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  • Writer's picturePaul Burrows

Cooler Boxes, All you need to know!

Updated: Apr 1

Keep your food and drink chilled

Its almost that time again, the warmer weather is coming and camping trips, picnics and adventures are being planned in earnest. In this post I'm going to look at the various types of Camping cool boxes and electric cool boxes to help keep your food and drink cool.

Different types of cooler

For many years the most popular type of cool box was the Thermos cooler, I remember seeing them on every campsite. Large blue plastic boxes which are packed with freezer blocks in order to keep them cool. For day trips and picnics these cool boxes are still great. If they are packed well they keep your food chilled for hours on end. There are a couple of cons to this type of box. Firstly once you open the box they tend to cool down fairly quickly, especially when the weather is hot and sunny. Another disadvantage is that to if you want to keep drinks extra cool you need more freezer blocks which can take up valuable space


The pros of traditional coolers are that they don't require a 12v hook up, cost less than the electric counterparts and are rigid which keeps your sandwiches from being squashed!

This basic cool box available here gives you a spacious 24L of food and drink space and can keep your food and drink cool for up to 9 hours. If your looking for a budget solution for a few picnics or day trips a year this box gets rave reviews on Amazon.

Blue and White plastic cool box

If you do go for a box similar to this you will need to buy freezer blocks. there are a number of different types available. These freezer blocks are ideal for this kind of cool box and are a best seller on Amazon

Blue plastic freezer blocks

I 24L just isn't enough to fit in everything you need there are much bigger cool boxes available. This Igloo MaxCold is a spacious 51L cool box from a company with a proven track record of building tough no nonsense cool boxes. This box has carry handles on the side and can stay cool for up to 5 days.

A grey cool box with a blue lid and a white interior

Electric cool boxes

The next step up from a standard cool box is an electric cool box. over the last few years these boxes have come on leaps and bounds and are now found in many camper vans and conversions, tents and car boots. Electric cool boxes come in a veriety of shapes and size and some also plug into a 240v socket making them ideal for making your picnic the night before or for use in hotel rooms and caravans. Many vehicles now have various 12v sockets meaning that an electric cool box can be plugged in while driving to a location. There is still a need to use freezer blocks to keep your food and drink super cold however I find that you need a lot less than with a conventional box. Prices start at around £50 for a basic 12v cool box going up to £1200 for the top of the range Dometic coolers some of which even have a freeze function such as this one

A Black plastic portable fridge freezer

My personal favourite is this Outwell Eco cool . this is a real feature packed cool box for the price and I have been using a similar model for around 3 years. The box comes with an ice pack divider which is frozen at home before use and is a great help when it comes to maximising space inside the box. Another great advantage is that the Eco cool's fan system is raised up from the interior of the box which means that it is not taking up space which would otherwise be used for packing food and drink.

A grey cool box with a green handle

interior of a cool box showing a freezer block divider

Cooler Bags

On disadvantage of cool boxes is the space thhey take up at home. If you dont have the space to store a large box then the souluton for you could be a cool bag. Cool bags tend to be smaller and ideal for a single or couple going out of a day out or picnic. Cooler bags also tend to be lower priced than rigid boxes. this Lifewit 15L cool bag can fit up to 24 normal sized cans inside. It is available in 3 sizes 8.5L, 15L and 24L and is made from a tough durable 600 denier fabric and has both carry handles and a shoulder strap.

A grey cooler bag with black straps

Whichever style of box you go for I hope this has helped!

Planning a big family camping trip, check out our 6 man tents here

This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase using one of my links I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks for your support


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