Car camping trips should come with a certain level of luxury. After all, you'll leave dealing with mosquitoes and grueling ascents for your more epic summer adventures, and instead take on scenic day hikes, grill for hours, and relax by the campfire. With this in mind, car camping requires its own kind of gear. Skip the technical fabrics and lightweight packs for a more comfortable sleeping bag, the ultimate hammock, and, of course, the best marshmallow roaster around.
Yeti Tundra 45 cooler
The second most indispensable item of any worthwhile tailgate, camping jaunt, or fishing trip is a good cooler. The first, of course, is cold beer and tasty food – which is why the icebox comes in a close second.
But if you're like most guys, you put about as much thought into buying a cooler as you do selecting a toothbrush or dish soap – you just buy what's on sale. It really shouldn't be like that.
Instead of picking up that $29.99 cooler that keeps ice for just a few hours and inevitably breaks after two seasons (cracked lids, crumpled corners, broken handles and hinges sound familiar?), you should buy a Yeti – a cooler that did for portable refrigeration what the tank did for warzone transportation. It's bigger, burlier, more bombproof, and just plain better than anything else on the market. That's all because it's designed using roto-molding, the same process that makes the strongest white water kayaks. Sure, that also makes the cooler more expensive than your average Walmart unit, but think of this icebox as a lifetime investment.
Indeed, the Yeti Tundra line is guaranteed for five years, but you'll likely pass it down to your son. Even more important than longevity is performance, and to that end, the cooler can maintain ice for a week – sometimes two. How? Two inches of PermaFrost insulation line its walls, which are about 400% thicker than your average cooler's (the insulation is denser, too).
The Tundra line is also certified bear-proof by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Needless to say, if a half-ton, man-eating grizzly with jagged claws and fangs can't break into this cooler, you can rest assured that it'll hold up against your over-served buddies when they decide to carry it through the woods to a neighboring campsite at 2am.
Yetis come with some serious street cred (woods cred?), too. Legendary outdoorsmen like Jim Shockey, Flip Pallot, Rich Tudor, and Jay Gregory all pack these coolers in the back of their trucks. And they look damn good back there, too. The units simply appear built for business – like something you want to be seen with, something you could take into the apocalypse. Form and function: United in liberty and cold beverages for all. Need we say more? [$329.99; yeticoolers.com]