Home Editor Picks The 9 Best Cooler Bags of 2024

The 9 Best Cooler Bags of 2024

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The 9 Best Cooler Bags of 2024

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Keeping snacks and drinks cold when you’re on a road trip, at the beach or car camping is essential. Depending on what you want to pack, where you’re going to be and how much you need to take, there are different cooler bags to meet your needs.

The right cooler bag can save you money, keep the kids happy with fresh snacks and offer convenience. U.S. News researched online retailers, travel industry review sites and more to come up with this selection of the best cooler bags.

(Note: Prices and availability were accurate at the time of publication; they may fluctuate due to demand or other factors.)

ICEMULE Classic Medium 15L in light blue against a white background.

Courtesy of ICEMULE

Capacity: Up to 16 cans with ice or 24 cans with no ice

What sets it apart: This soft-sided cooler from ICEMULE is rugged, versatile, waterproof and collapsible. It’s perfect for the beach, river, lake or pool since it floats. The compressible zipperless design makes it easy to pack for travel. You can sling it over your shoulder to leave your hands free to carry your beach or camping gear. Your food and drinks will stay cold for up to 24 hours with this cooler. The ICEMULE Classic comes in three other sizes and a range of bright colors.

Travelers appreciate: Many reviewers comment that the bag is lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport.

Alameda Mesh Tote Beach Bag in blue against a white background.

Courtesy of Alameda

What sets it apart: This two-in-one cooler bag by Alameda is perfect for the beach. It has a detachable insulated cooler section on the bottom to keep things cold and a mesh section on top that’s perfect for towels, sunscreen and more. The mesh is made from environmentally friendly and sand-resistant nylon. This bag features six pockets and a zipper closure on top to keep items secure.

Travelers appreciate: Beachgoers praise this bag for keeping items cold and keeping sand out.

Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze Cooler in moss against a white background.

Courtesy of Arctic Zone

Capacity: Size options range from 9 to 48 cans

What sets it apart: This totable hard-body cooler bag includes a SmartShelf to keep crushable items on top. It keeps beverages and snacks cold with Deep Freeze Performance Insulation and has a zipperless top that flips open so you can access items quickly and easily. The bag is easy to keep clean since the exterior is made from water- and stain-repellent material and the interior hard liner is removable.

Travelers appreciate: This Amazon’s Choice product has a 4.6-star rating from more than 48,000 ratings. Product owners appreciate the zipperless lid since zippers can break, as well as the removable liner that is easy to clean.

Price: $62.99 or less for 30-can size

 Igloo Retro Square Lunch Bag in teal and pink against a neutral background.

Courtesy of Igloo

What sets it apart: This cute, colorful and compact cooler is perfect for taking lunch or drinks on outings. It has a front zippered pocket to hold things like keys, a phone or sunscreen, as well as a lightweight insulated liner to keep snacks and drinks cold. The top handle and shoulder strap make it easily portable. This small cooler bag comes in a retro neon color combination or Care Bears design.

Travelers appreciate: The nostalgic Care Bears print is a hit with recent reviewers, as well as the fact that it’s easy to wipe clean.

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Coleman CHILLER 42-Can Soft Cooler with Wheels in blue against a white background.

Courtesy of Coleman

What sets it apart: With durable wheels and a telescopic handle, this Coleman cooler can easily travel to and from your destination. It features leak-resistant welded seams, front and inside pockets for additional storage, and a hard plastic liner that can be removed for easy cleaning. Your goodies can stay cold for up to 12 or more hours, thanks to the TempLock insulation. This cooler is also eco-friendly with recycled exterior fabric. Coleman also has options in smaller sizes that don’t have wheels, as well as a backpack style.

Travelers appreciate: Reviewers say it keeps items cold for many hours and the wheels are convenient, though some caution that the wheels don’t do as well on sand or rough terrain.

Everlasting Comfort Beach Cooler Backpack in gray against a neutral background.

Courtesy of Everlasting Comfort

Capacity: Up to 54 cans and 4 pounds of ice

What sets it apart: For an easy-to-carry cooler with lots of room, this backpack cooler from Everlasting is a great option. Made from PVA and insulated foam, this bag will keep your food hot or cold for up to 24 hours. Stash napkins and utensils in the front zippered pocket and wine or water bottles in the side pockets. It features a leakproof design and heavy-duty bottom, plus padded, adjustable straps.

Travelers appreciate: The spacious storage and leakproof material were favorite features of customers.

CleverMade Tahoe Collapsible Cooler Bag in white and brown pattern against a white background.

Courtesy of CleverMade

Capacity: Size options range from 24 to 50 cans

What sets it apart: Not only is this CleverMade cooler collapsible, but it also has top handles and shoulder straps for easy carrying. Its solid, sturdy base is designed to hold up to between 30 and 55 pounds (depending on the cooler size). It is made from recycled polyester with a durable wire frame. This cooler is lightweight and stores easily since it folds down.

Travelers appreciate: The features that reviewers praise the most are its anti-leak material, effectiveness at keeping things cool and collapsibility.

Price: $39.99 or less for 30-can size

Creative Green Life Jumbo Insulated Cooler Bag in gray against a white background.

Courtesy of Creative Green Life

What sets it apart: For a tote bag that keeps things cool, this bag by Creative Green Life fits the bill. Its extra-large capacity with zipper-close top and shoulder handles make it easy to bring plenty of snacks and drinks for your outing. It has a leak-resistant liner and machine-washable, stain-resistant fabric. The handles can be adjusted to carry food either horizontally or vertically. With the thermal foam insulation, your food can stay hot or cold for eight or more hours.

Travelers appreciate: Customers love that this bag keeps food consistently cold and is easy to store, making it great for the beach, the park or grocery shopping.

YETI Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler in light purple color against white background.

Courtesy of YETI

Capacity: Up to 16 cans with ice or 30 cans with no ice

What sets it apart: The material of this sturdy YETI cooler is designed to protect the bag from punctures, UV rays, and mildew both inside and out. This rugged cooler is ready for any adventure with a high-performance zipper, a leakproof construction and closed-cell rubber foam insulation. If you want a smaller cooler than the 18, the cooler comes in sizes 8 and 12 as well. A Rambler Bottle Sling can be attached using the Hitchpoint Grid system. For keeping things on ice for one person, YETI also makes a lunch box and lunch bag.

Travelers appreciate: Shoppers who purchased this cooler bag recently appreciated the quality and size of the cooler, noting that the ice did not melt for hours. Some felt the zipper was difficult to open and close.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. To ensure the contents of your cooler bag are kept properly cold, here are some tips for how to effectively use ice:

  • Add the right type of ice: YETI suggests using a combination of block ice and cubed ice, since block ice melts more slowly and cubed ice cools items faster. YETI also makes a YETI ICE hard ice pack for even cooler temps.
  • Layer the ice correctly: The ideal way to fill your cooler is to put ice on the bottom and the top with your food and drinks in between (as this Arctic Zone video demonstrates).
  • Use the right amount of ice: Be sure not to overfill your cooler with ice, as the lid must be able to close tightly. The amount of ice compared to cooler contents may depend on your cooler and what works for you: Arctic Zone recommends a 50-50 ratio of ice and food, for example, while YETI suggests filling two-thirds of your cooler with ice.

In addition to getting the ice right, there are some other ways you can optimize your cooler’s performance.

  • Pre-chill the cooler bag: Starting with a cool bag is a great trick. The Igloo website recommends pre-chilling your bag overnight with a bag of ice inside to maximize ice retention.
  • Add cold drinks: Adding drinks that are already cold will help with ice retention, according to ICEMULE. Frozen water bottles are a great option too.
  • Keep the lid closed: Be sure to keep the lid shut (and locked, if that’s an option) to keep the cold air in.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Sharael Kolberg is a U.S. News & World Report contributor with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cooler bags. She often uses a cooler bag for road trips, hikes and days at the beach. Kolberg used her experience as a frequent traveler and research expertise to curate this list of top cooler bags.

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