What Size Cooler Do I Need for Camping?

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Camping happens to be the most relaxing escapade option of all time! But, do you know what can turn up the camping fun even more? To your delight, the answer is a cooler which is going to serve you icy drinks on the spot and fresh homemade food just as you like it.

Aside from its many silver linings, people usually get stuck wondering – what size cooler do I need for camping? As there’re a plethora of sizes available in the market, we can totally understand, determining the size you need is no plain sail. So, below we’ve put our recommendation to help you make up your mind.


What Size Cooler Do I Need for Camping?

To answer the question, we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that the size of cooler you’ll need depends on the number of members you’re having in your group along with the number of days you’re expecting to spend camping.

The size of an 8 quarts cooler would perfectly fit into your world, if you’re a solo traveler and planning to head for one-day camping or overnight. But in case, when you’re intending to extend the voyage to 2/3 days, then a cooler of 16 quarts would be a good bet for you.

Moving on to group camping, the sizes of 24 to 40 quarts are up to scratch for one-day camping, depending on the number of people you’re moving together. And, obviously, the longer you all are plan on staying, the larger the cooler size you’ll need.

We hope this discussion has clarified things for you, but if you’re still undecided, let’s take a closer look at each of them one by one –

What Size Cooler Do You Need For 1 Person?

If you’re heading for solo camping, then opting for a minimalistic size ice chest is the way to go. Depending on the days you’re planning on staying there, minimalistic coolers with a capacity of 8 to 20 quarts should be sufficient for your need.

However, for one-night camping, a cooler size larger than 8 quarts would be overkill. As the 8 quarts coolers from the leading brands like Arctic Zone and Coleman can house 9 cans easily and store almost 5 pounds of ice – which is apparently more than enough room to store one meal. Whereas, 20 quarts of the chilly bin being a little towering can tuck up around 20 cans and 14 pounds of ice in its belly all alone.

These sizes would not only serve your purpose but also will let you relish the trip fun to the fullest. As, you can realize you’ll have to lug it all alone throughout the way, so the cumbersome alternatives will not only reap your energy unnecessarily but will also quell your spirit of enjoying. So, we highly advise you to avoid taking extra burdens to be able to move with the smaller size possible.

What Size Cooler Do You Need For Couple Camping?

Being able to escape the hustle and bustle of regular life with the person you love is definitely the privilege you’ll get to cherish the rest of your life. So, making every moment count is what should be your aim. Besides, you also should concentrate on the food as well, as while heating up the camp with love you surely won’t love to be starving. So, here are the cooler size recommendations for the couples to enhance their escapade’s pleasure.

Reportedly, for one-night camping, a cooler with a capacity of 20 quarts is an ideal choice, but as you stay longer, the size should be larger accordingly. For instance, if you’re going to be there for a week, a cooler with the size of 40-45 quarts is a prudent call. As it can hold up around 40 cans and over 20 pounds of ice, which is pretty adequate to store all your food and drink with ease.

What Size Cooler Do You Need for Family Trip?

When it comes to family camping, we don’t want to go short on anything that might get us into trouble. So, to be on the safer side, you should pick a cooler between 35-45 quarts for one-day camping. Although the size may seem to be excessive, yet the reality is when people get together with their closest companions, they like bingeing on food and alcohol, hence this size is pertinent.

Again, for 2-4 days of trip, the size 55-65 quarts should be fine, as they are roomy enough to house up to 70-60 cans along with 20 pounds of ice. Nevertheless, if you plan on camping for a week or more, then you’re better off with 100 quarts cooler. In this respect, we’d like to warn you that a 100-quart cooler is going to be immensely heavy to be carried, so make sure to pick the one that comes will built-in wheels.

Other Considerations to Determine the Size of Camping Cooler

As you’ve done reading up to this point, now you know, what size of cooler you need in terms of the number of members and days you’ll be out there. Both of them are pivotal in narrowing down your choice, but there are few more things –that you need to bear in mind to finalize the size of the cooler.

To start with, we’d suggest that the size of the containers and cans you want to stuff into the coolers should be considered. Because, suppose, instead of hoarding mini sizes of cans if you wish to bring a whole bottle of Champagne, then you definitely need a bigger size cooler, don’t you?

Then again, the size of the cooler somewhat depends on the amount of perishable food items you want to carry with you. So, when you have a long list of delicacies to take with you, the size of the cooler needs to be larger to accommodate them aptly.

Again, we’d exaggerate on the matter that the number of days you’re staying out there should be considered thoughtfully to determine the size. Like, if you’re just going camping for 1/2 days, then you’re well off with smaller options. But, if you’re spending the week, opt for the larger options to ensure you’re making the most of your trip.


Do You Need More Than One Cooler for Camping?

Now, if you’re wondering whether it is better to carry multiple coolers instead of one hefty one, then much to your delight, the answer is YES. Carrying a separate ice chest for drinks and food not only relieves the heavy burden from one’s shoulder but also allows you to find the vittles you need in time.

But when you’re invading nature all alone, it won’t be a wise step for you to lug more than one cooler box. As it’ll be quite a hassle to keep track of multiple baggages singlehandedly. But again, one thing we can’t disagree that, we have a habit of frequently getting drinks on our outings, and opening the chilly bin for this causes the snow to melt faster.

As a result, the quality of perishable food products degrades sooner. But, when you’ll have a separate cooler for drinks and food, the quality of your food items is guaranteed to remain high. So, when you’re going in a group and have the budget to splurge on more than one ice chest at a time, then we recommend you to go for it.


What Type of Cooler do You Need for Camping?

Let’s learn about the available types of cooler to fathom which variety you need to make your camping excursion successful. So, without any further ado, keep browsing to find the one that’ll work best for you.

Hard-Edged Cooler

Hard-edged coolers are highly raved for their ultra-robust constructions and highly effective cooling properties. These varieties of cooler are either made of hard plastic or metal. Their ultra-robust body made them your loyal friend! Meaning, they will serve you for a long time, and, to your delight, even though you accidentally get them bumped, their efficiency will not be affected even not in the slightest. Another feature of these varieties that contributed to their widespread popularity is that, despite their cumbersome design, they come with easy-to-use handles and regulatory wheels.

Soft Baggy Coolers

Soft coolers are thoughtfully designed for avid explorers who like to sling their ice chests on their backs. These soft coolers are made of a variety of materials, including Canvas, Vinyl, Polyester to Nylon. The silver lining feature of these ice chests is that they are relatively lightweight to carry on the go. Again, regardless of the material type, the body of these coolers is deftly kept wear and tear-proof and moisture-resistant. So, if you’re aiming to get your hands on an easily portable cooler option, then this variety will put your mind at ease.


How to Choose the Right Cooler for You?

Now, that you’ve made up your mind which size and type of cooler you’ll be purchasing, it’s time for you to learn how to choose the right cooler for you. Let’s delve deeper to explore them –

Check Size: The first thing you ought to do while purchasing an ice chest is checking its size. While checking the sizes, narrow down options that are pertinent to the size you need.

Construction Material: The overall performance of a cooler largely depends on the materials used in its construction. So, before finalizing your choice of a cooler, check out the material details and ensure the model is made of the material you have in mind.

Design: Another important factor to review ahead of time is – the design. As you know, if the design isn’t convenient then it would be very challenging for you to lug it to your camping destination. So, if it’s a soft variety, see whether it has handy shoulder straps or not. Again, if it’s a hard one, ensure it comes with easily moveable wheels and easy to grip handle.

Quality: Last but not the least, inspect the product details to be sure about its quality. Look for the company’s durability certifications and other accreditations it comes with. Then, finally hit the order button, only when the quality lives up to your mind.


How to Pack a Cooler for Camping Trip?

The ritual of packing a cooler isn’t something that you can do perfectly without having the right knowledge. To ace it, you gotta know the right procedures and here we’ll help you in learning it –

Prepare the Food: First and foremost, prepare the food. Cook them if necessary, or chop them into smaller pieces to fit into the cooler without taking up too much space. Consider pouring the drinks into smaller cans from larger ones as well.

Shift them to Leak-proof Containers: Now, transfer the prepared food items to leak-proof containers. Also, check the cans’ outer frames to ensure there are no signs of potential leakage.

Put them into Refrigerator Overnight: In this step, put all the perishable food items into your refrigerator to freeze them outright. The longer time you keep it there, the better output you’re about to get.

Squeeze them into the Cooler: Use your ingenuity to settle the food and drinks inside the cooler while keeping slight space between them. However, don’t cram items to the brim because you’ll need to scatter ice cubes on top, so make sure there’s enough space for it.

Lock the lid: The most crucial step before closing the lid is to ensure there are enough ice cubes in the cooler. Make sure the cooler is entirely jam-packed with ice cubes and there is no empty space left. Following that, you’re ready to close the lid.



The entire article is inspired to satiate your frustration regarding what size cooler you need for camping. Besides, we’ve also shed light on the types of coolers that are reigning in the market today. Again to ensure your purchase is a success, we’ve highlighted the necessary factors and deliberately added our recommendation which would easily lead you to the right option.  According to our research, the model Coleman Long Duration Soft Cooler Bag is the best pick for one-day camping, while the model Arctic Zone Deep Cooler is like a godsend for longer trips. Again, to help you further, we’ve also broken down the knack of packing a cooler. We really hope our arrangement will be of some help to you. Thank you for reading!