The Best Ice Chest Coolers for Use in the Car

Do you feel like going off to work with a little lunch box in hand? If yes, then it’s time for you to discover a new way to make your lunch more enjoyable. You may also be looking for a perfect ice chest cooler for yourself, your child, or a day trip to the beach.

Ice chest coolers are perfect for taking much more than just lunch along with you.

In this article, I will share with you the things you need to look for in an ice chest cooler. I will also include some of the best ice chest coolers available and learn to consider purchasing one for you.

What to Look for in an Ice Chest Cooler

From keeping your beverages chilled throughout your road trip or to housing your frozen foods from a grocery store, a quality ice chest cooler is a necessity. Various situations call for an ice chest cooler, but not all can meet the same demands. The features you need to have in your ice chest cooler will depend on your activities. There are ample options to choose from. But, finding the right ice chest cooler for your needs can be simple if you know what to look for.

So, before you run to the store or search online for the best ice chest cooler for your car, ask yourself first with this question: What do you intend to use your ice chest cooler for?

Understanding the purpose of purchasing an ice chest cooler can help you decide the insulation level you need and hone in on your budget.

1.      Durability

When you are thinking of what ice chest cooler to use, consider how much punishment it will take. If it will just cozily in the bed of your vehicle for only a few hours, then you won’t have have to search for tough exterior surface. You can opt for softshell coolers instead, which is easy to carry and efficient in these situations.

However, if you will use on extended trips or use your ice chest cooler on a boat, then you need those that are made of harder plastic or metal. This would be pricier but will give you the high-level durability you need.

Another thing to consider also is if you want to use it for another purpose. For example, you want to eat on it or sit on it. In these cases, consider those that have reversibility tops and more hardened surfaces.

2.      Insulation

The purpose of your ice chest cooler is to keep food and beverages cool. So, naturally, you should consider your ice chest cooler’s insulation capabilities when making a purchase. For ice retention, opt for hard-shell coolers than softshell counterparts because there is more insulating material designed to this.

Softshell ice chest coolers may work well too, but it is recommended to use hard-shell coolers to keep the food fresh and beverages cold for a more extended period. You may want to consider investing in a high-end cooler for a better ice retention rate.

Another tip here is, look at the ice chest cooler’s lid and ensure it has sufficient insulation. The lid will take much heat when your cooler is sitting outside. So, having a thick layer between the top, elements, and the ice can make better cooling capabilities.

3.      Size

The size of your ice chest cooler should be determined by how much food and drink you try to keep cool and how much space you have available for the cooler.

Most ice chest cooler is measured by how many cans it can carry. Ice chest coolers measuring 25 quarts or less are great for overnight trips and can house for small groups. If your trip is for an extended excursion, you will need larger ice chest coolers than 75 quarts in size.

When it comes to size decision, you also need to factor room for ice or ice packs. The good rule of thumb here is that one part ice is to be used for every two parts of food or beverage. Moreover, larger coolers will require more space. If you own a small car, opt for small ones.

4.      Materials

When it comes to a cooler’s construction, there are a few material options available. Softshell coolers made from fabric are ideal for events calling for little food or drink or short trips. This type of ice chest cooler is lightweight and straightforward. It also features additional pockets on the exterior to store extra snacks.

On the other hand, hard-shell ice chest coolers are made from metal or plastic. These materials allow for thicker insulation. This keeps items cold longer. While these are way better than softshell ice chest coolers, you have to plan for space.

5.      Portability

It’s fantastic to have an ice chest cooler with both excellent durability and insulation. However, this type cannot do much when you can’t transport it to different places. So, when you plan to buy this, consider the design and how that will affect portability.

Smaller ice chest coolers offer single-handle design while larger ice chest coolers offer side handles or ropes that can be carried by two persons. Other ice chest coolers have built-in wheels, like a suitcase, for easy transport.

What Makes a Good Ice Chest Cooler for Your Car?

Soft-Sided Ice Chest Cooler

This type of cooler is sized small enough to handle by one person comfortably. They have soft sides and a shoulder strap for easy transport. Some may also have a top handle or have an insulated backpack cooler.

Soft-sided ice chest coolers stay closed by using a zipper. On the other hand, hard-sided personal coolers have a plastic locking lid. These types can keep your items cold for a day or two. In most cases, these may hold ice for up to 5 days. When it comes to the best small ice chest coolers, you see that there are several different styles, material, and ice retention capabilities.

Most of these ice chest coolers are available in different colors for you to choose from. Each ice chest cooler manufacturer add their own unique designs and touches to the cooler.

Ice chest coolers can be used for a car ride, trips to the grocery store, or a trip to the beach.

Soft-sided ice chest coolers may look small but are expandable. So, you can expect that this can also hold more. However, if you are not a fan of soft-sided ice chest coolers, there are other plastic personal coolers you can use.

Ice Packs or Regular Ice for Ice Chest Coolers?

Ice packs?

People who use ice chest coolers use this for personal lunch or a day trip. Since most are using these coolers for daily lunches, most use ice packs. Using ice packs in your ice chest coolers will keep internal temperatures cool enough to enjoy your food. Most importantly, it will not cause your food to become waterlogged. When compared to using ice only, where it can potentially melt or ruin your sandwich.

Most of the affordable soft-sided ice chest coolers cannot hold water. When ice melts inside, water could go through the seams of the bag. However, when you opt for higher-end cooler bags like Yeti Hopper or Polar bag, they can hold the ice melt enough as they are water-tight.

Top 10 Ice Chest Coolers for Cars

1.      Coleman FlipLid 6 Personal Ice Chest Cooler

Sale
Coleman FlipLid Personal Ice Chest Cooler
Reversible, easy to use personal ice chest you can keep in your car.

This small ice chest cooler can hold up to 6 cans of soda or beer. It has a comfortable handle for you to hold onto and a wide bottom for stability. The FlipLid top sets it apart from other ice chest coolers because of its reversibility. You can use it as a serving tray and also includes molded can holders. With these, you can now eat worry-free wherever you are.

2.      Rubbermaid 10Qt Personal Ice Chest Cooler

Sale
Rubbermaid 10Qt Personal Ice Chest Cooler
This cooler can hold up to 12 cans with ice! Keep your food and drinks cold even on a hot summer day!

This is one of the best ice chest coolers that can hold as much as 12 cans with ice. Thanks to its superior thermal retention, it can keep your food and drinks cold.

It also has a durable and swingable handle on top. It is easy to clean and is resistant to stain and odors. You can choose from red and blue colors. It is probably one of the most popular and cheapest choices for the small best ice chest coolers.

3.     Igloo 14.8Qt Playmate Ice Chest Cooler

Sale
Igloo 14.8 Quart Playmate Cooler with Industrial Diamond Plate Exterior Design
Has a patented tent-shaped lid so you can lift it easily and prevent spills.

This ice chest cooler has an industrial diamond plate exterior look. It has a tent-shaped locking lid that can help prevent spills. Since it’s produced by Boss, which is one of the well-known longstanding ice chest coolers on the market, you can ensure its durability and damage resistance from impacts.

You can also open this toward either side to access it easily. Plus, the handle is comfortable to hold. The overall look of this ice chest cooker makes this a go-to lunch of men.

4.   Coleman 16QT Personal Wheeled Ice Chest Cooler

Coleman 16QT Personal Wheeled Ice Chest Cooler
This cooler has wheels so you can transport it easily from your car to wherever you need it.

Ice chest cooler can become too heavy if it’s loaded with cans of beer or soda along with ice. If this prevents you from getting a small best cooler with wheels, then you should consider Coleman’s wheeled ice chest cooler. It is taller than most personal ice chest coolers. It can hold a two-liter bottle upright.

Among the ice chest coolers with wheels, this one is one of the smallest but can hold 22 cans and ice.  This ice chest cooler ensures it rolls smoothly and has the extendable handle to make it comfortable at any height.

5.      Stanley Adventure Ice Chest Cooler

Stanley Adventure Ice Chest Cooler
* Leak resistant gasket. Locks in cold * Adjustable tie down. Secures Stanley vacuum bottle/mug * Durable construction + Flat top. Doubles as a seat * 2.5x the foam of typical cooler. Keeps cold 36% longer

Any working dad or husband will appreciate this manly cooler. The company provides a lifetime warranty for this product. This adventure ice chest cooler has double-wall insulation and offers leak resistance.

It is also slightly larger than most personal ice chest coolers as it can hold 21 cans, making it suitable for days worth of drinks. Lastly, this is one of the fewer smaller coolers that can double as a seat.

6.      Wagan Powered Personal Ice Chest Cooler

Sale
Wagan Powered Personal Cooler and Warmer
* You can cool and warm food in this cooler, helping you save money on food when traveling for long distances. * You can plug it in to your car. No need for messy ice or ice packs. Internal dimensions: 12

For a good reason, this cooler is slightly different from the rest of the ice chest coolers listed in this post. Yes, this is because it needs to plug into a 12-volt source to cool and warm contents. Hence, this personal ice chest cooler is great for long hauls.

During summer, this powered ice chest cooler can maintain internal temperature for longer periods if it is plugged in. Moreover, when its winter, this versatile ice chest cooler is great for transporting food or a warm cup of coffee or soup.

The Wagan Powered personal ice chest cooler has 7 liters capability. It features built-in cup holders and a padded shoulder strap. It can also maintain at 35 to 40 degrees on cool mode and 140 degrees on warming mode. This is definitely a perfect ice chest cooler for your car or truck.

7.      Coleman 24 Hour Ice Chest Cooler

Coleman 24 Hour Ice Chest Cooler
This cooler can hold up to 30 cans and lock in the cold for 24 hours!

This Coleman 24-hour ice chest cooler is capable of holding up to 30 cans and keeping them cool for 24 hours. The front of this cooler has a pouch for dry goods. Transporting this cooler is convenient and handsfree too, thanks to its padded strap.

Aside from these features, this cooler also has an antimicrobial liner. It resists mildew and odor. It’s the perfect ice chest cooler for anyone who tends to forget ice packs or food inside.

8.      eBags Crew Ice Chest Cooler

eBags Crew Ice Chest Cooler
eBags is a popular online seller of backpacks and luggage. But, surprisingly, they also do well with their Crew Ice chest cooler!

The eBag crew ice chest cooler may seem new to some. But, as a matter of fact, this ice chest cooler is one of the most popular packing cube manufacturers. It’s the perfect cooler for traveling. It has several compartments for the storage of dry and wet goods.

The bottom part of it is the “cold section” and offers 6-sides insulation. When looked on the outside, you can see multiple bottle storage compartments. On top of it is a zippered dry storage area.

The back slip pouch is one of the most unique features of the Crew Cooler. This allows for a rolling suitcase handle to slip through. You can ensure that it can be carried securely on top of the rolling suitcase.

9.      Igloo Max Cold Lunch Box Ice Chest Cooler

Sale
Igloo Max Cold Lunch Box Ice Chest Cooler
Igloo is a well-known brand of coolers, and you can't go wrong with this cold lunch box cooler.

The Igloo Max Cold ice chest cooler is the most traditional “lunch box looking cooler.” Even if this offers a leak-resistant look, you still need to use ice packs with this cooler. This is to ensure that seams will not become damp.  It also boasts its anti-microbial liner and ergonomic look of the handle on the exterior.

10.      Everest Lunch Bag

Everest Lunch Bag
A simple, affordable lunch bag to help you carry food in your car.

Are you a simple type of person? Then, this Everest ice chest cooler is for you. This is one of the most affordable ice chest coolers. This already has a sizeable insulated area, but they add extra storage area to make it more practical. At only $10, you can already have the most economical ice chest cooler in your car.

Your ice chest cooler in the car can take on many roles in your life. It can keep up your foods and beverages chilled while you’re enjoying the outdoors. So, on your next road trip, weekend barbecue chillout, game day tailgate, or fishing excursion, make sure you have an ice chest cooler with you!

Best Umbrella to Keep in Your Car

You are driving towards your destination and the bottom of the sky suddenly fell out and heavy rain start pelting your car. 

Too bad you don’t have an umbrella in your car. 

If you get out right after you park, you’ll just get drenched no matter how nice the clothes you’re wearing. It sucks, right? 

We’ve looked at the best umbrella to keep in your car so you’re always prepared when the rains start falling. 

Things to Consider in Buying an Umbrella

The worst time to buy an umbrella is right when you need it because you are stuck. You may end up with an expensive umbrella that may be broken after being used. Umbrellas should be included as an essential car accessory.

Umbrellas will not protect you from rains 100%. But a good one can keep your head and torso dry. For very heavy rains, expect your legs and shoes to get wet. There’s just no help for that.

But I have seen really bad umbrellas that would drip rainwater from the cloth that’s supposed to protect you from the rain!  

Here’s what to consider when you buy.

Continue reading

How to Keep Your Car Clean: Tips for Parents of Young Kids

Keeping your car clean when you have kids could be a challenge. You may be the kind of person who always keeps everything in decent condition.

After having kids, though, your car’s floor might be covered with cookie crumbs and broken crayons every day! Though you clean it regularly, it ends up messy again.

Here are some tips on how to keep your car clean!

Avoid food in the car

Snacking in the car is the things that parents always do when they missed breakfast or lunch, as well as to keep their children entertained during their trips in the car. However, if you want to keep your car tidy, avoid eating in the car except for emergencies or long trips.

During your long trips, you may want to prepare some snacks for your kids, consider to eat them only when you get out of the car.

Continue reading

Best Car Seat Mirror

If you think that you will never forget a baby inside your car, you better think again! Even well-meaning parents who want to give everything to their babies may leave a baby in the car.

Every year, 36 kids are left inside cars and this leads to their death! July is the worst month that this type of accident happens, due to the summer heat. This is not just about negligence. A lot of parents can be thinking about so many different things, they get distracted, or they may have gotten less sleep because of their kid.

As a parent, we know that you want the best for your child and you want to ensure the safety of your child. This is why it’s important to get accessories that will help you minimize this from happening.

One potential solution for forgetful parents is to have a car seat mirror. 

You can actually choose a DIY solution for this. You can hang a small mirror opposite your child’s car seat so that every time you look at your rear view mirror, you can check if your child is safely tucked, sleeping, or playing in her car seat.

If you are not careful, however, a DIY car seat mirror may fall on your baby, or if it’s not secured in place, it may bounce around and even hit your precious baby.

Choosing the Best Car Seat Mirror

Do check the position of the car seat mirror. Most of these products are attached to the head rest of the back seat that’s directly opposite your baby.

Continue reading

Best Car Smartphone Mounts Reviews

Car smartphone mounts are definitely a must for drivers today. While traffic laws prohibit calling or texting while driving, most map and navigation apps are on smartphones. We don’t even need separate GPS devices now. Texting and calling isn’t much of a problem these days, too, if you have a voice assistant like Siri or Google Assistant in your phone.

But it is a pain if you just hold on to your phone while driving. Worse, if you set it down, you may be distracted from driving if you look down just to see the directions you need to follow.

This is why you should have a smartphone mount in your car. I’m actually surprised that most cars don’t have a nook or a niche for a smartphone in the dashboard yet. It should be included in their dashboard design now.

I have had my share of smartphone mounts over the years, most of them are the suction type. But they tend to last for only a short time. You have probably experienced the same problem, too. Which is why I am on the lookout for the best car smartphone mounts.

Continue reading

30 Must Have Car Accessories

Owning a car isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B, it’s an extension of your personality. It can even feel like a temporary home while you’re driving. If you want your driving to be comfy and hassle-free, get these 30 must have car accessories.

30 Must Have Car Accessories:

Most of the accessories we chose below are less than $100, but if not, we indicate how much they cost. You probably don’t need every single one of them, but over time, you can build up the accessories you use and get all of them.

Jump Starter

For those times when your car won’t start because of battery problems. This is particularly useful during the cold season, and for older cars that may have weak batteries. Older cars also don’t automatically turn off your headlights when you turn the engine off.

The good thing is, a lot of jump starters now have additional accessories that will let you include other accessories listed below. Saving money and getting extra perks is always good!

Continue reading

DashCam Review: AUTO-VOX D1 Full HD Dashboard Camera

In the market for a dashcam? Read this review of the Auto-Vox D1 Full HD Dashboard Camera. Don’t forget to read our guide to buying a Dash Camera.

Dash Cam AUTO-VOX D1 Car Recorder Full HD 1080P 2.7'' DVR Dashboard Camera with Super Night Vision, G-Sensor & Loop Recording Free 32G Mirco Card
  • Superior Night-vision by high class f1.6 Six-Glass multi-layer filter wide Angle lenses and unique WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) video system.
  • G-Sensor will let the DVR lock the file in case of the severe vehicle collision, which can be the strong evidence of the traffic disputes.
  • Guarded Parking can be considered as a perfect police eyes, recording everything happen around your car when you leave.
  • You will get the 32GB TF card for FREE, which can contain 6 hours of 1080p video recording. The latest piece of videos will automatically overwrite the unlocked oldest videos, which will enhance...
  • 145 degree wide angle lens and 360 degree rotation bracket allow you to record the beautiful scenery from different shooting angle

Average Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5 Stars based on 70+ reviews

Features:

  • Equipped with a night vision with Wide Dynamic Range and a f1.6 six-glass multi-layer filter wide angle lenses.
  • If you encounter an accident, its G-sensor will lock the DVR file to prevent writing over the file.
  • When you park, its Guarded Parking feature will monitor and record whatever happens around your car.
  • This product comes with a free 32GB TF card. This will cover over 6 hours of HD (1080p) video recording

This dash cam provides all the benefits of a regular cameras but with a compact screen size of 2.7 inches.

Continue reading

The Best Dash Cam Reviews

This post is pretty long–we present the best dash cam reviews, but before doing so, we will explore the importance of having a dashboard camera, and then we’ll look at the top dashboard cams for you to check out.

Imagine yourself driving safe and steady and suddenly another driver hits your car either in front of you or behind you. In cases like this, your word can be put against the word of the other driver. But if you have a dashboard camera, it can record what really happened and the police, as well as your insurance, can determine who really was at fault.

In case you are wondering what a dashboard camera really is – it is a video camera is mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle in order to record videos during driving. Dash cams are known by several different names including in-car camera, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs.

Although they are called dashboard cameras, they are often mounted on the windshield to capture better quality videos. Several kinds of dash cams are also available based on features and quality.

Dual lens cameras can record both the driver and the forward facing views simultaneously. The only difference between a conventional camera and a dash cam is that the latter has the ability to start recording automatically when it detects the car’s motion. You don’t need to turn it on and press the record button every single time.

best dash cam reviews

image credit: Paul Townsend

A dash cam automatically makes space for newer videos by deleting the older ones. Thus, you can virtually record videos, hands-free.

Dashboard cams have become very popular in recent times. Not too long ago, they were used mainly by the police. Thanks to te reduction of prices, ordinary people like you and me can now buy them and install them in our cars.

Some HD dashcams are available for prices lower than $50. Thanks to advances in technology, as well as the low cost of manufacturing (primarily in China), companies are able to offer prices these low.

But don’t make prices your sole criteria in buying a dashcam, It should be reliable and of good quality to make sure that videos captured are clear and crisp. You wouldn’t want a dashboard camera that can only last for a month, you want something that could last for a long time.

Continue reading

What to Do When Your Car Battery is Dead?

There are several factors that lead to a car battery’s death.

For one, you battery might be too old and it has reached the end of its life span. Most car batteries last for about 2-3 years. If you take care of it well, you may be able to extend the life of your battery for another year or two.

On top of that, other factors may also come into play when it comes to the demise of a battery: Continue reading

Buying a Jump Starter: Look for Peak Amps or Cold Cranking Amps?

Buying a jump starter could be a confusing affair. When buying a jump starter: do you look for peak amps or cold cranking amps? What’s the difference? Which one should be your basis in buying a jump starter?

Peak Amps or Cold Cranking Amps?

cold-cranking-amps

Some jump starters will put 900 peak amps like the JNC300XL, 2200 Peak Amps for the Schumacher PSJ-2212 and everything in between. Most buyers will be attracted to the products with the highest peak amps, but you should avoid that temptation. That is a bad criteria to assess your options.

What you should look for, instead is the jump starter’s Cranking Amps and Cold Cranking Amps. This is the actual power that the jump starter will supply to your car’s battery.

Sale
Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL 900 Peak Amp Jump Starter
  • 900 peak amps; 225 cranking amps
  • 27" #4 AWG cables
  • 12V LED flashlight
  • DC outlet to power 12 volt accessories
  • Full size clamps to penetrate corrosion

What if you have several vehicles with different engines? Say you have a 4-, 6-, or 8-cylinder car, will you need separate jump starters?

The good news is NO. You just need to choose the jump starter with the highest Cold Cranking Amps that you can afford. This way, if the battery of your car is totally dead, your jumpstarter has enough juice to bring it back from the dead. Just make sure to keep the jump starter, either at home, or in the trunk of the vehicle with the weakest or deadest battery.

What is Cold Cranking Amps

If you’re wondering, a battery’s Cranking Amps (CA) refers to the amount of power that a battery can discharge for 30 seconds at 32° F (0° C). It really is the amount of power you need to start your engine on any weather except winter.

On the other hand, Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) refers to the number of amps that a battery can push out for 30 seconds at 0° F without dropping under 7.2 Volts. Remember that a jump starter is really another battery supplying power to your car’s battery. It’s more difficult to start an engine during cold weather, that’s why batteries tend to have both the CA and CCA ratings.

If your battery reads 660 CCA, that doesn’t automatically mean that you need a jumpstarter with the same CCA rating. A product with a lower rating can power it up. A jump starter with at least 500 CCA can power up a car equipped with a 660-CCA battery.

But remember: if your battery is dead, a jump starter with high Cold Cranking Amps has better chances of reviving it and starting your engine.

This also does not mean that a battery with a lower CCA rating will be damaged by a jump starter with a higher CCA rating. Keep in mind that whenever you use a jump starter, it will only provide the power needed to start a battery. So even if your jumpstarter has 2200 Peak Amps, and you power up a 660 CCA rating battery, you won’t overload the car’s electrical system.

 

So here’s the bottom line…

Be more discerning in buying a jump starter. While peak amps may be a good measure of the maximum power output of a product, you should be considering Cranking Amps (CA) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) primarily.

 

image credit: Flickr