Coolers for the Beach [Which Will Roll in the Sand?]

Beach Wheeled Coolers

Going to the beach is a great way to get in some exercise, relaxation, and fun. I usually wear some flip flops to the beach and sometimes if I know there will be rocks under the water, I bring my water shoes. Once in a while, I bring a cooler to help carry food for larger groups of people. 

A cooler with wheels can roll in the sand if it has large enough tires and is positioned well. Coolers with wheels that extend several inches below the cooler bottom and behind the back can usually roll over the sand. Wider wheels also prevent the cooler from sinking in the sand.    

Having plenty of fluids and some food can make your beach trip a better experience. If you love the beach, you probably already have used one type of cooler or another. Let’s find out which coolers are best for the beach and which are not. 

A Case Study for Wheeled Coolers in the Sand

coolers in the sand

When I was young, my family had a cooler without wheels we would carry to the beach. It worked well but it was heavy. Sometimes we would drag it across the sand until we got to the car.

Luckily there are lots of wheeled coolers available today. You don’t need to risk injuring yourself, trying to carry a heavy cooler. You can get one with wheels and a handle.

Now I have a cooler with wheels and a telescoping handle. It works well and rolls well on the sidewalk and pavement. It’s lightweight and can carry plenty of food and drinks. 

The problem occurs when I try to take it through the sand. The wheels sink into the sand and the cooler starts to drag. The wheels aren’t positioned far enough away from the cooler to prevent dragging, so my cooler drags a little to a lot, depending on how much weight it is carrying. 

I have an igloo cooler that weighs about 16 pounds. It is very easy to pull on smooth pathways, but when you get to the sand, it wants to sink in. It still rolls a bit, depending on how much weight is in it. 

16 Pound Cooler and 23 Pounds of Water
  • Here are the coolers with about 23 pounds of water bottles in them. 

With 23 pounds of water, the wheels still turned but also dragged along. The bottom of the cooler was dragging as well, depending on the angle I used. 

16 Pound Cooler and 8 Pounds of Water
  • Here are the coolers with about 8 pounds of water bottles in them. 

With only 8 pounds of water, the cooler was easier to pull along. The wheels rolled but still dragged. The bottom of the cooler didn’t drag as much.  

Wheel Position Makes a Difference

cooler wheel position

The wheels are wide and positioned so they lift the cooler beyond the ground. The cutout section of the cooler helps the cooler drag less in the sand and larger tires mean it can sink into the sand a certain amount before the cooler starts to drag.

Which Coolers Can Roll in the Sand?

In this article, we’ll take a look at review-wheeled coolers and consider if they can roll in the sand. 

There are factors such as the firmness of the sand and the weight of the cooler that play a role in whether it can roll or not. However, we’ll discuss how you can determine whether a certain cooler will or will not work.  

1. Igloo Outdoor Latitude Cool Box




  • Wheels: medium, inline stance, & minimal Tread. They stick out from the bottom and the axle is positioned toward the back.  
  • Weight: ~13 pounds
  • 59 Quart Capacity (56 Liters); Holds 85 Cans (Estimate)
  • Cool riser technology to improve cooling performance
  • Locking Handle, Drain Plug
  • 4 Cup Holders on Top of Lid

The Igloo MaxCold Roller Cooler provides 54 qt. capacity, which means it’s enough to store enough drinks for everybody coming with you on the trip. Thanks to the Ultratherm insulation in the body and in the lid, the cooler can keep your drinks cold and fresh for a long time.

Getting this wheeled cooler means you have a wheeled cooler with a telescoping handle that makes it super convenient to use. The handles are useful when storing away.

It can hold about 85 cans, which is more than enough for you and your friends and family when fishing, camping, or going to the beach. You can use it on trips that last for a couple of days if you have ice without worrying about whether your drinks will be cold or not.

  • Will it roll in the sand? Based on the wheel size and position, it will likely roll in the sand. 

2. YETI Tundra Wheeled Cooler



  • Wheels: large, wide stance, & some Tread. They stick out from the bottom and back a couple of inches.  
  • Weight: ~32 pounds
  • 55 Quart Capacity; Holds 55 Cans
  • Rotomolded Construction – Extra-thick walls and insulation
  • Strong Arm Handle – welded aluminum arm with grips

This cooler has incredible insulation and toughness which is why it’s one of the best-liked wheeled coolers on the market. 

The strong construction of the Yeti Tundra cooler allows you to store 45 beer cans and 55 pounds of ice, which makes it a true beast when it comes to storing all that weight.

It has extra thick walls with 2 inches of insulation that will ensure your drinks and ice stay freezing cold. This cooler is manufactured with rotational molding which means it has a single complete body.

The handles allow you to easily load the Yeti Tundra onto your vehicle. You can easily drag it around without worrying about getting bruises on your hands.

  • Will it roll in the sand? Based on the wheel size and position, as well as its weight, it will likely roll a bit in the sand. 
cooler Could Roll a bit

3. Pelican Elite Coolers with Wheels




  • Wheels: large, narrow stance, & some Tread. They stick out from the bottom and back a bit.  
  • Weight: ~37 pounds
  • 45 Quart Capacity
  • Extra-thick walls and insulation – 2 inch of polyurethane insulation
  • Strong Arm Handle – welded aluminum arm with grips
  • Lifetime guarantee – you break it, we replace it…Forever 

This cooler has a beautiful design.  You can choose a model with 45qt. or 80qt. capacity. One of its best features is the ability to retain ice for up to ten days, thanks to its double polyurethane insulation layers. So, you can use it for any occasion that requires lasting durability.

This heavy-duty wheeled cooler is made of the best material for insulation – polypropylene. Its thick walls and rotomolded construction make it one of the most robust coolers on the market that will serve you for years.

The embossed lip and freezer-grade gasket ensure a great seal. It has a press-and-pull latching system that prevents warm air from entering the inside compartment.

Also, it includes a dual handle system, a threaded drain plug, non-skid raised feet, molded tie-down slots, a built-in bottle opener, and rotating hinges.

  • Will it roll in the sand? Based on the wheel’s position, it will likely not roll in the sand.
can't roll in sand2

4. Igloo Marine Ultra Family




  • Wheels: large, narrow stance, & little Tread. They stick out from the bottom several inches.  
  • Weight: ~19 pounds
  • 90 Quart Capacity
  • Oversized wheels for all-terrain mobility
  • Comfort swing-up rear handle for lifting and loading

Whether you plan camping or fishing, you’ll need a cooler with you to keep your drinks cold. It has a fully insulated body and lid to keep your food and drinks insulated well. 

The wide handle allows you to pull the cooler and the large tire the are positions well help the cooler stay off the ground or sand. 

If you want to serve a lot of people or carry extra beach gear in the cooler this large capacity cooler might work for you. 

  • Will it roll in the sand? Based on the size and position of the wheel, and the cooler weight, it will likely roll in the sand. 
Likely Can Roll Some

5. Igloo Premium Trailmate Cooler 70 Quart




  • Wheels: large, narrow stance, & good Tread. They stick out from the bottom quite a bit.  
  • Weight: ~35 pounds
  • 70 Quart Capacity; Holds 112 Cans
  • Aluminum Construction – Antimicrobial and UV inhibitor and Ultrathem insolation.
  • Strong Arm Handle – welded aluminum arm with grips

The Igloo Trailmate is a great choice when you need to go to the beach or on a trail. It comes with lots of features that some people may find helpful. 

It has a glide handle with comfort grip. It has a bottle opener and a butler tray. The cooler is elevated off the ground for better cooling. It has cup holders, dry storage, and a food basket you can use. 

You can keep food fresh for days and use the device stand to place your phone on the lid.  

  • Will it roll in the sand? Based on the size and position of the wheel, the cooler will likely roll in the sand. 
Likely Can Roll Some

How to Choose the Best Wheeled Cooler for the Beach 

Rolling coolers may range in price a lot. Doing your research will pay off because you will be able to get the most for your money.

Here are some questions to consider before buying a new cooler

  • Are you going to use it for picnics or the beach?
  • Is it for you, your family, or larger parties?
  • Which capacity will be best for your needs?
  • Is ice retention important to you or will you only need the cooler to work for several hours?
  • Do you need a cooler you can sit on?
  • Will you use your cooler for long trips?
  • Is the type of handle important to you?
  • Will you be towing the cooler yourself or with someone?
  • Will it fit in your car?
  • Do you need a durable cooler that will last a long time?
  • Can you drag the cooler if the wheels sink into the sand?
  • Should you get a wagon to put the cooler in?
  • How much can you afford?
  • How often will you use your cooler?
  • How long will you need your food to stay fresh?
  • Do you need a cooler with a seal? 

After you’ve thought about these questions you can look at the cooler above or others you’re interested in and find one that best meets your needs. 

Cooler Use Tips

Here are a few tips that could be useful to you:

  • Wash the Cooler. After Every Use After washing your cooler, keep it upside down, or even hanging. Use water, cloth, and soap to get rid of mold and mildew, and you’ll have your cooler working for years. 
  • Don’t Abuse It. Take the maximum load weight into consideration before using your cooler. This way, you’ll be able to protect the wheels from any potential damage. So, don’t put more things than the wheels can handle.
  • Use Large Ice Cube Bags. Ice packs or freezing balloons filled with water make bigger ice cubes than your regular ice cube bags. This is a good way to make the most out of your cooler.


How many days can cooler work?

Well, this depends on several factors, with the first being insulation. Maybe the best type of insulation is polyurethane, hence the considerably higher price than other coolers on the market.

The Pelican and Yeti brands offer this type of insulation which comes with 2 to 3 inches of thickness. That’s why these coolers offer ice retention of up to a week. Other factors are how frequently you open the lid and the outside temperature.

Can I put dry ice in my cooler? 

It depends on the cooler. You can use it if it says so, otherwise you better not risk it. The MILEE wheeled cooler is the only one on our list that allows using dry ice.

Can I leave the cooler out in the sun? 

You can leave most coolers out in the sun and some come with UV protection. However, if you have a soft-sided cooler, you may need to keep it out of the sun as much as you can.

How to store my wheeled cooler when I’m not using it? 

It’s best to keep it open until it is completely dry. for several days hanging in your garage, for example. That way, you’ll make sure nothing sits in it. Final Thoughts As we have seen above in this article, there are many factors to consider when choosing the best-wheeled cooler for the beach. Although it mainly depends on your needs, we’ve still chosen one as our top winner. Guess which one it is. It’s the Pelican Elite Cooler with Wheels. This wheeled cooler comes with great features that you can’t find in many other coolers. It’s available in two sizes – 40qt. and 80qt. capacity so it’s a good option for those who plan trips with a large group of friends or a big family. Also, it has thick walls and the best type of insulation which is polypropylene. This ensures up to 10 days of ice retention

Thanks for Visiting


I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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