a strong argument for more expensive models.
Question #3: How big should your cooler be?
Here is where you have to compromise. Larger coolers can contain more food, but are more difficult to move. Some of the most capacious are so heavy when fully loaded that it takes effort for two men to carry them. On the other hand, larger coolers have better insulation performance compared to their smaller counterparts when similarly packed.
Movability may not be an issue if you always travel by car and have someone around to help you handle the cooler. Consider how many people and how many days you pack for on average and choose the best cooler based on your needs.
Considering Other Things
You should consider other things as well. If you are going to wheel the cooler across a steep terrain, take a closer look at models equipped with wider wheels. Try handles before buying as well – you may find that there is a difference between them as far as convenience is concerned.