Are you looking for a TSA Approved Cooler that you can take on your next flight? Whether you’re planning a fishing trip or a vacation, you understand the convenience and cost-saving benefits of bringing your own cooler. But did you know that you can fly with your cooler?
Navigating the rules and regulations of what you can and can’t check on an airplane can be confusing and frustrating.
I have encountered the need to take a cooler on my flight more than once. So, I did a deep dive into TSA rules and regulations and was pleasantly surprised. I am here to share our top recommendations with you. I’ve done the research so you can reap the benefits.
So together let’s look at the top 3 choices and tap into my vast knowledge of TSA regulations. We want to help you make the best choice for your needs and ensure your next trip is a success.
Quick Overview Of The Best TSA Approved Cooler (Updated List)
Benefits Of A TSA Approved Cooler
If you choose to fly with a cooler, you must ensure you have the best cooler for checked luggage, one that is a TSA approved cooler to fly.
So what are the benefits of a TSA approved cooler? Let’s say you are going on the fishing adventure of a lifetime. Taking your cooler along and packing it with food will save you money.
You can pack non-liquid items such as seafood and meats in your cooler along with ice and have the expensive part of your meals covered.
Or maybe you booked a vacation at a resort with a full kitchen. What a great way to save money with a family. You can pack your TSA approved cooler with bargain meets back home, take it along, and save a ton.
The most significant benefit is the money you will save, and with a family, that is huge.
TSA Approved Cooler Product Reviews
Without further delay, here are 3 TSA approved coolers that will easily fly as checked luggage.
The YETI Roadie® 48 Wheeled Cooler can carry much more while maintaining optimal mobility. A YETI cooler is hard to beat if you want to move easily through crowded places.
It has cold-holding power to keep food and drinks safe. In addition, this TSA approved cooler is virtually indestructible and can endure harsh elements despite repeated daily use – from the handle to its durable wheels.
Clever proprietary designs include Quicklatch™, Bestdam™ drain plug, Permafrost™ Insulation, and Interlock™ Lid system.
The Quicklatch™ is flexible and straightforward, allowing one-handed cooler access, while the Bestdam™ drain plug offers quick-drain convenience. On the other hand, a form-fitting barrier against extreme temperatures is what the Interlock™ Lid system creates. Finally, a pressure-injected polyurethane called Permafrost™ Insulation locks in the cooler temperature.
A retractable Periscope™ handle offers the convenience of carrying to and out of the airport. In addition, the Neverflat™ wheels feature a one-piece construction design and are impact and puncture-resistant.
In addition, this Roadie® 48 cooler complies with the checked baggage size limit of 62 linear inches (21.5 x 20.71 x 20.71 inches). Hence, you can take this cooler to your destination with fresh meat, seafood, and other non-liquid food items.
- Periscope™ handle is retractable and hides away
- Sturdy, impact and puncture-resistant one-piece design Neverflat™ wheels
- Lipgrip™ handles comfortability in carrying
- Side tray/dry basket included
- Indestructible design for long-lasting use
- Quicklatch™ features an interlocking two-pin design to prevent breaking
- One-hand opening and access to the cooler
- Pressure-injected polyurethane Permafrost™ Insulation can keep food and drinks cold for days without refilling ice.
- Bestdam™ drain plug to keep the cooler leak-proof
- The cooler is tall enough to fit a wine bottle in an upright position (but not in flight)
- Interlock™ Lid system
- Compact cooler design and construction
- Size is a TSA approved cooler at 62 linear inches (21.5 x 20.71 x 20.71 inches)
- The cooler is heavy for one person to lift when fully packed.
The PYY two-wheeled TSA approved cooler offers deep freeze insulation using a closed-cell foam insulating material to keep your food and drinks cold for days. In addition, an internal sealing ring adds to the cooler’s thermal insulation and keeps the cooler leak-free.
You can use this multi-functional, sturdy cooler as a footstool, cutting board, or tabletop. It has a drain valve on the side to keep it leak-free, a leak-proof lock, and a built-in side bottle opener.
Two firm buckle-type rubber latches easily lock and secure the cooler’s lid. A plastic chopping board acts as a cooler partition or top cover. The cooler’s telescopic handle makes it easy to move around even when fully packed.
The PYY is a TSA approved cooler and is 56.5 linear inches (21.5 x 19.5 x 15.5 inches). It is light, portable, and impact-resistant. Two side slots make carrying convenient when lifting the cooler.
- Two rear wheels for mobility
- Retractable, telescopic handle for ease of maneuvering
- Multi-use as a footstool, tabletop, or chopping board
- Free plastic chopping board, which you can also use as a partition or tabletop
- Deep-freeze insulation to keep food and drinks cold for days
- High-performance closed cell-foam insulation design
- Large capacity (35Q) cooler can hold 45 bottles of water or soda
- Side drain valve for easy cleaning and removal of excess water
- Two buckle-type, firm rubber latches to secure the lid
- Built-in side bottle opener
- Internal sealing ring for added insulation
- Two cup holders on the top lid
- Rotational molding process for solid, sturdy cooler construction
- It is a TSA approved cooler
- A darker color will be a welcome option.
Blue Coolers 60Q model is a roto-molded ice cooler made from high-density polyethylene with polyurethane foam insulation. With the added insulation on all walls of this TSA approved cooler, you can keep ice, food, and drinks cold for up to ten days. The tie-down straps/latches lock and secure the lid, keeping it leak-free, while the freezer-type gasket keeps the cold in.
The Blue Coolers 60Q wheeled cooler uses a thick, rugged wheel, solid axles, and Nyloc nuts to make it impact and vibration-resistant. It also features no-fail hinges and a lockable lid with a bottle opener.
Another great feature is the cooler’s rapid drain system for easy cleaning. In addition, it has a grab-and-go handle for mobility and lifting comfort when carrying a fully loaded cooler.
You can take this Blue Coolers 60Q ice vault as checked baggage as it is a TSA approved cooler and is 62 linear inches (26.75 x 17.5 x 18 inches).
- It leads the industry with 2 inches of insulation to keep ice for up to 10 days.
- Non-skid feet
- Heavy-duty wheels
- Lockable lid
- Freezer-type gasket to keep the cold in
- A sure-grip handle on each side
- Rapid drain system
- Rugged and durable with its roto-molded construction design
- Full wall insulation
- Built-in bottle opener
- An easy, firm latch system
- Foldable metal handle for easy transporting of cooler
- It is a TSA approved cooler at 62 linear inches (26.75 x 17.5 x 18 inches)
- The metal handle tends to bang against the side of the cooler, making it loud.
What To Look For When Buying Travel Coolers For Airplanes Checked Luggage?
While there are many ice cooler models available in the market, when choosing a TSA approved cooler for checked luggage, the following factors come into play:
TSA And Airline Approved Cooler Weight And Size
Many may ask, can you check a cooler as luggage? Yes, you can, but it must meet the TSA approved guidelines for weight and size. Therefore, choose from a range of 35Q to 55Q as long as it’s not over the 50-lb weight limit for checked baggage. In the same light, the cooler must not exceed TSA and the airline-approved checked baggage size limit of 62 linear inches (length + height + width). In addition, it must have exceptional insulation to meet the guidelines. TSA will not allow a cooler onto a plane with melted ice as that is a liquid.
To comfortably manage a heavier cooler, you must look for one with a retractable handle. This way, you can quickly move the cooler around anywhere. Additional side handles will help in managing the cooler comfortably. Note: retractable handles may be more difficult when you grab them from the baggage carousel, but they are necessary when bringing them to the checkpoint desk.
Wheels on a TSA approved cooler are a must to move it from your vehicle to the check-in counter. So, choosing a wheeled cooler is essential for transportability. Otherwise, lifting and moving your heavy cooler will require two people. So, that’s your best cooler for checked luggage.
Ice Retention/Cooling Capabilities
While different cooler manufacturers claim longer ice retention and superb cooling capabilities, choose one with excellent insulation. A TSA approved cooler will need fully insulated walls to lock in the temperature. In addition, firm latches, sealing rings, or freezer-type gaskets will help keep the cold in and prevent ice from melting for at least a few days.
At the security checkpoint, the TSA officer will not permit partially melted ice, ice packs, or liquid at the bottom of the container or cooler. Hence, the best choice is a well-insulated cooler that can keep ice longer than your travel time.
TSA allows “meat, seafood, and other non-liquid food items in checked or carry-on bags and must have ice or ice packs. The ice or ice packs must remain completely frozen during screening.”
Cooler Latch And Closure Systems
When bringing the best cooler for checked luggage, a significant concern is keeping it leak-free. You don’t want to have a water-dripping cooler because air seeps through and causes ice to melt. A cooler with a rubber latch and closure system will keep the cooler lid secure and prevent the ice from melting.
A leak-proof closure system will keep ice packs frozen from when you pack them until you’re past the TSA security screening. Or even for days after you arrive at your destination.
FAQ About Best Cooler For Checked Luggage
You may have questions about the best cooler for checked luggage, so we compiled three frequently asked questions for your convenience.
Can You Take TSA approved cooler bags in your carry on luggage?
Technically a cooler for checked luggage will not go through the TSA security checkpoint, as a checkpoint is for carry on bags. You will need to check it in at the ticket counter. But when TSA scans it before it goes on the plane, the ice in the cooler must not have melted. Melted or partially melted ice will not pass the scanner.
Does TSA allow dry ice?
When flying with a cooler, you can use dry ice instead of ice packs to keep your food, meat, seafood, and drinks cold. However, the FAA limits how much dry ice you can have in the cooler. You can only have five pounds of dry ice appropriately packed.
How do you pack a cooler for travel?
You can pack your cooler with several inches of ice or frozen gel packs, frozen juice boxes, or frozen water bottles. Block ice is better and keeps longer than ice cubes. Empty milk or water jugs are an excellent way to block ice, as you can fill them with water and freeze them before heading to the airport.
Can you check a cooler on a plane?
Yes, you can check a cooler on an airplane, but it has to meet TSA guidelines. Also, you can only check it and not carry on. The TSA guidelines are no cooler greater than 62 linear inches and no melted ice in the cooler.
What size cooler can you check on a plane?
Most airlines have a weight limit of 50 pounds. If you exceed, they may charge an overweight fee. So the weight is important to consider. The TSA guidelines for a cooler are no greater than 62 linear inches (length + height + width.)
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The very best cooler for checked luggage is one that meets TSA guidelines and keeps the ice frozen. In addition, wheels are not required for a TSA approved cooler, but they are helpful when checking your cooler because it is easy to move around. Retractable handles are also important as they will not get damaged in the cargo hold.
The best cooler for checked luggage is the one that matches your needs when flying to your destination. Ensure you have factored in all the important considerations for the products we have reviewed here. And for sure, one will match your needs.