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TSA Approved Coolers As Checked Baggage

Best Cooler For Checked Luggage 2

With the arrival of summer, the excitement for vacation planning is in the air. If your plans include flying with your cooler to reach your destination, it is necessary to be aware of the guidelines for TSA approved coolers. For a smooth flight, it’s important to understand specific regulations regarding cooler contents, types, and sizes.

We have navigated the TSA regulations countless times, and we are here to share this information with you. So together, let’s dive right into TSA approved coolers, frequently asked questions, and a few mistakes to avoid, so you can grasp all the necessary details for flying with yours. In addition, we have chosen and reviewed a few coolers for the serious-minded traveler who wants to take food home to and from their destination. Any one of these coolers will meet most flight regulations.

Quick Overview Of TSA Approved Coolers (Updated List)


Best Cooler For Checked Luggage grey1


Roadie 48


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tsa approved coolers pelican


65QT Elite Wheeled Cooler


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Best Cooler For Checked Luggage 2


Cooler Ice Vault


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TSA And Airline Approved Coolers Weight And Size

Before we delve into the specifics of each cooler, it’s important to understand the regulations that apply to TSA approved coolers, particularly when considering large, hard-sided coolers as checked baggage.

The TSA regards coolers similarly to suitcases, with most airlines requiring that a cooler’s total dimensions—width, height, and length combined—do not exceed 62 linear inches. Rest assured, all the coolers we will discuss adhere to these guidelines. To determine if a cooler meets this requirement, simply sum up its width, height, and length. If the total is 62 linear inches or less, your cooler complies with airline regulations.

Additionally, there are also regulations regarding what items you may pack inside your TSA-approved cooler, which we will explore in further detail shortly.

Deeper Dive Into TSA Approved Coolers

Without further delay, here are our top picks for TSA approved coolers that will easily fly as checked luggage.

Best Overall

tsa approved coolers yeti

Roadie 48


Founded in 2006, YETI Coolers emerged from a straightforward vision: to create a cooler for daily use that didn’t yet exist. Aimed at the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than the broad discount market, YETI set out to design a cooler that could withstand rigorous use in the outdoors and on the water. The company’s commitment to innovation was driven by real-world needs and experiences, not by market research. Today, YETI’s products are trusted companions for all your travel needs. Yeti TSA approved coolers meet all TSA requirements.


Yeti is a trusted name

Periscope™ handle hides away

Pressure-injected polyurethane Permafrost™ Insulation

Interlock™ Lid system

62 linear inches


33 pounds empty


Best For A Bit Smaller

tsa approved coolers pelican

65QT Elite Wheeled Cooler


Pelican started their journey in 1976, marking the inception of a company that rose as a leader in high-performance protective cases, temperature-controlled packaging solutions, and sophisticated portable lighting systems. Pelican is dedicated to their founding principles of quality and the vision set by Dave: to safeguard everything you hold dear. This Pelican TSA approved coolers meets TSA requirements as a checked bag.


Pelican is a trusted name

Multi-day ice retention

Pelican’s legendary lifetime guarantee

Press & pull latches

51.1 linear inches


Empty weight not provided

Some say it is “kind of heavy.”

Also pricey

Best To Keep Ice Longer

tsa approved coolers blue

Cooler Ice Vault

Blue Coolers

Blue Coolers opened its doors in 2018. They are proud to offer premium quality at an affordable price to enhance your and your family’s experiences as you embark on your adventures. They cater to everyone from the avid outdoorsman and weekend adventurers to tailgaters and vacationers. Blue Coolers is confident in our products’ appeal and invites you to experience them. The TSA approved coolers meet all TSA requirements to fly.


Keeps ice for up to 10 days

Heavy-duty wheels

Foldable metal handle

Lockable lid

62 linear inches


Fairly new company

36 pounds empty

Packing Food In TSA Approved Coolers

When packing food in TSA approved coolers for a flight, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Since we are talking about checked baggage, you are not required to follow the 3-1-1 rule set forth for carry-on bags. However, TSA is clear about the regulations for packing food and ice in TSA approved coolers as checked bags. Here is what TSA says:


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.”

All TSA approved coolers need thick walls and excellent insulation that will keep the ice frozen while your food is in the cargo hold. 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, if your ice is beginning to melt, the TSA officers may confiscate the contents of your cooler. Don’t take that chance with poorly insulated walls.

Avoid These Common Oversights

Traveling with TSA approved coolers is a smart move, but it’s easy to overlook a few things. Here are key pitfalls to steer clear of when flying with a cooler:

  • Overfilling Your Cooler: It’s easy to stuff your cooler beyond capacity. Airlines enforce strict limits on the weight and dimensions for checked luggage. But remember you may choose to pack heavier than 50 pounds and pay the overweight fee.
  • Loose Packing Inside the Cooler: Ensure that all items within your TSA approved coolers are tightly secured. Bungee cords or straps are a great way to keep the lid secure and decrease damage when the baggage crew throws your cooler around.
  • Ignoring Airline and Destination Regulations: Always research the regulations for the airline and country you will fly to. Every airline has the right to set different rules within the TSA regulations.
  • Not Checking The TSA Forbidden Items List: When in doubt, always consult this comprehensive list of TSA’s prohibited items before packing your cooler. It can save you a lot of time, headaches, and hassles.

By dodging these common errors and planning ahead, your travel experience will be a breeze.

TSA approved cooler 1

FAQ About TSA Approved Coolers

You may have questions about the best cooler for checked luggage, so we compiled three frequently asked questions for your convenience.

What types of ice packs are TSA approved?

You can take liquid frozen items and gel packs when you check in at the security checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid at the time of screening.

What features does a checked cooler need?

The very best cooler for checked luggage is one that meets TSA guidelines and keeps the ice frozen. While wheels are not required for TSA approved coolers, they are helpful when checking your cooler for ease of movement. Retractable handles are also important as they will not get damaged in the cargo hold.

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. The TSA guidelines state no coolers greater than 62 linear inches and no melted ice in the cooler at the time you check-in.

How many coolers can I take on a plane?

Each airline has slightly different regulations on how many coolers you can bring on a plane. A cooler is considered a checked bag, and some airlines will allow an extra bag for an additional fee.

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.)

Can TSA take my cooler?

Indeed, TSA does have the authority to confiscate your cooler if necessary. However, it’s hoped they would only do this if they find prohibited items inside. Ideally, rather than taking the entire cooler, they would simply remove any items not permitted on the aircraft.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on luggage, here are some additional posts about Luggage:


The best TSA cooler for checked luggage is the one that matches your needs when flying to your destination. Steer clear of common mistakes many make when flying with TSA approved coolers to ensure you reach your destination with your belongings intact.

Happy travels, my friends.

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Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

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