With true Australian passion for camping, the outdoors and cold beers, having the best esky, cooler or ice box couldn’t be more important.
Let’s have a look at this important part of your camping trip arsenal: top camping esky features and benefits; what to look for in ice boxes if you want to keep your food and drinks cool and impress your mates at the same time; and the best esky Australia reviews we can find online and based on our personal camping experiences.
Choosing the Right Ice Box for Your Needs
There’s a range of factors to consider when it comes to purchasing an esky, cooler or ice box for storing your beers and foodstuff that needs to be chilled while camping or fishing.
Of course, purpose is on top of the list of these factors. You’ll want to consider what you’re going to use the best esky for, perhaps a camping trip or a short BBQ at the park. Given this, the best camping esky should be big and spacious enough to accommodate your food for a meal and enough drinks.
If you own a camping fridge in your caravan, you might want to look for a smaller esky to take with you to the camping grounds or park to keep your food or drink cool. You might also be after a more compact or portable ice box for packing on some snacks for the kids or family.
We’re obsessed over our camping gear, so we personally own at least three ice boxes: one big, one medium and two smaller eskies depending on how much we need to store inside. Don’t forget the cooler bag, too!
Now here are other crucial factors to consider when getting a camping esky to keep food cold:
Esky cooler: Size & capacity
Size matters when getting the best esky cooler. These things come in all sizes, from housing a solo lunch to accommodating enough food and drinks for an entire week of camping.
Remember how many people you’re with, the type of food and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) you plan to bring and additional items that need to stay cold, like medicine.
Word to the wise: the kind of meals you plan to prepare also matters.
If you’re bringing with you just the basics like meat and a few sides (along with mostly water and juices), then consider this when choosing the best esky. The same principle applies if you like buying food as you go.
Now, if you’re going gourmet or keen on a bigger feast, then by all means explore bigger ice boxes for your trip.
Esky cooler: Weight & Portability
These two things are related, as the weight of the best esky influences how portable it is, particularly as it’s made to be carried from one place to another.
Weight limits prove important if you have a caravan, RV or motorhome, where everything included matters!
Thus, pay attention to how much an ice box weighs before buying it.
As for portability, have a look at a camping esky with wheels, which will serve you well in the caravan park or at camping grounds, especially if they’re far from where you’re parked. This comes in handy if you have other camping gear in tow.
Esky cooler: Insulation
How much is an esky cooler able to retain ice and keep your food and drinks cool?
Remember that you live in Australia, where the outdoors are pretty much hot all year round.
Ice retention time is very important, as you’ll benefit more from your ice remaining frozen longer for your camping trip. On average, eskies keep ice frozen for the day. If it’s more than a day you’re out and about, then consider getting ice boxes with thicker walls and better seals.
Esky cooler: Budget
As a rule of thumb, you get what you pay for. So if it’s just a day trip and you don’t consider yourself having a strongly outdoorsy lifestyle, a relatively cheaper esky will probably do.
If you want a reasonably portable, lightweight and long-lasting unit, then prepare to pay more.
The return on this expense includes the convenience of camping more and looking for ice less, not to mention enjoying food and drinks better when they’re supposed to be consumed cold.
Esky cooler: Ease of cleanup & other factors
No one proclaims after a day or two of camping: “How I look forward to cleaning!”
Eskies practically have smooth interiors that aren’t a pain to clean. Simply fill them with soapy water for a refreshing soak, which you need to drain later on.
Other factors to consider when buying the best esky include locks, internal lights and more.
Best Esky Australia List for 2022
It’s time to determine the best esky for camping based on which ones got the top marks from seasoned campers and caravanners, expert testers and consumers.
Which eskies make your drinks cold, are made of heavy duty rubber, have nifty features like a built-in bottle opener and shoulder strap, offer high-quality fittings and generally give you the best value for money?
Coleman esky range
A Coleman esky is pretty much a camping staple, so we have made it a point to include a few highly rated Coleman eskies in this list.
Coleman Xtreme Wheeled Cooler - 58L
With this runaway winner, expect extra insulation in the body and lid, along with the promise of keeping your ice cold for up to five days at 32 degrees Celsius.
This Coleman ice box features big wheels, better insulation and sturdy handles. If you’re thinking if a 58L capacity can serve you well, this Coleman esky can hold 80 cans. Add to the mix four moulded cup holders and a lid as well as a no-tilt draining system.
A powerful esky with wheels and a family-sized capacity is always worth considering. The price might not be for everyone, but esky reviews are consistent: this Coleman delivers good value for money.
Coleman Xtreme Cooler - 66L
It’s not wheeled like the first Coleman cooler, but it’s as much of a mean machine. Whether for half time at your kids’ footy game or a simple family barbie, this Coleman cooler holds up to 106 375ml cans. Like the first esky, it promises to keep ice up to five days at 32C.
Take note of the side comfort grip handles for easy carrying, along with the reasonable weight of just over 3kg.
And what else do you need it for but as an extra seat around camp?
Coleman Chest Cooler 47L
For a day at the beach or a weekend camping thrill, this Coleman esky does the job. It offers enough space for 70 cans, the ThermOzone foam insulation for superior cold retention (keep ice for up to three days) and a hinged lid for easy access.
It’s rust and leak proof as well as provides antimicrobial protection in the lining to keep it mould and odour resistant. There are four built in drink holders alongside easy carry handles.
Dometic Cool Ice 43L
Allow us to open with this: The labyrinth seal design of this Dometic esky is cool as ice.
A bestseller, this best esky contender from a trusted camping lifestyle brand is well-loved for its great efficiency and lightweight quality. It promises to keep ice frozen for up to 10 days, as it’s made of a thick refrigeration-grade foam insulation.
Expect sturdy dropdown handles, lock and seal latches for keeping it secure and an extra seat for the campsite or your boat.
Evakool Fibreglass Infinity Ice Boxes
Evakool earns points for originality and innovation, as its fibreglass esky range is particularly designed for Australia’s harsh conditions.
These ice boxes are promoted to store ice up to 15 days, paired with a full fibreglass cabinet with quality fitting for beating the heat.
If you’re wondering, these eskies are also fairly lightweight and offer a number of features including easy to use latches, study handles doubling as tie down points, protective corner feet, an optional removable food tray and a drainage bung for ease of cleaning.
Choose from 40L to 200L in capacity -- honestly some of the biggest in most best esky Australia reviews. The price tag looks and is in fact hefty, but it might be a worthwhile investment if you’re building a life on the road.
Techni Ice Classic range
Another high-performance option on the market is the Techni Ice Classic range, which promises to keep ice for a wide range of 5 to 16 days.
This series is known to use thick-grade polyethylene casing, a dual seal feature for creating good airlock and comfortable full-length grab rails at the top of the ice box.
We appreciate that for added support, the eskies come with marine-grade rope restraints for taking the strain off the moulded hinges whenever the lid is open.
Pictured above is the model with 40L capacity.
Dune 4WD 60L esky
At a friendly price, the Dune ice box offers a generous 60L capacity as a reliable camping trip and outdoor gear.
On top of the standout green color, this Dune esky has impressive insulation, sturdy polyethylene handles as well as stainless steel hinges.
It also comes in a 40L capacity, keeping your essential camping supplies cold for a good number of days.
Note that the handles come integrated with tie down points for secure travelling, meaning less risk of spillage and other icky things while on the road.
Final Note on Ice Boxes and Keeping Ice Longer
There are some smart ways you can help keep ice longer for your beach, fishing or camping trip. Here are some you can try.
Salt it up
Put a handful of salt in the ice blocks, making them stay colder and take longer to melt. Do this a day before heading out. Note, too, that it’s best that the esky is the last thing to go in your caravan or car when leaving for the road.
Sprinkle salt over the ice. If you can, grab some dry ice for the same purpose.
Stick to block ice
Block ice has a longer life than crushed ice.
In addition, freeze your meat and other food items before they go into your esky, cooler or ice box.
Keep your cool
Don’t open your cooler as often as you’re tempted to do.
Let excess or melted ice/water drip out, because there’s no use keeping it around unless you’re going to drink it. This will also help prevent your food items inside from swimming!
Put a wet towel on top of your esky and keep it wet. Air flowing over this towel decreases the temperature.
Hopefully you get a fair idea of the price points, benefits and compatibility of some of the top eskies around with your personal needs and preferences. Good luck and have fun shopping around for the best ice box for your next adventure!