I might be brave enough to leave electricity and the internet behind and venture into nature, but when it comes to camping, there are certain perks I refuse to go without. One of them is quenching my thirst with an ice-cold beer after a day of hiking. That’s why for years now, my small cool bag has been a permanent part of my camping list. If you too can’t imagine a picnic, camping, beach or boating trip without fresh food and cold drinks, you’re probably looking to get one yourself. In that case, these are the things you need to consider in order to make the best pick.
You might think that size is a straightforward feature, however, when it comes to cool bags, there are two important size measurements to consider. First, there are the overall dimensions that the cool bag has, and then there’s the actual storage size. Some cool bags can be quite large, which makes storing and transporting them somewhat difficult. If you want something that’s easy to carry and fits in the trunk of your car, a small cool bag is a very practical choice.
However, keep in mind that cool bags that offer longer ice life have thicker walls, so you need to make sure that the actual storage space is enough for what you plan to store. But even if a cool bag is advertised as having 15 litres of storage volume, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can store exactly15 litres of items. Some cool bags come with separate internal compartments which can take up some of the space. But on the other hand, compartments can be very practical as they allow you to separate different items.
Insulation is perhaps the most important thing to consider because it affects how well a cool bag does what it’s intended to do – keep stuff cold. While many think that a cool bag can only keep food and drinks cold just long enough for you to reach your camping spot, some newer models will easily prove you wrong. If it has great insulation, a small cool bag can keep its contents cool even for up to 10 days. Most cool bags that offer exceptional insulation are made of higher quality materials, have rotomoulded construction, metal hardware, and other high-grade features that ensure better performance. However, such models tend to be pricier too. So if you’re looking for something to keep your food cool for a few hours to a day, any plastic or soft-sided cool bag will do.
Cooler bags are not regular luggage bags with wheels and handles that you can easily pull around. You will likely need to carry the entire load, which means it’s important to pick a design that will make it comfortable. Features, such as an adjustable padded strap, can make a small cool bag more convenient for carrying over your shoulder. On the other hand, a much larger model should have at least four side handles so that two or more people can easily carry the load.