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Igloo cooler on beach

“Yes, officer. It’s for the fish we are going to catch.” Photo: Igloo


The Inertia

Summer is officially here, at least in the northern hemisphere. The weather is finally warming up and, depending on where you live, the pandemic restrictions are easing. People are surfing again. People are enjoying the sand between their toes again. If you, however, have been plagued by beach days with warm drinks, you might want to do something about it, because no one wants to hang with the person who’s handing out hot beers. Here are five of the best coolers on the market, just in time for you to be the person with the coldest drinks, from that post-dawn patrol beer to sunset on the sand.

1. YETI Tundra Haul Portable Wheeled Cooler: $399.98
Yeti Cooler

Yeti, as you’re probably aware, is the gold standard for coolers. Until now, though, Yeti coolers have been a bit of a hassle to lug around. The Haul is the first Yeti cooler on wheels, which you will appreciate after walking 25 minutes through the sand and burning sun because your friend decided he’d post up at the other end of the beach. The Haul has rotomolded construction, which makes the thing almost bomb-proof, and the wheels are solid, single-piece tire construction that is impact and puncture-resistant, so you know you’re getting to where you want to go — cold drinks in hand. Buy here.

2. Igloo 34231 Trailmate Marine Wheeled Cooler: $299.49

Igloo Cooler

Igloo has been in the cooler game forever. They know how to keep things cold. The Trailmate Marine cooler does just that, but it has a few extra features that make it… well, extra. Oversized 10-inch wheels make it look like some kind of icy off-road vehicle. It has a glide handle, which according to Igloo, makes it 50 percent easier to pull your load “thanks to the comfort and leverage of the locking, telescoping, horizontal handle.” It retains ice for up to four days, has a butler tray that stores under the cooler’s lid and sits on the handle when you want to use it, and it even has a food tray to keep those hotdog buns cool, but not soggy. Buy here.

3. YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Sided Cooler: $299.98

Yeti cooler backpack

Don’t feel like dragging something around behind you? That’s fair. Strap on Yeti’s Hopper Backpack and get on your way. While it’s not going to have enough room for a days-long trip, there’s plenty of space in there for a day’s worth of drinks and food for you and your crew. It’s big enough to hold 20 cans with a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio. Thanks to The Hopper’s high-density fabric, it’s waterproof and mildew resistant. Worried about punctures or sun damage? Don’t be: this thing is resistant to those, too. Buy here.

4. RTIC 45 Cooler: $289.90
Rtic Cooler

RTIC says that the 45 is the best cooler on the market, which is a bold claim. While it’s not on wheels, when it comes to keeping things cold for a really long time, the RTIC has your back. With three-inch insulated walls, your ice will stay icy for days. Like the Yeti, it has rotomolded construction which is super tough. The 45 features heavy-duty T-latches and a freezer grade gasket, as well as no-fail hinges, no sweat exterior, cool lift design, molded side handles, and tie-downs so your cooler is always where it needs to be. Buy here.

5. Coleman Cooler Box Ultimate Ice Cooler 2: $176.34
Coleman cooler

No cooler list would be complete if it didn’t include Coleman, the old standby. The Cooler Box Ultimate Ice Cooler 2, however, is anything but the old standby. It’s basically created just for weekends like the Fourth of July: lightweight, easy to carry, and it keeps things cold for up to 24 hours. The quick-access lid reduces all those annoying times the zipper gets clogged up with sand and sunscreen, the liner is removable so you won’t get the dreaded cooler stank, and when you’re not using it, it can be squished into a tiny little package and shoved in the closet, out of the way. It holds 12 x 1.5-liter bottles, which, if you’re doing it right, is enough for a good time for a lot of people. Or a really bad time for one person. Buy here.

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