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Choosing The Right Cooler Size

  • 5 min read

 A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Size Canyon Cooler for Your Needs

Canyon Coolers is known for its durable, high-performance coolers, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, and those who enjoy recreational activities. However, with various models and sizes available, it can take time to determine which Canyon Cooler is best suited for your needs. This guide will help you understand the factors to consider when choosing a cooler size and recommend the right Canyon Cooler products to match your requirements.

Table of Contents:
Assess Your Needs: Activities and Duration
Understanding Cooler Capacities
Insulation and Ice Retention
Portability and Transportation
Additional Features
Canyon Coolers Product Lineup
Our Top Recommendations

Assess Your Needs: Activities and Duration

Before you dive into cooler specifications, it's essential to determine the primary purpose and duration of your cooler usage. Are you planning a weekend camping trip, a week-long fishing expedition, or a simple beach day? The time and type of activity you'll be engaging in directly impact the size and performance of the cooler you'll need.

Understanding Cooler Capacities

Cooler capacities are typically measured in quarts. A quart is equivalent to 0.946 liters or approximately 1 liter. To better understand how much a cooler can hold, consider that a 50-quart cooler can store around 50 cans of soda — plus ice. This capacity should be sufficient for a small group on a weekend trip. However, consider larger sizes or taking multiple ice chests if you require more space for perishable goods.

For outings longer than 4-5 days, you'll also need to plan on a larger size or multiple coolers to account for maximizing your ice-to-good-stuff ratio. For best results, we recommend a 2:1 ratio. That's 2/3 of the cooler full of ice, 1/3 reserved for what you're trying to keep cold, as you'll see below.

Insulation and Ice Retention

One of the critical factors in determining the right cooler size is its ability to keep your items cold for an extended period. Canyon Coolers are known for their superior insulation and ice retention capabilities. Their rotomolded construction and pressure-injected foam insulation ensure your items stay cold for days, even in extreme conditions. Remember that larger coolers generally have better ice retention due to their higher insulation-to-surface-area ratio. You can also fit more ice in a larger cooler, to begin with. This is why you should always opt for a bigger cooler when longer trips are your norm.

Most people use coolers for shorter, 2-3 day weekend trips. If you manage your cooler well, you should be ok with a 1:1 ice-to-good-stuff ratio. Managing ice is an art more than a science, and you'll learn about it the more you use your cooler in the wild.

This article will help you learn how to make the most of your Canyon.

Portability and Transportation

When choosing a cooler size, you need to consider how easy it is to transport. Larger coolers can store more items but tend to be heavier and more cumbersome. Smaller coolers are easier to transport but may need more storage for your needs. Canyon Coolers offer various sizes and designs, including models with wheels and heavy-duty handles, making them easier to transport over long distances or rough terrain.

Additional Features

While size is a crucial factor in choosing a cooler, it's also essential to consider additional features to enhance your experience. Some Canyon Coolers have added benefits like integrated dividers, tie-down points, built-in bottle openers, and bear-resistant certifications. 

Consider which features are most important to you and how they may influence your decision in choosing the right size cooler. The lineup below gives you a quick summary of our various coolers lines and will help guide you in the right direction.

Canyon Coolers Product Lineup

Canyon Coolers offers a range of products to suit various needs and preferences. Here's an overview of their lineup to help you decide which model and size may be right for you:

Outfitter Series: This popular series includes 22-quart, 35-quart, 55-quart, 75-quart, and 125-quart options. These coolers are designed for performance and durability, ideal for extended outdoor trips and heavy-duty use. However, the Outfitter series lacks some features of the Adventure and PRO Series coolers. Generally speaking, there are fewer tie-down points and fewer compatible accessories.

Adventure Series: This series is made to move. Three coolers comprise this line, the 103-quart Prospector, the 30-quart Mule, and the 22-quart Scout. We say they're made to move, as they feature additional tie-down locations, making them easy to attach to a side-by-side or overland rig. The Prospector was explicitly created to rig to a whitewater raft frame. The Mule has integrated, hard-wearing wheels and a telescoping handle.

Nomad Series: This soft-sided series includes a 20-quart and a 30-quart option, designed for lighter use and shorter outings. These coolers are more lightweight and compact, making them perfect for picnics, beach days, or tailgating.

Pro Series: Three Coolers, a 45, 65, and 150-quart cooler, are designed for professional use, such as whitewater rafting, professional catering, food trucks, or hunting expeditions. This series boasts superior insulation and has heavy-duty features to handle the most demanding conditions.

Our Top Recommendations

Based on different needs and preferences, here are our top Canyon Cooler recommendations:

1. Weekend Getaway (Small Group): Outfitter 35-quart or 55-quart, PRO 45-quart

These coolers provide enough space for a small group's food and drinks, and their exceptional insulation ensures your items stay cold for the duration of your trip.

2. Family Camping Trip (3-Day weekend): Outfitter 75-quart or PRO 65-quart

For larger groups or families, these coolers offer the capacity you'll need for an extended camping trip. The PRO 65-quart is particularly useful. Its integrated divider doubles as a cutting board, making it perfect for camp food preparation.

3. Extended Expedition (Large Group): Outfitter 125-quart, Prospector 103-quart, or PRO 150-quart Navigator

These high-capacity coolers provide ample storage and unparalleled ice retention for professional use or large group expeditions. The Outfitter 125-quart is suitable for extended trips. At the same time, the Prospector 103-quart and Navigator 150-quart are designed for heavy-duty use in extreme conditions.

4. Day Trips & Picnics: Nomad 20, 30-quart, or Outfitter 22-quart

The soft-sided Nomad coolers are lightweight, compact, and perfect for a day at the beach, park, or tailgating event. Choose between the 20-quart or 30-quart options based on the size of your Group and the amount of storage you need. Outfitter 22 is a great road trip companion for keeping bottled water, sodas, and snacks cool between convenience stops.

5. Active Overnight trips (small Group): Mule 30-quart

The Mule 30-quart cooler backpack combines the convenience of a soft-side cooler with the durability of a hard-sided cooler. Ideal for day hikes, fishing trips, or other short outdoor excursions where hands-free portability is a priority.


Choosing the right size cooler ensures your food and drinks stay cold and fresh during outdoor adventures. By considering factors such as your intended use, duration, group size, insulation, and portability, you can decide which Canyon Cooler product will best meet your needs. This guide has provided an overview of Canyon Coolers' lineup and our top recommendations for different scenarios. Use this information as a starting point

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