An ice box is a great and essential item for any camping trip. You will need them to keep your perishable food items and beverages cold. Ice boxes are not simply great for camping, but they are ideal to keep around for a day at the beach, a family picnic, or if you are heading to a sporting event.

The best ice box should be well constructed, durable, easy to carry, and keeps ice for at least a few days. Let us take a closer look at some of the different materials, essential features, and our favourite ice boxes on the market right now.

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What Is an Ice Box?

An ice box is a usually a polyethylene or fibreglass box that you can put ice in to keep your food and beverages cool. Ice boxes are ideal for picnics, backyard barbeques, and shorter camping trips. They can be used on longer camping trips, but you need to make sure you are close enough to civilization that you can top-off the ice as needed.

Ice Box vs Portable Fridge

An ice box will be much cheaper than a portable fridge, but the portable fridge may be necessary for some circumstances. If you plan to camp off the grid for long periods, you will need a portable fridge to keep all your food and beverages cold. Some portable fridges run off a 12-volt battery system while others can run for weeks off a single tank of LP gas.

If you will be close to places where you can buy ice every couple of days, then an ice box or cooler will suffice. Also, if you are just taking a single day trip for a picnic at the park or a day at the beach, again the ice box will be fine.

Ice Box Material

Ice boxes can be constructed from a few different materials but the three most common are fibreglass, polyethylene, and polypropylene. Each material has its own set of pros and cons but overall, ice boxes, no matter the material, are designed to be durable and long-lasting. Let us look at some of the pros and cons of each material type.  

Fibreglass Ice Box

Fibreglass ice boxes are the least durable of all the materials. You will need to handle your ice box with care to ensure you do not damage it, however, it will last a long time if handled correctly. Fibreglass keeps its contents the cold for a long time with ice lasting between five and seven days. Fibreglass also does not absorb smells and therefore is great for storing freshly caught fish.

Polyethylene Ice Box

Ice boxes made from polyethylene can take a lot of damage without issue. They are the best choice for people who love to 4WD and take off-road adventures. Polyethylene ice boxes are much lighter than fibreglass, but they will need to be clean thoroughly after each use. Unlike fibreglass, the polyethylene ice boxes can absorb smells easily.

Polypropylene Ice Box

An ice box constructed from polypropylene is also extremely durable and are excellent from hiking and camping trips. Polypropylene is a low-density material with high stiffness and heat resistance. This means that your food and beverages will stay cool for longer, even in the most extreme heat conditions. It also is lightweight and easy to carry.

How Do I Choose an Ice Box?

The main thing to consider before purchasing a new ice box is your intended use. How many people will it serve? How many days will you need it to stay cold? How much food and how many beverages do you plan on taking? Answering these questions will help you determine at least the size and the material type. The other features are more about your personal preference. Here is a breakdown of the features you should look at before purchasing your new ice box.

Size

The size of your ice box is determined by two things. First, how much room do you have in your vehicle? Second, how much food and beverage do you need to bring? Also, you might want to consider two smaller ice boxes to separate food from beverage rather than placing everything in one large ice box. Size is measured in litres when referring to capacity.

Insulation

Look for coolers with thick walls that do not compress easily when pressure is applied. Also, remember polyethylene ice boxes have an extra layer of insulation between the external walls. Either way, most modern ice boxes are designed to keep its contents cool for a long period and have the most up to date insulation systems available.

Portability

For easy portability, look for ice boxes that are lightweight, contain handles, and use wheels. Wheels are excellent if you need to leave your car and walk some distance to your campsite. Handles should be tough and they shouldn’t feel flimsy or flex a lot when carrying a full ice box.

Durability

Durability is important if you plan on off-roading or if you are generally tough on your gear. It does not hurt to go overboard on finding something ultra-durable even if you do not plan on abusing your ice box too much. Plan for the unexpected.

Easy to Clean

For a cooler that is easy to clean, look for smooth surfaces, and a simple interior design that does not contain lots of tight corners and hard to get at crevasses. Also, if there are some shelving units in your ice box, make sure they are removable so they can be cleaned easily and that they do not hide dirty areas.  

Locking Features

Locking features can either be used as a latching mechanism or for security purposes. The latching mechanism is great if your ice box tips over so that the lid stays shut, and the contents do not spill out. Some iceboxes feature a padlock latch so you can leave your cooler unattended and not worry about some thirsty strangers stealing your beer.

Best Ice Box Reviews

Dometic Cool Ice Icebox WCI

Dometic Cool Ice Icebox WCI
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 22

If you read a dometic ice box review you will learn that the Dometic Cool Icebox WCI is the best cooler for all your camping, hiking, and family picnic needs. Constructed with a seam-free roto mould, this cooler box has extraordinarily little cold-loss over time. This dometic ice box comes in three different sizes. A 13-litre, 22-litre, and 33-litre ice box.  

  • RRP: 13L: $99.00 22L: $125.00 33L: $189.00
  • Size and Capacity: 13L: 38.8L x 24.5W x 30.5H cm 22L: 38.8L x 36.5W x 31.3H cm 33L: 40L x 36W x 44H cm
  • Insulation: Refrigeration Grade PU Foam
  • Material: Seamless CFC Polyethylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 10 Days
  • Weight: 13L: 2.8 Kg 22L: 4.2 Kg 33L: 6.1 Kg

Pros: Covered by a 5-year warranty. Roto-mould construction. Keeps ice for 3-10 days.

Cons: Not lockable.

Coleman Xtreme Wheeled Cooler 58L

Coleman Xtreme Wheeled Cooler 58L
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 23

The Coleman Xtreme brand ice box is not only the best ice box in Australia, it is the best ice box in the world. The 58-litre Coleman Xtreme cooler comes with a tow handle and large wheels for easy manoeuvring. This coleman esky is rustproof, leak-proof, and can hold ice up to five days. This esky on wheels also holds 85 cans. That’s a lot of beer!

  • RRP: $209.99
  • Size and Capacity: 74W x 39D x 45H cm – 58-litres
  • Insulation: 4 cm thick CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 5 Days
  • Weight: 7.2 Kg

Pros: 58 litres of capacity can store 85 cans. Rustproof. Leak-resistant. Large wheels. 4 cup holders built into the lid. Can keep ice cold up to 5 days in 32-degree Celsius weather.

Cons: Only covered by a 1-year warranty.

Dometic Cool Ice CI 110 Icebox

Dometic Cool Ice CI 110 Icebox
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 24

If you are looking for extremely large ice boxes in Australia, then the Dometic Cool Ice CI 110 is the ice box for you. This beast of an ice box stores up to 180 cans and will keep your ice cool for up to 10 days. Constructed from low-density polyethylene, this ice box is designed to last a long time and to take a serious beating out on the trail.

  • RRP: $529.00
  • Size and Capacity: 105.5W x 53.5D x 44.2H cm – 111-litres
  • Insulation: Generous Refrigeration Grade Polyurethane Foam
  • Material: Food Grade Seamless Rotomoulded Linear Low-Density Polyethylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 10 Days
  • Weight: 18.1 Kg

Pros: Covered by a 5-year warranty. Contains a rubber locking system. Large drain plug for easy cleaning. Stores up to 180 cans.

Cons: A bit expensive.

Evakool Fibreglass Icebox

Evakool Fibreglass Icebox
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 25

The Evakool fibreglass esky is one of the best fibreglass ice boxes on the market.This portable esky is ideal for your next camping trip. This camping esky is available in two sizes, 47-litres, and 60-litres.Important to note, this esky is easy to clean, does not absorb food odours, and contains a drainage bung.

  • RRP: 47L: $373.00 60L: $439.00
  • Size and Capacity: 47L: 58L x 44.5W x 42.5H cm 60L: 70L x 44W x 42H cm
  • Insulation: Refrigeration Grade PU Foam
  • Material: High Gloss Fibreglass
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 15 Days
  • Weight: 47L: 11 Kg 60L: 12 Kg

Pros: Lightweight and strong construction. Locks can be attached for added security. Rubber latches and seals. 4.5 cm thick insulation. Covered by a 5-year warranty.

Cons: A bit expensive.

Evakool IceKool Icebox

Evakool IceKool Icebox
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 26

The evakool ice box is a great addition to your camping gear.This is the best esky for keeping all your food and beverage cold. To keep your ice cool esky fresh, be sure to top off with ice every three days.TheEvakool esky cooler is ideal for camping, boating, parties, catering, medical, fishing, caravanning, BBQ’s, and 4WD adventures. Covered by a 5-year warranty.

  • RRP: 21L: $98.00 56L: $296.00
  • Size and Capacity: 21L: 43.5L x 32W x 30.5H cm 56L: 60L x 43.5W x 41.5H cm
  • Insulation: Refrigeration Grade PU Foam
  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 3 Days
  • Weight: 21L: 3.37 Kg 56L: 8 Kg

Pros: Covered by a 5-year warranty. Fully insulated. Lightweight. Durable. Leakproof. Rustproof. Corrosion-free and UV treated.

Cons: Is not compatible with a padlock.

Coleman Xtreme Cooler

Coleman Xtreme Cooler
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 27

If you are looking at cheap eskys but want to still go with a dependable brand, then this Coleman ice box cooler is your best choice.This esky ice box is a large esky built to hold 100 cans. This series of Coleman esky coolers are treated with an anti-microbial treatment to repel mould, mildew, and odour causing bacteria from growing.

  • RRP: $219.99
  • Size and Capacity: 75.5L x 39W x 45.5H cm – 66- litre
  • Insulation: CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 5 Days
  • Weight: 5.1 Kg

Pros: Easy to clean, scratch-resistant, coated with an anti-microbial treatment. Contains four cup holders on top of a hinged lid. Two no-crush handles for easy carry.

Cons: Only covered by a 1-year warranty.

Coleman Wheeled Cooler

Coleman Wheeled Cooler
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 28

This Coleman esky with wheels is a durable cooler that can double as an esky table or chair. The lid is constructed to handle up to 113 Kg. This esky cooler on wheels is leak-resistant, rustproof, and contains an anti-microbial treatment. The anti-microbial treatment repels mould and odour causing bacteria. Enjoy this ice kool esky in two sizes, 42-litres, and 57-litres.

  • RRP: 42L: $139.99 57L: $169.99
  • Size and Capacity: 42L: 44.5L x 49W x 45.5H cm 57L: 44.5L x 59W x 44.5H cm
  • Insulation: CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 1 Day
  • Weight: 42L: 3.7 Kg 57L: 5 Kg

Pros: Easy to clean. Heavy-duty wheels with telescopic handle. Scratch-resistant. Non-rust and leak-proof. Can be used as an extra table or chair.

Cons: Only covered by a 1-year warranty and holds ice for only 1-day.

Coleman Take 6 Personal Cooler

Coleman Take 6 Personal Cooler
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 29

Are you looking for a cheap esky to act as your lunch esky? Then this Coleman Take 6 Personal ice cooler is the perfect small esky to pack your lunch into the work truck. This design is leak-proof and corrosion resistant with a wide bottom for added stability.  

  • RRP: $24.99
  • Size and Capacity: 28.5L x 20W x 18H cm – 4.7-litre
  • Insulation: CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 1 Day
  • Weight: 0.812 Kg

Pros: Wide bottom for stability. PU foamed insulation. UV protected. Stain and odour resistant lining. Antimicrobial treatment. Smooth surface for easy cleaning.

Cons: Only covered with a 1-year warranty and ice only lasts 1 day.

Coleman 27L Classic Chest Cooler

Coleman 27L Classic Chest Cooler
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 30

This tropical ice box by Coleman is great for packing your ice box liquor for a day at the beach. Holds 1.25-litre bottles upright so you can bring your cocktail making supplies with you on the go. Or if cocktails aren’t your thing, store up to 36 cans of your favourite beverage easily. Holds ice for 2 days.

  • RRP: $69.99
  • Size and Capacity: 38.1W x 31D x 36.1H cm – 27-litres
  • Insulation: CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 1 Day
  • Weight: 2.67 Kg

Pros: Durable polypropylene construction. PU foamed insulation. Holds 1.25-litre bottles upright.

Cons: Only covered by a 1-year warranty.

Coleman Excursion 28L Cooler

Coleman Excursion 28L Cooler
Guide: Best Ice Box For Australia In 2021 31

TheColeman Excursion 28L Cooler is perfect for a backyard BBQ or picnic with the friends and family. Comes with two cup-holders and a sturdy lid that act as a seat or table. Holds up to 113 Kg.

  • RRP: $79.99
  • Size and Capacity: 39L x 45.5W x 33H cm – 28-litre
  • Insulation: CFC HFC & HCFC Free PU Foam
  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Keeps Ice Up To: 2 Days
  • Weight: 2.8 Kg

Pros: Smooth easy-clean top. Rated as a seat up to 113kg. Holds 2L bottles upright. Comfortable carry handle. 2 moulded cup holders.

Cons: Only covered by a 1-year warranty.

Ice Box 101

How Long Does Ice Last in An Ice Box?

It depends on the type of cooler you have, its size, and if you use block ice or cubed ice. Most ice boxes combined with block ice can keep your food cool for 5 to 7 days.

Tips to Prolong Ice

To keep your ice as long as possible always make sure to keep your cooler out of the sun. Store them under tables, tree, or overhangs that provide some shade. You can also add some salt to your ice to increase the melting point. Last, use block ice over cubed ice for a longer ice life as well as cool your food in your home fridge before putting it into the cooler.

Tips for Keeping Food Cold

Freeze or refrigerate all your meats before putting them into the cooler to keep them cold for as long as possible. Make sure to top off the ice as needed to also ensure your food is properly stored.