The 11 Best Beach Coolers of 2023

Whether it’s a backpack, tote, or wheeled wonder, a solid beach cooler is essential for a flawless day by the surf.

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Beach Coolers

Travel & Leisure / Kevin Liang

Beach coolers are essential warm-weather companions. They keep your refreshments cold even in the scorching heat, which means more time catching the waves and less time fretting over a lukewarm beverage.

Temperature regulation, water resistance, and comfort of carry differ among the thousands of beach coolers out there, so there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing yours. Do you plan to be outside most of the day and night, or will you only use the cooler for a few hours? The answer will determine whether you need to splurge on top-tier cold retention. Is it a long walk from the car to the beach? If so, you might be better off with a backpack or wheeled cooler to make transport as easy as possible. 

We’ve narrowed down the best coolers on the market in a variety of styles to fit every beachgoer under the sun.

Best Overall

Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Insulated Personal Cooler

Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler


Why We Love It: Leakproof, puncture-resistant, and able to keep drinks cold for days, Yeti’s Hopper Flip is hard to beat when it comes to beach-ready accessories. 

What to Consider: The watertight zipper can be tough to open and close, but the cooler comes with lubricant to help.

We can’t argue with the hype: Yeti coolers are some of the best in the game. When it comes to the beach-going variety, our favorite design is this spacious Hopper Flip 18. It holds 30 cans, and the sturdy rectangular shape makes it suitable for storing more delicate refreshments as well. A well-padded shoulder strap ensures easy carrying, while handles on the top and sides up the convenience even more.The brand’s renowned durability shines here, with hardy leakproof zippers and a puncture-resistant shell. The external straps let you connect other accessories to the bag, and you can pair the cooler with Yeti’s Thin Ice for a perfect fit and to save yourself the hassle of dumping out ice. 

Although Yeti never provides specific temperature-retention stats, we can confirm that the Hopper Flip keeps things cold for well beyond a day at the beach. A vast array of colors are available for further customization, including the newly released canopy green and high desert clay. Note that if you like to travel light or solo, you may be better off with the Hopper Flip 8 or Hopper Flip 12.

Price at time of publish: $300

Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.5 x 12.8 inches | Capacity: 30 cans | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Cold-holding time: Not listed

Best Wheeled

Igloo Trailmate Journey 70-quart Cooler

Igloo Trailmate Journey 70-quart Cooler


Why We Love It: The removable butler tray ensures you always have the space to entertain. 

What to Consider: The top cover can be difficult to lock. 

The Trailmate Journey has loads of accessories that range from useful to flat-out brilliant. This Igloo cooler also has an impressive 70-quart capacity, meaning it holds 112 cold ones comfortably. Contents stay cold for four days with the ultra-therm insulated body and lid. With oversized wheels and a telescoping handle, you’ll have no problem taking this formidable cooler over dirt, wooded trails, and, yes, sand. 

Also nice? It has a butler tray with cup holders, which is perfect for those who like to entertain (and encourage kids to keep food and drinks off the ground), umbrella holders, and dry storage areas. Note that this cooler is quite large, so make sure you have the room in your car and home before purchasing. 

Price at time of publish: $250 

Dimensions: 34.5 x 19.7 x 23.6 inches | Capacity: 112 cans | Weight: 34.7 pounds | Cold-holding time: 4 days

Best Tote

Hydro Flask 20 L Tote

Hydro Flask 20 L Tote


Why We Love It: The fabric (including the zippers) is water- and spill-resistant. 

What to Consider: The inside is narrow, so you may have to pick and choose what you pack.

Totes are quintessential beach bags. For this, Hydro Flask makes our go-to pick. It comes in three different sizes (20 liters, 35 liters, and 8 liters) and four different colors. The 20-liter keeps food and drinks fresh for up to four hours, which makes it ideal for short outings like an afternoon at the farmer’s market or beachside picnics. 

When you’re not at the beach, it doubles as a lunch bag for work or as a reusable grocery bag for eco-friendly shopping trips (you may want to size up for this). The coated fabric is buttery soft and waterproof, making stains a thing of the past. It’s so convenient, you’ll want to use it often, but when it’s time to put it away, simply collapse it down or roll it for compact storage. 

Price at time of publish: $65

Dimensions: 17 x 7.25 x 14 inches | Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 1.32 pounds | Cold-holding time: 4 hours

Best Backpack

Igloo Outdoor Pro Snapdown 42-can Backpack

Igloo 36-42 Can Soft Sided Outdoor Pro Water Repellant Bags


Why We Love It: When we tested it, our drinks stayed cold for hours, and it didn't leak at all. 

What to Consider: A hard cooler will still have better ice retention.

This hardy Igloo model is our favorite backpack-style cooler. Although similar bags have a tendency to leak, there's no risk of stray ice run-off making it onto your towel with this cooler. Padded adjustable straps make it comfortable to wear on your back in a swimsuit, and it's also equipped with tote handles. And thanks to a sternum strap that helps distribute weight, you'll never have to leave refreshments behind for fear of an unwieldy load. Conveniences like an attached bottle opener, exterior pockets, and attachment loops make beach days even more of a breeze. Most importantly, this Igloo bag convinced us during testing that it's one of the best backpack options out there for keeping contents cold.

Price at time of publish: $140

Dimensions: ‎13 x 7 x 17.5 inches | Can capacity: 42 cans | Weight: 2.1 pounds

Best Floatation

IceMule Pro XXL

IceMule Pro XXL


Why We Love It: In addition to floating with you, it’ll keep your drinks cold for over 24 hours.

What to Consider: There are no extra pockets, so you can only take what’s inside the bag into the water.

It’s a chore to run out of the water to grab another cold one. Save yourself the trouble with your new water companion: the IceMule Pro XXL cooler. Simply ensure the roll top is properly closed to make it float, even when it’s packed to the brim with heavy contents. It’s water-resistant with 1000D ripstop fabric and welded seams. 

Inside, there’s plenty of space for 36 cans and ice that will stay cold for over 24 hours. Plus, since it’s a backpack with large shoulder straps and a ventilated back, it’ll always feel lightweight during your long-distance adventures. It's a wise choice to take to the beach, on a kayak, or on fishing trips

Price at time of publish: $155

Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 27 inches | Capacity: 36 cans | Weight: 3.8 pounds | Cold-holding time: 24+ hours

Best Heavy-duty

Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler

Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler


Why We Love It: When you already have your hands full with kids and beach gear, this wheeled cooler makes transportation easier. 

What to Consider: It’s one of the hardiest coolers out there, which means a high price point that makes it a large investment.

Let the good times roll with the Yeti Tundra Haul. This stylish powerhouse can keep 82 cans ice-cold even in sweltering weather everywhere from Caribbean beaches to California summers. Two inches of insulation and pressure-injected commercial-grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid provide some of the best temperature retention possible. 

As for the build, it’s rotomolded, making it nearly indestructible. It has a strong welded aluminum arm that provides a comfortable grip and a curved design so you have the option of left or right towing. The puncture-resistant wheels glide on almost every kind of terrain, although it does not roll as smoothly on soft surfaces like sand. But the same can be said with just about every rolling cooler, and the large size of the Tundra's wheels give it an edge. It is rather expensive, but the price is worth it for an all-weather wheeled cooler that will last for years to come. 

Price at time of publish: $450

Dimensions: ‎28 x 21 x 20 inches | Capacity: 82 cans | Weight: 37 pounds | Cold-holding time: Not listed

Best Budget

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler


Why We Love It: The interior SmartShelf gives you the option of dual compartments.  

What to Consider: There’s no airtight seal at the top of the bag. 

If you’re in the market for a wallet-friendly beach cooler, you can’t go wrong with this one by Arctic Zone. It lets you pack up to 30 cans that, when loaded with ice, stay cold for up to two days thanks to the deep-freeze performance insulation. 

The bag was constructed with comfort and convenience in mind. The adjustable shoulder straps with anti-slip pads distribute weight to take a load off your back, and the zipper-less top pops open so it’s always easy to access your food and drinks. 

To add to its features, the removable hardbody liner has a SmartShelf that prevents food from getting squished by separating hard and soft items. But if you prefer one large compartment instead, simply remove the SmartShelf. At a lower price point, downsides are to be expected, and we find this somewhat lacking in durability.

Price at time of publish: $63 

Dimensions: 16.5 x 11 x 12.75 inches | Capacity: 30 | Weight: Not listed | Cold-holding time: 2 days

Best for Solo Days

IceMule Jaunt 15L Soft-sided Cooler

Icemule Collapsible Backpack Cooler


Why We Love It: Style meets functionality with this compact cooler backpack. 

What to Consider: The bottom ridge of the bag is quite tough, which could be uncomfortable if it bumps against the back.

Travel in style with the IceMule Jaunt 9L Cooler Backpack. It’s lightweight, portable, and water-resistant. There’s room inside for up to nine cans or three bottles that stay frosty for up to 24-plus hours, according to the brand. If you plan to hit the water, simply use the IM AirValve to make the cooler buoyant and float next to you. You also won’t have to worry about leaving valuables on the sand alone, as the spacious waterproof pocket can be used to store your money, phone, and keys while you swim. This IceMule backpack is also comfortable to carry with padded shoulder straps to take the stress off your back. We also love the fun prints and lively colors to choose from.

Price at time of publish: $89 

Dimensions:  7 x 7.5 x 21 inches | Capacity: 9 cans | Weight: Not listed | Cold-holding time: 24-plus hours

Best Dual-compartment

Food52 Double Compartment Cooler Bag

Double Compartment Cooler Bag


Why We Love It: The cute colors and stylish designs add extra fun to your picnic or beach day.

What to Consider: Keep it out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time to prevent color fading.

A dual-compartment cooler is a must if you plan on packing food and drinks for your beach picnic, road trip, or weekend-long adventure. This will ensure that your soft items don’t get squished by heavier ones. The bottom compartment on this unzips to reveal a roomy space, which is capable of holding up to four bottles of wine. Meanwhile, the upper compartment securely holds food items like snacks and sandwiches. There’s even a pocket in the front that you can use to house napkins, utensils, and a wine opener. If anything spills, don’t fret; the waterproof material won’t hold onto stains for long. As you may have guessed, the insulation isn’t particularly powerful in this bag, which means that it’s better for short outings. 

Price at time of publish: $110

Dimensions: 13.78 x 10.24 x 15.75 inches | Capacity: Not listed | Weight: Not listed Cold-holding time: Not listed

Best Collapsible

CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag

Clevermade Collapsible Cooler Bag


Why We Love It: It's made out of recycled materials.

What to Consider: An elastic band called the WireStrap is required to keep it flat when folded. 

Tough-as-nails beach coolers may be useful, but they take up a lot of space. The solution? This CleverMade Collapsible Cooler Bag has a steel wire frame on the top of the cooler that snaps into place. This way, the cooler keeps its structure even when it’s collapsed. 

There are two sizes available: one that fits 30 cans and ice and another that fits 50 cans and ice. Both provide solid ice and temperature retention with three layers of leakproof insulation, which is ideal for when those beach days inevitably turn into beach nights. Plus, It has sturdy side handles and velcro top handles that make it easy to carry. Bonus: there's a bottle opener in one of the straps.

Price at time of publish: $45 (8-gallon)

Dimensions: ‎18.25 x 12.25 x 11.5 inches | Capacity: 50 cans | Weight: 2 pounds | Cold-holding time: Not listed

Best Small

RTIC 6-Can Everyday Cooler

RTIC 6-Can Everyday Cooler


Why We Love It: The portable size is great for half-days at the beach.

What to Consider: It’s only designed to be used with RTIC ice packs, which are sold separately. 

When you only need to cool down a few items, don’t waste space on a bulky cooler. This one by RTIC may be small, but the features are mighty. It provides all-day cold with RTIC Ice Packs and closed-cell foam insulation, although we do wish that it was compatible with ice. Grabbing a drink for yourself or a friend is always a breeze with the easy-open zipper that pops back to let you quickly access your items. There’s even a removable built-in bottle opener. 

The bottom is coated, so you don't have to worry about placing it down on wet surfaces. And even though it’s already small, it becomes even smaller by collapsing down for compact storage. One major downside is that the cooler is designed with a fabric zipper, which means that liquid may leak out if you’re not careful. 

Price at time of publish: $30

Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.5 x  6 inches | Capacity: 6 cans | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Cold-holding time: 12 hours

Tips for Buying a Beach Cooler

Don’t assume every cooler is leakproof

Unless a cooler advertises that it’s 100 percent waterproof and leakproof, it probably isn’t. And even then, accidents can happen. That’s why choosing a cooler with good ice retention is extremely important, as is choosing features that prevent leaks from spilling out. This includes airtight waterproof zippers (for soft coolers), locks (for hard coolers, the kind even bears can’t get into), and a thick reinforced base to prevent holes from wearing through the bottom.  

Think carefully about carry methods

Consider how you plan to use a cooler. If your favorite beach is a long journey from the parking lot, save your back the trouble and opt for a rolling cooler. A backpack cooler is a portable, hands-free option, but you’ll want to only pack what you can comfortably carry so as not to stress your arms and back. Finally, consider the size. If you plan to travel solo and can’t comfortably carry a cooler in your hands, size down. But if you’re hanging out with a large group for an entire day of drinks, snacks, and even lunch, prioritize spaciousness.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much ice should I put in a cooler?

    The ideal ice-to-content ratio is 2:1. This means that two-thirds of your cooler’s contents should be filled with ice. The rest is filled with food and drinks. If you’re using a soft cooler, we highly recommend using ice packs instead of real ice, as they have a tendency to leak. 

  • How long do coolers stay cold?

    This depends on the kind of cooler you’re using. Typically, cold-holding time is as follows:

    • Premium hard cooler: ice lasts 2-6 days 
    • Soft cooler: ice lasts 12-18 hours
    • Styrofoam cooler: ice lasts 12-30 hours

    Ice is another factor that determines how long coolers stay cold. Large blocks of ice typically last longer than cubes (around two days), so try to use them whenever you can. Dry ice is even better at retaining cold. In a cooler with strong insulation, blocks of dry ice can last for several days. However, dry ice in a cooler with limited insulation may only last between 16 and 24 hours, so choose wisely.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Sarah Kester, a lifestyle and commerce writer, did extensive research to curate this list of beach coolers. She also leaned on her own experience of transporting cold beverages in coolers for summer beach days.

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