Your cooler is one of your key beach accessories. It holds everything from water to your lunch, and you want to make certain it’s got enough space to hold everything. Finding the best cooler can take a little bit of work since you don’t necessarily want to settle on the first one you see. Despite what it might look like, there’s more to the right cooler than its size. Here are some tips for shopping for the right beach cooler.
Size Is Important
While there’s more to a great cooler than its size, you do certainly need to consider that. If you can’t fit all of your drinks and food in the cooler, it’s not going to be that useful. You don’t want to take two coolers to the beach—that just takes up extra space and is likely to require an extra trip to the car. Some coolers measure how much they can hold in terms of cans of soda. This can be a good way of comparing coolers, but be sure you have a good idea of exactly how much space a can of soda takes up. Also remember you’ll need ice in the cooler, and that can take up a good amount of space.
Cooler or Insulated Bag?
When people think of a cooler, they usually think of the rectangular ones made out of plastic. But insulated bags can also be an option. For example, the RIO insulated beach cooler bag offers a nice amount of space, but it’s not nearly as large or as bulky as a plastic cooler. If it’s just you or you and one other person, these insulated bags may have enough space for everything you need. They are much easier to store when not in use, too, since they fold flat. As a bonus, you can use these bags when you go grocery shopping to keep your frozen foods nice and cold until you get them home.
Soft or Hard Cooler?
Another factor to consider is whether you want a soft cooler or a hard cooler. Soft coolers are similar to insulated bags, but the sides are a little stiffer. This helps them retain their shape. They don’t collapse quite as easily as bags do, but since the sides are soft plastic, they can be squeezed into smaller spaces since they’re not as rigid. On the other hand, hard coolers that are made from durable plastic can serve as a table or as a bench if you need another place to sit.
Look for a Cooler with Wheels
Dragging everything to the beach can be a pain, even if you have a beach cart that holds most of your stuff. If your cooler is full of ice, drinks, and food, it can be fairly heavy. A cooler with wheels is easy to pull along behind you, even though the sand.
Look at the Extras
Some coolers come with fun little extras such as built-in bottle openers or a base that puts the cooler up higher. While these extras can be nice, they should be the last thing you consider when looking for a cooler. Once you’ve determined the right size, material, and whether or not you need wheels, you can look at the extras to help you narrow down your options even more. Once you do that, you’ll be able to pick the perfect beach cooler.