Buying an ice chest, or cooler, used to be easy.
There were a few basic choices and colors; the winning cooler was selected based on capacity and possibly if it had wheels or not. What would make them better, more functional, or attractive didn’t seem to play in to the product design, much less the consumer’s mind.
Those days are gone.
With the number of ice chest brands seeming to increase by the month, the easy decision between “the red one versus the blue one” is getting a lot more difficult. Luckily, we’re here to shed some light on a few options we compared.
One of the biggest differences is the price point. From the Hercules starting at $14.99 to the Yeti topping our list at $349.99, there is a big swing depending on whether you’re looking to make a long-term camping investment or just picking up a quickie for a lake weekend at the Butte.
From there, the weight of the empty cooler is another thing to consider. The Pelican Elite weighs in at a whopping 35.95 pounds when empty, whereas the Coleman Xtreme comes in a 4-wheeled option. While it’s not that heavy to start, when you fill it to the brim, you still don’t have to worry because you can pull it along the trail.
All of the brands we tried come in a variety of sizes and capacities, so investigate which size makes the most sense for your trip’s duration, or capacity needs, and go from there.
Whether your attending a baseball event with the family or road tripping this summer, keep cool with these local cooler options.
Consider making your own cooler ice. Fill water balloons with water, freeze in advance, and then pack your cooler. Once they melt you can re-freeze or have a fun water balloon fight with friends!
Coleman® XTREME® 4- WHEELED COOLER
Have-A-Seat™ Lid supports up to 250 lbs. for a place to sit and rest
Four integrated Cup holders
Long, telescoping handle for easy pulling
Rustproof, leak-resistant channel for no-tilt draining
Non-slip non-marking rubber feet
2” drain plug for easy, quick draining
2” Tiedown slots
2331 E Lohman Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001
Pelican Elite 45
Up to 10 days ice retention, freezer grade gasket Press & Pull Latches (Wide for Gloved Use) Corrosion Resistant Stainless Steel Hardware
4501 N Valley Dr, Las Cruces, NM 88007
Hercules Huskee 45qt Thickwall cooler
Strong hinged lid unusual to styrofoam coolers
Bottom is ribbed so that it won’t move around or fall over, and the tight lid prevents any spillage
Yeti Tundra 45
Lid seals shut with a freezer-quality gasket around the entire lid to minimize air exchange
Designed to handle extremely low temperatures and are compatible with dry ice
Padlock holes are molded into the cooler body and lid for added security.
991 W Amador Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005
Pool Tech Plus
2331 E Lohman Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001
Sun Valley True Value Hardware
3567 S Main St, Mesilla Park, NM 88047
Cooler Tips Tidbits
It’s About Retention
Coolers are built to retain temperature, whether it’s hot or cold; they are not miracle workers no matter how fancy they are. So if you store your cooler in the hot garage, make sure you bring it in the house and air it out a day before packing.
Pre-Chill What You’ll Be Packing
A warm sleeve of sodas straight from the store will only serve to warm up the rest of the items packed. Cooling all items ahead of time will ensure cold temps longer.
Using larger blocks of ice in your chest means they’ll melt slower. Grab the bag at the back of the cooler, yes, the one that feels solid.
Air Is The Enemy
If you don’t use up all the space in the cooler consider placing a towel at the top to take up the empty space. Creating an air barrier will ensure your cold items keep cooler longer. And try not to open it too many times, the more it’s open, the more coolness escapes.
Layer It On
Putting ice at the bottom and then layering from there up with the items that need to stay the coldest at the bottom will prioritize your chilling. Fruit, for example, could go more towards the top of the chest whereas the sangria would go towards the bottom.