Information on Coolers for Camping and Hiking

Information on Coolers for Camping and Hiking
A cooler has a layer of insulation that prevents heat transfer between the inside of the container and the outside air. Coolers are an effective way to keep food and beverages cold when you are camping and hiking.

Types Of Coolers

There are two main types of cooler: hard-sided and soft-sided. Hard-sided coolers are made of plastic or stainless steel, and soft-sided coolers are made of flexible material that folds down when empty.



Coolers come in a wide range of sizes. Some are only large enough for one person's lunch, while others can hold a week's worth of food.


Hard-sided coolers sometimes have wheels and retractable handles for easy transport, drain holes for expelling water when the ice melts, split lids to minimize cold air loss, and integrated cup holders. Soft-sided coolers may feature rigid bases for durability, extra pockets to store utensils, and handles or straps for carrying.


Hard-sided coolers are less expensive than soft-sided coolers of similar size. Larger size and more features generally make a cooler more expensive.


Hard-sided coolers are normally larger, heavier, and more efficient than soft-sided coolers, making them ideal for large groups and car camping. They can also double as camp stools. Soft-sided coolers are better for personal use and hiking because of their small size and light weight.


Coolers should be kept closed tightly to keep cold air from escaping. They should never be left outside overnight; wildlife may be attracted to the food inside. Coolers must be cleaned after each use, dried thoroughly and stored with the lid slightly open to prevent mold or mildew.


Article Written By Nathaniel Meyer

Based in Fairbanks, Alaska, Nathaniel Meyer began writing outdoor-related articles for in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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