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GO Outdoors Guide to Cooling

There is little worse than a warm drink to quench the thirst on a summer day when all you really wanted was a cold can, or that slightly soggy ham sandwich that looked so much more enticing when you made it in the morning. Coolboxes and Coolbags are an essential when day tripping or camping if you're taking food with you. In this guide we'll explain the differences in the options available and what each of these options is best used for.

What are the different cooling options?


Coolbags are generally the cheaper option for cooling, they're ideal for day trips, picnics etc but need to be used alongside freeze packs to keep the food/drink cool. Coolbags use foam insulation to help with this.

Quick Facts:

  • Foam Insulation
  • Use in conjunction with freeze packs
  • Ideal for day use: Picnics, festivals, day trips etc.

Passive Coolboxes

Passive coolboxes are the standard coolbox you would think of, they also need the help of freezer packs to keep things cool. Made with a hard shell, the passive coolbox uses foam insulation and works best when full so there is less air to circulate and warm up.

Quick Facts:

  • Foam Insulation
  • Hard shell
  • Work best when full
  • Use in conjunction with freeze packs
  • Ideal for day use: Picnics, festivals, day trips etc

Powered Coolboxes

Powered coolboxes help keep food/drink cooler for longer, they do NOT make warm items cool. Powered by 12V (car cigarette lighter) or mains power, these boxes offer a longer cooling time than passive boxes and coolbags.

Quick Facts:

  • 12V (car cigarette lighter) or Mains Power
  • WILL NOT actively cool food, but WILL keep food cool longer than passive coolboxes
  • Can be used over longer periods of time as long as they are plugged in.


The best way to keep things cool, camping fridges work a lot like your fridge at home, they will help to cool warmer items. 3 way camping fridges can run off 12V power, mains power or even gas. These fridges are generally a little more expensive, but offer great usage and most of our customers who own them, swear by them.

Quick Facts:

  • Actively cools food
  • Can run off 12V (car cigarette lighter), Mains power or Gas
  • If using gas, the unit needs to be kept outside of the tent.