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Two people carrying an orange cooler on the beach between them

The Best Small Coolers of 2022


Summertime is best spent relaxing outdoors with a cold beverage and some tasty food. Unfortunately, there is a minor downside to the warmer weather. If you don't prepare ahead of time, your chilled drinks and fresh meals can go stale and hot.

To avoid any damaged food or drinks, you need to choose a potable small cooler that you conveniently carry anywhere. In this blog, we will discuss the best small coolers along with the factors that you need to consider when choosing a cooler.


Types of Small Coolers


Small coolers can be of various types. Here are some typical types of coolers that you can find on the market:


1)  Backpack Coolers

 A variety of different colored and sizes of backpack coolers

Credit: TripSavvy


If you don't require a lot of storage space, insulated backpack coolers or cooler bags might be a good option. These coolers are made to be waterproof and feature leak-resistant zippers. Additionally, they have sturdy shoulder straps that make it easier for you to carry the cooler.


2)  Soft Coolers

 A green cooler bag with some drinks and ice inside

Credit: CorkCircle


A soft-sided cooler, often known as a soft cooler, is made from TPU, PVC, and nylon. The interior of these coolers has insulated liners. When not in use, they can be folded and compressed. Like backpack coolers, they come with padded shoulder straps.


3)  Hard Coolers

 A hard blue and white cooler box sitting on sand with a football next to it

Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios


Hard-sided coolers are often made of plastic. They cost less, are incredibly tough, and keep the contents cold for a few days. The majority of these coolers have a drain plug that you can use to empty any water that has accumulated after the ice melts.


Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Small Cooler


There are many factors to think about while looking for a cooler. Before buying a cooler, consider the following crucial elements:


1)  Usage

 A red and white hard cooler with green bottle inside and a railing behind the cooler

Credit: Envato Elements/ PressMaster


Before picking a cooler to buy, you must decide how you'll use it. A hard-sided cooler is the best option if you intend to use it continuously for several days since it has better ice retention. However, if you only need the cooler to keep food and beverages cold for a few hours, soft-sided coolers are lighter, easier to handle, and typically less priced.


2)  Ability To Accommodate Ice Packs

 A black cooler with a person putting Nice Packs gel ice into it

Credit: Nice Packs


Coolers work best when filled with ice packs. Before selecting a cooler, make sure it includes compartments or a spot for an ice pack. When choosing ice for your cooler, think about buying dry ice packs. Dry ice packs, especially those from Nice Packs, are better than regular ice packs since they don't leave behind any liquid residue. They are the best option for long trips and last 3–4 times longer than regular ice or gel packs.


3)  Insulation

 A couple walking on a sandy road and the one person carrying a cooler box

Credit: vadymvdrobot


Although it costs a bit extra, quality insulation will keep your items colder for longer. Look for a small cooler that has both inner and outside insulation made of closed-cell foam. Good soft-sided coolers should be made of polyethylene (PE) foam, whereas hard coolers should be made of polyurethane foam, which makes them heavier but better at retaining ice.


The Best Small Coolers That Keep Food Cold All-Day


Now that you know the different types of small coolers and what you need to look for, here are our top picks:


1)  ICEMULE Jaunt Collapsible Backpack Cooler

 A tie dyed IceMule cooler with black straps

 Credit: ICEMULE


The IceMule Jaunt lives true to its name with the ability to keep food and drinks cool in a comfortable-to-carry bag that's ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. Whether you're hiking, canoeing, or paddle surfing, this small backpack makes sure your refreshments are secure. It comes with an integrated padded shoulder strap that leaves your arms free to do other tasks. For such a small cooler, the Jaunt promises to keep your items cold for up to 24 hours while being completely airtight and leakproof.


2)  YETI Hopper Flip 12 Portable Soft Cooler

 A purple Yeti small cooler that can be carried on the shoulder

Credit: Yeti


The Hopper Flip 12 is a small cooler that can be carried on the shoulder. It is extremely strong and has a leak-proof zipper. The cooler's walls are one inch thick with Cold Cell Insulation, which keeps the walls from collapsing. The interior of the cooler is lined with robust rubber that won't tear from a bottle cap slamming into it. Additionally, the exterior of the cooler is comprised of YETI's DryHide Shell, which feels smooth to the touch but is built to last.


3)  Engel UC13 13qt Leak-Proof Hard-Sided Cooler

 A brown Engel cooler with a red logo

 Credit: Engel


Although the Engel 13 is bigger than the other coolers mentioned on this list, it features an incredibly effective design. It can carry up to 18 cans and 12 lbs. of ice and comes with a convenient carry handle and an integrated shoulder strap for simple portability and stability. This cooler s ideal for anyone searching for a personal portable cooler for day trips, business, or outdoor activities.


4)  ICEMULE Classic Collapsible Backpack Cooler

 A blue and black IceMule collapsible backpack cooler

 Credit: IceMule


The IceMule Classic Collapsible Backpack Cooler is a waterproof cooler that is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, camping trips, canoeing, and river tubing. The traditional TriFold DriTop roll-top style is excellent for keeping the ice in and the water out. With its PolarLayer insulation, which is believed to be thicker than the insulation in other soft-sided coolers, the IceMule can keep up to 12 cans chilled for 24 hours.


5)  Carhartt Deluxe Dual Compartment Insulated Lunch Cooler Bag

 The black Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler is a sturdy, water-resistant lunch box cooler bag

 Credit: Carhartt


The Carhartt Deluxe Lunch Cooler is a sturdy, water-resistant lunch box cooler bag that can fit anywhere and has enough room to hold food and drinks. The interior of the lunch box is lined with waterproof silver insulation and the exterior features a zippered front pocket. Additionally, it has a sizable, firmly fastened top handle for improved comfort.




Although a small cooler can only hold a few cans and a limited amount of food, these coolers still work as well as larger coolers to keep items cold all day long. By keeping the above tips in mind and with the help of our top picks, you will get the best small cooler on the market.


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