The 6 Best Coolers to Level Up Your Park Picnic and Beach Hangout

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Photo: Yeti / Well+Good Creative
Summer 2020 is bound to be the summer of socially-distant picnics and long days at the beach. Dining out is not yet an option for many around the country and doctors and nurses say the safest place to hang out with friends is outside. In order to have the best picnic experience, you'll want to have a good beach blanket to sit on and a reliable cooler to keep your food and drinks chilled all day long.

My favorite is the Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler ($400). I know that's a lot to shell out for a cooler but, no pun intended, it's a really cool cooler! (And don't worry, I've got some more affordable alternatives below.) Just like Yeti's tumblers, it's coolers are built to keep your food cold for hours on end.

Shop now: Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler, $400

The Yeti Tundra Haul Hard Cooler is the brand's first cooler on wheels, making it easier to get from place to place. The handle is curved and made from a durable welded aluminum that makes it easy to pull without accidentally run over your heels. It has extra-thick walls that hold up about two inches of pressure-injected, commercial-grade polyurethane foam. The body of the cooler and the heavy-duty rubber latches are designed to stand up to wear and tear. A freezer-quality gasket (aka that little rubber thing that seals gaps between two surfaces) circles the length of the lid to keep the heat out and the cold in. It comes in coral, river green, navy, seafoam, white, and desert tan.

The best part is that it's huge—so fill it with enough food and drinks for a fun day in the sun. But, if you don't think you'll picnic enough to justify buying this behemoth of a cooler or just don't want to spend too much, shop some alternatives below.

Best coolers for picnics this summer

1. Coleman Cooler, $47

Coleman Cooler, best coolersColeman coolers are classic. But the technology has improved so much that this one claims to keep a bag of ice frozen for five days in temperatures as high as 90°F. If you're in charge of bringing drinks, this cooler holds up to 100 cans and it's complete with four cup holders. It's also safe to use as a seat and can support up to 250 pounds.

2. L.L. Bean Insulated Tote Medium, $60

L.L. Bean Insulated Tote MediumIf you need a cooler but just want to take a few snacks and not your whole kitchen, this small insulated bag from L.L. Bean might do the trick. Because it's a bag, it won't keep your food cool for nearly as long as some of the more robust coolers on this list, it can be good if you're going to eat your food as soon as you get to your destination.

3. Igloo BMX 25 Quart Cooler, $70

Igloo BMX 25 Quart CoolerThis heavy-duty cooler is perfect for what bringing a few things to your picnic. It's durable but lightweight. It has UV inhibitors to protect the cooler against sun damage and rust-resistant, stainless-steel hinge rods. Igloo claims it can keep ice frozen for up to four days.

4. Xspec 60QT Quart Roto-Molded High-Performance Cooler, $190

Xspec 60QT Quart Roto-Molded High-Performance Cooler, best coolersThis three-inch-thick cooler has a leakproof drain plug, a pressure release valve for easy opening, and low profile latches for secure and damage prevention.

5. Yeti Tundra 35 Hard Cooler, $250

Yeti Tundra 35 Hard Cooler, best coolers

With about about three inches of insulation, a leak-proof drain system, Yeti's Tundra cooler is top of the line and an excellent all-around choice. Ranging from the portable Tundra 35 ($250) to the enormous Tundra 350 ($1,300), Yeti's got you covered no matter the size of your crew.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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