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The list for the best hunting coolers is now in for this year, and it's time to explore the top options!
Once the hunt is done, it's time to pack up your gear and haul off the main prize from your journey - the meat.
Now, I know there's a lot of arguments out there on how, where, and what is best when storing your game, but there's no doubt that a good, reliable hunting cooler is needed in the process.
I've hunted for over 2 decades using a variety of coolers, and just like many of you, I started by bringing along a simple, cheap cooler. But those days are long gone - the technology has improved and you have way more options to choose from.
I'm going to walk you through a few of my favorite coolers I've tested, and the ones I use each and every year when I'm out in the field. Of course, these might not be the best for everyone, but they've definitely been tested and I'm going to share my pros and cons of each.
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|Yeti Tundra 65||Yeti Hopper M20||Orca 140 QT||RTIC Ultra-Light|
|Highlight||Best Overall||Best Backpack Style||Best For Large Game||Best For The Money|
|Size (Exterior)||25.6"W x 15.9"D x 15.5"H||15.3"W x 9.9"D x 18.1"H||
39.4"W x 23"D x 21.3"H
23” W x 15.5” D x 14.5” H
|Weight||24.6 lbs||5.6 lbs||63 lbs||13 lbs.|
|Price||Around $375||Around $325||Around $600||Around $220|
|More Info||Best Price||Best Price||Best Price||Best Price|
I know - it's a little stereotypical, but this really is my top pick for the best hunting cooler, and I'll explain why...
The Yeti Tundra 65 cooler has an extremely durable roto-molded construction with PermaFrost insulation to keep your game cool, while the T-Rex Lid latches guarantee a high level of security.
Additionally, the ColdLock Gasket seals in the cold, while convenient features like DoubleHaul Handles, AnchorPoint™ Tie-Down Slots, and BearFoot Non-Slip Feet justify this somewhat expensive price point.
Some might say that this is perfect option for hunts because the Yeti Tundra 65 cooler keeps your meat fresh and cold for days no matter the outside environment.
For latest prices, and more information about the Yeti Tundra 65, click below!
I purchased the original Yeti backpack cooler years ago, and I didn't think it could get any better, but little did I know....
The Yeti Hopper Backpack M20 cooler is truly one of the most innovative designs on the market oday. This soft cooler, ideal for any hunting trip, boasts a 20 qt capacity, accommodating 18 cans with a refreshing 2:1 ice-to-can ratio.
Its rugged DryHide shell resists punctures, UV rays, and mildew, ensuring longevity in the face of adversity. Within its core, ColdCell insulation locks in the cold, preserving the chill of your beverages for hours of enjoyment.
Yeti's latest Hopper iteration introduces a wider opening and innovative MagShield Access (and this is my favorite part). The magnetic seal ensures leak resistance while facilitating easy packing and unpacking. This remarkable cooler, complete with buckles, daisy chains, side handles, carry handles, and a removable shoulder strap, stands as a versatile companion for your adventures.
Take a chance on the Yeti Hopper Backpack M20 cooler and see how well it works out for you on your next hunting trip!
For latest prices, and more information on the Yeti Hopper M20, take a look below!
For those hunters that need the maximum size cooler to haul any sort of large game out of the woods, I would take a look at the Orca 140qt cooler.
Its roto-molded construction offers the highest level of durability, while the built-in insulation delivers remarkable ice retention, keeping your food and beverages icy cold for an astounding duration of up to 10 days. The cold-sealing gasket and secure T-handle latches guarantee airtight closure, preserving freshness with unwavering dedication.
Transporting this cooler is super easy, thanks to the extendable handle with flex grip, allowing you to carry it solo or with a companion. For added convenience, a cargo-net attachment provides extra storage, while the integrated drainage spout prevents pooling of melting ice. Proudly made in the USA, the Orca 140-qt. Cooler showcases high-quality in every aspect.
Lastly, with a capacity to hold up to 192 cans, the Orca 140 will provide any hunter with a food day of "chilled refreshments" following a long day of hunting!
For latest prices, and more information on the Orca 140 QT, we have that as well!
The all-new RTIC Ultra-Light Hard Cooler 32 qt is the answer to any hunter looking for an affordable and lightweight cooler option.
Designed to be over 30% lighter than other coolers of the same capacity, it's the perfect companion for a short day out in the woods. Equipped with up to 2.5 inches of closed-cell foam insulation, this cooler takes extreme temperature preservation to the next level.
Durability and long-lasting ice retention are at the core of this portable cooler's design. With interior dimensions of 11.25” H x 18.25” W x 11” D and exterior dimensions of 14.5” H x 23” W x 15.5” D, it offers ample space for your needs.
The 32 quart model stands tall with a capacity of up to 48 cans and can hold a staggering 30 lbs of dry ice or standard ice. But its usefulness doesn't end there – it can double up as a bench, step stool, tabletop, or even an additional cutting board. If I were you, I would move fast on the RTIC Ultra-Light Hard Cooler 32 qt and add this to your hunting gear wishlist.
For latest prices, and more information on the RTIC Ultra-Light Cooler, we have that as well!
1. Cheaper coolers use Styrofoam (extruded polystyrene).
2. While premium coolers use Polyurethane Foam.
3. And many soft coolers use Polyethylene Foam.
Of course some companies will add a propriety name to their own foam, but this should cover the main core types.
Most of the aforementioned hard coolers are going to be made out of some sort of food grade UV-resistant polyethylene plastic. Furthermore, these shapes are going to be made using a roto-molding style of construction. This means that the plastics are softened then placed in a mold.
Of course, these top coolers are going to have much thicker plastic than your standard cooler. This not only helps keep your items cooler, but it also protects the heavily insulated core from outside penetration.
When you're spending this much on a hunting cooler, you need to make sure you have a way to lock these things up.
If you know you're going to leave your cooler in the back of your truck or down by your fishing hole, I would only purchase a cooler from a brand that offers some sort of locking bracket.
Most coolers have a small thread hold on the corners that you can run a cable lock through, but having something a little more sturdy than this might be needed.
Size is the most deceiving thing about today's top-rated hunting coolers. You step into your local sporting good's store or purchase on online expecting it to carry your kill, and BAM you open it up and realize there's hardly any room!
From my own experience I would pay almost no attention to exterior dimensions (unless your trying to store it somewhere) and focus on interior dimensions and most importantly capacity.
For instance, for every 100 lbs. of game meat (deboned), you'll need a 50 qt. cooler. Use this equation to evaluate which size is best for you and your style of hunting.
Hunting cooler prices can range from an affordable $50 to upwards of $700-$800.
Of course, like any piece of hunting gear, you're going to pay for a combination of brand recognition and quality. What I mean is... the most expensive cooler isn't always going to be the best for you or your hunting situation.
I would highly recommend first setting a budget, and seeing what options exist within this price point. From there, compare the different features to the next level up and see if it's really worth spending more.
A hunting cooler is an insulated container that keeps your game meat cool.
The top hunting cooler brands including the following:
Yeti is most definitely one of the top brands for anyone in the market for a cooler. However, claiming it as the best overall brand is tough. Personally speaking, Yeti's prices do tend to drive people away, leaving room for more affordable options to appeal to different types of hunters.
For deer, if quartered, you can get away with a 65–75-quart cooler, depending on whether it is a doe or buck. If you can butcher and debone the animal, your cooler size can be as little as 50-60 quarts.
Storing elk meat will take 3-4 150-quart coolers. If completely deboned (and around 270 lbs. of meat), you can use one 150-quart coolers for an average elk.
For a full step-by-step guide on how to prep your cooler, check out this guide on the best ways to prep a hunting cooler.
If you take a look at most hunting coolers today, you'll notice that they look huge! You might even take a look at the manufacturer's measurements and see if the cooler is going to be big enough for what you want.
Be careful though!
Before buying a cooler make sure you pay attention to the interior dimensions and capacity of the cooler. Today's coolers have extra thick walls - making the actual size/capacity of the cooler much smaller than anticipated.
In case you're wondering how thick some of these coolers' walls are, check it out:
Yeti - 2-inch Insulation (Lid is 3 inches)
RTIC - 3-inch Insulation
Orca - 3-4-inch Insulation
Cabela's - 4-5-inch Insulation
For a blog about KUIU vs. Sitka Gear, take a look today!