Best Camping Coolers Under $100
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15 Best Camping Coolers Under $100 in 2022


If you are one of the many campers shopping for a cooler that doesn’t require a second mortgage, this article is for you. We have written this especially for the budget minded outdoor traveler who’s looking for the best camping coolers under $100. 

If this is your first time on this blog, one thing we champion is balancing a budget for outdoor travel. We are neither cheap, nor do we just spend on anything we want to do. Instead, we have found the secret to doing what we truly want is by conserving in some areas, so we can splurge in others. 

A camping cooler can sit on either end of that budget. Is it a “conserve” item? Or do you “splurge” and buy the top of the line? 

On the one hand, there are high-end models that will set you back $200 – $300.  And if you don’t mind investing in a cooler that you can pass down to your grandkids, they may be worth looking into. 

On the other hand, a camping cooler could just be something to chuck some food for a weekend trip. You may be looking for a decent cooler that doesn’t leak and will keep its cool for a couple of days. 

If so, we have written this article just for you. So let’s get right into it. Here are the best camping coolers under $100 right now.

Overall Best

1 Best Overall Camping Cooler – Igloo BMX Cooler

I actually only included this one because I thought it was a bike. Just kidding.

This may look like a Yeti knock-off, but Igloo can stand on its own. The name of the game is keeping things cold for as long as possible, and Igloo is a bit of an expert in that area.

They held nothing back to compete with the big boys in this space. Plus they put an “x” in the name. And you know how we feel about x’s. They make us all look cool.

  • Pros:
    • Keeps food cold for up to 5 days
    • Has an “X” in the name
  • Cons:
    • Sacrifices storage volume for extra insulation
    • It may not be the BMX you thought

2 Best Rolling Cooler Under $100 – Coleman Xtreme 62 Qt 5 Wheeled Cooler

This one has a funny name because it would seem to indicate it has 5 wheels. It actually has 2, which makes the number 5 look like a 5th wheel.

But, in fact, the 5 stands for 5 days. And that is how long you can expect ice to stay cool in 90 heat. With the added convenience of wheels, it makes it much easier to drag to the campsite, beach, or barbecue.

We like some of the extra features like the cup holders because it can double as a table top around the camp site. 

It may be the best large cooler that fits under the $100 cap.

  • Pros:
    • Super large capacity
  • Cons:
    • Fully loaded, may weigh as much as your home refrigerator
    • Not a true 5th wheel; don’t try to tow this with your truck

3 Best Backpack Cooler Under $100Igloo Reactor

Igloo is one of the oldest names in coolers and ice chests. The Reactor is as good as an Igloo cooler gets with the convenience of a backpack. 

It features padded shoulder straps and may be the best option for a soft backpacking cooler. 

It actually has some pretty decent insulation. It will keep the contents cold for up to 2 days, which is not bad for a soft cooler. 

The welded seams keep water and moisture from seeping in or out of the bag. And the base is made a little more sturdy to stand on its own.

  • Pros:
    • Backpack style
    • Padded shoulder straps
    • Leak proof seams
  • Cons:
    • Only 2 day ice retention
    • Not enough capacity for long camp trips

4 Best RV Cooler Under $100 – Coleman Xtreme 70 Qt Cooler

We are back with another Coleman Xtreme. With the 5-day ice retention, you can’t go wrong. But we recommend this one as a larger option than the 62-quart version above.

Granted, you lose the convenience of the wheels and handles. But you still have the benefit of keeping things cool for nearly a week. And you have a little more room inside.

The bonus is, you can tell it’s extreme because they dropped the “e” in Xtreme…Which is radical!

  • Pros:
    • 5 day ice retention
    • has an “X” in the name
    • Cup holders
  • Cons:
    • May not latch as tightly as some of the others
    • Still a bit heavier than the Igloo 52 qt

5 Best Budget Backpack Cooler – TOURIT Cooler Backpack

Rather than carrying or dragging a large cooler, most of us want a convenient way to lug our lunch to the top of a mountain or to the beach. Backpacks have been around for a while, and what a great idea to turn one into a cooler.

The Tourit cooler backpack is a best seller on Amazon, combining the convenience, durability, efficiency, volume, and budget to make a perfect backpack cooler.

  • Pros:
    • The most portable of the bunch
    • Very affordable
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a hard cooler
    • Much smaller capacity than the others

6 Best Soft Camping Cooler – RTIC Soft Cooler 

RTIC soft coolers are on par with Yeti’s soft coolers. The heavy-duty nylon shell makes it a durable option on rough terrain.

The leak proof zipper and 2” closed-cell foam insulation ensure that your ice doesn’t leak and the cooler won’t sweat when temperatures rise. 

The smallest version (which falls under the $100 price range) can hold up to 12 cans. Plus, it floats in water so you can take it with you wherever you go.

  • Pros:
    • Sweat proof
    • Leak proof
    • Soft cooler takes up less storage space
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a hard cooler
    • More of a drink cooler than a camping cooler

7 Buffalo Gear Insulated Backpack Dry Bag

Soft coolers aren’t nearly as efficient as hard coolers, but ones like Buffalo Gear make are much more portable and convenient to store when not in use. 

We love the backpack style, and we think anyone that has carried their gear any distance would appreciate the convenience too.

The interior is double thick and durable while the exterior is made from a 500D shell with welded seams. That makes it leak proof and durable for camping. And the thin insulation will keep cold for up to 24 hours.

It features an extra zipper pocket and elastic webbing to carry extra items as a standalone picnic cooler.

Granted, it’s not the largest capacity on this list. But if you’re not camping for a long time or if the weather isn’t too hot, you can certainly get by with a soft cooler. And you could definitely do worse than this one.

 

  • Pros:
    • Backpack style is the most convenient to carry
    • Leak proof
    • Rolls up easily for storage when not in use
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a hard cooler
    • Only 24 hour insulation

8 Budget Soft-Sided Cooler – Arctic Zone Titan

If you want a combination of portability and quality, this is a great cooler to grab and go.

 Although it won’t have the durability of the hard-sided cousins, its convenience will have you bringing it to more places than your dedicated camping cooler.

  • Pros:
    • Lightweight and portable
    • Leak proof
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a fully hard-sided cooler

9 Giantex 20 Quart Portable Cooler

Giantex has been able to mimic the look of a Yeti cooler at a much lower price point. It isn’t rotomolded, but made in the more economical traditional method of ice coolers. 

But it will keep ice cold for up to a few days thanks to some of the design features.

It’s made with a side drain plug, heavy duty silicone latches, and a rubber freezer gasket to keep the cold in and the heat out. 

Plus, it comes with two drink holders and a bottle opener to make a convenient portable bar top wherever you go camping. 

The product description on the website needs some improvement. But overall it is a good alternative to the expensive coolers.

  • Pros:
    • Freezer gasket
    • Bottle opener
    • Silicone latches
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a rotomolded cooler
    • Won’t cool as long as a Yeti

10 Goplus 16 Quart Cooler

We stumbled upon this one in our research, and it is remarkably similar to the Giantex mentioned above. 

Like the Giantex, it has 2 cup holders, a drain plug, aluminum handle, silicon latch system and the freezer gasket. 

It also a molded polyurethane cooler that resembles a rotomolded cooler. 

About the only differences are that it lacks the bottle opener and the imprinted ruler. It does add a hasp to secure a padlock, but that wasn’t enough to rate as highly as the Giantex. 

Still, if those few differences aren’t important to you, the Goplus is a few dollars cheaper for the same basic functinalilty.

  • Pros:
    • Freezer gasket
    • Silicone latches
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a rotomolded cooler
    • Missing the bottle opener of the identical Giantex

11 Snowball Flip Camping Cooler Bag

While this sounds like a trick your white cat learned, the Snowball Flip is actually a good option if you want easy access to your all-important camping beverages.

Yes, it is a soft cooler. But it is made with a durable, waterproof outer shell and leakproof zippers. And it comes with a shoulder strap and top handle for extra convenience.

Its 18 quart capacity it slightly larger than most of the soft coolers on this list. Yet it will keep ice cold for up to 3 days.

  • Pros:
    • Good ice retention for a soft cooler
    • Padded shoulder straps
    • Heavey duty zippers
  • Cons:
    • Not as durable as a hard cooler
    • Too small for long camping trips

12 Arctic Zone Titan Deep Freeze

The Arctic Zone Titan is one of the best soft coolers with wheels. It’s pretty heavy-duty for a soft cooler, holding upt to 100 lbs.

With extra insulation and radiant heat shield it will keep your stuff cold for up to 3 days.

Besides the removable wheels, it comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying. It features a quick access hatch and extra pockets in the front. 

It may be the coolest thing on wheels since Roller Derby.

  • Pros:
    • Convenient detachable cart
    • Large capacity for a soft cooler
    • 3 day ice retention
  • Cons:
    • Cooler can slip off of cart too easily
    • Not great on super hot days

13 ICECO Soft Sided Cooler Bag

We have written extensively on Iceco when we reviewed the best camping fridges. They are obviously known for making quality food storage at a good bargain. 

Their soft sided cooler bag has some great features not seen in other bags in this category. It features a shoulder strap and a top handle for convenient carrying. 

It has great EVA insulation with a thick 840D TPU exterior for great ice retention without the sweating on cheaper coolers. 

A relatively huge 20L capacity that will keep ice cold for up to 48 hours, this may be the best option as an affordable cooler for short camping trips.

  • Pros:
    • Large capacity for a soft cooler
    • Bottle opener
    • 2 day ice retention
  • Cons:
    • Zipper can be stiff at first 

14 Columbia PFG Roll Caster

The PFG Roll Caster is the last small backpack cooler on our list. But it has some great features that qualify for a decent camping cooler.

If you like the backpacking style coolers, this one has padded straps and ventilated back. So it keeps you cool while also keeping your food cool.

It has several exterior pockets and gear webbing. So even though the interior capacity is smallish, only holding 30 cans, there is plenty of extra room for the items that don’t need to be cool.

At this price, it’s hard to argue against the Columbia PFG as a decent cooler for short camping trips or one that you only bring a few things to keep cool.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t state how long it will keep food cold. So, I wouldn’t expect it to last for more than one night in moderate weather. I wouldn’t trust it in the summer or for more than a day without refilling with ice.

  • Pros:
    • Hands free backpack style cooler
  • Cons:
    • Not very much capacity
    • Not great ice retention

15 Best Dry Box Cooler Under $100 – Engel 19 Quart

Engel makes a decent camping refrigerator. They even have good coolers. But this one is more of a dry box.

It doesn’t keep cool nearly as long as the others on this list. If you need something for a day or so, this one is ok.

If you’re planning on camping overnight, it’s best to look elsewhere.

We wanted to throw this one on the list to make sure you’re aware before you buy since most other sites don’t point out the limitations.

  • Pros:
    • Doubles as a dry box for keeping things dry
  • Cons:
    • Doesn’t cool as well as the others in this list

In Summary

Here is the whole list in order. We find these tables to be much easier for comparison shopping.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

 

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Budget Camping Cooler

The best coolers are going to offer a balance of efficiency, durability, and affordability. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that rank our favorite camping coolers. 

Efficiency (Ice Retention)

This is how well insulated your cooler is. The better insulated, the longer ice will last. 

Let’s face it. In its simplest form, a camping cooler is a box you put ice in. But without insulation, your food won’t stay cool for very long. 

And if the lid doesn’t secure and seal well, the ice won’t be around for long.

Durability

We have to consider how durable it is. After all, you could just have a styrofoam box that will hold a few things in. 

But if you’re camping, you know it’s gonna get tossed around. So your camping cooler needs to be able to take a beating. 

The build quality may be the main difference when comparing cheap coolers to higher-priced models. You’ll hear the term “rotomolded” a lot with brands of coolers like Yeti

Many of the coolers on this list fall below the $100 price point because they are made in traditional plastic molds to lower the cost of manufacturing. 

Hard Sided vs Soft Shell Cooler

We typically think about a camping cooler being hard-sided. Like an Igloo or Coleman we knew growing up. 

But some of these soft coolers have advantages too. Primarily that they can be more portable and easier to store.

However, that comes at the cost of insulation and durability, so a soft cooler isn’t for everyone, and definitely not for longer camp trips or in hot weather. 

Capacity

How much do you need to pack for your camping trip? If you’re going for a week-long trip with your family, you’ll need to hold as much food and ice as possible. 

On the other hand, if you’re just going on a solo weekend trip and you just need to keep a couple of hot dogs cool for a few hours, you can get by with a much smaller cooler. 

Portability

This is a factor if you have to carry your cooler very far from your car or truck. If it’s gonna stay in one place, you can fill it up with ice and not worry about it. 

But if you have to carry it, it had better be easy enough to move the weight it packs. 

Budget Coolers Vs High-End Coolers

These camping coolers are pretty good. But when you compare the specs and the warranties, you have to wonder what is the difference between one of these and one like a Yeti cooler.

The truth is, most of the difference is in the build quality. 

When researching for our article that covers brands similar to Yeti coolers, we found one thing in common with the higher end camping coolers. 

Most of them were manufactured in what is commonly known as “rotomold” style. Which is where the mold is rotated and spun to stick the melted polymers to the side rather than the traditional pour-in molds. 

This seems to make for a more durable and better insulated cooler that justifies a higher price tag. 

However, not everyone will need the top of the line model. So many weekend warriors will find the slight sacrifices you make in quality are worth the cost savings overall. 

What To Expect From A Camping Cooler Under $100

The old adage “you get what you pay for” has not always held true. Take kopi luwak for example. 

I would have paid my little brother $10 to drink cat poop. But people are paying top dollar to sip on feline feces. 

The point is, just because you pay more doesn’t mean you aren’t getting crap. 

Are There Good Coolers Under $100?

Absolutely! The difference between a good cooler and a bad one isn’t necessarily the price range. In fact, when you consider the cost of ice and the limited use most of us get out of our cooler, you can never fully justify the extra expense for a Yeti or RTIC hard cooler.

Not to knock those brands. They make a quality product. And if you can afford them, they will last a lifetime. 

But for a majority, these coolers under $100 will tick all of the boxes for a quality way to keep food cool while camping. 

About the Brands

That said, some brands stand out above the crowd when it comes to cheap coolers. You can always save money, but not all discount gear focuses on maintaining quality at the expense of expense. 

Here are the top brands when considering an affordable camping cooler. Oh, and keep an eye out for brands that include “x’s” in their product. Because everyone knows x’s are cooler.

Coleman

Coleman is no stranger to making great camping gear. Founded in 1900 in Oklahoma, they have been making campsite accessories for over a century. Your great-grandparents probably had a Coleman cooler at one point. 

Igloo

Igloo is also another strong contender in making coolers for camping. It started out in 1947 making metal water coolers and has continued to refine its production of camping coolers. 

Today, it is one of the most recognized names in food storage. From lunch boxes to tailgate parties, Igloo has also been part of the camping scene for generations. 

Engel

Engel is one of the leaders in food and beverage coolers. Not only are they one of the premier choices in a camping fridge, they also make a variety of top-notch coolers. From hard side, soft side, dry boxes, boat, and even fishing coolers. These guys know a thing or two about keeping things on the ice.

Wrap Up – Best Camping Coolers Uner $100

So there you have some great camping coolers to choose from.

Of course, there are other options. As we mentioned at the outset, you could splurge and buy a high-end cooler. Without a doubt, there is a reason Yeti and Rtic have seen growing popularity. 

And if a cooler is your splurge item, go for it. You certainly won’t regret it.

Then again, if you want to take it to the next level, you could buy a camping refrigerator and never need to buy ice to keep it cool. We have a whole buyer’s guide on fridges for camping. And if that’s your luxury item, go for it.