The It Bag of the Summer Is a Cooler, Baby

Swap the strained tote bag for Iron Maiden Igloo collabs, Coleman rollies, fold-up coolers, and other summertime ice chests that are 50% off.

Every summer, it’s the same story. We settle for schlepping our beer, sammies, and balls of burrata to the park in tote bags that can’t pull their weight (not their fault!) or get drippy, diaper-butt corners from condensation. That ain’t it. 

How is it that in The Year of Our Gaga, 2021, every bag is not a cooler? Are our everyday belongings also not worthy of being coddled? Why shouldn’t they be chilling inside silver insulation that looks like Andy Warhol’s Factory for Polly Pockets? Maybe we’re late to this epiphany, but there’s no better time than the present to buy a cooler, especially if you don’t have one already. We’ve missed hanging out with the friends, foes, and randos at the beach. And now that we’re vaccinated, we will be Hard Chilling in the park from 6 PM to sometime after the late-night baconeggandcheese witching hour, and we will require our food and drink to be protected from spoilage. 

We’re in it for the long haul. We need coolers that roll, lock, and fold down into a pancake for easy storage—or ones that just look like a purse our rich aunt would own. We need an ice box for  banging up on the trail, and we need a vanity cooler that speaks to our undying love for vampires, Iron Maiden, and Big Buck Hunter. So, crack open that pilsner, and let’s see just what kind of Lake Dad you can become. 

Flashback to the 90s

We should tell you now: This article is filled with our undying love of Igloo, the company “born from a modest metalworking shop back in 1947” that has been safekeeping our picnic spread in sooo many styles over the years. This time, they’ve revisited the classic picnic basket shape, and given it a 90s color palette. 

Igloo
Retro Picnic Basket 25 Qt Cooler

$49.99 at Amazon
Igloo
Retro Picnic Basket 25 Qt Cooler

$50 at Huckberry
Igloo
Retro Picnic Basket 25 Qt Cooler

$49.99 at Igloo

You don’t have much home storage

We will also be taking this cooler grocery shopping, to the farmer’s market, and every family function that will always be needing more sauerkraut (duh) before flattening it out, Pixar-Lamp-style, and stashing it behind the fridge. We have no emotional bandwidth for anything bigger, sometimes, and we appreciate that it knows when not to take up space. 

dbest products
Ultra Compact Cooler Smart Cart

$33.60 at Amazon

You run on Jerry Time

Who knows where you’re truckin’ today. Doesn’t matter when your goods are so well-insulated. 

Igloo
Grateful Dead Steal Your Face Daytripper Backpack

$64.99 at Igloo
Igloo
Grateful Dead Dancing Bears 16 Oz Stainless Steel Can Tumbler

$19.99 at Igloo

The one sized to fit your wine bottles

There’s a reason outdoorsy people are obsessed with YETI, and it’s pretty simple: Their stuff keeps your goods really cold, for a really long time. They see your needs, which means they also see the four bottles of pét-nat you’re trying to take to the park without clinking up the street. This cooler is sized to fit your big bottles, and is 10 percent lighter than previous models.

Yeti
Roadie 24 Cooler
$199.98 at REI

$199.99 at Yeti

You own Oakleys

This top-rated Igloo cooler is 50 percent off, and will act as a magnet for anyone else at the BBQ who will be down to play Big Buck Hunter at the bar later. It also comes in a dreamy electric blue (and tan if you’re going even simpler). 

Igloo
Sportsman Waterproof Cooler

$159.99$79.99 at Igloo

You need one with wheels

All my high rollers out there: I see you. Coleman is another great, long-standing American brand for schlepping your seltzers. This one holds up to 84 cans, and the insulated lid and walls claim to keep your goods cold for up to “5 full days of ice retention at temperatures up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.” Damn. 

Coleman
Portable Cooler with Wheels

$59.99$54.28 at Amazon

The patio-dweller

Somewhere between the aesthetic of lost 1960s summer, and that cursed NYPD robo-dog, you will find this cooler: A patio-dwelling chiller that rolls around, and doubles as a side table. 

Beacon Garden Products
65 Qt. Rolling Party Cooler

$179.00$157.99 at Wayfair

You use the the word “summer” as a verb

Oh, man! We left our wallet at home. Can we Venmo you later, Ina Garten?  

Food52
Double Compartment Cooler Bag

$100 at Food52

You’re a metal head…

… Or a Baby Yoda stan. Yet another reminder to keep your eyes on the many rad, rad collaborations Igloo does for the *gestures in Italian* culture. Chill with the beats, or scram. 

Igloo
Star Wars The Child Playmate Mini 4 Qt Cooler

$29.99 at Igloo
Igloo
Iron Maiden Eddies Playmate Classic 14 Qt Cooler

$49.99 at Igloo

H-Ween knows no season

Summer is peak vamp season. Will this keep your beer cool? No. Will it keep it cool in character development? Yes. Nestle into these plastic coffins with Bestie, and relish in the sweet, fleeting feeling of getting buried alive in cold Miller High Lifes, and forcing anyone who wants one to look in your blood-red eyes. Stop putting so much chlorine in the pool. 

Beistle
Inflatable Vampire & Coffin Cooler

$35.99 at Quill

You’re starring in a 'Leave It to Beaver' reboot

Golly, bro. Hit me up on the rotary when you head to the Catskills this summer. 

Coca Cola
Retro Ice Chest Cooler with Bottle Opener

$74.21 at Amazon

May your sauce stay ever cool, and your best bug spray flow freely.  


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.

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