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Best Picks for Tailgating Coolers

Keeping It Cold On The Go


Tailgating is a party unto itself and the extreme tailgater will take it to extremes that include installing grills in truck beds and heating outdoor tents with generators. The one thing every tailgater needs is a good cooler and there are a lot of choices, but a few cater specifically to those with the ultimate team spirit, no matter what sport or team level is your thing. Below are some of those coolers that sports fans of any degree can find useful.

Cruzin Cooler

Cruzin Motorized Cooler
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

This is a dream cooler for the tailgater and it is one that we've heard a lot about since it was released. Imagine that long walk from the car to your friend's prime tailgating spot made a little easier by not having to lug your cooler around, instead you get to hop on for the ride and pull up to the party in style.

The Cruzin Coolers are about the size of the average camping cooler and can hit 12 mph. It will only hold about 20 cans and a small bag of ice, but that lost space is made up for by the fact that you will have one of the coolest coolers in the parking lot. Remember to charge it up overnight and I'll warn you that there have been cooler riders charged with operating under the influence.

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Wheeled Coolers

Wheeled Tailgating Cooler
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

One of the biggest advancements in coolers came when someone decided to put wheels on them. If you have ever lugged a large cooler even across a chilly parking lot you will appreciate this simple convenience.

Wheeled coolers are available in a variety of sizes from small 12 inch, soft-sided versions to huge 80 quart ones that will hold all of the food and drink you need for a long day tailgating. One thing you want to look for with these coolers are those that have a long handle so you are not hunched down while dragging it.

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Cocktail Gator

Cocktail Gator
Photo Courtesy: © Cocktail Gator

The Cocktail Gator bags are a very convenient way to carry all of your bar needs to the tailgate. Bottles, cups, and all of the accessories you need to mix drinks in the parking lot can be packed in these soft-sided bags with a shoulder carrying strap. Need ice? A tub for carrying ice inside is included. A good friend of mine has a Cocktail Gator and is impressed by its convenience.

Coleman Oversized Quad Chair with Cooler

Coleman Chair with Cooler
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

This one is a little different from the rest. It is clearly more of a personal indulgence for the die hard tailgater who wants to take it as easy as possible. If you prefer to have a few cold cans of beer within reach while chilling out this is the chair for you.

For a little more than the cost of quality folding chairs, this chair has a soft-side cooler on one of the arms that holds 3 cans and a re-freezable ice pack, a drink holder on the other and a convenient pouch for storing small items you would want handy. The padded seat is also a nice feature and more comfortable than the average lawn chair.

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Radio Cooler with iPod Port

iPod Radio Cooler
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

A cooler and entertainment center in one package, what more could you want while tailgating? This small cooler will hold a nice supply of drinks and keep them cold, but it is the sound system that is the real benefit.

With this cooler you can start out with tunes from your iPod, then switch over to the radio broadcast of the game if you're one who prefers the parking lot to the stadium or want to get pre or post game commentary. All this while keeping your drinks cold for less than $70.

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Personal Fridge

Personal, Portable Refrigerator
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

If toting bags of ice around in a cooler is not your thing, you may want to check into a refrigerator. Yes, it will keep drinks and food cold, but it also requires a power source and may not hold as many beers as you would like.

The key to choosing a tailgate-worthy refrigerator is to look at size. Many are designed to plug into your car, sitting in between front seats or in the back, but they hold only a few cans. That is great for the casual tailgater. Yet for the enthusiastic tailgater that may not be enough so you will want to find a larger capacity fridge and be diligent about rotating the stock. Also you will want to ensure your car's battery is up for the power drain or you could be stuck in the parking lot longer than you expected.

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Trash Can Cooler

Trashcan Tailgating Cooler
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

The Trashcan Cooler is a classic of the tailgating scene for a few reasons. It is cheap at around $20, can be found with almost any sports team's logo and colors, and is lightweight and leak-proof.

This cooler has a lining that will keep a lot of drinks and ice cold for awhile, however it has no lid. That will not matter much during the fall and winter football seasons because the frigid air will keep things chilly, but if you are in the South or tailgating on a warmer day, you may find your beer a bit warm. The other issue is that I like to leave home with a stocked cooler and the design of this collapsible one is not the best for that. Sure, it's great after the game when it's empty, but when full it is best left in the truck.

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Tailgate Cooler & Grill

Collegiate Team Grill and Cooler Tote for Tailgating
Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber.com

There are pros and cons with this cooler. It is ideal for tailgating because the gas grill, barbecue tools and cooler are all in one tote that can be found with the logos of a number of college teams. However, despite the grill being small - but able to handle a few hot dogs and burgers - it does take up cooler space. The cooler compartment is removable as well, but I get the feeling it would be far more convenient for carrying what is going on the grill rather than the BBQ master's drinks - make the other guy bring the beer.

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