Best Cool Box For Camping

Although many campsites these days have onsite fridges and freezers, they are usually just for putting ice blocks in. If you want somewhere to keep anything else chilled you’ll need to come with your own camping fridge, or cool box.

The best cool box for camping would preferably be an electric cool box so that you don’t need to keep on getting your ice blocks frozen onsite. Of course this means you will need to pay for an electric pitch too, but the extra cost will mean you can keep essentials nice and chilled.

But which cool box is best for camping?

Cool Box Buying Guide – Things To Consider

Type – We touched on this earlier before, but essentially you will be choosing between an electric cool box or a non electric cool box. The latter can be bought as either a hard shell exterior, or as a soft, folding material.  If you have the space, and the need, it might be worth considering a mini fridge. Do consider with this option though whether you will also need a cool bag, or box, to use for days out when you are camping.

Size – This will depend on how many of you there are camping, as well as the size of your car. Remember you can store some items inside the cool box whilst you are travelling (we do a bit of Tetris style packing in our car whenever we go camping, our cool box usually holds our kettle and whatever else we can squeeze in there!) If you have space to spare it might be worth considering one of the mini fridges, especially if you are camping for a long period of time, or have a lot of people in your camping party.

Noise – A really important one, and not the kind of thing you want to find out on the first night of trying to sleep on site! Any electric cool box will make a noise – how much you can sleep with is the important consideration though.

Camping Cool Box Reviews

Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers – TOP NON ELECTRIC PICK

Coleman are a really popular and high quality make of cool box. They are particularly great if you want to store larger volumes of food and drink as they have a bigger capacity than the Thermos range.

They also have premium insulation technology that keeps the interior chilled for up to 5 days – which is ideal for many camping trips. As long as you follow the usual rules for keeping a non electric cool box cold (see our tips at the end of this article), this will work and keep everything nicely chilled.

As an added bonus, they are so robust that they can be used as a seat (with the exception of the 50QT model), with the lid also having 4 drinks holders – how about that for multi tasking?!

The three larger sizes in the Coleman range of cool boxes will be heavier than the lighter weight Thermos boxes and so the handles on each end of the box make it easier to share the load with two people carrying it. The 50QT model (the 47L) doesn’t have the same handles (they are moulded) but instead has wheels and a handle for you to pull it along for easier transportation.

Main Features

  • 4 different sizes (36L, 47L, 64L, 94L) 
  • Keeps things cool for up to 5 days
  • Doubles up as a seat (holds up to 113kg of weight)
  • 4 drink holders in the lid
  • Two handles for easier lifting

Thermos Cool Box

Thermos are a well known brand for cool boxes and probably one of the most popular choices for non electric boxes.

Main Features

  • Choice of 2 sizes, either a 28L or a 32L
  • Keeps interior cool for up to 8 hours
  • Internal dimensions for the 28L: 33cm(H) x 20cm (W) x 34cm (H)
  • Internal dimensions for the 32L: 33cm(H) x 20cm (W) x 43cm (H)
  • Freeze boards available for the 32L at an additional cost

The Thermos cool boxes are well made and fit a nice amount of food and drink in them. They are perfect for taking out for picnics and days at the beach, as well as for keeping a few foods cool overnight whilst camping. The lid is locked using the handle and is easy to transport thanks to how lightweight the box is.

Many campsites will allow you to store ice packs/do block replacements so will be able to constantly rotate the packs to keep your cool box cold.

View 28L on Amazon

View 32L on Amazon

Vivo 26L Electric Cool Box


Vivo’s electric cool box represents fantastic value for money. It has a 26L capacity with the ability to keep contents warm or cold. It runs on either a car cigarette lighter (included) or via mains electricity (leads included). This makes this electric cool box ideal for day trips, picnics and keep foods cold whilst camping.

Main Features

  • 26L capacity
  • Charges via car cigarette  lighter or main electricity (leads included)
  • Foods can be kept hot or cold (-15°C or 50°C)
  • Power consumption 4.5 amps at 12v DC
  • Handle locks lid

View On Amazon >>

Mobicool W48 DC Thermoelectric Cool Box

Main Features

  • 48L capacity
  • Removable divider
  • Wheels with pull out handle
  • Easy store cable space within the lid
  • Can be powered off 12V car cigarette lighter
  • Comes with 12V power lead

A versatile electric cool box that has a large capacity to keep everything cold on your next camping trip. It has the capacity to hold 2 litre sized bottles standing up, or a complete drinks crate, with the divider removed. The lid opens up in the middle which helps to reduce any cold air escaping.

View on Amazon

Top Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Cool Box

  • Cool your box down in the days leading up to using it by filling it with ice blocks, ice, frozen water bottles.
  • Keep it stored in a cold place – don’t let it heat up in the back of your car with sunshine streaming in on it through the windscreen.
  • Freeze water bottles at home and then place them in your cool box to keep it cool. Just slot them into any empty spaces.
  • Cool air falls so lay flat any ice packs across food and drinks at the top of the cool box.
  •  If you are using a non electric cool box restrict the amount of times you are opening it. Every time you open it you will be letting in warm air and compromising the coolness of the contents.
  • To create more space in your cool box transfer food to zip lock bags. This reduces the excess packaging in the cool box as well as protects your food from getting wet from any melting ice cubes you might put in there.
  • If space and budget permits, have a separate cool box for foods and drinks. If you combine them in the same box, chances are you will be opening the cool box a lot more frequently, as well as putting in unchilled drinks from time to time. If you are camping with other people perhaps you could agree that one of you stores the food, and one of you stores the drinks?

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