Whether you enjoy spending time going camping, going on road trips, tailgating, having backyard barbeques, or doing pretty much anything else outdoors, chances are that coolers play a big part in your leisure time.
When you’re having a good time, there’s nothing quite like an ice-cold drink from a frigid cooler. If you’re hungry on the road or after a long hike, a cool sandwich or potato salad or a piece of fresh fruit pulled from the cooler is just the type of snack that you need.
Coolers used to be pretty simple, but in more recent years, more and more styles and options have come available. Almost half of Americans participate in at least one or more outdoor activities each year, and as a result, manufacturers have attempted to create the perfect cooler for every occasion.
If you’re in the market for a new cooler for your adventures, it’s important for you to know what’s out there before deciding on the best one for you. Some coolers can cost hundreds of dollars, but you may discover that you don’t necessarily need the one with all the special bells and whistles.
Read on to learn about the different types of coolers so you can be prepared when you shop.
Different Types of Coolers by Style
There is a wide variety of different types of coolers out there. Although hard-sided coolers are what most people think of first, there are many soft-sided options available as well.
Hard-sided coolers are strong and durable. They are usually rectangular in shape, and sometimes they have wheels to make them easier to move. Hard-sided coolers come in a vast range of sizes and tend to be quite good at keeping items cold for long periods of time. When camping or hanging out, they can also double as a seat or end table.
Soft-sided coolers come in a wide variety of shapes but they usually include a strap for carrying. Some are small and are perfect for carrying just one bottle of wine; others have plenty of room for a thirty-pack of beer and some snacks as well. Some soft-sided coolers are great at keeping things cold, but others gain heat quickly through seams and closures.
Both types are great for many different outdoor activities. The type you choose will be dependent on personal taste. Depending what type you choose, keeping well-frozen freeze packs inside will keep your food and drinks cold for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.
Different Types of Coolers by Material
Another thing you should consider when shopping for a cooler is its construction. Many coolers are plastic and they are strong, long-lasting, and well-insulated in most cases. Soft-sided coolers are often canvas and with many layers of insulation and these can be very functional, too.
If you’re looking for a cooler to use around your own property that you don’t plan to move very often and would like something that looks a little classy, you may want to consider a metal cooler. They are usually stainless steel or aluminum. Metal coolers hold the cold well and look great doing it.
More coolers today are being made of polypropylene and this a wonderful development for these items. Polypropylene is sturdy and tough, and their shiny exterior and rigid profile mean they still look new after taking a beating.
There are also coolers out there that are made of other materials, too. Neoprene, polyester, and nylon coolers don’t always keep things cold for super long periods, but they are very easy to clean and are lightweight. If you’re looking for something fairly disposable and very cheap, you might consider buying a styrofoam cooler.
The Best Cooler for You
The best cooler for you, your family, and your favorite outdoor activity is up to you. There are all types of coolers, and there is no one cooler that is right for every person or every occasion. Investigate a variety of coolers and think about your needs. You may even want to buy several for different purposes. No matter what, you will soon be out there enjoying cool snacks and beverages in the great outdoors. Enjoy!