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9 Next-Generation Beach Coolers for Summer

SmarterTravel

Beach coolers have come a long way since mom and pop’s cumbersome chill box. Look beyond the red-rectangle options to beach cooler alternatives with collapsible bodies, beach coolers with Bluetooth speakers, and backpack coolers.

The Best Beach Cooler Alternatives

Few things are a bigger buzzkill than when your cooler can’t do what it was intended to do—refresh you with cool drinks and snacks. These are the best beach cooler alternatives favored for their effective cooling factor, portability, and utilitarianism, even during the peak temperatures of the beach.

Collapsible Beach Cooler: CleverMade

CleverMade-SnapBasket-Collapsible-Beach-Cooler
Amazon

One major ­­drawback of the classic beach cooler is that it gets minimal use yet takes up a lot of storage space. Still, the beach cooler is an essential for most any outdoor excursion or BBQ. Get back that precious storage space by going with a collapsible beach cooler.

The 30-liter CleverMade SnapBasket Collapsible Cooler has a leak-proof interior and a built-in bottle opener. When extended to its max 12-inch height it can hold as many as 50 soda cans and ice, yet collapses down to less than three inches when it’s not in use.

Beach Cooler/Warmer: Wagan

Wagan-Beach-Cooler-Warmer
Amazon

A beach cooler that can chill and also heat your goods? It’s possible with the Wagan Cooler/Warmer, a 12-volt cooler that chills as low as freezing temperature and can heat as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to thermoelectricity it requires no ice, freeing up the 24-liter interior to hold up to 27 cans.

Tube Cooler: Universal Products

Universal-Products-Neoprene-Tube-Cooler
Amazon

The Universal Products’ Neoprene Tube Cooler is a tube cooler attached to a shoulder strap for easy transport, but with a few extra features. Stitched-in Velcro loops makes it perfect for mounting to tent or umbrella poles as wide as 4.5 inches in diameter, plus it floats—perfect for bringing a few drinks onboard.

For those that demand a little more than a six-pack capacity out of their portable beach cooler, the Beercuda tube cooler keeps as many as 11 cans frosty with its double-barrel insulation.

Picnic Basket Cooler: Scuddles

Scuddles-Picnic-Basket-Coolers
Amazon

Picnic basket beach coolers are perfect for those who aim to reduce, reuse, recycle. The Scuddles Premium Extra-Large Picnic Basket beach cooler comes equipped with two separate housings: one zippered compartment with an insulated cooler/warmer, and a second one with a complete four-person table setting—stainless-steel cutlery, washable napkins, and cutting board included.

The backpack version is similar, and because it has a smaller food compartment and straps to the back, is more portable. The Scuddles Picnic Backpack beach cooler also comes with a cozy picnic blanket.

Beach Cooler with Speakers: Tunes2Go KoolMax

Tunes2Go-KoolMax-Beach-Cooler-Speakers
Amazon

Get the party started with a speaker cooler for your beach tunes. The Tunes2Go KoolMax beach cooler has Bluetooth-ready built-in speakers, and at a 40-quart capacity it can chill as many as 48 cans.

Beach Cooler with Easy-Access Compartment: Coleman

Coleman-Cooler
Amazon

The best coolers for road trips are those you can quickly snag snacks out of. Dig in and out of your beach cooler with ease with the soft-sided Coleman 24-Hour Cooler. The zippered main compartment holds up to 30 cans, which you may access through the Velcro-sealed top access window. This beach cooler’s insulating properties can retain ice for up to 24 hours at 90-degree temperatures.

Floating Cooler: CreekKooler

Floating-Cooler-CreekKooler
Amazon

The CreekKooler is the best beach cooler for outdoor adventurers, but especially for kayak and rafting enthusiasts. Plus, poolside you can let the cooler float around to every thirsty party guest, or tether it at a swimming hole with the attached harness.

The CreekKooler holds as many as 30 cans and keeps them chilled for up to 48 hours. Its watertight lid also has four drink holders.

Cooler for One: Swig Combo Cooler

Swig-Combo-Cooler
Swig

Beach cooler for one? The Swig 12-ounce Combo Cooler’s double-walled technology promotes temperature retention so cold drinks stay cold and hot drinks stay hot—12 and nine hours, respectively. The Combo Cooler is stainless steel, BPA-free, and its lids are machine washable.

This tumbler comes with two lids: a clear one that converts the Combo Cooler to a travel cup, and a second to keep the can or bottle from slipping as you swig and prevent condensation or heat from altering your drink’s temperature.

Backpack Cooler: Corkcicle Eola Bucket Bag

Eola-Bucket-Bag-Backpack-Cooler
Corkcicle

Chill your drinks in style with the chic Eola Bucket Bag. This backpack beach cooler has space-grade insulation, padded straps, and holds up to 12 cans.

The Eola Bucket Bag comes in black, gray, and seafoam, so you won’t risk cooling your drinks and clashing with your wardrobe.

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