The 20-quart cooler is an absolute classic for any expedition. Camping coolers today come in a variety of sizes and styles. The greatest cooler model can be difficult to choose because there are so many different models available.
But, “What 20 quart cooler holds ice the longest?”, this buying guide to the top 20-quart coolers is here to help you succeed on your upcoming camping trip.
We’ll talk about 15 of the best options available shortly. We’ll even provide some advice to make the process of buying as simple as possible for you.
Types of 20-Quart Coolers
Four groups can be used to classify camping coolers. You can choose from styrofoam, hard, electric, and soft coolers.
An overview of each of these types is provided below:
1. Soft Cooler
A stiff bag with insulation is essentially what a soft cooler is.
They can be held in your hand, across your shoulder, or perhaps even as a backpack because they are frequently on the lighter side.
These are more of a one-day solution because they are less substantial and can’t maintain temperatures as long as hard coolers. They are ideal for many activities, such as fishing expeditions, picnics, and day hikes.
They typically use ice packs or small ice blocks due to their small size to keep the items in the cooler bag chilled.
2. Hard Coolers
The most popular style of cooler used for camping is a hard shell cooler. They are often built of steel and fiberglass or plastic.
Although steel and fiberglass coolers are stronger than plastic ones, they are also heavier.
A hard-sided cooler has superior insulating capacity but is heavier and bulkier than soft coolers.
Generally speaking, they can keep food chilled for four to five days if you keep them as much as possible in the shade and don’t open them frequently.
3. Electric Coolers
A portable micro-fridge is essentially what this kind of cooler is.
They need a power source, which could be a generator, a portable power station, or the DC socket in your car.
They are more expensive than hard and soft coolers, but as long as you have power, they can keep your food refrigerated and fresh for an endless period.
You can use them to their maximum potential because they don’t use ice to chill.
Purchasing an electric cooler is undoubtedly worthwhile if you have access to a power supply. Without having to worry about the ice melting or the food spoiling, you can unwind at the campsite.
4. Styrofoam Coolers
These are the simplest coolers available. They are quite light because they are insulated with styrofoam. This is excellent if you require a large cooler that is also portable. They can’t maintain temperatures for as long as other coolers can, though, so that is another drawback. Therefore, a styrofoam cooler might not be the best choice if you need one that will work for longer than a day.
Generally speaking, they’ll work well for a day trip, making them ideal for gatherings with family, birthday parties, and sporting events.
What 20 Quart Cooler Holds Ice The Longest?
1. Best overall: Grizzly Cooler G20
The G20 is one of just a few coolers available on the market that has received IGBC certification for use in grizzly bear habitats. It is made of rotomolded LLDPE plastic for greater durability over years of use.
While a little heavy, this cooler has a refrigerator-grade gasket and is pressure-injected with 2″ (5.1cm) of polyurethane foam to help keep up to 24 cans and 5 lbs (2.5 lbs of ice cold for as long as feasible.
Oh, and for easier cleanup after your camping excursion, the G20 has a wide drain outlet.
Things we like:
- IGBC-certified bear habitats
- Quality rubber gasket that is pressure-injected with foam insulation traps cold air
- Rotomolded building increases durability
Things we don’t like:
- Heavy (16 lbs/7.3 kg)
- To achieve even wall thicknesses for maximum durability, our coolers are built from rotationally molded LLDPE plastic.
- For the best cooling, all hard-sided coolers include up to two inches of Ecomate polyurethane foam pressure-injected into them. This special insulation does not contribute to global warming, ozone depletion, or VOC production.
- Our lids’ rubber gaskets seal to keep cold air retained, extending the life of your ice.
- All Grizzly hard-side coolers are IGBC Certified Bear-Resistant. Additionally, two lock holes are included with each hard side cooler to keep your cooler and its contents safe.
- It has a red color with 20 quarts capacity
- Its capacity is 20 quarts
- Finish type is matte and the form factor is chest
2. Best value: RTIC Soft Cooler Insulated Bag Portable Ice Chest Box
The RTIC Soft Cooler 22 is a do-anything option for frequent adventurers and offers outstanding value for the money. This type, one of the best soft coolers on the market, can hold up to 30 beverage cans while you’re outside.
Despite being compact and packable, the RTIC Soft Cooler 22 has a heavy-duty nylon exterior, a waterproof zipper, and up to 2″ (5.1cm) of closed-cell foam insulation for improved performance at camp.
Additionally, this cooler includes an antibacterial liner built right into it for added cleaning in the mountains.
Things we like:
- Portable and light (4lbs/1.8kg)
- Completely waterproof and leak-proof design
- dependable nylon shell fabric
- Can accommodate ice and up to 30 cans
Things we don’t like:
- Injected insulation outperforms closed-cell insulation.
- The RTIC soft insulated cooler is the ideal insulated cooler bag to maintain the temperature of your food and beverages for up to 24 hours wherever you go.
- Not to mention that it is a floating cooler, so your snacks and drinks can go with you wherever you go. Whatever the adventure entails, it’s perfect for a day at the lake or pool.
- The heavy-duty nylon casing of the soft cooler makes it portable yet durable to handle any terrain. 18.5 x 12 x 17 inches is the size of the travel cooler.
- It is the ideal ice cooler, drink cooler, travel cooler, beer cooler, lunch cooler, camping cooler, and beach cooler. foam with closed cells that measures 2 inches.
- It has slate blue vinyl material
- Its capacity is 40 liters
- Item dimensions LxWxH returns 18.5 x 12 x17 inches.
- It weighs 5.5 pounds.
3. Best USA-Made: Orca Coolers 20
The Orca Coolers 20 is a robust alternative for frequent campers because it is made in the USA using only the best materials. This cooler is made to survive tough circumstances thanks to its single flex-grip stainless steel handle and rotomolded construction.
This model delivers when it comes to insulation. Up to 18 drink cans or 15 bottles can be chilled simultaneously for up to 10 days thanks to pressure-injected insulation and a lid gasket that seals out heat.
The Orca Coolers 20 also has a cargo net on the back for additional on-the-go gear storage.
Things we like:
- Cargo net for storing equipment
- Insulation with lid gasket and pressure-injected insulation
- Steel handle and robust rotomolded construction
- Produced in the USA
Things we don’t like:
- Heavy(18 pounds / 8.2 kg)
- Restricted carrying capacity
- It has white blend material.
- Its capacity is 20 quarts.
- Item dimensions LxWxH returns 19x14x15 inches.
- Item weight is 16 pounds.
4. Best purchased product: Yeti Hopper Flip 18
The Yeti Hopper Flip 18, one of the most well-known brands in the cooler business, is a sure bet for outdoor adventure.
The Flip 18 is built of only quality materials, including Yeti’s exclusive DryHide food-grade high-density shell fabric while having a large price tag for a soft cooler.
This cooler also features closed-cell rubber foam insulation, which can keep up to 20 beverage cans or 24 pounds (10.9 kilograms) of ice warm for several days at a time.
For improved performance in the mountains, it also boasts a completely waterproof and leakproof zipper.
Things we like:
- Extra-durable, food-grade shell fabric
- Zipper is waterproof and leak-proof.
- Foam made of closed-cell rubber for better insulation
- A compact cooler with a large holding capacity
Things we don’t like:
- A soft cooler is very pricey.
- With a capacity of up to 16 cans plus ice, the Hopper Flip 18 includes Coldwell Insulation, a closed-cell foam that provides improved cold-holding versus standard soft coolers.
- has a HydroLok Zipper that is 100% leakproof and high-density fabric that resists UV radiation and tears.
- The DryHide Shell can withstand the risks of the wild because it is waterproof and resistant to punctures and abrasions.
- The only personal cooler suitable for long periods spent in a tree stand, early mornings in a duck boat, or afternoons on the water
- The Hopper Flip 18 is 15 2/3 in. long by 10 1/5 in. broad by 12 3/5 in. high, and it weighs 5.1 lbs. when empty.
- It has a navy foam material
- Its capacity is 6.2 gallons.
- Item dimensions LxWxH is 16.25×10.75×13 inches.
- It weighs 5.1 pounds.
5. Best convenient: Pelican 20 Quart Elite
In the world of outdoor equipment, Pelican is known for its durability, and its 20 Quart Elite cooler is no different.
This cooler is made of extra-durable rotomolded plastic, has a lifetime warranty, and can hold up to 15 cans or 19 lbs (8.6kg) of ice for your outdoor adventures.
The cooler offers the greatest ice retention on warm days because of its freezer-grade gasket and quality locks.
For better utility on all your trips, it also includes molded-in tie-downs, non-skid feet, and integrated cup holders.
Things we like:
- Rotomolded plastic construction for durability
- Gasket made for freezers enhances insulation
- Conveniently integrated cup holders
- Stability is provided by non-slip feet.
Things we don’t like:
- A tall, slender shape may be more difficult to pack
- Extreme ice retention is provided by two inches of polyurethane insulation and a 360-degree freezer-grade gasket.
- molded-in tie-down slots, strengthened lockable hasp, stainless steel bottle opener, over-molded carry handle, 3-inch locking latches, and anti-shear hinge system
- 4 cup holders that drain themselves, non-skid rubber feet
- includes the renowned lifetime guarantee from Pelican, “You break it, we replace it.” Forever!”
You might be interested in these articles:
- How to Keep Ice Cream Frozen in a Cooler like a Pro? Tips from Experts
- How Big Is A 20-Quart Cooler? | The Ultimate Guide
- How Long Does Dry Ice Last in a Cooler? The Ultimate Answer by Professionals
Factors to Consider When Choosing a 20-Quart Cooler
Additionally, think about how you’ll transport your cooler. Traditional grab handles work well if you’re only moving a cooler from the home to the backyard for a BBQ (though depending on the size of the cooler, you might need assistance).
However, you might want to think about a cooler with more effective carrying mechanisms if you intend to take it on the go, like on a camping trip, boat excursion, or beach day. Both larger coolers with wheels for increased portability and smaller coolers with backpack straps for mobility are available.
Don’t forget to account for size: Extra-large coolers could occupy too much room in the car, and some might not even fit.
2. Soft-Sided or Hard-Sided
Coolers with hard or soft sides both have benefits and cons. Hard-sided coolers are more robust and offer longer ice retention (more on this below). They are typically more expensive and heavier as well. Conversely, soft-sided coolers are portable and simple to carry, especially since they frequently come with straps.
They are better suited for day outings or picnics because they don’t retain ice as well as hard coolers do.
3. Ice Retention
Simply enough, this refers to how long ice can stay frozen in a cooler. Bold claims from manufacturers range from 24 hours to up to two weeks. However, these assertions frequently include caveats, such as pre-chilling the cooler, using extra ice, not opening the cooler, etc.
There is no way to tell what settings the manufacturers tested their products under, but external elements like air temperature and sunshine intensity can also have an impact on ice retention. Therefore, take these assertions with a grain of salt because the ice in your cooler will undoubtedly melt more quickly in practice.
Look for rotomolded coolers if you need extra-long ice retention for prolonged use. These coolers are sturdy and maintain ice frozen for a lot longer because they are made utilizing a specific manufacturing procedure.
A top-of-the-line cooler can easily cost several hundred dollars, which, depending on your demands, may or may not be justifiable. The cost of the coolers we tested ranges from $35 to $580, with a typical price of $173. The most expensive coolers and those with the greatest ice retention are often hard-sided, rotomolded models, such as those made by Yeti and ORCA. Additionally, they frequently have longer warranties and tend to be more robust.
However, investing so much for a premium cooler might not be justified if you don’t need it for multi-day use. Grizzly Cooler G20, our top choice overall, is just slightly more expensive than that median price, demonstrating that you don’t necessarily have to shell out top bucks for a high-quality cooler.
Tips on How To Make Your Ice Last Longer in a 20-Quart Cooler
There are techniques to increase the shelf life of ice in a cooler, regardless of the type you are using.
1. Aluminium Foil
Placing aluminum foil inside the cooler is one of the simplest ways to keep your ice cooler for longer. The light is reflected away from the ice and acts as an insulator. To prevent heated air from coming in contact with the ice, bubble wrap can be used in place of foil.
2. Prepare Your Cooler
To complete this work, there are numerous options. Ice will stay frozen for a longer period if you store your ice chest inside a freezer or refrigerator, provided you have the space. If you want to lower the temperature inside before starting your exercise, you might also add ice a few hours beforehand. Another excellent suggestion is to place water bottles inside frozen containers. In addition to serving as an extra layer of ice, they also make a satisfyingly chilly beverage as they start to melt.
The last step is to chill whatever you intend to put in your cooler beforehand. It goes without saying that if the food or drink is cold, to begin with, it will stay cooler for a longer period.
3. Using larger ice blocks rather than cubes
Less surface area can be exposed to heat with larger ice blocks. The block of ice lasts far longer than tiny cubes of ice that melt more quickly because the interior is maintained far away from any heat source.
Filling a milk or water jug with water and freezing it the night before is a common trick for making your block of ice. Place the plastic bottle in the cooler after cutting it free from the now-frozen ice block.
4. Mix Regular Ice And Dry Ice
What is the shelf life of dry ice in a cooler? Dry ice, on the other hand, is substantially colder than conventional ice—109.3 below zero as opposed to 32. Simply layer ordinary ice on top of the dry ice in the cooler’s bottom. The dry ice will keep the ordinary ice substantially colder for a longer period.
5. Avoid draining water as the ice melts
Keep your ice cold by adding chilled water. The ice will stay colder for a longer period if you drain the extra water as it melts.
Expert Advice on Caring for Your 20-Quart Cooler for Long-Term Use
Willing to spend a lot of time and money on your cooler? How you handle it is what matters most. When you get back from your excursion and have finished using your cooler (hard cooler or soft cooler bag), give it a little more TLC to extend its life with you and ensure that it may continue to accompany you on future adventures. The 4-1-1 for cooler cleaning is being provided by an expert.
Step-by-Step Guide to Packing and Prepping Your 20-Quart Cooler
There are several crucial procedures to follow when it comes to packing your cooler. The proper placement of your cooler can not only increase performance but also make camp life much simpler.
1. Block Ice at the Base
Place a layer of frozen food or block ice in the bottom of a casserole dish before adding food items back in the order you intend to use them. Work your way up, starting with the food from the previous day on the bottom, until the food from the current day is on top.
2. Add Ice and Fill It Up
The enemy is the air. Large air pockets inside your cooler will hasten the melting of the ice. You should cram as much ice (cubes and/or crushed) into that area as you can. There shouldn’t be any “extra” room in your cooler, ideally. It ought to be entirely stocked with food, beverages, and ice.
We’ve discovered that the simplest way to accomplish this is to stuff the cooler with one layer of food, followed by a layer of ice, and continue until it is full.
Camping Fridge or Cooler? – Which is The Best Choice For Camping
When camping, you primarily have 2 alternatives for keeping your food cold: a cooler and a portable camping fridge. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose between these two options.
Before settling on either choice, consider the following:
- Will I be roughing it without access to electricity?
- Do I intend to camp for two to four days?
- Does my equipment need to be carried to my campsite?
A camping cooler is most likely your best option if you said “yes” to all of the above queries. Although camping fridges are fantastic pieces of equipment, they are frequently heavy and clumsy, making it challenging to transfer them to and from far-off campsites.
Additionally, because most camping fridges need an electrical or gas hookup to function, they are best used in a designated campground or a campervan.
1. Can a 20 qt cooler contain how much ice?
A 20-quart cooler from Giantex can hold 20 cans and 14 pounds of ice, to give you an idea of its capacity. How long it’ll keep your food cold is another thing to consider. Every 20-quart cooler should easily last a weekend trip, however, this can vary from brand to brand.
2. How much beer can fit in a 20-quart cooler?
There is enough space for drinks in a cooler with an actual capacity of twenty quarts. This cooler has enough space to hold 15 cans of beer or soda, even when you adhere to the 2:1 ice to products ratio, regardless of whether you have standard 12-ounce cans or taller, narrow cans.
3. Which cooler size is ideal?
- If you’re going camping for one or two days by yourself, a small camping cooler (25 quarts) is ideal.
- If you’re going camping alone for three to four days, a medium camping cooler (25 to 45 quarts) is recommended.
- For a week-long camping vacation, a large camping cooler (45–70 gallons) is recommended.
4. How can I extend the time my cooler keeps ice?
5. How much ice does a cooler hold?
A Pro’s Guide to Cooler Packing | Fresh Off The Grid
A 2:1 ice-to-content ratio should be your goal when packing your cooler. In other words, you need TWICE as much ice as you do food and beverages. You can count any food that you freeze toward the “ice” portion of the ratio to maximize the amount of food that is stored.
6. Do coolers make ice last longer?
The shelf life of ice in a cooler is between 12 and 7 days. The most durable hard coolers will last up to 7 days (or longer). Some styrofoam and soft coolers can retain ice for fewer than 24 hours. Most hard coolers can store ice for 2 to 6 days.
7. What kind of ice is the most durable?
Block ice melts the least quickly. For the longest-lasting performance, use it whenever you can. Your 60 favorite beverage cans and your 45-quart cooler will cool down more quickly with cubed ice. Cubes won’t survive as long, though.
8. Why is Yeti so expensive?
Technology and marketing are two very straightforward solutions. The Seiders brothers, two ardent outdoorsmen, who thought there weren’t any coolers on the market that kept their catches, kills, and beverages cold enough for long enough, started the Austin, Texas-based business.
9. Is a 20-quart cooler small?
A 20 qt cooler is too tiny if you need it for two people throughout the weekend. For day outings, overnight adventures, and solitary camping, 20-gallon coolers work best. I advise a 40-quart cooler if you’re anticipating anything greater.
10. Should Ice Packs Be Placed on the Cooler’s Top or Bottom?
Ice packs can be placed on a cooler’s bottom and sides to provide all-around cooling for your food and drinks. Adding ice packs to the top of your cooler, if there is room, is helpful, but the sides and bottom should take precedence.
After reading this post, we think you have the answer to the question “ What 20 quart cooler holds ice the longest?”. For any summertime camping trip where you need to keep food, drinks, and ice as cold as possible for as long as possible, coolers are a necessary piece of equipment.
One standout among the 15 fantastic models we’ve tested is the Grizzly Cooler G20. We appreciate this type because it is built to last and has excellent insulation, making it a wise choice for almost any excursion.
The RTIC Soft Cooler 20 is an excellent substitute for those looking for a more affordable choice without sacrificing quality. This is because it has some of the best insulation available for a cheap soft-sided cooler.
But getting the equipment you require for your trips is what matters most. Thank goodness, you now possess all the knowledge required to choose the ideal 20-quart cooler for your camping excursions.
In 2014, Leo Colon began working with Big Cottonwood Winery. Over the years he has remained part of this prestigious winery’s team and is also a contributor to other notable wine publications. As an ardent advocate for knowledge, Leo continues his vinous education to this day.