If you’re looking for a quick, cheap, and easy cooler, hit the local grocery store or drug store for a plain, white, disposable Styrofoam cooler. If you’re looking for something that will last for more than one outing, check out these cool coolers!
First things first: you probably want a cooler that’s easy to transport. Gone are the days of having to recruit the strongest of your family and friends to haul your cooler around. Lots of cool modern coolers come with telescoping handles and heavy-duty wheels for easy movement.
A few grills that are worth checking out:
- The Fridge Xone Grill’n and Chill’n Combination Grill and Cooler is definitely a cool option. The inner cooler fits ten cans AND has a special outer compartment to hold a grill. (The steel grill even has retractable handles so it fits nicely inside the bag.) Expect to pay more than $50 for one of these. National Tailgate offers a Picnic Time Vulcan Grill Set that comes with a gas grill, BBQ tools, and an insulated, waterproof cooler for around $120.
- Rolling coolers can range widely in price, depending on size and extra features. You can get a rolling cooler with your college logo, your favorite sports team, or in a fashion color to match your swimsuit if you so desire! Check out the five-gallon On the Edge Rolling Cooler from Brookstone (around $130), the rolling cooler with cup holders from Lands’ End (around $105), and the College Rolling Cooler from National Tailgate (around $50).
- Looking for a cooler with all the picnic accessories? Try the Picnic Time Avalanche Tailgate Cooler on Wheels from National Tailgate. This cooler comes with picnic gear for four. Expect to pay more than $100 for one of these. Living Comforts has a slightly less expensive version: the Picnic at Ascot Four Person Cooler on Wheels for around $75.
- How about a cooler that expands to meet your needs? Bellacor offers the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Rolling Cooler for around $40. This rolling cooler has a telescoping handle and side handles to make it even easier to use. The storage area expands from a 32 can size to a sixty can size.
- Igloo has long been a top name in the cooler business. They’re keeping up with the times and offering a wide range of rolling coolers with cool extra features like cup holders and molded handles for comfort.
And perhaps the coolest of the cool is the Cruzin’ Cooler Motorized Cooler. Why carry or roll your cooler when you can ride it around? This large cooler has an electric motor that can hit speeds up to thirteen miles per hour. It’ll set you back about $500, but if you love cool gadgets, you’ll want this one for your collection.
And while you’re thinking about coolers, keep these food handling safety tips in mind for those hot summer days:
- Make sure your cooler keeps foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below — bacteria can begin to multiply at temperatures above 40 degrees.
- Try to keep coolers in the shade, rather than direct sunlight.
- Try keeping drinks and food in separate coolers. Drink coolers will be opened more often and warm up faster.
- Plan ahead and try to bring only what will be eaten so you don’t have to worry about storing leftovers or attracting bugs.
- Take-out foods should be eaten within two hours of purchase or thoroughly refrigerated before transport.
- Always wash your hands before handling food. Use clean plates, utensils, and cooking surfaces.
- Cook meats until the center is no longer pink and juices run clear — according to the USDA, this is the best way to make kill bacteria.
- Don’t partially pre-cook meat before transporting. Either transport it raw or cool fully and then chill.
- Place cooked meat on a fresh platter — not on the same one that held raw meat.