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Storage life, size, compactness and carrying comfort: coolers offer a variety of storage solutions for your food and beverages when you go camping or picnicking. We give you all our advice so that you make the right choice in this article!
The choice of your future cooler will be made according to 5 criteria: its storage life, its capacity, its compactness, its storage accessories and its carrying comfort.
The first criteria that will help you choose your cooler is its ability to keep cool. For example, if you are going on a day hike and have packed your cooler with food and drink for when you return, you will need a longer storage life than if you use your cooler to go straight to your picnic spot without having to walk far to get to your spot to spread your red and white checkered blanket. So far, no surprises...
The choice of your cooler can also be made according to its compactness. I gave you a bit of a "spoiler" (or "divulgence" as our Quebecois cousins say) above when I talked about inflatable coolers. We'll discuss it in more detail here!
If you have limited storage space at home or your boot is already full when you go camping, a soft cooler has the advantage that it can be folded on itself to take up very little space when not in use. You don't need to find an entire space to store it, once it's flat, it fits just about anywhere.
As for rigid coolers, they provide little compactness but more resistance for your food, which will remain protected from external shocks (RIP the blackened banana or the apple that took a few too many bumps). They are also very often waterproof. In addition, although they may have a passive system, they sometimes have a refrigeration system, as far as electric coolers are concerned (in any case, you are unlikely to come across a soft electric cooler...).
Finally, other coolers use a self-inflating system, which means they can be easily compacted: you just have to open the valve and squeeze the cooler to release the air and you're done! These coolers are the perfect in-between and combine the advantages of both soft and hard coolers. In addition, the self-inflating system reinforces their isothermal properties. It’s a win-win!
Please note! Flexibility does not mean fragility (on the contrary, if you remember the Fountain's fable of the "oak and the reed"... that bends does not break). Some soft coolers are equipped with durable components on the bottom so they can be used on all types of terrain.
Are you going on a day hike and want to carry everything you need in one bag? Quechua has thought of you by creating a backpack with a cooler compartment. Do you see the shoe compartments sometimes at the bottom of sports backpacks? Well, instead of having a shoe compartment, the backpacks have a zipped insulated compartment at the bottom.
This can hold enough food for one person and a day's walking, all of it cool for 4 hours (without ice packs). This way, no one will be "designated" cooler carrier. Everyone carries their own snack. And if you’re going solo, you won't have to carry an extra cooler (we still advise you to always go with two people at least or to give your coordinates and your planned return time to a third person just in case).