It’s a little early in the year to start planning beach days and backyard barbecues. But it’s never too early to start updating your warm-weather adventure gear. Whether you’re into camping, surfing, kayaking, or tailgating, the one common thread connecting them all is the need for icy cold beverages. But, what most coolers —even the best coolers— lack is portability. Most are big, bulky, and extremely heavy when laden with ice and beer. Backpack coolers are one solution. But if you’re ready to take your cooler game to the next level in 2021, you need wheels. Here are our picks for the best wheeled coolers to shop right now.
Coleman Xtreme Wheeled Cooler
Coleman coolers have been a staple of beach outings and fishing trips for about as long as there has been sand and fish. The brand keeps its products dead-simple without overthinking things. The Xtreme Wheeled Cooler is the simple Coleman cooler we all remember from outdoor trips as a kid. But the addition of a telescoping handle and durable plastic wheels make it a lot more usable and versatile. The 50-quart capacity is enough to stash more than 80 cans, and it’ll keep ice frozen for up to five days, even when the outdoor temps hit 90 degrees. Plus, you can’t beat the price — an essential fishing gear.
Igloo Trailmate Journey
Most of us know Igloo as another ubiquitous plastic cooler company like Coleman. But the brand has seriously upped its game in recent years with coolers that boast legitimately useful features like internal dry baskets, cup holders, storage pockets, and slide-out tray tables. Oh, and it holds more than a hundred cans, too.
Pelican 45QW Elite Wheeled Cooler
Pelican has earned a lot of well-deserved respect for its nearly indestructible, military-grade coolers. That’s no surprise when you consider that the brand’s Elite line is certified bear-resistant. The 45QW Elite Wheeled Cooler slots neatly into the middle of that line, and it’s the perfect fit for most casual cooler users. The two-inch-thick polyurethane insulation and freezer-grade gasket provide up to 10 days of ice retention. Thoughtful features include an integrated fish scale, wide latches (for gloved use), a built-in bottle opener, and molded-in tie-downs to ensure it stays put in or on your vehicle. Large, heavy-duty wheels and a trolley handle make it a snap to tote anywhere you need it.
Yeti Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler
As another of the world’s premier cooler brands, Yeti’s entire lineup is innovative, over-engineered, and damn near bulletproof. The Tundra Haul Wheeled Cooler is the company’s first wheeled cooler. It promises the same legendary toughness of Yeti’s Tundra line. Rotomolded construction keeps 55 pounds of ice or 45 cans (assuming a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio) of your favorite summer beer ice-cold. Plus, the welded aluminum arm is sturdy and ergonomic, so the Tundra Haul “hauls” effortlessly behind you.
RovR RollR 60 Wheeled Cooler
RovR might be a lesser-known brand than the likes of Yeti or Pelican, but its wheeled coolers are no less capable. The RollR 60 Wheeled Cooler is a hardcore, premium cooler designed for any adventure. Like Pelican’s Elite coolers, the RollR 60 is also certified grizzly-bear-proof. Heavily lugged tires, an aluminum handle, and non-skid feet make it easy to take anywhere and ensure it stays put once you arrive. Useful features include an integrated dry basket, a Wagon Bin to secure all your non-chilled goods atop the cooler, and dual cup holders, plus an optional side-mounted cutting board. The brand’s bright, bold color offerings are also a nice departure from the sea of white and beige coolers on the market.
Koolatron Kargo Wheeler Electric Wheeled Cooler
Of course, not every outdoor adventure needs to be off-grid or miles from civilization. If your plans put you a bit closer to modern conveniences, an electric cooler may be the way to go. Canada-based Koolatron’s Kargo Wheeler Electric Wheeled Cooler is a powered alternative to traditional ice-chilled coolers. Plugged in to a 12V (car) or 110V (house) socket, it uses thermoelectric technology and a brushless fan motor to chill its contents to 40°F below the ambient air temperature. As a bonus, it can even keep your food warm to 140°F using less power than an average vehicle tail-light.
Coleman Wheeled Soft Cooler
For the ultimate in affordability and portability, you can always count on Coleman. The brand’s 42-can Wheeled Soft Cooler is roomy enough for backyard parties or an afternoon at the lake. At just over two pounds, it’s the lightest wheeled cooler on this list, making it easy to take wherever you’re headed. Durable wheels and a telescoping handle mean it’s effortless to tow, even when fully loaded. A fold-flat design allows it to stow just about anywhere when you’re done for the day.
Fatboy 70-Quart Wheeled Cooler
For bigger parties or thirstier friends, size matters. Fatboy’s 70-Quart Wheeled Cooler is nearly three feet long and 18 inches across. That’s enough for 75 pounds of cubed ice or more than 80 cans — your call. It’ll keep ice frozen for up to nine days, thanks to proprietary Cryo-Foam polyurethane insulation. Plus, it boasts bottle openers, a 27-inch fish scale, and a freezer-grade gasket. Thankfully, twin rubber tires make it easy to tote the nearly 40-pound design around.
Rubbermaid Durachill 5-Day Wheeled Cooler
At less than $50, Rubbermaid’s Durachill Wheeled Coolers provide some of the best bang-for-your-buck value of any coolers on the market. The 75-quart model is spacious enough for even the largest outdoor get-togethers. It’s enough to hold 130 cans plus ice and keep it all chilled for up to five days, even when the outside temperature is 90°F. Plus, the split lid opens to an anti-bacterial interior treated with Microban to keep out funky odors.
Clevr Rolling Party Wagon Cooler
The problem with most coolers is that they look like coolers. If your party demands something a little more stylish and fun, Clevr’s 80-Quart Rolling Party Wagon Cooler is just the trick. The fire-engine-red steel exterior recalls the playful design of vintage Radio Flyer wagons. But it also offers useful features like a built-in bottle opener, drain spout, and removable dual-hinged lids for easier access. Ten-inch inflatable tires also ensure that it’s ready to tackle any terrain from hard-packed soil to soft beach sand.
Speedbox Endurance-40 Military-Grade Wheeled Cooler
If money is no object, or you’re an elite paratrooper, or you routinely transport fragile, high-value goods that need chilling like organs or COVID-19 vaccines, look no further than Speedbox. The Missouri-based company makes some of the world’s toughest storage boxes — tough enough to be relied on by the world’s best military forces. The Endurance-40 is a near-bombproof mil-spec wheeled tote with a 300-pound load capacity that all rolls on no-flat, off-road tires. Technically, it wasn’t designed as cooler, but the rotomolded construction, built-in drain, and industry-leading reliability and portability make it perfect for just that purpose.
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