ISSUE 79  |  Summer Picnics

5 Favorites: Portable Coolers

July 05, 2013 1:00 PM

BY Janet Hall

I suffer from picnic vanity. The practical red- or blue-sided coolers that I happily bring to kid’s sporting events or tuck in the back of my car full of refrigerated treats for a weekend getaway are not welcome on my picnic blanket.  They ruin the mood.  Here are five alternatives to plastic to keep your food and drinks cool. 


Above: What could be better than a traditional picnic basket disguised as a cooler? The New General Store has just that. The Picnic Basket Cooler is made in Vermont of natural split oak, lined in styrofoam to keep food and drinks cool. It has swinging handles and measures a managable 18 by 12 by 10 inches; $75.

This basket would pair perfectly with any of our Picnic Blanket Selections.

Above: The Peterboro Tall Cooler Basket has a generous 5-gallon capacity and comes with leather handles for ease of carrying.  All Peterboro baskets are made in New Hampshire of US-made materials. The tall cooler basket measures 16 inches in diameter and 19 inches high and is available in three finishes (shown in honey); $84.

Above: The Rustic Wood Cooler from Cold Creek Brewing is designed to keep your six pack of beer-sized beverages cold.  The styrofoam-lined pine tote measures 13 by 11.5 by 8.5 inches.  It can also be used without the styrofoam lining for a non-insulating picnic basket; $55.


Above: The tall foam-insulated Peterboro Cool Picnic Basket is perfect for a picnic for two. It measures 12 by 11 by 12 inches; $54.


Above: For a soft-sided option, the DQM Chinook Cooler Bag has a zippered cooler compartment hidden inside a handsome waxed canvas bag. It measures 15 by 13 by 8 inches; $128.


Above: If your picnic assignment makes a large cooler unavoidable, go with the classic 1950s design Coleman Steel-Belted Cooler. It has a 54-quart capacity and is insulated to keep items cool for hours; $84.16 at Amazon.