In years past we might do a summer luggage round-up as everyone gets ready for the European grand tours. This year, we're pretty sure you don't need the drop the $$$ on that brand new Rimowa or Tumi.
Instead, let's retool to think what we're actually likely to be doing: hopping in our cars and driving somewhere to enjoy nature in a more old-fashioned way: the picnic. The staple of English life of yesteryear is going to be back big-time this year. Let's make sure you're outfitted, whatever your budget.
The Budget Choice
There's nothing wrong with good ol' Coleman. There's nothing especially right either—they finish is just average and the cold-keeping performance is just so-so. But they've updated the packaging a bit to hang with the times. The new look will set you back $45, but the same cooler with old-school Coleman looks is $28, which is a pretty amazing deal for a unit that will keep beverages cold, cold cuts safe and double as a small seat. I wouldn't use if for raw chicken thighs, mind you.
The We're-Not-Fooling-Around Choice
Igloo has long been a notch up the food chain from Coleman, and this model has a bunch of bells and whistles one would expect from a higher-end cooler, like secure rubber latches and rust-resistant steel hinges. It advertises ice retention for 4 to 5 days, which even if an under-ideal-circumstances sort of claim, is damn impressive. I don't know where the BMX part comes in: is it in reference to the bike favoured by kids and older dirtballs? If so, an odd choice for a pretty great cooler.
The Cooler That You Pass On To Your Kids (And They To Theirs)
I'm going to be honest: other than a few commercial fisherman and a few people who live off grid, you probably don't need the power of a Yeti. Everything about it—ice retention, hinges, lid fit, 5-year warranty and anything that might not work perfectly—is top of the line, but is that going to make a difference at your picnic? Probably not—but here's the way I see it: where else can I buy the very best of something for such a modest investment? If I'm deciding between a suitable car and an Aston Martin, the difference is several thousand dollars. To get the best-of-the-best in the cooler world? And extra C-note, and it's one sale right now. Done and done.