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17 well-insulated coolers for tailgating

Tailgating during the football season — whether you’re an NFL fan, an NCAA fan or both — is among the most fun you can have while engaging with the sport. However, you will need some gear. A good-quality, well-insulated cooler that can withstand the heat coming off the parking lot should be a No. 1 priority. After all, getting everyone sick with spoiled food is the quickest way to make your friends reject your next invitation.

In this article: Blue Coolers Companion Cooler, Coleman Portable Thermoelectric Cooler and Igloo Portable Water Cooler.

Types of coolers

Four of the most common types of coolers are:

  • Standard coolers are the boxlike coolers you likely think of when someone says “cooler.” There are several subtypes, such as hard- and soft-body.
  • Bag coolers are typically used to keep groceries cold on the drive back home, but they’re just as effective when tailgating. Their main benefit is being able to fold down to save space.
  • Backpack coolers are exactly what they sound like. These are excellent for those that like to wander among all the tailgaters, bringing ice-cold drinks to the masses.
  • Water coolers are often overlooked since the drink of choice among tailgaters is usually beer. Grab a stack of disposable cups, start handing out ice-cold water and watch yourself become the hero of the day.


Measuring a cooler’s capacity by using its volume isn’t the easiest way to grasp how much it can fit. As such, most coolers measure capacity by stating how many 12-ounce soda cans can fit in them without ice. However, some coolers use quarts. Water coolers typically measure capacity in terms of gallons.

Best well-insulated coolers for tailgating

Blue Coolers Companion Cooler

This cooler has 2.25 inches of insulation, and it can hold ice for up to 10 days. It also has a drain on the bottom to ditch the melted water weight. It comes in three colors.

Sold by Amazon

Creative Green Life Jumbo Insulated Cooler Bag

This bag has three layers of insulation that can keep ice frozen for up to eight hours. It has a front pocket, can hold up to 30 cans and comes in two colors.

Sold by Amazon

Coleman 316 Series Wheeled Cooler

This massive wheeled cooler is all you need to store your food and your drinks. It can also be used as a two-seat chair and has four cupholders. It comes in 62-, 65- and 100-quart sizes and is available in three colors.

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Coleman Portable Thermoelectric Cooler

This cooler doesn’t use ice but rather the power from your car via an 8-foot cord. The door can open from either side. It can hold 44 cans and comes in two colors.

Sold by Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Home Depot

Everlasting Comfort Backpack Cooler

This bag’s main feature is its built-in covers that can stretch over the mesh side pockets to keep the contents safe. It can hold up to 45 cans and can keep them cold for up to 24 hours.

Sold by Amazon

Gardrit Cooler Bag

This bag has four layers of insulation that can keep ice frozen for up to 12 hours. It comes in 16-, 30- and 60-can capacities and three colors.

Sold by Amazon

Igloo Portable Water Cooler

This cooler is so well known it’s even used by most teams in the NFL and NCAA, and you can’t do better than the pros. It comes in 5- or 10-gallon sizes and two colors.

Sold by Amazon

Igloo BMX 52-Quart Cooler 

This massive cooler is perfect for tailgaters that like to serve the masses, as it can hold a staggering 83 cans. Ultraviolet inhibitors defend against sun damage, and it comes in 11 color schemes.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Lifewit Insulated Cooler Bag

This bag breaks the standard and has two insulated compartments: one large main one and a second smaller one built into the lid. It comes in 27-, 32- and 48-can sizes and two colors.

Sold by Amazon

Maelstrom Soft Cooler Bag

This bag knows you’re drinking beer outside of the stadium and has an integrated bottle opener. It also has plenty of extra storage and five layers of insulation. It has a 75-can capacity and comes in 12 colors.

Sold by Amazon

Mier Soft Insulated Cooler

This bag can be carried by its handles or with a removable shoulder strap. Its main compartment is leakproof, and it has two mesh side pouches and a button-up front pocket. It can hold up to 20 cans and is available in four colors. 

Sold by Amazon

Miukaa Insulated Cooler Bag

This cooler bag is simple but high-quality, thanks to its reinforced stitching, leather handles and safety reflective strips. It also has a front pouch and comes in five colors.

Sold by Amazon

RTIC Backpack Cooler

This backpack cooler only has its main compartment, but that compartment is waterproof and holds ice for up to 24 hours. It has padded straps and easy-carry handles. It comes in 20- and 30-can sizes and five colors.

Sold by Amazon

Seehonor Insulated Cooler Backpack

This backpack cooler is rife with storage options: a large main leakproof compartment, two mesh side pockets, a large front pocket and two small exterior pockets. It comes in 25- and 45-can sizes and six colors.

Sold by Amazon

Stanley Adventure Outdoor Cooler

This cooler’s flat top doubles as a seat, and the handle is large and easy to grip. The top also has bungee cords for strapping down things like paper plates. It comes in 7-, 10- and 16-quart sizes and six colors.

Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

T.O.M. Horizons Cooler Backpack

This heavy-duty backpack is at home in the parking lot as it is on a rough trail with a leakproof main pocket and two large front pockets. The main compartment holds 35 cans, and it comes in two colors.

Sold by Amazon

Tourit Cooler Bag

This bag has easy-carry handles and a shoulder strap to make hauling it easier. Its main compartment is leakproof, and it has mesh side pockets and a roomy front pocket. It comes in 24-, 35- and 46-can sizes and seven colors.

Sold by Amazon


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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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