Which coolbox is the best? 3 Coolboxes compared

May 24, 2017

You may be wondering which coolbox to buy, so here’s three coolboxes we’ve used for camping and put to a simple test to see which one keeps items coolest the longest.

Which coolbox? We compare three popular coolboxes used for family camping

A decent coolbox is an essential item for family camping, for both transporting chilled food to camp, and keeping it cool for at least a few days.

We’ve used three different types of coolbox over the years, but never thought of conducting a really simple test to see which is the best… until now.

The Contenders

We test 3 popular coolboxes:

  1. A popular Thermos coolbox
  2. A popular powered Campingaz coolbox
  3. And the Coleman Xtreme coolbox that is meant to keep things cooler for longer
Cool Box
A basic cool box.
  • Capacity - 32L
  • Weight - 1.5kg
PowerBox 28 Deluxe Cooler
You can keep this cool in your car.
  • Capacity - 28L
  • Weight - 4.8kg
Best Results
33 L Xtreme Hard Cool Box
  • Capacity - 33L

The Coolbox Comparison Test

Contender 1: 28L Thermos Coolbox

We used our Thermos Cool Box for years.

This 28 Litre model is very popular and can easily have large Coke or lemonade bottles standing upright.

It’s quite a bulky item, but quite affordable.

Test Results: In our simple test this was the first to let the ice melt suggesting that perhaps it was the least well insulated of the three coolboxes on test.

Contender 2: 28L Campingaz Powerbox

The Campingaz Powerbox was an upgrade from our Thermos coolbox, and has worked well over the last few years.

Also labelled 28L it actually has more usable space due to the straight sides.

The Campingaz Powerbox main feature is of course the powered cooling. This works with a special lid with a built in chiller that plugs into your car’s 12V supply. (Read our review here).

The chiller isn’t as powerful as you would find in your fridge at home, but enough to help maintain a cool coolbox in the boot of your car.

The coolbox also comes with a normal lid that you can use once in your tent.

Test Results: The Campingaz Powerbox came in a close second in our simple test. We did place the powered lid on top, but it wasn’t powered on as we wanted to test how well each box could keep things cool without power – as you would have in your tent (unless on electric hook-up of course, but you’ll need to purchase the extra power adaptor).

Contender 3: Coleman Xtreme 33L

So with thanks to Coleman we got to try out their massive family-sized Coleman 33L Xtreme Cool Box. (Read our review of the Coleman Xtreme coolbox here).

This coolbox is big with plenty of space inside. However, it is shorter than the other 28L coolboxes, so large bottles of Coke or lemonde must lay on their side.

The Coleman Xtreme 33L easily one our simple test and proved to be the most well insulated of the three coolboxes.

We took this on a four day camp and the milk stayed cold for the entire time.

For such a large coolbox we should have put some more ice packs in though.

Test Results: The Coleman Xtreme 33L easily one our simple test and proved to be the most well insulated of the three coolboxes.


Coleman have tweaked and improved the design of the Xtreme coolbox. And we like it.

It is now not as long but is taller.

This makes it easier to fit in tall bottles.

Larger coolboxes also come with wheels and a telescopic handle, making them much easier to move when full.

Coleman have also improved the insulation, making the thickness of the insulation slightly thinner, but still with the same insulation value.

View updated Xtreme Coolbox >>


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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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  1. did the coleman win or 1 the test?

    • Hi Gill,
      Yes, the Coleman Xtreme stays cool the longest.
      We’ve used it now on many camping trips. If you resit going in and out of it too often, it does stay cold for a while.
      It is big though, so we also still use the powered Campingaz coolbox for when we don’t need to take as much food.
      Hope that helps.

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