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    Best Cool Box For Camping Reviews - Top 5 Models

    The Best Cool Box for Camping – Buyers Guide & Top 5 Reviews

    Choosing The Best Cool Box for Camping & 5 Amazing Cool Boxes

    When the sense of adventure kicks in, nothing screams nature more than a camping trip. So, you got your tents, backpacks and whatnot but where do you put your food and drinks? These mini-fridges, for lack of a better term are very useful when it comes to the cool storage of your beverages. However, it becomes increasingly hard for one to find a suitable one with regards to size, cooling capacity, power access among others.

    This can be confusing. Don’t be alarmed. We have come up with a list of the best cooling machines in our opinion. This review will help guide you in a simple and straightforward way to choosing the best cool box for camping for you. If you are choosing to replace your old cooler, you can beeline straight for the best pick, but for all the new comers, it would be recommended that you go through the whole article to know what you are getting yourself into.

    Waeco-Mobicool U32 12 volt and mains camping coolbox Review

    OUR BEST PICK

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      Can be plugged into mains or 12v car socket and features USB output for charging small devices.
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      29-litre capacity with a double fan system. This makes it very spacious and the carrier handles make it easy for transportation.
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      The insulation is CFC-free making it user friendly. The insulation keeps the foods and beverages at a cool temperature.
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      It has a cable compartment to easy storage of the electric cable. 
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      Consumes a small amount of electricity at 47 watts making it a good energy saver.

    Our top 6 recommended cool boxes for camping that were impressive enough to make it into our review

    • 1
      Waeco/Mobicool U32 12 Volt and Mains Camping Cool Box - Our score 4.8/5
    • 2
      Coleman Xtreme Passive Cooler - Our score 4.8/5
    • 3
      Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermoelectric Coolbox - Our score 4/5
    • 4
      Andes large 25L cool box insulated Cooler and Heater - Our score 4/5
    • 5
      Thermos Cool Box - Our score 4.8/5

    Cool Box Buyers Guide

    Type of coolers to consider

    The first thing you need to figure out when it comes to buying a cool box is what type of cool box you want. There are two types of cooler, electric, great for plugging into mains or car sockets and tradition ice coolers which i'm sure we have all seen.

    Electric Coolers

    When considering an electric cooler, you need to consider the amount of voltage in comparison with the availability of power and how long you require the preservation of the items.  You have to check the adaptability of the unit. There are boxes that can be plugged into your vehicle's cigarette lighter or through a 12-volt DC adapter.

    Electric coolers are convenient due to the iceless hustle, they are easy to access especially with smaller models and you can be assured that your food will not get soggy in case there was improper packaging. They are pricier than ice coolers with a limited cooling capacity. They only work when electricity is on and this prevents them from being very portable. some models can tend to be a little noisy due to the existence of the fans but we found some good models are very low noise such as our 'Best Pick'. All though not the ideal, they could be used with ice blocks but you would need to watch for condensation and give them a wipe now and again.

    Tradition Ice Cool Boxes

    Ice coolers on the other hand are cheap to purchase with the only extra expense being the ice or freezer blocks. They are easy to store and are known to not only cool but also freeze items. They are pretty portable with a variety of shapes, prices and size. There is however the hustle of preparing the ice that you have to consider, the possibility of the ice messing up your food and having to repack with a new ice blocks or ice if you for a longer period of time.

    Size and shape of the machine

    It is obvious that how much food and drinks you will carry are a determination of the cooler you will get. This size is measured in litres. They range from small hand portable bags to huge chests. A bigger cooler may have compartments that allow you to place your items in an orderly manner to avoid a mess.  The size will be affected by the length of the trip, type of event and the number of individuals on that particular event.

    According to science, a cylindrical shaped cooler is more effective, in this case, going with the more curved edges in a cooler box is a good idea. Cylindrical ones are better for carrying upright bottles and flasks while square ones are better for bulky items.

    Material

    The material determines the insulation level of the cooler. In general, the thicker the material, the higher the insulation. The material is most of the time plastic and foam. The inner and outer plastics prevent cool air from escaping and prevent warm air from entering.

    Cool box design

    The use, elegance and customization of the cooler have become more important in the modern world than they used to be. The design has to fit our need right? Advanced features such as cup holders at the top and segmented inner space are pretty useful especially in large camping. Simple coolers usually have simple designs while commercial coolers are more advanced in their features.

    Our Best Non-electric Cool Box for Camping

    Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers Review

    In situations where power availability is a problem or you simply want a standard cooler, the best selection will be the Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers which come in several sizes so your sure to find the perfect size for you. The Coleman Xtreme Coolers are made with a superior quality insulation technology; they have a dense layer of plastic insulation and a close-fitting lid. This helps to maintain its contents cold on ice for days of up to 5 days, hence they’re suitable for long trips, camping or even sporting tournaments.

    They have increased insulation to keep the ice from melting faster and increased efficiency by having the ability to transfer hit into the cooler. They are very strong and durable not forgetting they also double up as an extra seat. You really want find a better model.

    Motor type

    This is in regards to electric coolers. The motors reduce the whole hustle of preparing the ice, disposing of the melted ice, preventing the ice from wetting up the cooler components. They tend to be very durable. The number of fans also increase the cooling capacity. It's hard to tell whether a cool box has a good fan so the only reliable way to know is to read reviews and see whether there are any comments in regards to issues with fans. Of course we have already done this and all our recommended picks have proven reliable.

    Cooling power and ice retention

    For electric coolers, the cooling capacity of cooler is usually stated as one of its specification features.  Coolers can cool their contents to different degrees below room temperature. The higher the cooling capacity the more cooling power your cool box can offer.

    Ice coolers differ such that some are better at retaining cold and keeping your ice frozen and contents cold. The unit should be able to maintain a cold temperature for a period of time. Coolers that will be needed for a long period tend to be more expensive.

    Portability

    The presence of handles provide easy carrying when lifting and storing. Wheels make the cooler even better because it can be dragged along especially for heavier coolers.

    Noise

    Most electric coolers produce a humming sound because of the fans. Some units will come with different modes that will often lead to a decrease in noise for the fan. The more Eco-friendly model will lead to a quieter time with a cooler. This is especially important if you cannot tolerate loud noises.

    Price

    Obviously, price does matter. But more often than not, we have discovered that expensive does not mean quality. Plastic hinges and handles tend to wear off faster than metal ones. The efficiency and durability of the cooler should be kept in mind too. We found you could get a good cooler from £30 for a standard cooler and around £70 for a good electric cooler.


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    Top 5 Cool Box Reviews


    Waeco/Mobicool U32 12 volt and mains camping cool box Review

    OUR BEST PICK

    Waeco-Mobicool U32 12 volt and mains camping coolbox Review

    Waeco-Mobicool U32 12 volt and mains camping coolbox

    Our rating:

    PROS

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      Perfect for camping, caravanning and parties.
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      Eco-friendly as it does not emit any anthropogenic compounds. In addition, You can adjust the temperature level to reduce power consumption and noise level.
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      It does not need ice to function, thus food can be kept for as long as needed without necessarily worrying about ice melting and soaking into your food.
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      The long cable which allows plugin even in a moving car makes it more convenient. It does not have to necessarily be near the power output.
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      It's quite spacious; large 29 litre capacity. This is very useful when you have to have more than a few items in it.
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      Has a carrying handle that ensures it can be used almost anywhere. The handle also helps to fix the lid in place ensuring that the contents are secure. 
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      It can run on both 12v car socket and mains making the electric cooler very versatile in terms of use.
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      USB Output which can be used to power smaller devices and charge phones.

    CONS

    • The fan produces a mild rattling/humming sound which may be unsettling for some people. Most people will not find this a problem
    • Requires Electricity to function. This is very inconvenient in areas where electricity is not available. In this situation a standard cool box would be better.

    This is a thermoelectric cool box that has a fan system to help you keep your food fresh and cold. The fans are placed beneath the lid and then another one inside the housed components and use 47 watts of electricity to produce a cooling temperature of 18 degree celsius below ambient temperature.

    The high-quality CFC-free polyurethane foam insulation is free from environmental pollutants/pollution mainly carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. It's therefore very eco-friendly. It is also raised from the ground to help lengthen the cooling time. The handle allows easy carrying and help to keep the lid in place. With a capacity of 29 litres, it is quite spacious for whatever you want to store in it and to give you an idea it can hold 2 litre bottles stood upright.

    It only weighs around 4kg meaning it is pretty light without any items in it with dimensions of 39.6cm by 29.6cm by 44.5cm. As we have just mentioned, means you can fit a 2 litre bottle upright. The electric cooler has a USB port that allows you to connect and charge any USB portable device which is a great feature.

    Thoughts and Recommendations

    The Waeco/Mobicool U32 Camping Cool Box is one of the most reliable coolers for camping which helped it win our 'Best Pick' spot. It can be used almost anywhere be it indoors or outdoors as it can easily be powered using lighter socket like in a car or by using mains power which is avaialble at most good camp sites.

    The carrying handle also adds to the convenience of using this cool box for camping, while its large capacity helps to accommodate a considerable number of items. All things considered, we recommend it for small camping trips especially for simple families or small gatherings. We think it would also be great for parties as it is tall enough to hold 2 litre bottles.

    All in all this is a excellent cool for anyone who is looking for an electric model and the USB output is also a nice little feature which most people will find useful. Obviously if your in need of a non electric model then this will not be for you, don't worry though as we have some amazing models further down.


    Coleman Xtreme Passive Cooler Review

    Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers Review

    Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers

    Our rating:

    PROS

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      Available in a range of sizes to meet different needs and extremely strong.
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      Built with rustproof and leak resistant material, which is very useful in an ice cooler. 
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      The lid is strong enough to be used as a seat, which can hold up to 113kg. 
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      It has comfort handles and a drainage in base to enable easy disposal of melted ice without having to tilt box.
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      Some models have wheels / feet for airflow to reduce hot air from the ground and enable better transportation of the cooler. Can last up to 3-5 days on ice depending on model chosen.
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      It has rounded corners. The more spherical a cooler is, the more effective it is, and the rounded corners make it less rectangle.
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      Drinks holders built into top of lid.

    CONS

    • No problems to report but a little expensive.

    The range of Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers are an enhanced version of their conventional chest coolers. These ice coolers come in a capacity of 94L, 64L, 47L and 36L. The models are very light in weight, 100QT: 8.3kgs, 70QT: 6.9kgs, 52QT: 6.0kgs and 50QT: 5.8kgs making them very portable. They have two way handles for easier lifting and storage except for the 50QT model.

    Rustproof, leak-resistant channel drain for no-tilt draining, the drain plug is easy to remove and the resulting stream of water can be predicted and neat. They are very easy to use.

    The hinged lid contains a deeply insulated beverage holder that helps when you need a cup holder. The sturdy lids are stable enough to be used as a seat for up to 113 kg making them great for using as an added seat. Both the lids and walls are very strong and can withstand a large amount of abuse. They, therefore, are durable which is why they are more expensive that others models that may look simular.

    Coleman Xtreme coolers are made with a superior quality insulation technology; they have a dense layer of plastic insulation and a close-fitting lid. This helps to maintain its contents cold on ice for days of up to 5 days, hence they are suitable for long trips, camping or even sporting tournaments. These coolers can store ice for up to five days without needing to be restocked with ice, even in temperatures as high as 32 degrees celsius they will keep everything cool.

    The Coleman Xtreme coolers are also eco-friendly as they are made with eco accommodating Thermo Zone Protection, which emits no anthropogenic compound. The new models have increased insulation in the lid and based, reduced insulation on the sides, creating a smaller exterior and yet still maintains interior capacity and performance.

    These coolers additionally have an increased efficiency such that when the cooler hits a hot surface heat is transferred through the cooler and even when it’s lifted heat is still transferred to the cooler through the air in the gap creating more insulation which ensures they are as efficient as possible. 

    Thoughts and Recommendations

    Although the Coleman Xtreme coolers are a bit expensive compared to their other standard Coleman Chest Coolers, they work very well for their price and are much better in terms of quality and performance. They can keep the ice frozen for longer. On top of this, the larger 94 litre model is very spacious and large and can carry enough contents to be used for long trips. They can as well be moved and carried with reasonable ease thanks to plastic handles on both sides and wheels to easily move or store.

    These coolers fit in most car boots and works great as extra seating. They are easy to clean and have ample space for storing drinks and food. We recommend it for large families’ camping or gatherings especially the larger models. If you usually go for long road trips or sports tournaments, these coolers are also perfect.

    This model really deserves the spot of our 'Best Pick', however after much debate, we decided the electric model was the winner as most camp sites now have electric which means there no need to use ice. However if you don't have access to electric then this model is the one for you and you have plenty of choice in terms of capacity.


    Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermoelectric Cool box Review

    Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermoelectric Cool Box Review

    Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermoelectric Cool Box

    Our rating:

    PROS

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      It’s compact and spacious, allowing neat packing in large quantities. Also available in several sizes.
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      Brushless motor for better reliability and quieter fan.
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      It’s light in weight hence very portable and can be used anywhere since it uses both 12v and mains. It can also run on car battery or mains via a transformer making it ideal for plugging in a camp sites.
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      The PU insulation makes it very stable and secure.
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      Its design includes an alteration where you can use the cooler in chest style or in upright facing position like a fridge.
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      The inside has a shelf for separation and protection of items in storage from damage.
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      Has a hinged lid for fast opening and closing. 

    CONS

    • Although the 36L Powerbox Classic Cool box uses a brushless motor, it still produces a mild humming sound.

    Campingaz is a well-known brand for camping equipment and outdoor living with over 60 years of experience. The Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermoelectric Cool Box is a very practical and designed for a large group of people, specially the later 36 litre model we have reviewed here. It keeps items cool to 16ºC below ambient temperature. Its capacity is pretty impressive with dimensions of 55cm by 35 cm by 41 cm and  not to heavy at 5.8 kg in weight. This means it can hold a 3 x 1.5 litre bottles upright.

    The alteration function allows you the option of using the cooler in chest style or in the upright facing position which is what makes this model a little different to most. There is a shelf that separates and protects items in storage from damage. The fan is modelled to prevent the overheating of the cooler. It can be powered by both 12v and mains just like our 'Best Pick', hence it's very portable. In a moving car, this cool box can be powered directly from the front of your car using the cigarette lighter. When used together with a 230v AC/ 12 V DC transformer you can plug it into any power socket which makes it perfect for using on camping sites where you can plug into mains electric.

    The body and unit of the Campingaz Powerbox Classic Thermometer Cool box are made of a very strong PU foam which makes it very stable and also acts as an insulation against bumps and traveling movements, finally it also features cup holders built into the lid.

    Thoughts and Recommendations

    The Campingaz 36 Litre Powerbox Classic Coolbox is a very practical spacious cool box that keeps food chilled to a reliable level. It is relatively affordable and uses a low amount of electricity making it very convenient to use while on the move or camping. We are pretty impressed with the features in the model but we feel its not as good as the Waeco/Mobicool U32 Camping Cool Box but it is a little cheaper.

    We would recommend it for large events and families due to the immense capacity.  The insulation materials also make it very useful when travelling in bumpy areas. So whether you want to camp in a rocky area or you have a large uncontrollable family, this cooler will remain undamaged in most of the mild bumping circumstances. overall its another model we would recommend and by a brand many campers have come to trust


    Andes Large 25L Insulated Cooler and Heater Review

    Andes Large 25L 12V-240V Cool Box Insulated Cooler & Heater Review

    Andes Large 25L 12V-240V Cool Box Insulated Cooler & Heater

    Our rating:

    PROS

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      It acts as both a cooler and a heater, which makes it even more versatile and useful in a camping experience.
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      The food can be kept warm up to 65ºC and this helps conserve energy that might have been used in reheating the food.
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      Cooler function can maintain 5c for keeping the contents fresh and cool.
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      It has an internal divider that separates the compartments making the storage of food and beverages easier and more organized.
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      It has three cup holders on the lid that come in handy during camping.
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      Can be powered by a car socket or mains.

    CONS

    • It is not very spacious and this becomes a huge inconvenience for larger groupings.

    The Andes Large 25L Insulated Cooler & Heater comes with dual functions, cooling, and heating and it's, therefore, excellent for both chilling its contents and keeping hot food at an eating temperature which is the feature that made it really stand out. The high quality Andes cool box can keep the food warm for up to two hours and as warm as 65 degrees Celsius. It's provided with both mains adaptor and car-charger adaptor, making it suitable for a wide range of outdoor events.

    It has a lightweight but a sturdy and robust design that ensures that the cooler box itself and its contents are safe. Moreover, it comes with an easy swing holder and three cup holders on the top which are very convenient. With a 25 litre capacity, it is spacious and made of polypropylene for a good insulation experience. There is a removable inside divider that keep things separate in the cooler which is another nice little feature.

    Thoughts and Recommendations

    The Andes Large 25 Litre Cool Box & Heater works perfect and has both cooling and warming functions. It’s light in weight, therefore, easy to move around and also very affordable. It’s just ideal to take to camping trips, picnic and short road trips. If you like the versatile application of this model and you don’t mind its small storage capacity, then it’s definitely an excellent choice.

    The only downside we seen was that the fan is a little noisy which may keep light sleepers awake and we noted some poor reviews online, however there are many more positive comments and it does come from a well known trusted brand. Overall if you think that you could make use of the heating feature then this is worth every penny.


    Thermos 28 Litre Cool Box Review

    Thermos Cool Box 32L Review

    Thermos Cool Box 28L

    Our rating:

    PROS

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      It's lightweight and so it can be carried around with ease.
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      Keeps food cool and fresh for long hours due to the polystyrene insulation.
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      Food remains safe for long since its lids and handles can lock in place.
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      It’s long lasting because of its anti-scuff finishing. This also helps it to be stain free.
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      Very spacious allowing room for enough items to be packed.
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      It’s easy to wash and keep clean.

    CONS

    • It has no drainage for the melted ice and this becomes very difficult to drain the melted ice.
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      Only stays cool for 1 day so not suitable for longer trips.

    The Thermos 28 Litre Cool Box has much modification from traditional coolers and is very easy to use. It does not require electricity hence can be used anywhere. It is super lightweight, around 1.5 kg its one of the lightest and can easily be packed in the boot of the car even when full. The Thermos Cool Box is finished with anti-scuff material, which means it’s very long lasting and would hardly show scratches and marks, and someone can even sit on it. It’s that strong.

    The Thermos Cool Box is very spacious with a generous 28 litres with dimensions of 45 cm by 46cm by 25cm and allows most bottles of even up to 2L to be packed upright. The lids and handles lock in place perfectly, thus keeping the food safe at all times.

    This cool box keeps food cold for long hours due to its polystyrene insulation. The food will also be stain free and odourless. It’s easy to wash and clean after use. For increased convenience, use the Thermos Cool Box together with Ice packs. This will keep your food fresh and drinks cold for the whole day.

    Thoughts and Recommendations

    When thinking of keeping food fresh and drinks cold you can rely on the Thermos Cool Box.  It has a polystyrene insulation which helps keep food fresh and drinks cold for up to 24 hours but any longer and you would be better investing in the Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers and paying a little extra.

    All matters considered, we think that the Thermos Cool Box Is ideal for road trips, picnics, and days out. It'll keep your food fresh and you'll have a cold drink whenever you want. Don't expect to much from this model but its very affordable and perfectly fine for keeping drinks and food cool on days out.


    Our Final Conclusion

    With all the above considered, we really hope that we have shed some light on coolers. The only feature we all cared about when the cooler box was introduced was one, its ability to hold ice and keep food and drinks cool.

    Over the years however, ice chest producers have included several features that attract buyers of different needs. Now there are a variety of models with varying features to choose from and picking the best cool box for camping comes down to research.

    Our buying guide has everything you need to consider before buying one and you can always come back for reference. Having compared the five models, we concluded the following two models were the two we would personally buy and be more than happy to recommend. Below is a quick summary of our two favourite models.


    Our Best Pick

    Waeco-Mobicool U32 12 volt and mains camping coolbox Review

    The Waeco/Mobicool U32 Camping Cool Box is the winner when it comes to electric models. The 29 litre capacity cool box offers just enough space for keeping your food while on your outdoor adventures. Furthermore, this model achieves a cooling temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius, which is just ideal for perishable foods.

    Users can also benefit from ease of carrying this camping cool box and storing away when not in use. When it comes to power, it is not limiting either as it can run on12V DC so can be plugged into your car power socket or mains power which most camp sites now have. This model is just perfect for a variety of outdoor uses and its price is fair. Overall a great product not forgetting you can even use the USB output to charge your phone and power small devices.


    Our Best Non-electric Cool Box for Camping

    Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers Review

    In situations where power availability is a problem or you simply want a standard cooler, the best selection will be the Coleman Xtreme Passive Coolers which come in several sizes so your sure to find the perfect size for you. The Coleman Xtreme Coolers are made with a superior quality insulation technology; they have a dense layer of plastic insulation and a close-fitting lid. This helps to maintain its contents cold on ice for days of up to 5 days, hence they’re suitable for long trips, camping or even sporting tournaments.

    They have increased insulation to keep the ice from melting faster and increased efficiency by having the ability to transfer hit into the cooler. They are very strong and durable not forgetting they also double up as an extra seat. You really want find a better model.


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