3 Best Cooler Bags for Beach Outings: Sun, Sand, and Chilled Beverages

Nothing beats the combination of sun, sand, and a perfectly chilled beverage during a beach outing. However, maintaining the ideal temperature of your drinks and snacks can be quite a challenge under the blazing sun. That’s where the best cooler bags for beach come into play. This article provides you with a guide featuring the top three best bag coolers for the beach.

Whether you’re planning a solo day by the sea or a family trip to the beach pool, we’ve got you covered. We’ve meticulously researched and rounded up the best insulated cooler bags for the beach that promise to keep your refreshments cool, no matter how hot your day gets. So, let’s dive in and find the best cooler bag for your beach day.

What Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Cooler Bags for Beach

Best cooler bags for beach

When in search of the best cooler bag for beach outings, it’s important to keep in mind certain features that will make your beach trips more enjoyable and hassle-free. Here are some of the key features you should look out for:


When it comes time to invest in a beach cooler, you’ll need to decide between a soft-sided or hard-sided option, each with its own advantages.

  • Soft-sided coolers are designed with lightweight materials like nylon or polyester. They offer flexibility and are easy to fold or collapse for convenient storage. Many models also come with compartments and extra pockets, perfect for organizing utensils, napkins, and other essentials.
  • On the other hand, hard-sided coolers are built to last, typically made from durable materials such as rotomolded plastic, stainless steel, or thick polyethylene. These coolers can even double as impromptu seating or additional tabletop space when needed.


Transporting beach coolers, especially when loaded with food and beverages, can be quite a challenge due to their weight, which can exceed 40-50 pounds.

The traditional bulky and awkward shape only adds to the difficulty. However, there are solutions to make this task easier. Wheeled coolers, particularly those equipped with large wheels designed for maneuvering over rocks and sand, can greatly assist in moving the cooler from your car to your beach blanket.

Alternatively, if you prefer a cooler without wheels, consider opting for one that features sturdy and ergonomic carrying handles or straps. These types of coolers make it more convenient to carry the load over longer distances.

For optimal comfort and weight distribution, look for coolers with adjustable straps or handles that have padding. This will help evenly distribute the weight and minimize strain on your hands and shoulders.


While not an absolute necessity, having a waterproof beach cooler can offer significant advantages based on your specific requirements and the conditions in which you plan to use it. A waterproof cooler not only prevents moisture and dirt from seeping in but also ensures that no liquids or messes escape.

Furthermore, a waterproof cooler is generally easier to clean and maintain, allowing you to effortlessly rinse off spills, dirt, or sand. It proves to be a versatile companion for camping, boating, picnics, and other outdoor activities where exposure to water or moisture is a possibility.

It’s worth noting, however, that waterproof coolers often come with a higher price tag. Therefore, if you primarily use your cooler in dry environments or do not foresee a need for water protection, a non-waterproof cooler might suffice.


The ideal cooler size depends on the number of people using it simultaneously. For solo adventurers or couples, a compact cooler with a capacity of around 20-30 quarts will suffice. These coolers are not only lightweight but also easy to carry.

If you are a small family or a group, it is recommended to opt for a mid-sized cooler with a capacity of 30-50 quarts. This size strikes a perfect balance between portability and storage capacity, providing enough space for snacks, beverages, and ample ice.

For larger groups, a cooler with a capacity of 50 quarts or more is the way to go. These coolers can accommodate a substantial amount of food, drinks, and ice. However, it is advisable to have an extra pair of hands to manage the load effectively.

Additionally, consider the dimensions of the cooler. A longer, rectangular shape is better suited for truck beds, while a cube-shaped cooler is more appropriate for smaller vehicles or public transit.


Cooler prices can vary significantly depending on the model. Budget-friendly options can be as low as $50, while premium models can exceed $500. It is important to consider the duration of your cooler usage and the specific conditions you expect to use it in.

Extra Features

When shopping for a beach cooler, there are several additional features to consider beyond size, insulation, and durability. For added convenience, think about features like drain plugs for easy cleaning, integrated bottle openers, storage baskets, and built-in cup holders to enhance functionality.

Moreover, coolers with built-in wheels or backpack-style straps can make it easier to transport your supplies across sandy terrain. Some coolers even have latches or locking mechanisms, which are useful for keeping critters out. While style doesn’t determine performance, you might as well look for a model in your favorite colorway.

Best Cooler Bag for the Beach Reviewed in this Article

Now that we’ve discussed the key factors to consider when choosing the best cooler bags for beach, let’s look at some of the current options available.

RTIC Soft Cooler Insulated Bag Portable Ice Chest Box

Best cooler bags for beach
  • Enjoy up to 24 hours of cooling with the RTIC soft insulated cooler
  • Doubles as a floating cooler for added versatility during pool or lake outings
  • Lightweight yet durable construction with a heavy-duty nylon shell
  • Compact size measuring 11 x 9.5 x 11 inches for on-the-go convenience
  • Multiple uses, including ice cooler, drink cooler, travel cooler, beer cooler, lunch cooler, camping cooler, and beach cooler
  • Features 2 inches of closed-cell foam for enhanced insulation
  • 100% leak-proof design with a durable zipper to prevent spills
  • Available in various sizes, including 12 can, 20 can, 30 can, and 40 can options

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The RTIC soft insulated cooler is your ultimate companion to keep food and drinks cool for up to 24 hours. This floating cooler is designed to go wherever you go, making it perfect for poolside fun or a day at the lake.

With its lightweight yet durable construction and heavy-duty nylon shell, this portable cooler is ready to tackle any adventure. It’s not just an ice cooler, but also a versatile travel companion, ideal for camping, beach trips, and more.

The leak-proof zipper ensures no spills or leaks, while the closed-cell foam provides superior insulation. Choose from a range of sizes, including 12-can, 20-can, 30-can, and 40-can coolers. Stay cool and enjoy your outdoor adventures with the RTIC soft insulated cooler!

Igloo 28-Can Soft Sided Insulated Cooler Bag

Best cooler bags for beach
  • Eco-friendly design using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles transformed into a performance fiber for the exterior
  • Hex bungee system allows for secure attachment of items to the front, releasing easily with a quick-pull toggle
  • Coil zippers with teeth facing inwards and corded T-shaped zipper pulls for durability and ease of use
  • Premium MaxCold insulation with 15mm high-density PE foam keeps contents cooler 25% longer than Legacy MaxCold insulation
  • Weight-distributing ultra-grip shoulder pad with all-over flex provides comfortable hands-free carrying

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The Igloo 36-42 Can Soft Sided Outdoor Pro Water Repellant Bag has truly exceeded my expectations for a portable cooler. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, finding a reliable cooler that combines functionality with durability is essential, and this Igloo bag delivers on both fronts.

The water-repellant exterior has proven to be a game-changer during unexpected rain showers or when the cooler is inadvertently exposed to splashes. It adds an extra layer of protection to keep the contents dry and maintains the overall integrity of the bag.

The spacious interior, capable of holding up to 42 cans, makes it an ideal companion for group outings or extended outdoor activities. The insulation works effectively to keep beverages and snacks refreshingly cool, even on warm summer days.

The thoughtful design elements, such as the sturdy zippers and reinforced seams, contribute to the bag’s overall durability. I appreciate the attention to detail in crafting a cooler that stands up to the rigors of outdoor adventures.

The adjustable shoulder strap adds a layer of convenience, making it easy to carry the cooler over longer distances. The multiple pockets provide additional storage for essentials, eliminating the need for an extra bag.

Overall, the Igloo 36-42 Can Soft Sided Outdoor Pro Water Repellant Bag has become my go-to cooler for various outdoor activities. Its reliable performance, durable construction, and thoughtful design make it a top choice for anyone in need of a versatile and trustworthy soft-sided cooler.

Hydro Flask 26 L Day Escape Soft Cooler – Reusable Travel Bag Tote – Insulated

Best cooler bags for beach
  • Leakproof transport ensured with a watertight zipper and welded seams
  • Durable construction from lightweight and waterproof 600D polyester shell
  • Easy to carry with shoulder straps and a removable cross-body strap
  • BPA-Free and toxin-free design prioritizes safety
  • Convenient attachment options with laser-cut welded gear loops and woven loops
  • 26 L tote capacity, fitting 42 cans without ice

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Introducing this versatile and reliable waterproof tote! With a watertight zipper and welded seams, you can trust it to keep your belongings dry during transport. The lightweight and waterproof 600D polyester shell ensures durability, while the shoulder straps and removable cross-body strap provide convenience and comfort.

Rest easy knowing that our tote is BPA-Free and Toxin-Free, making it safe for everyday use. The laser-cut welded gear attachment loops and woven loops allow for easy attachment of Hydro Flask Dry Storage accessories.

With a generous capacity of 26 L, this tote can fit 42 cans without ice, making it perfect for picnics, beach trips, and more. Experience the ultimate leakproof transport with our reliable and functional waterproof tote!

Common Questions About Best Bag Cooler for the Beach

Best cooler bags for beach

We’ll answer some common questions about the best cooler bags for beach trips.

Are the best cooler bags for beach worth it?

When bringing food to the beach, especially perishable items like sandwiches, meats, dips, and salads, it’s important to pack them in a cooler to ensure they stay fresh. Not only does this practice promote food safety, but it also protects your food from sand and seawater and prevents animals from sneaking a free meal.

Even after you’ve consumed everything from the cooler, it still serves as a convenient seat around the campfire at the end of a long day. It’s safe to say that beach coolers serve multiple purposes beyond just keeping your food cool.

What is the best way to transport a cooler to the beach?

Transporting a cooler to the beach can be accomplished in various ways, depending on its size, weight, and your personal preference. The most frequently employed methods of carrying include: manually holding the cooler; utilizing an adjustable shoulder strap; placing it in a beach wagon; or opting for a backpack cooler to keep your hands free for other essentials.

How Long Does Ice Last in a Cooler?

The duration of ice retention in a cooler depends on various factors. Generally, ice can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Hard-sided coolers tend to preserve ice in its solid form for the longest period, typically ranging from 2 to 7 days. On the other hand, styrofoam and soft-sided coolers may require ice replenishment within approximately 24 hours.

Video Best Cooler for Beach | Top 7 Rolling Coolers for Beach in 2023

Want more best cooler bags for beach options? Check out this YouTube video review of the top seven rolling coolers for beach use in 2023. You’ll learn about the design and features of each cooler, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, finding the best cooler bags for beach involves considering factors beyond just insulation and size. Features such as drain plugs, integrated bottle openers, storage baskets, and built-in cup holders can enhance your beach experience. Not to mention, coolers with suitable transport mechanisms are also crucial for those sandy terrains. Remember, the best cooler bags for beach are not just an accessory, but a beach trip necessity that ensures your food stays fresh and your drinks remain cool. So, make your choice wisely and enjoy your beach outings to the fullest!


Photo of author
Hey there, I'm Chris. I love hitting the road for some adventure on the weekends. I believe in buying the absolute best, which led me to a quest for the perfect cooler. Frustrated with the lack of reliable info, I started reviewing coolers myself. At OKCoolers.com, I dive into the nitty-gritty details so you know exactly what you're getting. So stick around, get the facts, and let's stay cool together.
Photo of author
Hey there, I'm Chris. I love hitting the road for some adventure on the weekends. I believe in buying the absolute best, which led me to a quest for the perfect cooler. Frustrated with the lack of reliable info, I started reviewing coolers myself. At OKCoolers.com, I dive into the nitty-gritty details so you know exactly what you're getting. So stick around, get the facts, and let's stay cool together.