Author Topic: Recommended Cheap Coolers  (Read 2700 times)

Offline NatureNate

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Recommended Cheap Coolers
« on: April 09, 2017, 09:00:31 PM »
Hello all, I am generally new to the whole forum world so please do not all shame me at once. I am currently searching for a new cooler to use while fishing that will keep my drinks/ product fresh for extended periods of time. A buddy of mine recommended the brand Yeti, but I am a little hesitant to make such a large purchase for a cooler. Does anyone have any experience with Yeti and can justify this expensive purchase? If not, does anyone have other cooler recommendations? Preferably one that is a little cheaper but still effective. Thanks in advance.

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Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 11:55:30 PM »
The Yeti brand is amazing, however, if you don't need to keep your single load of ice solid for days on end it may not be needed.  If you can refill ice daily it is not really necessary.  They are cool as heck though.
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Offline NatureNate

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 03:50:56 AM »
My outings tend to be on the long side at a few days before I can get more ice so I'd be looking for something that I don't have to be nervous about opening and closing without losing ice.

Offline trekker111

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2017, 03:53:42 AM »
Grizzly and rtic both make yeti clones which perform just as well, but cost much less.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 09:04:03 AM »
They are cool as heck though.

I see what you did there...

Each month I get 1-2 styrofoam coolers shipped with my son's insulin.  I started saving them, but when I accumulated over a dozen I started tossing them out.
Wish there was a practical use.  They are the polar (possible pun?) opposite of the Yeti brand - but they meet your "cheap" criteria.

Offline Arky

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2017, 10:08:46 AM »
I was in the same boat.  Walmart has an Ozark Trail brand.  I just recently picked up one of there coolers that is supposed to be equal to the yeti.  Paid $60 for something that yeti sells for $250+.  I've only used it twice, but so far I have been impressed.
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Offline CPT Morgan

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2017, 11:10:27 AM »
I've seen lots of review/tests on YouTube for coolers and I'm always impressed with how well the $50 coolers hold up to the very very expensive Yeti type coolers.  Below is a couple of examples (language warning on the first)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVYisJefD0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3l47v7fw3s

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2017, 12:17:40 PM »
I have an Orion cooler and my dad has a Yeti.  They both hold ice very well and are extremely durable.  I figure they will be the last 65qt coolers either of us will ever buy. 

A tip for keeping ice longer is to make sure the ice you buy is very cold.  If it just came off the ice truck it likely isn't much below 32 deg F.  Shop around for the coldest ice in town or throw it in your own freezer for a day before your trip.  I also make sure anything I put in the cooler is cold. 

Another tip is to put some frozen water jugs in the cooler overnight before you load it up (I always keep a couple gallons in my chest freezer).  It drops the interior temp of the cooler so you're not using the cooling ability of your ice to do the same.


Side tip, if you ever need to keep food warm you can fill your cooler with hot water for a while first.  I recently needed to keep 35lbs of cooked roast warm for an afternoon.  I filled the cooler up with hot water from my tap before I picked up the meat.  Blew the guys minds at the butcher shop (they cooked the meat).  They asked if it was a heated ice chest.  LOL  I let the water sit for a while then drained and dried it before I left to pick it up.  Meat was still hot hours later. 
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Offline NatureNate

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2017, 04:46:34 PM »
I've been looking into all the suggestions thoroughly and researching a lot about the different coolers since this will probably be a pretty big purchase (I need 45qt+ to be comfortable). Here's what i'm thinking.

Smurf hunter said that Styrofoam coolers might be an option, but honestly I can't see that lasting too long.

I would try out an Ozark, but I hear that they're manufacturing practices in China are pretty unpredictable so I'd rather not risk it.

As for Yeti, Grizzly, Orion, and Rtic coolers, they all seem to be super premium and of course super expensive.

The Rtic brand does seem to have a great quality to cost ratio though, and I've found several sites backing up trekker's claim. This one https://icecoldcooler.com actually says its one of the best coolers for the money. I would go for the Yeti, but the price is almost unjustifiable.

Any thoughts?

Offline BLACK SHIRT

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 07:46:30 PM »
No offense to anyone but Yeti is a rip off, your buying the name. a good coleman cooler will do just fine.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2017, 08:35:31 PM »
a good coleman cooler will do just fine.
This ^^^   The Coleman Extreme line is both affordable and good at holding ice.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2017, 08:57:52 PM »
No offense to anyone but Yeti is a rip off, your buying the name. a good coleman cooler will do just fine.
I agree.  If I ran a charter fishing service or something like that I'd probably go for the Yeti. But as a regular guy, I can't justify the cost.

I have an Igloo Ice Cube Maxcold 70-quart cooler that works wonderful.  I've camped in 90F temps and still had ice in that cooler on day 5.  I've used this cooler for about 8 years and still like it.  My only negative with it is it will not fit under the tonneau cover of the pickup.  I have another 50 quart model that's wider and shorter and that one doesn't keep things quite as long.  I think it's probably because of the larger surface area of the top of the cooler.


Keep the cooler in the shade and minimize the time that the cooler is open.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 03:04:49 PM by fritz_monroe »
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Offline ChrisFox

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 12:53:07 AM »
I use a 70 quart Coleman Xtreme. Had it for 3ish years. Walmart has them for 50$ Last camping trip I filled up with ice and after 6 days still had ice. It was outside in the shade, April in Texas.



Those yeti's are nice, no denying that. Is it 350$ better? No.

Forgot to add, I bought it on sweethome's recommendation.
http://thesweethome.com/reviews/the-best-hard-cooler/

Offline NatureNate

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2017, 01:24:24 AM »
Okay, so I had seriously crossed off any cheap coleman coolers as an option, but seeing as some of you guys are doing just fine with them, I have looked back into those kind of coolers as options.

I've been checking out that site some more and came across a page on the best cheap coolers , which mentions a lot of different coolers just like the coleman and igloo.  While I know a lot of you guys have had good experiences, they seem to drive home the fact that they probably won't last, and it's making me want to go with the Rtic which they also mention.

Anyone have experience with the Rtic and care to share your experience?
Or...anyone with a cheap plastic cooler under $100 care to share a counter opinion?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 01:30:36 AM by NatureNate »

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2017, 08:36:07 AM »
That Igloo I showed I've been using for at least 8 years.  The rectangular cooler I mentioned is pretty close to the one that ChrisFox showed.  I've had that for about 5 years.  The Ice Cube is used about like most people use a cooler, taken camping about monthly for 7 months out of the year and several other times.  The rectangular one is tossed into the back of the truck every week for my wife to grocery shop, taken on the same camping trips that the Ice Cube goes on, and since it fits well under the tonneau cover is used on every trip we take with the truck.  Both are in great shop.

When articles talk about longevity of the cooler, you have to look at cost along with it.  The 65 quart RTIC cooler lists at $200 on the RTIC site.  The Coleman 65 quart "extreme" coolers has a MSRP of $70, I couldn't quickly find a MSRP on the Igloo.  My Igloo is 8 years old and unless something drastic happens, I expect at least 2 more years out of it.  So that RTIC cooler needs to last at least 25 years for it to be worth it to me to pay the difference in price.  It might last that long, but I'd expect to want a new cooler before I have it for that long.
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Offline Zef_66

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2017, 10:34:06 AM »
I use a Coleman Xtreme similar to this:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-70-qt-Xtreme-5-Cooler/47488640

It works great for our weekend trips. The food stays cold even with the littles getting in there all the time. And we still have plenty of ice at the end of the weekend.

For the price, I can't justify a Yeti. Or anything else for that matter. For less than $50, the Coleman works great. If I was using it for weeks on end, off-grid or something, I might be able to justify a Yeti. But for occasional camping trip, the Coleman is just the ticket. We've had ours for probably 8 years now without any problems at all.
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Offline ChrisFox

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2017, 07:09:36 PM »
When they talk about longevity, what the hell are they doing to their coolers?  ;D  Amazon sells replacement metal hinges if you want. Handles could break I guess. I don't move my cooler once it's full so I'm not worried about it. I clean it out every time I use it. 

Offline Betsy4ever

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 04:34:26 AM »
Yetis are known to deliver with lower cost in mind you can go with competition like gizzly   

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 04:55:42 PM »
I just cant get behind Rtic as they seemed to pretty much steal the Yeti design and move manufacturing to China to undercut them. 

I've gone through a couple of the blue coleman coolers and just don't see myself buying another one after the lid gives out on this one.  I'm not sure if my next cooler will be orion as they are really steep, but if it isn't it would be a Yeti. 

Looks like Yeti is sending some of their coolers to foreign nations to be made now too.  That's a little disappointing.  I like to buy American when I can, it's not always an option though.
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Offline Freespool

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Re: Recommended Cheap Coolers
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2017, 01:36:05 PM »
The longevity of ice and cold things in a cooler is directly proportionate to how often you open the cooler.  I was on a long camping trip with a group of buddies.  I used the Igloo cold max and still had ice a day after their yeti melted.  I did not open the cooler as they did constantly to get beer out.  I take two coolers.  One just for ice to refill later and one for food and drink with an ice layer.  Yeti and rotomolded coolers are much more durable than the basic plastic coolers but cost much more.  I have an RTIC soft side cooler that is crap as far as I am concerned.  There is also another brand of hard cooler called Fatboy that is low cost.  I stick with my light weight Igloo for now, but my life does not depend on my cooler.