I know we've all got ways to make our own yeti equivalent but I saw a thing where guys essentially just drill holes in a cheap cooler and shoot the walls full of expanding gap foam and the coolers work tremendously well after. Looks like the main difference between a high end cooler and a cheap one is the expensive ones have foam insulation where cheap ones are air.
Reason I could never get myself to purchase one is it seems like if it can hold stuff cold for 7 days it only holds 2 days worth of food. (Space wise) Anyways, just found it interesting and thought I'd share.
I have had cheapo Coleman’s that got broken. They had foam insulation. I bought a Yeti 65 about five years ago. It most certainly keeps stuff colder longer than the cheaper coolers I’ve had in the past. Is it the best, I have no idea as I have not owned other high end coolers. My only complaint is that it’s “heavy”.
Look on line, many tests done. A modified(spray foam) 100 dollar CColeman cooler kept ice as long as $600 Yeti and several others ones which were 4 and 5 times the amount of the Coleman did not keep ice as long. Too each his own. For my out of tate trips I use two 110 quart Coleman coolers with the lids drilled and filled with great stuff and I am more than happy. Shawn
Not always possible, but you can significantly increase the performance of any cooler by keeping a wet towel or cover on it that acts as an evaporative cooler. For raft trips and other long term, warm/hot weather, outdoor activities, we've made covers to fit our coolers.
I have a canyon cooler out of flagstaff. I freeze 7-8 days worth of premade meals for my hunt that I keep in bags and just put them in boiling water and eat. Half the price of yeti and keeps ice for 7 + days in September temps. If I cover it during the day10+. The biggest performance test is that my daughter plays softball all summer and keeping that cooler in the hot car will keep your food cold and on ice for the weekend where as cheepies have your sandwiches swimming in water 6 hours into the first day
I was one of the crotchety old guys who scoffed at Yetis and refused to pay the price for one. My son and daughter gave me one for Christmas a few years ago and I was really impressed. On summer trips to the deer lease and tailgaiting during SEC games in September can really be hot! I actually did buy an RTIC and like it just as much as the Yeti. Sitting on an asphalt parking lot or baking in the W.TX. sun can really be hot. I must admit, they are well worth the money. I am a convert.
I've got a bunch of coolers, but only one Yeti product. I bought their cooler/bag deal so that I can bring it along on fly out hunts and fishing trips, fits in the plane much better than an actual cooler. I about sh*t when I brought it up to the register to pay, purposely did not look at the price cause I knew I'd leave it on the shelf if I did.
I have an RTIC which is a YETI knockoff (they even got sued over it). But they're cheaper than most of the premium coolers and if you get on their mailing list they have year end close outs and you can pick them up at a reasonable cost. They do keep ice for longer but for me the biggest advantage is the hinges never break!:) Got tired of doctoring old coolers.
The biggest negative on the high dollar coolers for my main purpose is the weight. We fly into a Canadian outpost lake each year. The outpost outfitters hate them. They weigh at least 2-3 times more than a similar size cheaper cooler, plus, the useable interior space of comparable coolers is considerably less as well. I do have a Yeti soft tote cooler that works very well. Like Buffalo 1, I’m a Coleman Extreme guy as well.
I was a doubter until I was finally talked into buying one. The high end cooler not only keep things colder longer, they are way more durable. I use to destroy coolers, on averaged one a year. Each cooler was around $100. I have had my 75 Yeti now for at least 7 years. Although it is scratched up, it hold ice like it was new. I think I paid around $550 for it, on the 6th year I had full recovered my investment. Yes it is a big up front cost, but it pays for it self in time!
I've never known anyone who actually has (key words here) a premium cooler who did not like it. Conversely, I have known a lot of folks who don't actually have one or have never actually used one who talk trash about them.
My two old Colman coolers, 52 qt and 120 qt. have lasted over 20 yrs. They keep things cold enough for me. Yes I do use a little more ice, but for the price of a Yeti, I feel I still come out better buying ice. I do hunt in S TX. for a week, and I do have to purchase some ice. Just my $.02.
Insulation capability is all and only about insulation thickness. More insulation (of the same type) means contents stay the same temp they went in longer.
A Yeti with three inch thick walls will obviously stay cold longer than a Coleman with one inch thick walls. Put two inches of insulation inside the Coleman and it will perform the same. (nearly as there will be some loss to fit gaps)
I have Coleman and Igloo coolers. I have builders styrofoam cut to fit inside the coolers. 1/2” and 1”. I can add layers as needed for longer trips.
Always add extra to the bottom. Cold sinks and is drawn through the bottom into the heat sink it’s sitting on, usually the ground.
Camp out in the local parking lot and offer anyone their choice of a Yeti (or any other brand of "high end/high dollar" cooler) or a Coleman and I venture to guess they'll pick the Yeti every time.
The only real point of discussion is whether the Yeti is worth the asking price if you're going to buy one. There will never be a universal answer, just like optics, camo clothing, bows, trucks or whatever.
The OP was simply pointing out a way to perhaps improve the performance of a lower end cooler. Seems like a good idea and a pretty cheap one at that. I'm going to try it on a couple of cheap coolers I have at home, it can't hurt. Thanks APauls!
I bought a 65 Yeti a couple years ago and it does hold ice a very long time. keep it shut as much as possible and in the shade to keep the heat out is a good practice. I haven't really missed the money I paid for it, I keep making more anyway.
I bought a 65 quart RTIC and was impressed by how well it was built. Filled it with ice, drinks, and food and then went to place it in the back of my truck. Let me say they are not lite. A friend has a 110 YETI and it takes 2 men to haul it when full. My old igloo is much easier to handle.
Keeping to the spirit of APaul's thread.....I've never tried doing any type of additional foam or other insulation to a cooler. I would think anything like that would probably help the less expensive lightweight coolers. I'd say it's the way to go for those who are a bit more frugal and do-it-yourself minded. I'd love to see the results of a cooler challenge pitting an easily modified Coleman or Igloo against a premium cooler. Maybe the modified cooler would blow away the high-priced units.
I have a yeti 75 and a grizzly 50.. the yeti is used primarily for base camp or summer camping chained to the camper bumper. The Grizzly comes in handy for hunting season, I keep it in the back of my pickup full of water bottles and Gatorade. Both work equally well.
Guess i had no idea any cooler was made with air. Every cooler I ever owned already had foam in it including the lids so I cant see anyway to make an improvement to them without actually adding Styrofoam to the interior walls and shrinking up space. I have two 150 quart off brand coolers I paid 50 bucks each for at costco about 10 years ago. One of the two is finally needing replaced. I freeze my food prior two week elk hunts. I use block ice, keep them in the shade and cover them with an old sleeping bag with the drain cap cracked. My ice lasts the whole two weeks in Arizona September 75 to 80 plus degree weather. How much longer would someone need? I leave one cooler empty until I get something down then go into town and get some ice. I cant imagine what 350.00 to 800 dollars worth of ice even looks like and doubt very much Id use that much in 10 years.
I doubt a cheap one filled with foam would blow away the expensive one, just based on the wall thickness and the R-Value that comes with foam thickness, but I’d bet it would help. The above video was interesting, a $10 cooler went almost 3 days vs the $350 coolers went 5 in their “ice challenge”. I was expecting more of a spread. Sound like a big thing you’re paying for on the high end cooler is durability. Give me a cooler that has a wall thickness along the lines of a cheaper cooler, maybe a tin outside like the old blue colemans, filled with foam and keeps ice for say... 4 days, I’d be very happy. It would have the squarish interior, not some odd geometric shape as well as not being too heavy.
I use the Grizzly Coolers because they are awesome, hide scratches better than other brands and they are made in the USA. I and a hunting pal toured their factory in IA. Besides being really tough and stylish, the money I save in durability (cracks, hinges and latches wear out with other brands of coolers around here) makes them pay for themselves YEARLY and the money I save in ice makes them pay for themselves yearly to boot. I’m doubling my money invested every year so I don’t mind paying to buy the real deal. The only negative is that they are heavy as heck. I’d recommend them to anybody.
A thick walled cooler is either bigger on the outside or smaller on the inside. By using styrofoam cut to fit inside, the cooler can be adjusted to the time afield. I put a Coleman 140 on the swim grid of my boat for extended trips and usually put five blocks in the bottom with I" thick foam underneath and on the sides. I have a 1" piece that "floats" on top of the contents. Even exposed to direct sunlight for several long summer days, the blocks last for a week and then the trip home. I usually end up throwing about half the ice away. I can also just add another layer of foam for extra long stays. It helps to add layers as your contents shrink as less air space means the contents and ice don't have to cool as much space.
There's lots of things you can do to make coolers last longer. Throw a thick blanket, towels or sleeping bag over it and keep them wet, as evaporation causes cooling. You can bury the cooler to the lid.
And if someone steals my cooler, I'll just wait for the end of season sales and splurge a hundred bucks on a new one and then another ten bucks for styrofoam.
I own a Grizzly cooler, A Kenai model, a Lifetime, and two Coleman extremes. My brother has several Yeti's that we've used quite a bit. And, my son has Bison coolers that I've used several times. Here is my experience with upper end versus a Coleman Extreme cooler.
Coleman extreme coolers keep ice as well as the highest dollar cooler when they are new. Problem is, after a year or so of everyday, in the element use, they begin to lose their insulating properties. Now, if you stored them out of direct sunlight and didn't bounce them around in the back of a truck daily, they are going to be hard to beat for the investment. But, if you use them daily and treat them like you do a tool box, you will be replacing them every year or so. I didn't always know that until the last couple years but, that has been my experience with them versus the roto molded variety.
With that said, I have a personal problem with Yeti products. Initially for no other reason besides they simply do not perform like the price says they should. My Grizzly cooler does just as well at a 35% savings. A better warranty, keeps ice as long and longer then my Brothers Yeti's and, I like it better for that reason. I also like it better because it is mostly made right here in the USA too. As of last year, the latches were imported on Grizzly coolers because the quality and quantity control needed by Grizzly couldn't be found by an American producer. And, before anyone asks, that is coming from the owner of Grizzly coolers personally to me. No second hand verbatim there.
My Kenai cooler is made by Grizzly and everything on it comes from American production. It does a fine job and is as good or better then the Yeti's my brother owns in several sizes. It keeps ice for 5-6 days in hot weather with normal use of storing drinks and food. As a beer cooler that gets a lot of use, reduce that to 3 days in the same weather. That is to be expected. I am very pleased with the purchase and can't see where the $150 it cost me was nothing but an excellent lifetime investment. It has the same no questions asked Grizzly warranty. And performs to meet or exceed my needs and expectations.
The Bison coolers my son has work well. On par with most Roto brands. However, there is nothing that stands them out against the competition. They are tough, hold ice well, and could be used as a standing block with no problems. I just see no where they are special and would not pay for them with a Grizzly available.
Now, the undisputed ice holding champion I've ever experienced is the Lifetime cooler from Walmart. It costs $97, has a warranty on par with the Yeti, and simply holds ice like a dang freezer. The only question about is it how long will it last? I replaced my truck cooler with it last year in the spring and have beat that thing to death and it sets on my porch right now, full of ice and cold water. I put ice in it once every three weeks or so in the winter-spring months. And, most important is it doesn't let things freeze like other coolers in the winter. It is a phenomenal cooler. Reviews are scattered as their first year production showed some seal problems on the lid. However, I called them over it and they replaced my first year production cooler with a brand new one that didn't have the issue. They have since redesigned all their coolers to address that issue. So, with the performance of these coolers at the price point, I sense a 75 quart addition to my home in the future. If ice retention and the ability to stand up to rigorous use are the key factors f what you want, these are going to be hard to beat.
My personal belief and experience says that the higher end coolers are worth the investment if you use them a lot. Simply because you won't be replacing them. So, buy one with a lifetime Guarantee and use it for that purpose. Forget the over priced 5-10 year crap and buy a cooler that will serve you for the rest of your life if you go this route.
I hope this helps as it took me 30 minutes to type. God Bless
Listen, I’m sure most of the high end are pretty solid. I own a RTIC and a pelican, both legit. My bitch with yeti is they are smaller, more expensive and the tests I’ve watched RTIC and pelican beats them out.
Great idea cnelk. My sleeping bag and a duffel actually become a cooler on my way home. I buy 10-20 pounds of frozen seafood (securely wrapped to be leak-proof) and put it inside my sleeping bag in my big duffel. 3500 air miles and a day later everything is still frozen hard.
At 61, I will Prob hunt another 20 years at least. But I bet most of my Yeti/RTIC cookers will be in my estate for my kids when I go. Anyone with Coleman think theirs will hold up that long?
Others like/ use tarps and cheap sleeping bags and think that is great. Sounds like they work great. I just pay extra once and don’t have to worry about those extras. Not worth it to all , but is to me
Good thread, interesting to see some real world experiences from people that have seen/used multiple higher end coolers.
I’m not trying to fully divert the topic but how do u guys keep them safe in camp? I normally don’t have an enclosed trailer or anything along and I’m not excited about leaving hundreds of dollars of coolers sitting out in camp when I’m normally leaving early and not getting back until late?
For years I just use the Coleman extreme coolers - I’ve got some Coleman’s that are 15+ years old and still use them a couple of times a year on big trips so I’m not hammering on them week in and out.
I will oftentimes load a cooler up with bag and block ice then slide a little dry ice on the sides, keeping it closed in in the shade and covered, I normally can open it 5-7 days later and it’s still froze as good as the day I bought the ice...
I have a lifetime 55 I got for $90 at their outlet. Best cooler I've ever tried much less for the money. I only needed 4 bags of ice in with all my food and beer for 27 days of hunting in Montana last year. Was super impressed.
yall seriously need to shop the comerccial fishing industry for your next high capacity cooler. the one pictured is a 11 cubic feet (320 qts) Bonner box $ 400 I made the rod holders & had the cushion made if ya just got to have that yeti sticker in your truck window then go for it but if ya want a big cooler that'll keep ice a week look at comerccial marine coolers
I've got an RTIC 65 and 20 qt cooler. The 65 is great - the 20 is worthless. Its too small to be of any practical use regarding keeping ice for a long time camping and its far too heavy for the personal cooler its intended for -weighs 17 pounds - PIA to lug around.
Ambush, I throw them in thse back of the truck with chainsaws, tools, gas, weedeaters. they beats around on bumpy roads and basically get abused. But, the biggest detriment to the Coleman Extreme cooler is the sun.
No one misunderstand me. I'm as frugal as they come on certain things. I will always have Coleman Extreme coolers. Nobody wants to steal them and they just flat out work. But, they will not take the elements and abuse everyday like a Roto-molded one. As far as ice storage, I'd put them against any I have witnessed, except the Lifetime, when they are new or, have been well taken care of.
Agree with Timex. I have a 200 Quart Coleman Optimaxx Marine. Got it for around $250 years ago....I think they are close in price on eBay. Works awesome on the boat. Also has held ice and food for 6-7 days on a couple hunts. It’s not too heavy to move around AND you can fit some nice sized fish in it!
Cnelk. Yes I take a tarp and a sleeping bag on every trip I take. But I am not going to use the bag I sleep in around the outside of my cooler. Dust, rain (or condensation) and wind are not something I expose my bag too. That stays in the cab with me. And I don’t sleep in a $25 bag. Haven’t found one that cheap that I can take backpacking and keeps me warm at night. so not really apples to apples for me. But if that works for you then power to ya
The takeaway from this thread: Yeti is definitely overpriced because they now have comparable coolers that are significantly cheaper than they are and are every bit as good. They have to be loosing market share.
I only paid $134 for my 65 qt RTIC and to me it is well worth that. That was on sale of course. But I have never seen a sale on yetis!
I picked up two Grizzly coolers last year and would put them up against any roto cooler out there. Got a 400 and 40 quart, and while heavy, they will go to my boys when I croak. Will probably get a 165 this year or next.
Every cooler I've ever had is still with me. I don't know how guys are burning through coolers, but I guess it happens?? Only damage I ever had was when I bought a $15 cooler in Hawaii to stuff a goat head into. Had the horn tip poke a hole into the bottom corner. Cover the hole and it works fine. Although I might fill that full of Great Stuff now through the hole and make the cooler better than when I bought it ;)
I looked back and I've had my cooler for 2 full seasons, no warping of the lid and the latches have held up to some serious weight(full of elk and moose meat), I've done the flashlight test and didn't find any areas that were void of insulation
Carcus, I mean no disrespect. If it works for you and you are happy with them that is great. But I have had a yeti 15+ years without anything breaking or warping. 2 years just scratches the surface. I would say my coolers like yours usually lasted about 4 years. But maybe I am just tougher on them. I certainly use and abuse mine. And so far the higher end coolers have been great for me. And RTICs are just not that much more than you paid.
One issue is the size and weight. A 120 or 140 quart super cooler is huge and weighs a lot. Fill it with ice and or meat and you’re not moving that thing by yourself. A big issue if you’re a solo hunter dude.
Bought 2 - 65 qt. Coleman coolers for elk hunting and not knowing how big to buy or how many frozen 1 gal. containers of water would be needed or how long the ice would last in the high 80's and low 90's of heat we were experiencing. I got 17 1-gal. jugs of ice in each (I have a chest freezer to make and keep the ice) and then wrapped duct tape around the seal between the lid and compartment and then covered both with old JCPenny cotton bedrolls, which don't take up any room and provide another insulation barrier and left the coolers in the bed of my truck that has a topper. I had a contingency plan with a packing plant as back-up if the ice was melted or the supply wasn't enough to cool the meat...however, they were about 90 miles away with a 2 1/2 hour trip. Shot a big bull, had help and packed him back to camp for 2 1/2 hours in 93 degree temps. Opened the coolers with anticipation and found that only 1/2 of the ice had melted after 10 days. Each cooler easily handled a"bone in" front and hind quarter and each held 11 gal. jugs that cooled the quarters down to 40 degrees between 2p and 8p...I drained the water and turned the quarters twice during that time frame, taped the lid and covered with bedrolls. Next day, stopped in town and added 3 bags of ice to each on the way home and reached home 6 1/2 hours later with meat temps at 38 degrees. The extra 12 gals. of ice melted and was used for cleaning the quarters and providing water for clean-up and drinking. The results were positive beyond my expectation and took very little work other than freezing all the jugs of water... and lasting the 10 days I needed but actually lasting 12 days before it all melted. There was enough room to have also harvested a deer and pack it in the same coolers with the elk. Total cost of the 2 coolers was $110
I would do the same thing all over again. There was a comment about sleeping in the bag and also using it as a cover for the cooler, but not using it for both because of human scent. The JCPenney bedroll, from the 1980's, didn't take up any extra room as a cover and I used a separate sleeping bag for sleeping so that there was no scent transferred.
A cheap(er) cooler will normally not have an insulated lid (body is insulated on all I have seen). I would imagine some expanding foam would help them out a great deal. An easy hack for sure.
Yeti is ridiculous as there are comparable units out there for half the price. You paymostly for "cool" factor. On the other end my hunting partner uses some cheap cooler with mule tape for handles, a couple of old pieces of split firehose for hinges..... all held held on by sheet rock screws with washers on the heads into a few 1x4 boards inside.... he trimmed the screws inside only after gouging some forearm flesh early on...... and it works.
Yes, high end coolers will hold ice longer. It's not rocket surgery, thicker walls have more insulation. More insulation keeps thing cold longer. That is an unarguable fact. Normally those coolers will have a better lid and seal as well, both help a great deal. You can bump up your coolers insulation easily with sleeping bags, etc. Never forget a high end cooler left in the sun will also not hold ice as long as a cheap one in the shade. Huh.
Here's the thing to me..... the high end coolers are all about quality and durability. Hinges, latches, handles, body, corners, etc. I rent coolers. Have five 150qt and a couple others 3 or 4 times that size on wheels, like a kiosk/bar. Currently IRP Outback, which they have spun off into the Grizzly line (made by IRP)
Consumer Coleman/Igloos (even the marine) don't last me but a few months before something is broken. I've had these Outbacks (Grizzly) probably 8 or 10 years. They are tanks. I would imagine most of the higher end are much the same, much better built.
Do I use them? Rarely. They are far too heavy to fly with. I fly with like a 7 lb cooler i can put 43 lbs of meat in rather than a 25 lb cooler I can put 25lbs in. I always have a cooler in the Scout, it lives there. It's a piece of crap WRT keeping ice (won it in a drawing).... but the "cool" factor of a stainless steel Corona cooler is off the charts. =D
Coolers are tools. Match the tool to the job. Sometimes the job is looking cool in the back of the truck..... heheheheh.....