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Best Rolling Cooler for the Beach

There’s nothing better than relaxing for a day at the beach, catching some rays and indulging in your favorite authors’ latest book.  Except whilst you’re there grabbing yourself an ice cold drink (maybe a Pina Colada?) to really quench your thirst.

But in order to do that, you will need the necessary equipment, namely a rolling cooler, to keep your drinks and foods cool even when you're in the sun.  Lucky for you, we’ve been checking out the best rolling coolers that are out on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our Top 5 to show you.

And after that we’ve also got a handy buying guide for you, which we think covers everything you might want to think about to decide which might be the right one for you.

Best Rolling Cooler for the Beach

OUR TOP PICK

Summary

As a hybrid between a soft cooler and a hard cooler, this cooler from Arctic Zone offers the best of both worlds.

When you’re not hauling it on its wheels, you can remove the bag from the cart, and either carry it as a backpack if full, or if it’s empty you can fold the bag right down for easy storage.  How handy is that, so versatile.

The cart itself is very strong and sturdy, able to take a whopping 100 pounds of weight.

This baby is made from FDA compliant fabric, meaning that the FDA has deemed the material as safe for storing food and drinks.  And better yet it also features Microban antimicrobial protection lining which is specially designed to help prevent any stains or odors.

It features four layers of insulation, so it will keep the temperature low and provide great ice retention for quite some time.

In terms of its capacity, it can hold 60 cans altogether, so it can handle mid-size parties.  And you can keep the drinks and/or snacks organized, since there are 2 separate compartments.  Great if you need separate kids and adults sections.  

The main compartment is quite deep and roomy, so you can fit bottles in there or several plastic food containers.  The other compartment is a tad smaller, more like a pocket, great for stashing away smaller snacks.

Then there’s also an additional zippered compartment where you can keep, say your keys, wallet and phone, or any other small valuables or essentials like sun cream.

Pros:

  • FDA compliant fabric
  • Large & deep capacity
  • Haul on wheels or carry like backpack
  • Folds away for easy storage
  • antimicrobial protection lining
  • Several different compartments
  • cart itself is very strong and sturdy
  • 4 layers of insulation for  great ice retention

Cons:

  • The bag isn’t well secured to the frame

EDITORS CHOICE

Summary

There’s a lot to love about this cooler!

It has all the convenience of a carry-on while at the same time featuring a roomy 70 quart interior.  That's only slightly less than the big Clevr 80 Quart Wagon Cooler we showed you earlier.

And it's brilliant for rolling across the sand, thanks to its oversized 10-inch never-flat tires with their superior traction.

But that’s not all that’s superior about it, there’s also the Ultratherm insulation, which is designed to provide ice retention for up to a whopping 4 days.

And it’s not just the wheels that help with its maneuverability, the telescopic, ergonomic handle makes it real easy to tow.  And if you need to get it up or down a flight of steps it’s fairly lightweight and easy to carry.

We also love it’s built-in bottle opener, because no doubt someone will forget to bring one.  And when the lid is closed, you can rest the special butler tray on the handle to serve drinks and snacks.  

And there’s yet another bonus to it.  There’s also a handy tie-down loop that you can use to haul your other beach gear.

Pros:

  • roomy 70 quart interior
  • superior traction on sand
  • Superior ice retention
  • Telescopic handle
  • Easy to tow
  • Easy to carry
  • Built-in bottle opener
  • Butler tray for serving
  • handy tie-down loop

Cons:

  • There’s no cap catch tray

BEST VALUE

Summary

For the more budget conscious, this may well be the very rolling cooler for you.

It offers the perfect balance between having a sufficiently high capacity, at 50 quarts it can hold up to 84 cans, yet at the same time isn’t too inconvenient to store away.  

And when it comes to storage, the telescopic handle helps make the cooler more compact, and the lid is more or less flat, so can store things on top.

Talking of the lids being quite flat, it can actually hold up to 250 pounds on top of it, it's so durable and sturdy.  So it effectively doubles as a handy beach seat.

The insulation is quite impressive, being able to retain the ice of up to a whopping 5 days.

It’s also easy to maneuver, being quite lightweight and featuring heavy duty all-terrain wheels.

And it’s easy to clean to boot.

Pros:

  • More affordable option
  • can hold up to 84 cans
  • four cup holders
  • easy to maneuver
  • Great ice retention
  • Doubles as a seat
  • Compact to store

Cons:

  • No built in bottle opener

RUNNER UP

Summary

If you’re looking for a really big party cooler wagon, then this could very well be the one for you.  

It has a huge 80 quart capacity, able to keep a whopping 50 bottles of beer cool at a time, or about 70 cans.  Enough to cater for the extended family or for a really big party with friends.

We adore it’s vintage appearance - a huge block of bright red chassis that really stands out, complete with really oversized wheels and solid durable handle.

The 10 inch large wheels are air filled and are designed to be able to roll it over any terrain, including sand.  And it’s uniquely long handle also helps make the cooler real easy to maneuver.

This cooler keeps your goods cool for days, thanks to its innovative PP-insulated interior.

We also like the built-in bottle opener which is a nice touch and can come in super handy.  And there’s also a catch tray to stash all the bottle caps, so you can help keep the party area reasonably clean.

Whether you’re into your big beach parties or your big family picnics, this cooler will do the job.

It might be a little bulky for some households to store away, but if you’ve got room in your garage, then why not go for it.

Pros:

  • Very large capacity
  • Bright red vintage look
  • Large all-terrain wheels
  • Vintage large handle
  • Built-in bottle opener

Cons:

  • Quite big to store away

Best Rolling Cooler for the Beach Buying Guide

There are a number of different things that you might want to give some thought to before you decide to part with your hard earned cash.  So we’ll just walk you through them now, looking at each factor in turn.

Capacity

First of all, you’ll need to think about how big you need it to be.  For example, if it’s just for a family of four to tide (pun intended!) you over with some soft drinks through the course of a day, then you won’t be needing a particularly large cooler, and one with say, a 50 quart capacity will more than suffice.

If, on the other hand, you’re planning on throwing a huge beach party with beers all round, then you’re better off looking for something far bigger, such as a cooler with an 80 quart capacity.

Portability

When a cooler is full of bottles it becomes considerably heavier than when it was empty.  No one wants to have to carry a cooler around, especially if you happen to have a lot of other things to carry besides.  

So it’s our recommendation that you get yourself a rolling cooler, like the ones we showed you in our product reviews earlier.  You can push them or drag them with ease.

In terms of what makes them more portable, it is our recommendation that you go for a cooler that has large wheels.  This is because rolling coolers with small wheels are a lot more difficult to tow over soft sand, or on any difficult terrain for that matter.

Ice Retention

Portable coolers stay cold with the magic of insulation and ice.  The cooler insulation needs to be as thick and as efficient as possible in order to prevent the ice from melting too quickly.  In other words it needs to provide good ice retention.

These days even the entry level models will usually give you a day or two of decent ice retention, but there are models on the market that can keep your food and drinks cool for even longer.  

So, you will need to determine exactly how long you will need it to keep cool for before you can work out which one to buy.

Drain Holes

Unfortunately a cooler’s ice retention, including even the best ones on the market aren’t designed to keep blocks or shards of ice completely cool forever.  In fact, realistically, the ice will start to melt from the very first moment that you open the lid to put your food and drinks in.

In order to deal with this melting ice, portable coolers are equipped with drain holes for the melted ice.  Otherwise you may well find your drinks and snacks floating in a soppy puddle of water.  

These drain holes will need to be placed low down in the cooler, and they should also be able to be closed when not in use, in order to prevent any unwanted heat from being transferred into the cooler, melting the ice even further.

Durability

Rolling coolers are generally designed to be hard wearing and durable, but we’ve found that some are more durable than others.  For example, some coolers can take so much weight on them, that they can actually double as beach chairs, whereas their flimsier counterparts will buckle under an adult’s weight.

In addition to featuring a relatively heavy duty chassis, the cooler should also be well constructed, in that the wheels and handle should be properly attached to the chassis.

Storage

You will need somewhere to stash your cooler when you’re not using it.  So you need to be sure that you have room at your residence to store it.  To that end you should take a gander at the cooler’s dimensions before you buy.

You will also want to be able to fit it in the trunk of your car, and the same checks apply here.  

If storage or transport space is an important consideration for you, then may want to look into getting a collapsible fabric cooler bag, provided it has sufficient capacity for your needs.

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