If you spend much time at the beach then you know what a chore it can be hauling a cooler through the sand. After much research and comparing reviews we can say with authority that the Igloo Trailmate is the best cooler with wheels for rolling over beach sand. While this cooler is the best option we do have other recommendations that we think may sway you. Continue reading to learn more about this cooler and our other suggestions.
We have to admit, this cooler is pretty over the top. When it comes to dealing with sand, the large wheels of the Trailmate do a great job. The body of the cooler is raise up to prevent it from dragging through the sand. The wheels are a little narrow though but don’t let this deter you. It does an admirable job. This cooler is also rigged with interior LED lighting which can come in quite handy when the sun goes down. It is great for strapping down additional gear such as beach chairs and umbrellas. It has a fold out table and great extendable handle. It includes a few storage options for keeping phones and keys out of the sand and water.
When it comes to the best beach cooler, this one delivers the goods and then some. It’s the ideal beach cooler.
The Pelican Elite is our runner up selection. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the Igloo Trailmate but it is extremely ruggedly designed and built and will definitely withstand many seasons of abuse that the beach can dish out. The large wheels do a decent job of handling sand though not as great as the Trailmate. Depending on your situation, the increased volume and rugged durability of the Pelican may be your preferred option for a wheeled cooler.
Honestly, we strongly suggest considering the Challenger Mobility Folding Beach Cart. No, it’s not a cooler. That said, it’s wheels will do a stellar job of dealing with sand, much better than either our best pick and runner up. Not only that but you can buy the cooler that best fits your need. You can pick the biggest cooler, the most rugged cooler, or a cooler speakers built in if that’s your thing. When it comes to dealing with sand, this cart is the best solution due to its balloon wheels.
Again, if you really want the a cooler than can deal with beach sand then you should seriously consider this cart combined with the cooler that best fits your needs. You’ll end up with an even better solution that our best pick.
It all comes down to the wheels themselves. The wider the wheel the less the wheels will slice down into the sand. Also, larger wheels can provide more ground clearance so that the bottom of the cooler won’t drag in the sand making it more difficult to get where you’re going.
Rotationally molded (AKA Rotomolded) coolers are made to keep ice solid for extended periods time and keep your drinks and foods well protected. The rotomolding process is great because it creates a perfectly consistent thickness to the walls of the cooler. This creates strength as well as great insulation characteristics.
Foam coolers do a very good job of keeping ice solid and drinks cool but not as good as a proper rotomolded cooler. When it comes to durability, styrofoam performs particularly poorly. It just doesn’t hold up to much use. It’s great in a pinch but it doesn’t take much stress on a full styrofoam cooler for it to crack and break.
A vacuum is the absolute best insulator as there is literally nothing that can transmit cold away from where you want it. That isn’t practical so the next best solution is foam insulation. Foam, especially closed cell foam creates thousands of little air pockets, and believe it or not, but air is a great insulator. The challenge is keeping the air in place. This is what the foam does. The shell of the cooler is designed to protect the fragile foam.
No, but it is very close. A vacuum is the best insulator but air comes in very closely behind it. It’s very difficult to create a true vacuum and to do so at a reasonable price. There are some tumblers coming on the market that are true vacuum such as the S’well. These tumblers perform amazingly well. Unfortunately there isn’t an equivalent in coolers. If there were it would be astoundingly expensive but perform impressively. Foam is the best alternative. It traps small air pockets that insulate extremely well.
OutdoorGearLab.com / The Best Coolers & Ice Chests of 2018
FieldAndStream.com / Ice Chest Throwdown
While the best wheeled cooler for beach sand is the Igloo TrailMate, the Challenger Mobility Folding Beach Cart and the cooler of your choice is a better route to go if you can afford to spend the extra bucks. The balloon wheels of the Challenger will perform much better than either the Igloo or Pelican. The added flexibility of being able to choose the best cooler or your needs is a bonus. For instance, Pelican makes incredibly rugged coolers. You could choose a non-wheeled cooler from Pelican sized to meet your needs and add it to the Challenger and you’d have an incredible solution. No matter which of these you go with they are all great solutions. Good luck no matter which way you go and may you have a wonderful time the next time you venture out on the beach.
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