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Elk cooler
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
RiverBender 20-Jul-22
JL 20-Jul-22
aaron 20-Jul-22
DanaC 20-Jul-22
Sam 20-Jul-22
JL 20-Jul-22
t-roy 20-Jul-22
groundhunter50 20-Jul-22
Sam 20-Jul-22
JL 20-Jul-22
RiverBender 20-Jul-22
pav 20-Jul-22
JL 20-Jul-22
RiverBender 20-Jul-22
JL 20-Jul-22
Pop-r 20-Jul-22
KSflatlander 20-Jul-22
Sam 20-Jul-22
Cheesehead Mike 21-Jul-22
LUNG$HOT 22-Jul-22
JL 22-Jul-22
Kurt 23-Jul-22
Sam 23-Jul-22
JL 23-Jul-22
LBshooter 23-Jul-22
elkmtngear 23-Jul-22
JL 23-Jul-22
BULELK1 24-Jul-22
BULELK1 24-Jul-22
Nemophilist 24-Jul-22
JL 24-Jul-22
joehunter 24-Jul-22
scentman 24-Jul-22
LINK 24-Jul-22
BULELK1 25-Jul-22
JL 25-Jul-22
JL 26-Jul-22
BULELK1 26-Jul-22
samman 26-Jul-22
Tracker 26-Jul-22
JohnMC 26-Jul-22
JL 26-Jul-22
RonP 26-Jul-22
Kodiak 26-Jul-22
JL 27-Jul-22
butcherboy 27-Jul-22
From: RiverBender
20-Jul-22
Where's the deals on coolers? It doesn't seem right to spend as much on a new cooler to pack elk as I did for my non-resident tag.

From: JL
20-Jul-22
I just bought a new 210qt roto-molded one on wheels a couple of days ago. I went big on size to have plenty of room for multiple critters and ice. Last year I had 3 animals and a hide in two 120qt coolers. Those two coolers took up some precious space in the back of the truck.

FWIW....I got a Cater Gator cooler. They have them on sale (some with free shipping) and the reviews were pretty good. I also wanted the wheel option which they have.

Another FWIW.....I spoke to the lady when I was researching coolers and she said coolers are moving fast right now. So if you're going to pull the trigger....don't wait until the last minute to do it.

From: aaron
20-Jul-22
I would look at Coleman 150 qt coolers. They are about $100-$150 depending on where you find one. I'm by no means an expert but if you have two of those you should be fine. Or you could go with three Coleman 120 qt coolers. Enough cooler space for half of your nonresident tag ;)

From: DanaC
20-Jul-22
Put a chest freezer on a trailer, bring a generator.

From: Sam
20-Jul-22
Not really an answer to the question but just something I’ve been fortunate enough to discover.

It takes approximately 270 quarts of cooler to haul one processed bull elk.

From: JL
20-Jul-22
Sam....does that include the hide and is the meat boned out?

From: t-roy
20-Jul-22
You might check with WV Mountaineer…..I’ve heard he “knows a guy”….. ;-)

20-Jul-22
I got by with 2 120 quart coolers,,,,, just fine, but went with the chest freezer and generator also. The coolers I got on sale for about 69.00,,,,,,,,,,,, the chest freezer was from Menards for 130.00,,,,,,,,, its a life saver. works well set up on the trailer,,,, take it to my hunting cabin, with generator, and its great................... Run and get it good and cold, out of a field trip,,,,, keep it closed,,,,, on the way home, I also added dry ice..... good luck, hope you fill em

From: Sam
20-Jul-22
JL… that is deboned processed meat only.

From: JL
20-Jul-22
Thanks....

From: RiverBender
20-Jul-22
The cater gator was a good tip but actually if I can make room on the truck a small freezer may be the ticket. Now on another note. I believe the old white coleman I have been using years past is a 120 qt and it will hold a boned elk (it has several times) but sounds like you guys are using bigger. Maybe your leaving room for more ice/dry ice than I do?

From: pav
20-Jul-22
I have the 150qt and 120qt Coleman Extremes. Never had an issue getting all my boneless elk meat in those two coolers with room to spare. That said, I've never arrowed a bull over 330"...so a 350"+ bull might be a different story.

From: JL
20-Jul-22
Ya...the Cater Gators seem to draw some interest as one of the next "it" coolers. I suspect because the prices are pretty good for what you're getting. The one I got is a camo one with wheels.

I had some fuzzy math above....I had 4 critters driving back last year...3 goats and a muley, plus the muley hide. It was a tight fit and I still had a 3rd cooler on the hitch carrier but that just had lightweight dry goods in there for the return trip. I would have liked to had more ice in the coolers to drop the temps down further for the 20-something hour ride home. The antelope were all ground, vacuum bagged and frozen. The muley wasn't.

I considered the generator/freezer idea. But I'd have to buy a generator and a freezer and then take a trailer. When I'm by myself, I'm usually running long and quick and a trailer would slow me down. When I get back, what would I do with the freezer? I already have a big one at the house.

I too was curious about the what size cooler is needed for a average size elk?

From: RiverBender
20-Jul-22
JL did you have your cooler shipped from cater gater?

From: JL
20-Jul-22

JL's Link
Yes.

Here is the link to the coolers if anyone is interested. You can check out some of the sales they have going on right now. As I said...some are free shipping!

From: Pop-r
20-Jul-22
270 qts?! WOW! That's almost 68 gallons! You sure about That? Seems that'd be a BIG elk to me.

From: KSflatlander
20-Jul-22
I built my own out of 1/2 inch plywood and ridged insulation. If works great but it is heavier than a commercial cooler. I also built before plywood went through the roof.

From: Sam
20-Jul-22

Sam's embedded Photo
Sam's embedded Photo
Pop-r Here is last years, the man in the pic is 6’ 2” 230lbs 270 quarts in nice little white packages.

21-Jul-22
When I used coolers I used a 150qt and a 120qt to have room for ice, meat and cape. Lately I've been using a small chest freezer and a generator, which combined is cheaper than a big yeti cooler.

From: LUNG$HOT
22-Jul-22
I second the Cater Gators. Bought 3 of them last year of the tan color. 110qt cooler for $200 ea when you get 3. Can’t get 2 yetis that size for $600

From: JL
22-Jul-22

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
^.....my 210qt Cater Gator showed up this morning via FEDEX.

The Bad: The one I ordered was supposed to have the wheels....this one didn't. The box even said it had wheels. They were thinking it came from the factory in the wrong box??

The Good: Man!....that thing is some kind of heavy duty. I could have fit in there without de-boning. I called up the Cater Gator folks and they promptly sent me a FEDEX shipping label for the return while I was on the phone. They were going to give me a store credit for the money I spent on this 210qt cooler or a full refund ($619). I went with the full refund as they were now sold out of the wheeled camo coolers in that size. They wouldn't get any until March....I guess they're selling quick as folks are now finding out about them.

After I got that cooler back down to FEDEX.....I went back to the Cater Gator website to look for other options. I ended up getting a 170qt camo wheeled cooler AND a 100qt tan non-wheeled cooler. They have several cooler sizes on sale with free shipping and a good color selection.

Sooo......by buying these two coolers for a total of 270qts....I saved something like $60 vs the cost of the 210qt one. PLUS.....the lady was righteous for my troubles and waived the shipping cost ($68) of the 170qt AND the 100qt was already free shipping AND already on sale for $209. Sooo.....I saved $125-$130-something bucks in this deal by going with the two cooler option AND I got a 60qt increase in capacity. I can't complain about the customer service at all.....very accommodating and quick.

These are my first roto coolers so I have nothing to compare them to. With that said.....if ya want a decent looking roto-molded cooler at a very good price, ya may want to check out the above Cater Gator link and see if they have something ya like.

From: Kurt
23-Jul-22
Chest freezer and Honda EU1000i or larger generator. 10 CF minimum and 12 cf is better for an elk if you have a cape .

I got a Tule cow I processed (vacuum sealed) myself into a 5 cf freezer, no hide or bone and it was a snug fit. They are 2/3 the size of Rockies and 1/2 the size of Roosevelt elk.

From: Sam
23-Jul-22
JL I looked this catergators up, what an incredible selection and low prices on those.

From: JL
23-Jul-22
Sam, ya they offer a great variety of sizes, colors and options. The lady I spoke to throughout the day said they sell a lot of coolers and they are gaining in popularity as more folks find out about them. She said they put some of the slow movers on sale to move them. Plus they will do the free shipping on a lot of coolers. If you are willing to open an account with them, it's free shipping on all the coolers and I believe most of their other products they sell. I just happened to stumble across them researching roto coolers on Google-land the other day. I went to the website and surprised at the deals they had. I can't complain.....

From: LBshooter
23-Jul-22
Look on craigslist in sporting goods for sale, I bought a brand new monster sized cooler for 30 bucks. It holds 200 plus cans. Use it for deer aging.

From: elkmtngear
23-Jul-22
I still just use an old double sleeping bag, burrito roll the bagged meat, and layer dry ice over the top. Never needed a cooler, haven't lost one bit of meat, in 25 years (and, all those were non-resident hunts).

Basically, I'm a "minimalist"...because I'm cheap, lol !

From: JL
23-Jul-22
I have a 22-24 hour run to get back home if I drive straight thru from MT to MI. I noticed last year the outside of the meat was cold, the inside was cool. I had it in game bags. I opted for a bigger and better cooler in order to spread the meat out better to cool more thoroughly for the ride home. I figure I have a lot of coin tied up in these NR boondoggles and I don't want to spoil any meat or hides/antlers. We'll see.....

From: BULELK1
24-Jul-22

BULELK1's embedded Photo
BULELK1's embedded Photo
I'm a Coleman 150-quart type guy.

Those Yeti's are so dang heavy, even when M.T., I don't think a guy could lift one full of meat.

I did add an extension to the drain plug for ice melt drainage.

Good luck, Robb

From: BULELK1
24-Jul-22

BULELK1's embedded Photo
Works just fine and I re-silicone each year.
BULELK1's embedded Photo
Works just fine and I re-silicone each year.

From: Nemophilist
24-Jul-22
I used a chest freezer and ice.

From: JL
24-Jul-22
The ice drain tube is a great idea. The only concern I'd have is does it draw heat back into the cooler and accelerate ice melting?

From: joehunter
24-Jul-22
Chest freezer for me. I run it off an inverter in my truck when on the road and when not setting up a big camp. When I set up the wall tent then I use a generator in an enclosed trailer. Easier than dealing with ice.

From: scentman
24-Jul-22
I don't even need one and I want to order a cooler... my wife asked " why do need such a large cooler"?, I said just look what JL has got... I want one! ;0]

From: LINK
24-Jul-22
I use a couple igloo polar 120s I picked up for $59 each at Atwood’s a couple years ago. Even on a 2 day drive home I can’t imagine it taking more than 1 extra bag of ice over a premium cooler. Those coolers at JLs link are tempting though. I’ve brought elk quarters home iced down in the back of an xuv. Drove all night. You have to keep them cool not frozen. You don’t have to have slept at a holiday inn to make it work without spending $1000.

From: BULELK1
25-Jul-22
JL, I've never noticed any extra drainage when it's hot.

Pretty slow/staggered drips and such, even when I stop for fuel ect., hardly anything.

Good luck, Robb

From: JL
25-Jul-22
Thanks Robb......I'm waiting on the two new ones to show up.

I had about 3-4 lbs of dry ice (with the regular ice) in the cooler last year and it was gone by the time I got home. I'm thinking with a better quality cooler it would have lasted longer. IMO....these Cater Gator coolers seemed like a deal too good to pass up. I'll post up some pics of the news ones when they arrive.

From: JL
26-Jul-22

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo

FYI only.......if anyone was interested, I just got an email notification this 100qt camo, wheeled cooler is now back in stock. I would have a opted for this one as the smaller cooler when I placed my two-cooler order 3-4 days back.

From: BULELK1
26-Jul-22
A guys Back will Love those wheels!!

Good luck, Robb

From: samman
26-Jul-22
I got a used chest freezer of craigslist last year for $60. Put a bunch of gallon jugs in it, froze them. Loaded in the bed of my truck & only needed to run the generator a few hours a day to keep things cold. Kept a bunch of our food in it in the mean time. Spent 28 days in the field. When we got the elk, still had frozen jugs & the freezer was cold. I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on a cooler needing to replace ice. Having the frozen jugs gave us water to use and also supply the Yeti cooler my buddy had when needed.

From: Tracker
26-Jul-22
Coleman extreme at Walmart. Cheap wand works well.

From: JohnMC
26-Jul-22
I read some reviews of the CatorGator. Seems the complaint I read several times is they don't hold ice as well as other coolers. Then again I didn't read other brand reviews so people may complain about that no matter the brand.

From: JL
26-Jul-22
John....I'm a rookie on these roto coolers and have nothing to compare the CaterGator too. I think you're right....folks may complain about how well any cooler may/may not keep the ice.

From: RonP
26-Jul-22
"Coleman extreme at Walmart. Cheap wand works well."

x2

From: Kodiak
26-Jul-22
I do the Coleman extreme and Igloo 150s.

Tell you what though a chest freezer makes much more sense. I've got a Honda 2000 generator, it's stupid not to use a freezer.

From: JL
27-Jul-22

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo

A customer service follow up from above about the wheeled, camo 100qt cooler that was back in stock 4 days after I bought the tan one.

I emailed the Cater Gator gal I've been working with half joking - half serious letting her know the 100qt camo cooler I wanted originally came back in stock 4 days after I ordered the tan one that was in stock. Most most righteously, she emailed back a couple of minutes later and said because of the issues with the 210qt cooler and the camo 100qt one I wanted wasn't in stock when I bought the 100qt tan one, I could ship the tan one back on their dime and buy the wheeled camo 100qt one that just showed up in stock! It was $5 more but free shipping on it, no cost to return the tan one and I get what I originally wanted.

Sooo........I felt the Cater Gator lady (Mariah) went above and beyond correcting the issues I had. Therefore I wanted to put a plug in for the fantastic customer service in my case.

The pic is the new 170qt cooler that showed up this morning.

From: butcherboy
27-Jul-22
That’s excellent customer service! I have good luck with Coleman and igloo coolers. I drill holes on the inside of the lids and fill with foam for even more insulation. I also have two of the Cabela’s brand giant coolers that I picked up for free. They are extremely heavy and the actual space on the inside is quite small. They do however keep ice very well. Had one out in the sun for five days last week while camping. The amount of melted ice was very minimal but I had very little room to keep things cool. I had to transfer most stuff to another cooler and then put ice around my food inside that cooler. The Cabela’s one ended up just storing ice. When I go hunting I usually use frozen jugs of water to keep things cool. Bags of ice for other cold drinks in another cooler.

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