6 Best Small Coolers for Road Trips: Travel Light, Stay Cool

All the Best Small Coolers for Road Trips tested, reviewed, and compared

Ah, the open road; there’s really nothing like it. But let’s not forget the essential road trip companion a trusty small cooler! Now, you might wonder, “What are the best small coolers for road trips?” Well, you’re in luck, my friend! We’ve got your back with our top six picks for the best small coolers to keep your snacks cool and your luggage light. So kick back, buckle up, and let’s dive in!

Quick Guide

Here’s a quick snapshot of our top picks

Best Overall: Yeti Hopper Flip 12

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Best Electric Cooler For Roadtrips: Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

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Best Budget Option: Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler

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Best Backpack Cooler For Roadtrips: Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack

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Best for Durability: Stanley Adventure Cooler

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Best for Flexibility: AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

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Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these gems.

Alrighty then, here’s a quick lowdown on the coolers we’ve picked out for you. But hang tight because we’re about to dive headlong into each cooler’s nitty-gritty details. So, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys knowing the ins and outs before making a choice (and we bet you are), stick around for the full scoop!

Rolling Up Our Sleeves: The Cool Scoop on Our Cooler Picks

The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is a beast when it comes to durability and insulation, thanks to its ColdCell Insulation. It’s also highly portable with a detachable shoulder strap. Bonus? It’s waterproof and resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. A perfect companion for your outdoor adventures!

If you’re looking for something that fits comfortably in your car, the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler is your go-to. Its thermoelectric technology keeps your food and drinks cool, and the cord lets you power it via a car or boat outlet.

For a budget-friendly option, the Coleman FlipLid Personal CoolerThe Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler is a solid choice. It’s light and easy to carry, and the FlipLid can even serve as a tray with molded beverage holders.

The Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack stands out with its backpack design, making carrying easier. It’s waterproof and features a hinged top for easy access.

The Stanley Adventure Cooler is highly durable and has a leak-resistant gasket that locks in the cold. Its handle makes it easy to carry around.

Last, but not least, the AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler is a flexible and durable cooler with its soft-sided canvas material. It’s easy to carry around with its shoulder strap and has high-density insulation to keep your beverages chilled.

A Deep Dive into Our Top Small Coolers for Road Trips

1. Yeti Hopper Flip 12

Best Overall

YETI Hopper Flip 12 Portable Soft Cooler

Small coolers for road trips:yeti hopper flip 12 portable soft cooler

The Hopper Flip 12 has ColdCell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that offers superior cold-holding to ordinary soft coolers, with a capacity of up to 12 cans plus ice

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Yeti is renowned for its high-quality coolers; the Hopper Flip 12 is no exception. Its robust design and superior insulation make your snacks and beverages chilled to perfection. Its compact size makes it perfect for road trips, and the leakproof zipper ensures no messy accidents. However, it does come with a heftier price tag than others on this list.

Value

While pricier, the Yeti Hopper Flip 12 offers solid value for money, given its array of features and superior performance. Its long-term durability and efficient operation offset the higher initial investment.

Capacity

Though compact, the Hopper Flip 12 offers ample space for your road trip essentials. It’s designed to hold 12 cans plus ice, making it the perfect companion for a day out on the road.

Insulation

One of the standout features of the Hopper Flip 12 is its excellent insulation. The cooler’s ColdCell Insulation technology is superior to ordinary soft coolers, ensuring your food and drink stay chilled longer.

Durability

In terms of durability, Yeti products are hard to beat. The Hopper Flip 12 is built with high-density fabric that’s resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays. The Hydrolok zipper is the toughest, highest-performing, waterproof and leakproof cooler zipper worldwide.

Ease of Use

The Hopper Flip 12 is designed with user convenience in mind. The wide-mouth opening makes packing and unpacking easy, while the leakproof zipper prevents any spillage.

Portability

Despite its robust construction, the Hopper Flip 12 is easy to carry around. The cooler comes with a detachable shoulder strap and sturdy side handles, making it highly portable for all your road trip adventures.

Features

The Hopper Flip 12 is packed with helpful features. These include a HitchPoint Grid for attaching accessories, a water-resistant DryHide Shell, and an FDA-approved food grade liner.

Specs

The cooler measures 12 5/8 — 10 — 11 ½, weighs 3.1lbs when empty, and holds up to 13 cans (assuming a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio).

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

With the Hopper Flip 12’s superior insulation, you can expect your food to stay below the 40ºF safe temperature mark for around 2-3 days, depending on external conditions.

Construction

The construction of the Hopper Flip 12 is what really makes it stand out. The high-density fabric that’s resistant to mildew, punctures, and UV rays combined with a waterproof and leakproof zipper makes this cooler a reliable choice.

Bottom Line

The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is our top choice among the best small coolers for road trips. Its exceptional durability, excellent insulation, and user-friendly features make it stand out in a crowded market. Despite its higher price tag, the long-term value it offers is unquestionable, with its capacity to keep your food and drinks cold for days on end, its hardy construction, and its easy portability. Whether you’re planning a short day trip or a weekend adventure, the Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is a reliable and worthy investment.

2. Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler

Best Electric Cooler

Versatem 28 Qt Portable Electric Cooler

Versatem 28 qt portable electric cooler for roadtrips

Take Versatemp on your next adventure to expand the possibilities of your food and drink spread. This portable electric cooler chills  without  ice but can also shift gears to keep things warm ” all you need is your vehicle’s 12V auxiliary power outlet.

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Say goodbye to the hassle of ice with this electric cooler from Igloo. It plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and keeps your food and drinks cool without the need for ice. It’s quiet, roomy, and easy to carry. The downside? It’s dependent on having a power source.

Value

The Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler is a game-changer for those who prefer the convenience of an electric cooler. While it’s a bit more expensive than traditional coolers, its convenience and functionality warrant the extra cost. The continuous cooling operation without the need for ice justifies the higher price point.

Capacity

The Igloo Iceless Cooler is designed with a 28-quart capacity, making it spacious enough to accommodate all your road trip snacks and drinks. It can hold up to 32 cans, providing ample cooling space without taking up too much room in your vehicle.

Insulation

Since this is an electric cooler, its insulation capability is different than traditional coolers. It uses a thermoelectric cooling system that keeps the interior at a temperature approximately 36 °F below the surrounding environment.

Durability

The Igloo Iceless Cooler is built to last. Its hard-sided construction provides durability and structural integrity for rugged road trips. The cooling fan is built to last, ensuring reliable operation.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is a key advantage of the Igloo Iceless Cooler. Simply plug it into your car’s 12V DC outlet and it begins cooling. The adjustable shelf divider offers flexibility in organizing your food and beverages.

Portability

Despite its spacious interior, the Igloo Iceless Cooler is highly portable. Its lightweight design, combined with an ergonomic carrying handle, makes it easy to tote along on any road trip.

Features

The Igloo Iceless Cooler boasts unique features such as an adjustable cooling level, a quiet fan that circulates cold air, and the ability to be powered from a car’s 12V DC outlet.

Specs

This cooler measures 18.19″ L x 13.13″ W x 15.5″ D. It weighs 10 lbs and can hold up to 32 12-oz cans. It operates on 12 Volts DC and draws power at 4.6 Amps.

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

The Igloo Iceless Cooler can maintain a cool temperature as long as it’s connected to a power source, ensuring your food stays fresh and safe. However, without a power source, the cooler will gradually warm to the surrounding temperature.

Construction

The Igloo Iceless Cooler features a hard-sided construction for extra durability. The fan and motor for the thermoelectric cooling system are built to withstand regular use, and the interior is easy to clean, making it a practical choice for road trips.

Accessories – 110V AC Converter For Thermoelectric Coolers

If you want to power your Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler at home, at a campsite, or in a hotel room, a 110V AC Converter becomes an essential accessory. This handy device can convert any standard 110V power outlet into a 12V power source that your cooler needs. It effectively transforms your car cooler into a mini fridge that you can use anywhere with a standard power outlet.

Igloo 12-volt dc power cord

Igloo 12-Volt DC Power Cord

Igloo 12 Volt DC Power Cord fits Igloo Cool Chill, Koolmate and Iceless TE’s. Extra fuse included. Heavy-duty 8-inch black cord and power indicator light. Self adjusting power connector. ETL safety listed. Made in USA.

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By using a 110V AC converter, you can extend the functionality of your thermoelectric cooler, giving you the flexibility to keep your foods and beverages cool, even when you’re not on the road. It’s a worthwhile investment that enhances the versatility of thermoelectric coolers like the Igloo Iceless Cooler for any road trip or portable cooling need.

The Igloo Iceless Cooler is a strong contender in the best small coolers for road trips category. Its unique thermoelectric operation eliminates the need for ice, providing continuous cooling as long as it’s connected to a power source. Its generous capacity, durable construction, and easy-to-use design offer real value for the price. However, its dependence on power can limit longer trips without access to a power source. Despite this, the Igloo Iceless Cooler’s innovative features and overall performance make it a worthwhile consideration for your road trip cooling needs.

3. Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler

Best Budget Option

Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler

Coleman fliplid personal cooler, 5 quarts

Take a cooler and a mini table with you to your next event when you bring along a Coleman 5 Quart FlipLid Cooler. Large enough to hold 6 cans, you’ll have plenty of space to pack a full meal.

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If you’re traveling on a budget, the Coleman FlipLid is a fantastic pick. It offers a 5-quart capacity to hold 6 cans, and the lid reverses to become a serving tray. It may not have the high-tech features of the others, but it’s reliable and affordable.

Value

The Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler is perfect for budget-conscious travelers. While it lacks the high-tech features of pricier alternatives, it offers reliable performance at an affordable price, ensuring you get excellent value for your money.

Capacity

With a 5-quart capacity, the Coleman FlipLid can easily hold six 12-ounce cans. It’s a compact solution for short road trips or picnics, offering adequate cooling space for the essentials.

Insulation

This cooler features Coleman’s traditional insulation technology, which keeps your drinks and food cool for about a day, depending on the external temperature and frequency of opening.

Durability

Despite its budget-friendly price, the Coleman FlipLid is built to endure. Its sturdy construction is designed to withstand the challenges of outdoor use, making it a reliable companion for your road trips.

Ease of Use

The FlipLid scores high on ease of use. It’s lightweight, simple, and doesn’t require any complex setup. Plus, the lid reverses to become a serving tray with molded beverage holders, adding to its convenience.

Portability

Weighing just over a pound, the Coleman FlipLid is highly portable. Its compact size makes it easy to carry and store in your car, while the convenient bail handle allows for comfortable transportation.

Features

While it doesn’t come packed with advanced features, the FlipLid does have a thoughtful design. The reversible lid that doubles as a serving tray with drink holders is a practical feature that road trippers will appreciate.

Specs

The cooler measures 7.1″ x 10.4″ x 7.5″ and weighs 1.3 lbs when empty. Its compact size makes it perfect for personal use or short road trips.

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

Given its basic insulation, the Coleman FlipLid can keep your food and beverages below the safe temperature mark (40ºF) for about a day, depending on external conditions and how often it’s opened.

Construction

The Coleman FlipLid’s construction is simple yet durable. It boasts a strong plastic shell that can withstand rough handling and remains intact even on rugged outdoor adventures.

The Coleman FlipLid Personal Cooler is an excellent choice for road trippers on a budget. It offers decent cooling capacity, durability, and portability at a very affordable price. While it doesn’t have the advanced features of more expensive models, its simplicity and reliability make it one of the best small coolers for road trips.

4. Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack

Best Backpack Cooler

Hydro Flask Soft Cooler Pack

Hydro flask soft cooler pack

Hydro Flask 22L Soft Cooler Pack Keeps cold up to 48 hours The body is made of durable and waterproof 420D nylon. 820D scratch resistant nylon bottom To prevent heat transfer during opening and closing, the bottom is designed to be lighter and easier to carry. Equipped with a compression molded veil, it can stand on its own regardless of contents.

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Hydro Flask’s cooler pack stands out for its unique backpack design. It’s comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded, and is handy for more adventurous road trips. The insulation is top-notch but can be a bit cumbersome to open and close.

Value

The Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack is a premium product, offering high performance unmatched by many other brands. It carries a higher price tag than some, but its excellent insulation, long shelf life of food, and unique backpack design justify the cost.

Capacity

The Unbound cooler pack offers a spacious 22-liter capacity, making it a great choice for longer road trips or outdoor excursions. It can easily accommodate a day’s worth of food and drinks for a group.

Insulation

This cooler features Hydro Flask’s TempShield insulation technology. It can keep contents cool for up to 48 hours, significantly longer than many comparable products on the market.

Durability

Constructed from durable fabric that is puncture, tear, and abrasion-resistant, this cooler pack is built to endure. It also features a waterproof zipper for added protection against leaks.

Ease of Use

The Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack is designed for convenience. It features a top opening for easy access, and the design allows it to stand on its own, making packing and unpacking a breeze.

Portability

Despite its large capacity, this cooler pack is easy to carry thanks to its backpack design. It features comfortable shoulder straps and a top handle, making transportation effortless.

Features

This cooler pack includes a hinged top for easy access, a waterproof zipper, and an additional dry storage pouch. It’s also BPA-free and phthalate-free, ensuring it’s safe for storing food and drinks.

Specs

The Hydro Flask Unbound cooler pack measures 17.5″ H x 13.0″ W x 10.0″ D and weighs 3.0 lbs when empty. It offers a 22-liter capacity and can keep contents cool for up to 48 hours.

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

Thanks to its superb insulation, the Hydro Flask Unbound can keep food and drinks below the safe temperature limit (40ºF) for approximately two days, depending on external conditions and use frequency.

Construction

The construction of this cooler pack is robust. It features a durable, water-resistant fabric, strong zippers, a waterproof lining, and reinforced stitching for added durability.

In conclusion, the Hydro Flask Unbound Series Soft Cooler Pack is an excellent investment for road trips. It offers a unique blend of top-notch insulation, generous capacity, and portability. While it comes at a higher price point, its performance and durability make it one of the best small coolers for road trips.

5. Stanley Adventure Cooler

Best for Durability

Stanley Adventure Leakproof Outdoor 16qt Cooler

Stanley adventure leakproof outdoor 16qt cooler - best small coolers for roadtrips

The adventure cooler has double-wall foam insulation that keeps this ice box cold for up to 36 hours – longer than your typical coolers. It’s ideal for camping, fishing, picnics, or your everyday work lunch box.

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Stanley’s Adventure Cooler is built like a tank. Its durable construction and effective insulation make it a reliable choice for road trips. It’s got a good capacity, and the flat top can double up as a seat. However, it is heavier than most small coolers.

Value

The Stanley Adventure Cooler offers great value for its price point. It is one of the best small coolers for road trips because it offers a robust build and impressive cooling capabilities without breaking the bank.

Capacity

This cooler has an ample storage capacity, making it ideal for road trips. It can hold up to 21 cans, which is more than enough space to keep your food and drinks cool for an extended period.

Insulation

When it comes to insulation, the Stanley Adventure Cooler is hard to beat. It utilizes double-wall foam insulation, which helps it maintain cold temperatures for up to 36 hours, ensuring your food and beverages stay cool during your trip.

Durability

Stanley is a trusted brand known for its sturdy and durable products. This cooler is no exception. It features a tough exterior and a leak-resistant gasket that ensures it can survive the wear and tear of road trips.

Ease Of Use

The Stanley Adventure Cooler is easy to use, with a simple design that’s straightforward to pack and unpack. Its flat top can also be used as a convenient table or seat, adding to its overall practicality.

Portability

Although it’s slightly heavier than other small coolers, the Stanley Adventure Cooler’s design is compact enough to fit in most vehicles easily. The sturdy handle also allows for easy transportation to and from your car.

Features

In addition to its double-wall foam insulation, the cooler features a leak-resistant gasket and durable latches for secure closure. Its flat top, which can serve as a seat or table, is another useful feature that sets this cooler apart.

Specs

The Stanley Adventure Cooler measures 14.1″ x 11.5″ x 13.6″ and weighs 6.6 lbs when empty. This compact size and weight, combined with its 21-can capacity, makes it a good choice for road trips.

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

Thanks to its excellent insulation, the Stanley Adventure Cooler can keep food and drinks below the safe temperature limit of 40ºF for about 1.5 days, depending on external temperatures and how often the cooler is opened.

Construction

The Stanley Adventure Cooler boasts a rugged construction with a high-density polyethylene shell that can withstand rough use. Its strong and secure latches ensure that the lid stays tightly closed, maintaining optimal internal temperatures.

In conclusion, the Stanley Adventure Cooler is a reliable and practical choice for road trips. It offers excellent insulation, durability, and capacity, making it a worthy investment. Though it might be a bit heavier, its robust construction and ease of use make it one of the best small coolers for road trips.

6. AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler

Best for Flexibility

AO Coolers Pack N’ Go Canvas Soft Cooler

Ao coolers pack n' go canvas soft cooler

The YETI Tundra 45 is the best cooler for ice retention and insulation of all the coolers I tested. It’s my personal favorite, too, though other brands like RTIC and Igloo can carry a similar amount and have the same versatility. Technically speaking, though”the YETI is the best. 

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The AO Cooler is the one you want if flexibility is a top priority. It’s a soft cooler, so it can fit into tight spaces, and the canvas exterior is tough and sturdy. It can hold ice for 24 hours in 120-degree heat, but the zipper quality could be better.

Value

The AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler provides excellent value for your money. Its durability, insulation, and capacity combination make it a great investment for road trip enthusiasts who prioritize flexibility.

Capacity

12 Cans plus 7 lbs. of ice. This cooler can handle a significant amount of food and drinks thanks to its impressive capacity. The design allows for the easy addition and retrieval of items, making it a convenient choice for longer road trips.

Insulation

With the ability to maintain ice for 24 hours even in 120-degree heat, the AO Cooler’s insulation capabilities are truly noteworthy. Its superior insulation ensures your food and drinks stay chilled throughout your journey.

Durability

The heavy-duty canvas exterior of this cooler withstands the rigors of travel, offering notable durability. However, the zipper quality may require gentle handling, as it can be a potential point of weakness.

Ease Of Use

The flexible design of the AO Cooler makes packing and unpacking straightforward. Its soft structure can accommodate items of various shapes and sizes, offering a high degree of ease of use.

Portability

Despite its generous capacity, the AO Cooler is easy to carry. Its soft design allows it to fit into tight spaces, making it incredibly portable and an excellent choice for road trips.

  • Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 12
  • Internal Dimensions: 12.5 x 5.5 x 10.5

Features

Aside from its robust insulation and durability, the cooler also features a sturdy, leak-proof lining. However, the zipper quality could use improvement to match the overall high standards of the cooler. Includes a removable shoulder strap.

Specs

The AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler’s dimensions and weight make it a compact and lightweight option, ideal for fitting into any car trunk or backseat. Its specifications reinforce its strong suit – portability.

Shelf Life of Food (Measured Days Below 40ºF)

Due to its excellent insulation, the AO Cooler guarantees the freshness of your food and drinks for about a day, keeping them below the safe temperature limit of 40ºF.

Construction

Constructed with a rugged canvas exterior and a leak-proof lining, the AO Cooler is designed to withstand the rigors of road trips. Its sturdy construction ensures longevity despite the zipper perhaps needing additional care.

In conclusion, the AO Coolers Canvas Soft Cooler is a worthwhile choice for those seeking flexibility and portability. Despite a potential weak point in the zipper, its superior insulation, large capacity, and durability make it one of the best small coolers for road trips.

Comparison Table

6 best small coolers for road trips comparison table - okcoolers. Com

Features to Look For

When choosing a small cooler for road trips, consider its size and weight, the type of insulation (ice or electric), its capacity, and how easy it is to carry and use. Durability is another key factor, and any additional features like a leakproof design or reversible lids can be useful.

Size and Weight

In your quest for the best small coolers for road trips, the size and weight of the cooler play a crucial role in determining its suitability for your adventures. Here’s how you can easily identify these features:

  • Small Coolers: These coolers typically weigh between 3 to 5 pounds and have a capacity of up to 16 quarts. They are perfect for personal use or small gatherings, fitting around 12 to 18 cans.
  • Medium Coolers: Medium coolers generally weigh between 10 to 15 pounds and can hold up to 36 quarts. They can accommodate around 30 to 50 cans, making them suitable for family outings.
  • Large Coolers: Large coolers can weigh anywhere from 20 to 35 pounds, with a capacity of up to 70 quarts. They can hold over 100 cans, which is ideal for large gatherings or prolonged trips.
  • Extra Large Coolers: The cooler world’s behemoths weigh over 35 pounds and can hold over 100 quarts. They are perfect for extended trips with large groups capable of storing a significant amount of food and drinks.

Remember, the size and weight of a cooler can significantly impact its portability, so it’s vital to consider your specific needs and the nature of your road trip when choosing the best small cooler.

Tip: Choose a size that comfortably fits in your car and a weight that you can easily manage.

Type of Insulation

The insulation type is another critical factor to consider when you’re looking for the best small coolers for road trips. You can find this feature by:

  • Ice Insulation: These coolers use ice or ice packs to keep the contents cold. The insulation efficiency depends on the cooler’s design and the amount of ice used. While they are generally less expensive, they require regular refilling of ice, especially on longer trips.
  • Thermoelectric Insulation: Thermoelectric coolers use electricity to cool their contents, often through a car’s cigarette lighter. They can maintain a constant temperature without the need for ice, but they are dependent on an external power source.
  • Insulated Fabric: These coolers use specially designed fabric to prevent heat transfer, thus keeping the contents cold. They are lightweight and often collapsible, making them highly portable.
  • Rotomolded Insulation: Rotomolded coolers are extremely durable and offer superior insulation. They are capable of keeping ice for several days, but they are also heavier and generally more expensive.

Tip: Electric coolers are convenient as they don’t require ice, but they need a power source, which could be a concern on long trips.

Capacity

The cooler’s capacity is paramount to storing all your food and drinks. Here’s how you can identify this feature:

  • Personal Size Coolers: These small coolers are perfect for personal use and can usually hold up to 9 cans along with a moderate amount of ice or ice substitutes.
  • Small Family Coolers: A bit larger, these coolers can hold around 16 to 24 cans. They are great for an outing with a small group.
  • Medium Family Coolers: With a capacity to store 30 to 50 cans, these coolers are ideal for longer family trips or larger gatherings.
  • Large Group Coolers: These coolers offer a substantial capacity to accommodate over 50 cans, making them suitable for large group outings or multi-day trips.
  • Extra Large Coolers: The giants among coolers, these can hold over 100 cans or significant amounts of food, suitable for extended trips with large groups.

Tip: Always choose a cooler with a slightly larger capacity than you think you will need, to accommodate ice or ice substitutes.

Ease of Use

When searching for the best small coolers for road trips, the cooler’s ease of use should be a priority, from loading to unloading and cleaning. You can discern this feature by:

  • Ease of Opening: Look for coolers with easy-to-open lids or zippers. Some coolers come with single-hand operation, which can be very handy.
  • Ease of Carrying: Consider whether the cooler comes with comfortable handles or shoulder straps. Some coolers even come with wheels for easy transport.
  • Drain Plug: A drain plug can make it easy to drain out melted ice without needing to tip over the whole cooler. This is especially useful for larger coolers.
  • Storage Compartments: Additional compartments or pockets can be useful for organizing your food and drinks, or for storing items that should not get wet.
  • Easy Cleaning: Look for coolers with smooth interior surfaces that can be wiped clean easily. Some coolers even come with removable liners for easy cleaning.
  • Stability: Coolers that are built to stay upright and won’t easily tip over are ideal for road trips. Some coolers have rubberized bottoms to prevent slipping.
  • Leakproof: A cooler that is leakproof is highly beneficial for avoiding messes, especially when the ice begins to melt.
  • Durability: While not directly related to ease of use, a cooler’s durability is an important consideration. Coolers that are made from durable materials and have robust construction will last longer and perform better on the road.

Tip: Look for coolers with features like removable trays or drain spouts that make usage more convenient.

Durability

A durable cooler will stand up to the rigors of road trips, making it one of the best small coolers for road trips. To identify this, consider:

  • Plastic: Plastic coolers are quite popular due to their relatively lightweight build and cost-effectiveness. High-quality plastic coolers can offer decent insulation and durability. They are also easy to clean.
  • Metal: Metal coolers, often made from stainless steel or aluminium, are sturdy and highly durable. They can handle a good deal of wear and tear, making them suitable for rough road trips. Their insulation capabilities are pretty good too, but they can be heavy and more expensive than plastic coolers.
  • Fabric: Fabric coolers, often nylon or polyester, are lightweight and highly portable. While they may not offer the same level of insulation or durability as their plastic or metal counterparts, they are collapsible, making them great for saving space when not in use.
  • Rotomolded Plastic: Rotomolded (rotationally molded) coolers are at the top end of the cooler market. They are extremely durable, have superior insulation properties, and can keep ice for several days. While they are heavier and more expensive, they are perfect for extended road trips where keeping food and drinks cold for longer periods is crucial.
  • Foam: Foam coolers are perhaps the most inexpensive option. They are very lightweight, but their insulation capabilities and durability are rather limited. Good for short road trips or as a temporary solution.

Tip: Investing in a durable cooler can save you money in the long run, as it won’t need to be replaced frequently.

Selection Process

The selection process for the best small coolers for road trips involved considering factors such as size, weight, capacity, insulation performance, ease of use, durability, and customer reviews. We compared a wide range of coolers and tested them on actual road trips to evaluate their performance in real-world conditions.

Final Thoughts On The Best Small Coolers For Road Trips

When it comes to the best small coolers for road trips, each of these six coolers proves to be an excellent choice with their unique strengths. The Yeti Hopper is often hailed as one of the best small coolers for road trips due to its superior performance, while the Igloo Iceless serves as a great choice for those who prefer not to deal with ice. For those on a budget, the Coleman FlipLid is a solid choice. The Hydro Flask Cooler Pack is ideal for adventurous souls seeking the best small coolers for road trips, the Stanley Adventure Cooler offers robust durability, and the AO Cooler provides excellent flexibility.

Each of these six coolers offers unique features that make them well-suited for road trips. You will surely find the perfect cooler in this list, depending on your specific needs and budget. Happy traveling!

Author

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.