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Use these refrigerated containers to enhance outdoor gatherings this summer
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We have found the perfect cooler for various occasions
In the next few months, we may keep a fixed accommodation in our calendar. Now is the best time to take stock of your outdoor equipment for domestic escape.
Whether you are heading to the beaches, mountains, forests, or even nearby parks in the UK, high-performance refrigerators are a worthy investment project to ensure that the beer is fully frosted, the barbecued food is safely refrigerated, and any picnics are properly elevated.
Passive refrigerators—ie refrigerators that use ice or frozen blocks instead of electrical input—provide a sturdy step from the cold storage bag. Relying on insulation and manufacturing quality to keep cold and warm, their form is usually relatively simple, but the full range of high-tech materials and additional functions means there are options for all budgets.
Iain Geddes, senior technical consultant at The Camping and Caravanning Club, said: “With passive coolers, you will definitely get what you pay for to a certain extent.” “They come in a variety of materials-some are just padded bags, while In the high-end market, some products can be frozen for a few days. This is their insulation quality."
He recommends weighing the short trips you might need in a cool box before making any decisions. "If it's just to prevent dairy products from spoiling during short trips, then it doesn't have to be an expensive box-efficient insulation can also be very bulky," he said.
To help you make a decision, we tested the following cooler, filled half of the ice cubes, and two bottles of room temperature wine, and checked the contents regularly within four days to reflect the use of the weekend. We also took a local tour with each box to evaluate portability and durability to provide a tried and tested list of the best cool boxes currently on the market.
You can trust our independent review. We may earn commissions from some retailers, but we will never allow this to influence choices, which are based on real-world tests and expert advice. This income helps us fund the journalism of The Independent.
Family weekends and holidays: Coleman 50QT xtreme wheel cooler: £79.95, Wowcamping.co.uk
Entry-level cold storage: Vango pinnacle 32l: £31.99, Winfieldsoutdoors.co.uk
Chic weekend: Yeti Roadie Cooler: £199.99, Yeti.com
Water sports enthusiasts: Red original waterproof ice pack 30 liters: £179.95, Redoriginal.com
Long-distance trips and fishing excursions: Icey-tek 40l cube cooler: £159.99, Coolboxesuk.com
Urban picnic: Kelty folding cooler 25 liters: £68.95, Absolute-snow.co.uk
Family camping holiday: Dometic cool ice CI 42: £229, Dometic.com
Frequent adventurers: Igloo BMX 25 heavy 23l: £89.95, Igloocoolers.co.uk
Best for: Family weekends and holidays
Provided with a large capacity of 47 liters-also sufficient for family camping or especially thirsty friends-this is one of the largest coolers we have tested and can fill the trunk of a small car. Its sturdy polyurethane injection structure provides effective heat insulation, making it one of our best performing coolers. The ice cubes around its contents are still basically intact on the fourth day.
Also worth mentioning is its highly portable design. Its two wheels and telescopic handle are very wear-resistant and can handle mixed terrain. We can save our shoulders when we push it across sidewalks and parks during testing. Other useful features include a stopper on the base that can easily drain melted ice, and a durable hinged lid with four built-in cup holders that can double as a seat, making it the first choice for festivals.
Vango pinnacle uses a rather vivid shade of green and offers a large number of features at its low price, making it an attractive choice for people on a budget. The 32-liter storage capacity provides enough space for up to 46 cans or six 2-liter bottles-even when fully loaded-we found its streamlined shape and soft handle to be easy to transport.
Although it lacks the indestructible feel of some of the more expensive rotomolding competitors, it is sturdy enough to be knocked a few times, and its lid doubles as a seat. Its high-density plastic wall hides the foam insulation. During the test, the ice was seen melting at the end of the second day, but the content remained frozen on the third day—not bad for a low-cost box. The locking mechanism of the lid also means that the contents are child-safe, although-lack of a clear latch-opening is also a bit tricky. But we found that the small storage opening on the lid is an ingenious place to store the corkscrew.
Best for: Chic weekend
As one of the most well-known brands on the market, Yeti Cool Box is also one of the most expensive brands, but as we have discovered, you will definitely be worth the money. Yeti roadie is more compact than its larger Tundra cousin, can hold 24 cans of party start, and its height can also hold upright wine bottles or two-liter bottles of soda.
The sleek appearance is accompanied by a rotomolding design-this process produces an almost indestructible overall structure. There is a thick layer of pressure-injected foam insulation inside these solid walls, which explains why its contents remain cold and melt at the least during the test. However, its thick construction also means that the road bike is a rather heavy cooler. Without wheels, you can only use its single handle-although very durable-but it is a bit awkward to carry it over long distances. Leaving aside this small issue, this road bike is a super stylish companion with very cool heat dissipation capabilities.
We like the portability of this cooler-the padded shoulder strap and round shape make it fit snugly against the body, making it easy to carry over long distances, thanks to the semi-rigid structure means it is relatively light. However, this did not overly impair the cooling performance, and its ThermalLock insulation performed well during the test, keeping the contents cool for three full days, although the survival time of ice is not as good as some of its rigid competitors. Other design elements that we like include a series of shoulder straps and handles for different carrying positions, two mesh pockets and multiple points for fastening the bag-whether in a car, boat or boat.
As you would expect from one of the leading water sports brands in the UK, this smart cooler is tailor-made for life on the water. Thanks to its anti-corrosion zippers and welded seams, this durable bag is completely waterproof and can float-perfect for throwing on a paddle board or a canoe-although we are also attracted by its inland escape potential.
Best for: long-distance trips and fishing trips
The Icey-Tek cube is available in a variety of colors (our pink model was popular in the park during testing), it may lack some of the aesthetic complexity of design-led competitors, but its chilling Proof of performance is a model. Since foam insulation was injected on each side, the ice remained intact on the fourth day of the test, making it our best performance.
Timed 10 kg-and the fact that there are no wheels-means that it is not the easiest to transport and therefore may not be suitable for travelers who want to stay agile, but it lacks mobility in terms of durability and functionality. The lid is strong enough to be placed on the stacker, can sit or stand (additional cushions are available), together with its wear-resistant rubber seals and latches, two drain plugs, lockable padlock points and ergonomics The lip-shaped handle has made it a serious topic for decades, which has proven to be very popular in the marine industry for good reasons.
For those who lack space, this mid-priced foldable reefer is a worthy competitor. The internal foam support provides insulation and increases the rigidity of the outer bag. Although we found the assembly to be a bit cumbersome (the velcro connects the waterproof inner layer to the outer layer), its packaging is small enough to be hidden in a cabinet.
This is a beautiful kit with pop colors on the gray-green bag and rough details, including a thick zipper and a cup holder slot on the lid. The 25-liter capacity means there is enough space for a picnic in the park or barbecue on the beach, and its lightweight shape and handle make it easy to transport. On the second day of testing, the ice remained intact, making it a great choice for overnighters, but for long outings, it may be worth investing in a rigid box.
Best for: Family camping holiday
This low suitcase is a favorite of fishing enthusiasts, and the reason is obvious. Although it is the most expensive of all the reefers we have tested, its construction quality and cooling performance are second to none. It passed our test, and the ice was still mostly frozen after four days, thanks to its refrigerator-grade insulation and labyrinth seal, designed to prevent cold air from entering and dissipating heat.
Thanks to its sturdy rotomolded plastic wall and sturdy drop-down handle, it feels like a serious kit, and it feels like they can withstand years of use. It is strong enough to be stacked or used as a seat, and thanks to its drain plug and stainless steel fixture, it is also easy to clean. Although it may be a bit overkill for a beach trip or picnic, this cooler is a worthwhile investment if you are faster than you all week under canvas or on the water.
The history of this Texas brand can be traced back to 1947. It is synonymous with the cool box across the Atlantic, and it also made waves here. The BMX 25 looks more like a businessman’s toolbox than a cooler. It is designed to withstand heavy blows. Its stainless steel skirting board, sturdy extra-thick wall and multiple tie-down rings make it suitable for various factors. Excellent choice.
Despite its cumbersome appearance, its portability is unexpected. The sturdy steel-reinforced handle and slim width make it easy to move from one place to another. It was also delivered at the cooling front, and the ice remained intact until the fourth day-enough for a weekend trip. Although its manly appearance may not appeal to everyone, BMX is definitely suitable for adventurous people and anglers, with a ruler printed on the lid, which means you can accurately measure your catch.
In terms of cooling capacity, tests have shown-in general-due to the level of insulation provided, the heavier the box, the better its performance. Although some of the more expensive options performed slightly better in the test, the Coleman xtreme 50l provides top-of-the-line cooling for up to four days, coupled with easy portability and attractive price point, which gives it an overall advantage.
Nevertheless, if you may have to travel for a longer period of time, it is difficult to malfunction Dometic Cold Ice. Although it is the most expensive passive cold box in the test, it provides cooling performance to justify the price and at the same time family size The capacity and high-quality structure feel strong enough to last a lifetime.
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For more outdoor dining essentials, check out our best portable coffee machines for perfect brewing while camping
IndyBest product reviews are fair and independent advice you can trust. In some cases, if you click on the link and purchase the product, we will earn revenue, but we must never allow this to affect our coverage. These reviews are compiled through a mixture of expert opinions and real-world tests.
We have found the perfect cooler for various occasions
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