Contributors to this thread:
Which cooler to buy
Ready to pull the string on a new cooler. Looking for recommendations on what brand is best? Yetti, Orca, Grizzly, Pelican, ? Will be using it for frozen foods on hunting trips and transporting game at times.
Minority opinion here- but an igloo or a Coleman. Small difference in performance huge difference in price.
Do you want to buy one or finance one? Cooler prices ain't what they used to be!
RTIC will be about half the price of a Yeti and they are made by the guys that started Yeti...
I have a k2. You can buy a scratch & dent from them or one of their dealers. They are discounted a good bit, I could not find anything wrong with mine.
My vote is for the Rtic. I have 2 Rtic and a Grizzly (along with a few Coleman coolers) and cannot say enough good about the premium ones. I still had ice in my 45 Grizzly on day 9 of a moose hunt a couple years ago where daily temps were in the 70's (September in Ontario). The guys who say a cheap cooler is the same as an expensive one, have more than likely not owned both.
There is a big difference in quality. Of course, pre cooling the interior is always advised.
I'm a firm believer in spend your money wisely. If you can afford a premium cooler, have at it. It's your money, and honestly, you're the only one who has to be happy with the purchase. But do your research and also do yourself a favor by checking out the Rtic brand.
There's video after video on YouTube proving the premium coolers don't keep ice any longer than the Coleman extreme.
Don't take my word for it, watch the vids with an OPEN mind.
I fill an Rtic 65 completely full with frozen gallon jugs. Then I pack my clothes in a 120 Coleman Extreme. When I kill a critter I put it in the Coleman and put the gallon jugs on top of it.
For what it's worth- brought 80 lbs of unfrozen venison home to Massachusetts from Kansas this September. Had a Yeti 45 and Igloo Marine 72. Both were packed with ice blocks-Yeti had 2 1 gallon containers and Igloo 2 1/2gallon.
After 2 nights and 3 days driving both coolers held meat very cold to the touch and the ice block containers still more than 1/2 frozen. Yeti cost 2/3 more than Igloo Marine.
Love my Yeti but Igloo Marine holds more and cost 1/3 price. Also weight of Igloo is about 1/2 of smaller Yeti.
Would go with either cooler depending on trip and need for space factoring in weight.
Walmart is now carrying the Ozark coolers. Pretty much a copy of the Yeti style. I have not experience with the Ozark coolers but there metal drink holders are awesome.
Orca is a really nice cooler and with discount codes out there, it is. a reasonable price. Just used one on a camping trip and held the ice great. Only problem was after initial loading and cooling the seal was so good it wouldn't open until we opened the drain to let off the vacuum that was created by cooling the inside.
I have 2 rtic happy with them
I love my Yeti 45. Early last summer I stuck a few of the cheap Wal-Mart cold packs in it, loaded it down with cold drinks and snacks, and took the family on a 5 day trip across Southern California, never took the Yeti out of the car, and at the end of the trip everything left inside was still cool and the frozen cold packs were still 1/2 frozen.
I mean, we opened that thing several times to remove stuff, and then let it sit in a hot car, windows rolled up, for three days while we visited Disney Land. That cooler is incredible.
However, I received it as a gift, and I seriously doubt I would spend $399.00 of my own money on a cooler. From the comments above it seems like some of the less expensive coolers work pretty well, so I guess what it comes down to is how much money you want to spend.
If the Ozark Trail coolers are as good as their metal tumblers then it would be tough to beat them for 1/2 price of a Yeti. I spent $4.99 on the tumbler and it will literally keep ice in it for days.
I took a Colman Xtreme to Wyoming. Using block ice, I kept the meat from 2 pronghorns cool for a couple days with no problem. If you have the ability to get block ice, it's the way to go
I have the large rtic soft cooler,,I'm a fishing guide,,the cooler is an absolute failure,,,longevity of ice/frozen items ,period,,I,have a 20 yr old yard sale cooler that will hold ice longer,,....really
If you live in northeast Iowa (or near) you can get "blemish coolers".... Grizzlies at the place that they make them. Nice discount with a small scrape or dent that doesn't matter.
Quinn @work's Link
I agree about the Coleman extreme, you may get another day out of a premium cooler but the price too me is not worth it. I try not to push them too the point I worry about it though. I would say for a week or so the Coleman work just fine. Shawn
Just did a lot of research, watched side by side comparisons on coolers as I was in the market for a new high quality cooler. Check out the link to the Field and Stream Cooler Review .
I ended up purchasing the Cabelas Polar Cap cooler as it tested better than the Yeti, Grizzly, Pelicans, etc and they are quite a bit less in cost.
Soft coolers will keep things cold for maybe a day at the most, and even that is a stretch. Comparing a soft to a hard cooler is apples and oranges.
I have a Yeti and an Rtic hard sided cooler. Both are comparable and I wouldn't trade them for your coleman extremes. I treat my coolers rough! Hot garage in the summer, back of the truck or on a trailer when I camp or hunt. Got tired of replacing hinges, latches, then the lid warps and won't seal, then the plastic outer shell finally cracks. I have had my Yeti for over 15 years and have had to replace NOTHING. Still seals as well as the day I got it and it keeps things cold for many days. Probably leave them to my kids when I die.
Also, comparison tests are BIASED in favor of the cheaper coolers. They start by taking coolers at room/outside temp and filling with ice. However, due to the better insulation of premium coolers, it burns more ice to get the wall of the cooler cold, because it stays whatever temp it is better (in this case room temp). However, if you would precharge the coolers with ice until BOTH of them are static/cold, they premium coolers will keep ice longer. I have proved that to myself more than once using a coleman extreme right along side of my Yeti. To mimic this when I use my cooler, I bring it in the house from the garage 24 hours before I leave on a trip and throw a couple of ziplock bags of ice in the bottom and close it up. Dump those out and fill with ice for the trip and you are good to go.
Rtic is the way to go due to being 1/2 price of Yetis and built essentially the same. You won't be sorry. Rtic 65 qt is $240 and cabelas 60 qt is $300. Yeti 65 (actually less than 65) is $400 And the Rtic price includes shipping! Cabelas charges you shipping and then adds $14 extra for bulky shipping item. I actually bought my 65 Rtic for $140 when they had to sell out of their yeti clones and retool. Won't see those prices again.
Elk trip yeti 125 full of frozen pre made meals. 2 10 blocks of dry ice. Some items still frozen after a week. Colman Extreme 120 cooler with drinks 2 #10 dry ice blocks done in a couple of days and I had a 24 pack of frozen water bottles. That were completely thawed after day 4. I take three coolers on an elk hunt. 1 Yeti to hold food and two colemans to hold game. Our elk generally is picked up frozen for the trip back which only takes 12 hours. So the Coleman's work great for some uses and the Yeti for others. Upto you and your wallet. I had a free $500 Cabela's gift card from a survey and I feel it was well spent on the yeti as it is always my go to cooler.
I got a 70 quart igloo sportsman at Costco for $200 Canadian, great cooler, like a yiti
I bought a styrofoam cooler this morning at the dollar store. Cost me 2.00. All my stuff was perfect when I got home.
Coleman Extreme got me through three warm weeks (70+ degrees) in Utah. Initially frozen water and Gatorade were still partially frozen on the drive home. Took some planning to make that happen, but pretty easy to make happen.
- Froze the water and Gatorade bottles at home.
- Pre-cooled the cooler overnight with ice water before loading
- Stopped for ice before heading into hunt area
- Used dry ice on the bottom covered by layer of foil insulation.
- Cubed ice on top
- Parked cooler in a well shaded spot
- Covered cooler with an old zero degree sleeping bag
- Only opened cooler every few days...to restock the daily cooler
Got the idea right here on Bowsite. Worked like a charm.
Have a Yeti 20 ( won it) and a 65 (bought it below cost at auction), both are great coolers. Looking at 2 Coleman 120 Xtremes for hauling elk back home. I guess it depends on what you're going to do with it and how often. I don't have time to do "tests" , but I can tell you, the premium coolers are better. I may check out the Ozarks. Have a tumbler that is great.
If its a cooler just for general use - like taking with you on a whitetail hunt, or using it to ice drinks at family functions - buy the coleman extreme.
If its for a long elk hunt, or a hunt where you keep food for long periods of time - skip the high end coolers and buy you a cheap deep freeze. a 5 cuft, or a 7 cuft. you can use a small generator or even a power inverter to run it every few days.
they are super insulated, way cheaper than even a small yeti, they can hold a ton of food, etc. The deep freeze's really are not even that much heavier of a yeti of comparable size.
RTIC. I did my own test in 100 degree heat index days a few years ago & posted the pics on this site. Safe hunts.....Dave.....
Very informative video of a side by side test with most of the high end coolers out there. Plenty of videos like this out there so check them out.
Another vote for Rtic. I have their soft sided 30 and their hard side 65. The coolers are great and if you watch for sales you can get them at a reasonable price.
I used to get elk home from the mountains in blue storage tubs with an old sleeping bag wrapped around them. Worked fine. I have driven back from Alberta with bear meat and hide in Colemans duct taped tight and around the lid seam and they worked great.
More than once I have sent a cooler to the dumpster because it got emptied but pushed to the side before being cleaned after a camping or hunting trip. Open it up and decide replacement is the better choice. Not a big deal with a Coleman.
The pricey coolers are nice and luckily we are free to buy what we want. I haven't bought one yet.
I have the RTIC 65 and 45 coolers and recommend the RTIC brand they work great. I use the 65 for food with frozen coffee containers and milk jugs. the 45 is for drinks with frozen coffee containers and Ice.
Love my RTIC 65 and am going to buy a 45 when I don't need as much room
Brother bought the Canyon cooler and it worked just fine on our week long trip. I like the profile of the cooler, I like when things fit nicely when packing.
RTIC if weight is not an issue.
I really do like the RTIC coolers just because once you have them loaded and cold, I just don't have to worry about them. I had a 65 RTIC on a week long Canadian fishing trip this year and then another 45 RTIC that I just loaded with ice so we had extra ice for drinks and to top up the big RTIC if needed. It wasn't needed. Came home after 7 days with the 65 RTIC still having half the ice it started with. Could easily have gone at least 10 days with no additional ice and that was in the summer.
If you ever do fly-in hunts, all the super coolers like Yeti, RTIC, etc are too bulky per quart of capacity and too heavy. That's the only catch.
Grizzly and Pelican coolers have a lifetime warranty. Yeti is 5 yrs. but you get to be in the cool club.
I just left Newfoundland with two Coleman Marine Extreme 150 qt coolers. Loaded in moose meat on 9/28 and a few bags of ice . On Saturday night near midnight everything was still frozen and I'd say 90% of the ice remained . Usually about 150$ but I got mine on sale for about 115$ at Cabelas.
No Mercy's Link
Did Drummer Boy mean "Pat...SMART" or "Pat...SMART ARSE..." LOL
I don't know where you are in MN, but Scheels now has their own line of premium coolers. I have the 105 and love it!
I packed an Orca cooler with 150 pounds of frozen cod filets I caught in Newfy last summer on a Thursday as we headed home to New Hampshire at the end of our annual summer stay there. Headed to the ferry Friday and reached our house in Northern NH Sunday evening. The ones on top were thawed but very cold. The one's on the bottom were still frozen. I froze the filets by dipping the in water, laying them in a chest freezer, dipping them again once frozen, and stacking them again in the freezer. That way each filet was ecased in a thin covering of ice when I stacked them in the Orca for the trip home. My other cod and halibut was transported in brine in two 5 Gallon buckets. Ended up with 300 pounds of fish for this winter. Should hold us until we head back to Newfy next June.
I have no plans on buying a Yeti cooler but the lesson they taught on marketing, branding and market placement was not lost on me.
I really can't see how Yeti can continue to sell their coolers at the prices they are asking. I really love my 50 qt Yeti, I use it more than any other cooler. But it was given to me as a gift and I wouldn't pay full price for one now. But they never seem to go on sale!
When they were the only kid on the block, they could get the price they are asking, but that day is done: there is too much cheaper but comparable competition. I can't see how anyone can spend almost twice as much for a Yeti when you can get an Rtic for a little more than 1/2 the price. I have both and if there is any difference in quality, I haven't found it yet. Seems like Yeti is going to have to eventually come down in price if they wan to stay in business.
Also, Yeti's "capacity" is actually the outside measurements of their cooler (their 60 qt is not 60 qt inside). Whereas the Rtic 65 qt has 65 qt of capacity inside the cooler. Go figure.
Still one of the hottest brands kind of like Nike. Heck there are alot of good shoes but Nike still gets a premium price.
A summer ago while on a driving trip to Alaska I felt I needed to upgrade my $20 cooler. I stopped at a Cabelas and looked at their cooler and a Yeti. I really wanted the Cabelas, but the handles on the side stuck waayyy out, and it had legs that made it a couple of inches taller. I went with the Yeti (45 gallon) then as it was quite a bit more compact. Today it would be the RTIC if I had time to order one. I never heard of RTIC until I read this post. I agree Yeti is good, but over-priced. Their PR is pretty good.
RTIC currently has their soft side coolers 25% off.
I personally couldn't see the rationale in buying the Yeti. I know they are good but darn heavy. If you guys want a cooler that is almost identical for 1/2 the price and with built in wheels look on EBAY for Cold Bastard coolers. I think they come in three sizes and three colors. I ordered one with free shipping and am very pleased. I ordered the 75 and the wheels are much appreciated.
I have a YETI 45 that a guy at work won in a raffle and sold it to me for $100.00
It works well but it’s small.
"Also, Yeti's "capacity" is actually the outside measurements of their cooler (their 60 qt is not 60 qt inside). Whereas the Rtic 65 qt has 65 qt of capacity inside the cooler. Go figure."
If that is indeed true, Yeti should be sued for for false advertising.
I have 4 Yeti coolers. Yes they cost more than other brands that do the same thing. I also had an issue with the lid on one of my Yeti's. I had beat on this cooler for over 5 years. I sent them an e-mail and they called me by phone within an hour or two. She asked me to send her a picture of the issue. I did and once again she called me back immediately and informed me that my new cooler was on its way. Told me to take the new cooler out of the box and put my old cooler in it. They sent a prepaid shipping label and told me to drop the old one off at Fed Ex. Not where did you buy it? When did you buy it? Do you have a receipt? No questions asked! They stood behind their product 100%! I'll pay extra for that kind of service anyday.
I've heard good things about the canyon coolers. Cheaper than yetis but a premium cooler. Lifetime warranty
"Also, Yeti's "capacity" is actually the outside measurements of their cooler (their 60 qt is not 60 qt inside). Whereas the Rtic 65 qt has 65 qt of capacity inside the cooler. Go figure." If that is indeed true, Yeti should be sued for for false advertising. "
From their respective websites:
Yeti 65: holds 39 cans or 59 lbs of ice. Does NOT state fluid capacity
RTIC 65: holds 64 cans or 70 lbs of ice or 65 qt of fluid
They way the get away with it is that no where do they state it is a 65 qt cooler. It is just called "65" and you are to infer what that means. You won't find the word quart anywhere in their advertising.
Cabelas coolers are awesome and cost less, a bit heavy though but they keep ice for a long long time. Long after the beer is gone thats for sure.
I'm not bashing on Yeti, but everyone I know who has one of them won it in a raffle. I've yet to have someone I know tell me they actually purchased one. I know they have to be excellent products, but we aren't talking brain surgery. I know I'm way to cheap to spend that kind of money on a cooler, especially when you see all of these comparisons of much less expensive brands performing to nearly the same level. I guess for some, "nearly" is not good enough.
Any cooler kept out of the sunlight will hold ice for 5 to 7 days if you don't open and close it all the time. Save your money and just get a good cooler that doesn't have plastic hinges. FWIW
Now that's a cooler. 400 qt
Unless you're dropping it out of a plane or regularly kicking it out of the back of your truck, you don't need a $400 plus cooler.
I kept three blocks and one cube in a large Coleman Marine for seven days with food, and not pre-chilled. Just threw the ice in on the road. That was early September, hunting then traveling from Wyoming to central BC with the meat and cape from an antelope. I added two bags of cube on top of every thing for the final three days.
I have 3/4" high density Styrofoam cut to fit the bottom and sides, plus one that "floats" on top of the contents. I also have a complete 1/2" layer I can add if the temps are very hot. Usually it's only one layer on the bottom and one layer halfway up.
$20 worth of Styrofoam will turn a cheaper three day cooler into a seven or eight day cooler with just a bit of measuring and cutting. If you don't need the structural strength of a premium cooler, than you're wasting your money.
And the guy that claims the Yeti is "guaranteed grizzly proof" has never had a hungry grizzly have go at it!
Most guys spend more on gas to go on a western hunt for just 1 year than we are talking extra to spend on a cooler. We are just not talking that much extra when you know the cooler will last for 20 years plus. I am cheap a lots of stuff, but I learned a long time ago that if you buy quality once for the long haul, it is more than worth my time to build something cheaper or replace something cheaper. They are not for everyone, but if you can afford one, you will never look back. The ones who don't will always snicker at us that do, and we will smile right back. Truth be known, we are both getting a good deal
I have a Yetti (won it BOW banquet) and a Cabelas. I like the Cabelas cooler a little better and I think they run about a hundred bucks less both are very nice and I always said I would never spend that kind of money on a cooler but after having them I will always have a high end cooler from now on. Nice feature of both is they are Bear certified (nice feature living in Wyoming).
Yeah,but Pat got no window sticker or ball cap
I bet if YETI chose to sponsor this site it would be "All YETI All The Time!"...........Ha
We have some older IRP coolers called the outback (same folks who make the grizzly) that we rent. Have had igloos, colemans, etc. and they are crap in comparison. Never had one last more than a few months without breaking. Those IRPs are probably 10 years old. If you use and abuse a cooler hard all year round the premium coolers are a good investment.
But they are not what I travel with. High end coolers are too heavy to fly with. Cheap wally world coolers are lighter so you can put more in them and stay under 50 lbs. And work well enough for what I need. Use a nylon strap to keep them closed. Duct tape leaves so much goo on them they are a mess in short order.
i have a 120QT higher end rubber made that has actually worked really really well for me. I addition in have one of the new 70QT Pelican coolers that are basically a direct competitor to Yeti and the other high end high fashion units. The Rubbermade is shockingly good given its price but i do love the look and feel of the Pelican. Perhaps it's been mentioned here but i missed it...but there really high end coolers are much larger in outside dimensions than most of the lower cost competitors. that's how they fit the extra insulation in. So be aware that unless you have lots of room in your truck/vehicle, a 70QT high end unit is going to take up quite a bit more room than a lower cost one of the same volume. While i love my pelican, i was able to buy it on an industry introductory deal, and i don't think i would be willing to buy it at MSRP. Finally, i hate that i now have to worry about someone stealing my "Trophy cooler" out of the back of my truck when i'm not around. lower end coolers attract a lot less attention. i've taken to locking mine up with a cable just to slow down a potential lift.
The problem with some high end coolers like cabela s or pelican is their weight and profile. Handles are solid molds that stick out from profile and it makes it difficult to fit everything in the truck. Look at Engle coolers and the sides are flush making it easier to pack items efficiently next to each other in pickup bed. Slide items tonight together and still have tougher cooler to stand,sit on that outlasts the cheap stuff you take to the dump hoping the lids don't fly off enroute to said dump....just saying.
A buddy of mine bought a large Coleman Xtreme at Walmart for about 50 bucks on sale. He took it on a ten day trip to Montana with frozen food and ice. Still had ice for the trip back. Daytime temps around 70, night 30s or 40s. Just kept it in the shade.
cabelas hands down. a bit bulky well worth it tho. 20 lbs of ice lasted 6 days in 90 degree weather opened frequently.
Last spring I paid $140 for my Rtic 65 cooler. I couldn’t be happier. I think it took 3 days for the cooler to show up on my doorstep. My next Rtic will be a 145 now that they make bigger coolers.
Same quality as a Yeti and a fraction of the cost.
My moller ice station. If I fill it it will hold ice for 2.5 weeks in 90° weather
I just got an Yeti 65 and I have a Coleman Esky 135 on my mule deer trip to Nevada in aug. the ice only lasted 1/2 the time in the yeti the Esky had one more block of ice in it. I will get another Esky Before I take another trip
you guys have to look at BIG FRIG out of south Dakota.. better cooler half the price
good guys there.
WHoa, coleman is proud of that esky! Even if they are 20% off right now. Those big frigs look good, anyone have any experience/insight on'm?
Big Frig makes a good cooler. You won't find much quality difference between them and any of the other "premium cooler" guys out there. I've handled them locally and seen them at various banquets etc since they aren't made far from me and they look good. I'm sure anyone would be happy with them!
What a company needs to do is coordinate their inside and outside dimensions so that different coolers can be nested inside each other when storing in the shed or garage (or vault, if you're paying the wildly stronger pricing that has become the new norm LOL). E.g. make a 65 that fits inside a 150 so you don't have to take up half your garage or shed with stacked coolers during the off season.
K2 coolers! they even come dipped in mossy oak
I have 4 of the Big Frog also we have them do our mugs and can coolers also. Great products and great to deal with . Talk to Brock
My Grandsons and Daughter all have Yetis and Pelicans, I got the 70 Igloo Yukon and its every bit as good at less than 2/3 the price. It only says it keeps ice for 7 days at 90 degrees but all the owners say it actually does that although I have not had to test it in that kind of heat yet.
God bless, Steve
Where are you buying the igloo? Current pricing looks to be around $370
Rtic 65 is $240 shipped to your door.
Big Frig 75 is $275 shipped to your door (not a bad deal) and you get 2 free tumblers!
I can only speak for my Rtic,,softside, I think 65,,it's a p o s ,,I'm a smallmouth river guide on the east coast...I have many coolers...in fact I have yard sale Coleman coolers that will outdo the Rtic,,,,hey but I look hip with the new style..weather they work or not..lmao...not really
I shopped hard and found the Yukon on sale for 240. I am ashamed of where I bought it but bit my tongue hard and did it anyway. It is a place you would shoot at.
God bless, Steve
Thanks for all the input on a cooler. Pulled the plug on a RTIC 65 $240 tax and shipping included. Received it yesterday (3day) and will be trying it out on several upcoming outstate hunts. Will let you know how it performs.