Roto-molded cooler comparison
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Thread: Roto-molded cooler comparison

  1. #1
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    Roto-molded cooler comparison

    After a couple years using my Cabela's Polar Cap 25QT insulated cooler and my Coleman Marine 120QT non-insulated cooler, I've found I need something in the middle. The Polar Cap holds barely enough beer and drinks for a day on the beach. It's light enough that with a shoulder strap, I can easily lug it from a hotel room out to the sand without straining myself. But it's maybe 1/3 the storage I'd need to bring food for a family of 4 to go to the beach. The bad thing about the Coleman is - its SO big, that I need 80lbs of ice just to take up the space around the food, beer and drinks. It does a good job of keeping all that stuff cold for a few days, but when it's packed - it's a two man job getting it from the bed of the truck (up any stairs?!?) to whatever beach house/hotel room. My dad has a bigger Polar Cap - that I remembered to be perfect. Big enough to carry enough food,beer, drinks and enough ice to keep it all cold for a few days, but not so big that I couldn't lift and move it (at least once) without wrecking my back. When I started compiling this list, I assumed my Pop's cooler was a 40QT, it's not - it's the 60QT. So here are lists of each respective "weight class":

    40-50 Quart sizes:

    Yeti Tundra 45
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    23lbs | 25.75 x 16.1 x 15.4 | 24.5 x 13.4 | $299 | 5 year


    Pelican 50QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    26.39lbs | 30 x 20.3 x 20.4 | 22.5 x 14.5 | $299 | Lifetime (not handles?)


    Yukon Outfitters 45
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    25.77lbs | 27.4 x 17.4 x 17.3 | ? | $179.99 | 18 months


    RTIC 45
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    25lbs | 26.5 x 16.5 x 15.8 | 25.25 x 13.75 | $187.78 | 1 year

    Cabela's 40QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    24lbs | 32 x 18 x 18| ? | $249 | Lifetime

    Grizzly G40
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    24lbs | 25.5 x 16 x 15.4 | 24.25 x 13.5 | $269 | Lifetime

    Orca 40QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    30lbs | 26.25 x 18.1 x 17.6 | 23.1 x 14.9 | $289.99 | Lifetime

    Kong 50
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    33lbs | 30.5 x 17.4 x 16.9 | 27.9 x 15.1 | $269 | lifetime



    Here's what I found for the next class up (58-70QT):

    Yeti Tundra 65
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    29lbs | 30.6 x 17.25 x 16 | 29.4 x 14.75 | $349 | 5 years

    Pelican 70QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    33.29lbs | 36 x 20.3 x 21 | 28.5 x 15.5 | $349 | Lifetime

    Yukon Outfitters Hard 65
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    36.34lbs | 32 x 18.9 x 18.1 | ? | $249 | 18 months

    RTIC 65
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    36.5lbs | 32.25 x 18.5 x 17.1 | 30.7 x 15.5 | $226 | 1 year

    Cabela's 60QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    30lbs | 37 x 19.5 x 19 | ? | $299 | Lifetime

    Grizzly G60
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    30lbs | 30.4 x 17.4 x 17.1 | 29 x 14.75 | $299 | Lifetime

    Orca 58QT
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    36lbs | 27 x 19.4 x 19.4 | 24.1 x 16.5 | $339 | Lifetime

    Kong 70
    Weight | Exterior | Base | Price | Warranty
    38lbs | 34.5 x 18.4 x 17.9 | 31.9 x 16 | $309 | Lifetime

    In the bigger class, Yeti is the lightest and the second shortest. I went to a local dealer and picked up the Tundra 65 and liked it a lot. They even have the seafoam green I like. But to me Yeti to roto-molded coolers is like Rolex to watches. You get one, and it has the name recognition, and most marketing by far...blah blah blah. Sure Rolex makes great watches, but I think many people buy them just for the status symbol. That highest price pays for marketing - which is not important to me. Others may snub Yeti because of their recent disassociation with the NRA. I for one view that as a positive, but I digress...

    In all I've read with people testing any of these brands head to head in ice retention - there were no standouts. They all pretty much perform the same. I'm making my choice on ergonomics and how I expect I'll use it. Since there are no outliers on performance - size matters. The smaller and lighter the better. The Kong is out for weight, and the Pelican is out for length. The RTIC is very close in weight to the Kong, and with only a 1 year warranty and some reports of warping in the sun - I'd rather not "save" $75 to have to replace it in 3-5 years. Short warranty rules out the Yukon Outfitters too. The Orca is 6lbs heavier than the The Cabela's or Grizzly, so it's out. That leave the Yeti, Grizzly and Cabela's. If you'd prefer American made rule out the Yeti. I don't care where a product is made - I just want it made well. I'm ruling out Yeti because of 5 years of warranty vs lifetime of the remaining two.

    Down to the Grizzly G60 or the Cabela's Polar Cap 60 - both have lifetime warranties, made in America, and both have an internal height of 13". 13" happens to be the height of a 2L bottle, which I plan to freeze 2 or 3 at a time to make ice blocks and help keep stuff cold. A benefit of the Polar Cap over the G60 is the interior dimensions are parallel. Meaning the bottom length x width is the same as the top of the (inside of ) the box. For the G60 - it tapers. The length x width on the bottom of the G60 is only 23.25 x 10.75, but the top of the (inside of) the box is 24.4 x 11.75 - almost identical to the PC's 24 x 11.5.

    The deciding factor for me is the exterior dimensions. How will this fit in my car (plenty of space in the truck). The PC has a bigger lid "foot" print of 37 x 19.5 compared to the G60's 30.4 x 17.4. That's over 6.5" inches of space that the lid uses compared to the dropping/hiding carry straps of the G60.

    Once I buy it and have a few chances to use it, I'll report back with my confirmation bias.

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  3. #2
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    No edit function???

    After going back and reading this again, I think I may have prematurely ruled out the Pelican 70QT. I crossed it off the list for length, but it's not as long as one of my final 2 contenders. To me, the disadvantage of those additional 3.29lbs (it weighs over the G60 and the Polar Cap 60) can be overlooked in favor of a more favorable latching system. Certainly latch type preference is highly subjective - in this list that I'm doing my best to weighted toward measurable data.

    As mentioned above, here are the interior dimensions of my (now) top 3:

    G60
    23.75 x 10.75 (bottom)
    24.2 x 11.75 (top)
    13 inches tall

    Polar Cap 60QT
    24 x 11.5 x 13

    Pelican 70QT
    24.75 x 12 x 14.30

    Back to my ice block idea - the frozen 2L bottles filled with water - I measured a Sprite and Pepsi bottle. The Sprite is 12.75" and the Pepsi bottle is just a CH (engineering term ;-) ) under 12. Which means that I could lay down a couple Pepsi bottles full of frozen water...transversely(?) along the bottom of the Pelican. Both 2Ls measure about 4.25 in diameter, so I should be able to lay at least 2, 3 if I don't need the stuff on top of them level. Height of my tallest bottled beer (Mic Ultra) is 9.125, so in the Pelican, I should have room to stack my beers on top of those frozen 2Ls laying down as well as some loose ice on top, and falling in the crevices.

    Another huge factor in favor of the Pelican - their current Labor Day sale takes off 30%. Which takes the $349 down to $245 making it easily the cheapest option in my list with more than 18months of warranty. That coupled with my favored style of latches, and slight increase in interior volume just bumped the Pelican into the lead.

    Going to see a G60 in person tomorrow. I also found a couple local dealers for Pelican - hope to put eyes on one of those tomorrow too.

    More updates to come...

  4. #3
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    "Others may snub Yeti because of their recent disassociation with the NRA. I for one view that as a positive, "

    Your opinions no longer matter.

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  6. #4
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    Rtic.

  7. #5
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    .

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorge View Post
    "Others may snub Yeti because of their recent disassociation with the NRA. I for one view that as a positive, "

    Your opinions no longer matter.
    Yeah buddy, I get it. Not a popular opinion on a fishing forum. I never meant to imply my opinion matters to begin with.

    Cheers mate.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by abass105 View Post
    Rtic.
    RTIC definitely has everyone beat on price no question. If that is your only, or most important factor in your decision - stop there and buy RTIC. Through my reading of reviews from many of the brands I listed, someone somewhere reported their RTIC warped in the sun. I assume that's not very likely, but with only a 12 month warranty, unless that happens your first summer - you're on you own. If I'm going to spend $200 or more on a cooler - I like the piece of mind that 10 years from now, the company will fix it if it fails.

  10. #8
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    On with my selection, this morning I had the chance to put my hands on, and test fit my top 3 - Grizzly G60, Cabela's Polar Cap 60, and Pelican Elite 70.

    The next elimination was the PC60. It only comes in tan and white. My dad has the tan, and I don't want the same exact cooler as him (we fish together, and our coolers will certainly be side by side often). My white PC25 is dirty. Even after I clean the exterior - it shows dirty and dust more than I like. Lastly - the latches. I know I don't like how my PC25 latches fall when I lower the lid, which prevents it from closing. I've found to close the PC25, I have to use 2 hands, each holding a latch out, so they will clear the bottom and the lid can close. We tried that with my Pop's cooler, and his didn't have that problem - but he still doesn't like how hard they are to open. The amount of effort to open my PC25 also surpasses the amount my wife is willing to put into opening it. In other words, she could open it if she wanted, but it's inconvenient enough that she gets me to do it.

    At the farm supply store near me that is a Grizzly dealer - they had a huge assortment of their coolers. Including the discontinued Seafoam G60 that I like most. The sales guy let me take it out to my car to see if it will fit in the rear hatch without putting the seat down. It did! Turns out, this was the only of the final 3 that would fit in the hatch without lowering the seat. I did notice that on the G60 - the inside of the lid sits down into the space of the cooler. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not...Like imagine the cooler open and 100% fill to the brim with water. When you close that lid, water will be displaced and spill out. More on this later.

    Next I went to the Pelican dealer. Before I left, I called their 800 number to ask how long that sale goes (Monday 9/9 at 8am) and found out that I called their show room in Richmond, VA. I thought that was kinda cool that should I ever have a warranty problem, I can easily drive to them, and don't have to be concerned with shipping. I did some measuring of their inside dimensions (unnecessary as I already had the info above), and the sales lady there let me walk it out to my car to see if it would fit. I could not close the latch with the rear seat up. At that moment, I thought the G60 was the winner.

    I drove away from Pelican trying to imagine a scenario where I'd have this new cooler - with food and beer for 4 people for several days, and be in my car with my wife and kids. I came to the conclusion that it'll never happen. Any situation that will require more the my PC25, I'll be in my truck, where space isn't a concern. I drove back to the farm store for another look at the G60. I took a 2L of Sprite in with me, and confirmed it fits standing up with the lid securely closed and latched. I played with the latches to see how tough they are to open, and if they hinder closing. They don't. They're easy to open and close. I talked to the same sales guy again and asked him about warranty issues. Should I have a warranty problem, will I need to ship this giant 30lb box somewhere, or just bring it to them. He said they take care of it, but the only real issue people have with Grizzlies is the latches. People open the lids by pulling on them and they're not supposed to. (That's how I had been opening the display model). Because of this practice, Grizzly considers the latch a wear item and sells replacements for $6. The sales guy showed me a bag full of latches they keep on hand should someone need one. Looks like 1 size latch spans all size coolers too.

    Without the ongoing sale on Pelicans, I would have chosen to save $50 and get the G60 that has benefit of fitting in my car, but with my less favorable latches. But with the sale, the Pelican is $55 cheaper, has the latches I like more, stout molded cup holders built into the design of the lid, and a dedicated bottle opener front and center. I'd need to glue one on the Grizzly. And the Pelican has marginally more interior space.

    I wasn't planning on buying one until later in the fall, but if I buy before Monday - I'll save $104 on the one checks the most of my boxes. Bought the Pelican Elite 70Q.

    I realize this is a long read. I'm not writing this with hopes of entertaining anyone, or persuading anyone to agree with me. I consider this a post a journal of sorts, so I can keep up with all this sh!t. It did take a little bit of time to gather all those dimensions and stuff. Hopefully someone will benefit from it.

  11. #9
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    Jef, your opinions do matter to a lot of us thanks for taking the time and the effort involved to do this , much appreciated .



    On another note, i will happily go out of my way to snub any company that i feel disrespects the USA .

  12. #10
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    Probably won't get your hands on a Kong, but I have a 25. I also have a Cabelas Polar cap 25. I like the Kong a lot better. Great performance, takes up less space and very durable.

    You can only order Kong through their website, but I took the chance after youtube reviews. Great selection of colors, nice latches, good drains, and replacement parts on their website, plus cool accessories. I will be adding a 50 because it will fit my hitch rod carrier perfectly.

    As for ice, another idea if you want blocks, get the blue glad food storage containers. They are very durable and don't crack when frozen and can be reused many, many times.

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jef400dread View Post
    RTIC definitely has everyone beat on price no question. If that is your only, or most important factor in your decision - stop there and buy RTIC. Through my reading of reviews from many of the brands I listed, someone somewhere reported their RTIC warped in the sun. I assume that's not very likely, but with only a 12 month warranty, unless that happens your first summer - you're on you own. If I'm going to spend $200 or more on a cooler - I like the piece of mind that 10 years from now, the company will fix it if it fails.
    A young friend asked me to recommend a cooler , It would be his first high end cooler and being newly married and finding out that he'll be a father he said it would be a long time before he'd be able to buy on and he had some mad money just for this , With the wife's blessing . Anyway I recommend the Rtic so he ordered the 65 qt and when he got it he sent me a video of him putting the latches in place than lifting the lid and they pop out and asking me if it's supposed to do that . So I check my Rtic 20 and they hold , Told him call them and tell them what's happening , He did they sent him a UPS call tag to ship it back and shipped him a replacement , The replacement gets there and that same thing , Call Rtic same thing call tag replacement , that gets there and the same thing this time he calls for a call tag and a refund , The he bought a Pelican for a couple dollars more because he could get it through work for dealer cost , Now he's happy has a cooler that he'll have for life with proper care . So even though I have one I'm not a huge fan , They opened a store here in Atlanta that I want to drop in and see if their 65 qt pop open like my friends did and see what they have to say , But I'm not going to drive through all the traffic to do till I have other business that side of Atlanta .

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    Burning a lot brain cells over a cooler. Just sayin’.

  15. #13
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    I have a RTIC 65, 2-45's, and a 20. I can't say anything bad about them. Latches hold fine and they all hold ice very well. I also have a couple of soft side coolers as well. No complaints with them either. Like Jollymon mentioned, they now have a store right outside of Atlanta. I may have to drop by one day that I'm in that area.

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyguy View Post
    Burning a lot brain cells over a cooler. Just sayin’.
    Yep, I agree 100%. This snowballed into a lot more info than I intended.

  17. #15
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    As a Grizzly Cooler owner I will tell you that you will spend a small fortune on the latches, they break constantly. I make my own out for truck tire inner tube, they last longer and work as well as Grizzly latch. Other than that the cooler is great.

  18. #16
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    Appreciate the thoughtful review, though I never got the whole Yeti thing. They're like the Apple Computer of coolers: lots of shiny marketing and high prices. I just use cheap coolers and lots of ice. Sure, it melts into a mullet slurry but what else am I going to use to stay hydrated when I run out of beer?

    The Yeti/NRA thing to me feels kind of like wanting Safeway to take a position on the Iranian nuclear deal or refusing to go to a movie theater unless the teenage ticket-taker tells you whether she's in favor of higher tariffs on Chinese goods. Not everything has to be a political fight.

  19. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sand flea View Post
    Appreciate the thoughtful review, though I never got the whole Yeti thing. They're like the Apple Computer of coolers: lots of shiny marketing and high prices. I just use cheap coolers and lots of ice. Sure, it melts into a mullet slurry but what else am I going to use to stay hydrated when I run out of beer?

    The Yeti/NRA thing to me feels kind of like wanting Safeway to take a position on the Iranian nuclear deal or refusing to go to a movie theater unless the teenage ticket-taker tells you whether she's in favor of higher tariffs on Chinese goods. Not everything has to be a political fight.
    agree with your comments flea, im an igloo guy always have been, i use frozen bottled ice lasts all day on a fishing trip keeps the fish bait and beer cold, when i get home rinse the bottles of ice off and back in the freezer they go, if i want ice to lasts for days like when i go to hatteras or whatever, still use bottled ice and add loose ice and throw some kosher salt on it be cold for three or four days

  20. #18
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    go to this guys youtube channel, he tests them but Pelican holds ice twice as long as Yeti,

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-c...HQlXv7PqV6oKyg

  21. #19
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    Save yourself a few hundred dollars and get a Lifetime from Walmart. I have Yeti and Orka coolers and the Lifetime from Walmart is just as good if not better in some ways than both of the others.

  22. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomer View Post
    As a Grizzly Cooler owner I will tell you that you will spend a small fortune on the latches, they break constantly. I make my own out for truck tire inner tube, they last longer and work as well as Grizzly latch. Other than that the cooler is great.
    Thanks for that feedback boomer. User experience like this is why I started this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by sand flea View Post
    ...never got the whole Yeti thing. They're like the Apple Computer of coolers...

    The Yeti/NRA thing to me feels kind of like wanting Safeway to take a position on the Iranian nuclear deal or refusing to go to a movie theater unless the teenage ticket-taker tells you whether she's in favor of higher tariffs on Chinese goods. Not everything has to be a political fight.
    sand flea, my thoughts exactly on the Yeti/Apple comparison. IMO, there's so much Yeti marketing, that even someone who doesn't know the difference between a cheap cooler and a roto-molded cooler knows the name Yeti is expensive - which increases its risk of being stolen.

    When it comes to knowing a company's politics, I agree and disagree with you. I certainly don't want to know where every company stands for every purchase I make. Small day to day purchases that I make at whoever is the closest retailer...it would be exhausting to even try. However I heard a smart person (maybe Robert Reich) once talk about how important voting was, and that we do it every single day - each time we swipe our credit cards. On bigger purchases, ones where I'm carefully considering several brands, I may take company politics and or ethics into consideration. I'll never buy another drop of Round-Up for the rest of my life. Montasanto owns them, and they are the epitome of an evil corporation. Then again, had I dug a little deeper into Pelican or Grizzly, I may have found some affiliation with the NRA. I guess the difference here is that Yeti made their disassociation quite public. Pelican of course also makes gun cases, which I equate to gun safety and responsible gun ownership - which I like. I'm not anti-gun, just anti-NRA.

    Quote Originally Posted by surfchunker View Post
    go to this guys youtube channel, he tests them but Pelican holds ice twice as long as Yeti,

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-c...HQlXv7PqV6oKyg
    Damn man, that guy reviewed a bunch of other brands I hadn't even heard of...Otterbox...derrr, shoulda thoughta them. Thanks for the input!


    Quote Originally Posted by AbuMike View Post
    Save yourself a few hundred dollars and get a Lifetime from Walmart. I have Yeti and Orka coolers and the Lifetime from Walmart is just as good if not better in some ways than both of the others.
    I wouldn't do this because of my last point. Walmart is terrible. I've only stepped inside a Walmart twice in the last 15 years, when it was my only bathroom option. Walmart comes to town and undercuts local small businesses until they fail, then once they're the only game in town, prices go up. (The same can likely be said about BassPro shops). They treat their employees like trash. And their biggest sin - they've convinced a generation of shoppers that the lowest price is the most important thing. At any cost. Prices so low, that you can afford to buy it twice if it fails. F that. I'd rather buy a good product that I know I can depend on.
    Last edited by jef400dread; 09-11-2019 at 09:10 AM.

  23. #21
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    Lifetime coolers

    I might have missed it, but Lifetime isn't on your list. Technically it's a blown air molded cooler, but we love our 55 cu ft version, which performs comparably to our friends Orca coolers.
    My cooler cost $100 and it will keep ice frozen for about five days under practical field conditions. Plenty of Youtube reviews of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jef400dread View Post
    Thanks for that feedback boomer. User experience like this is why I started this thread.
    sand flea, my thoughts exactly on the Yeti/Apple comparison. IMO, there's so much Yeti marketing, that even someone who doesn't know the difference between a cheap cooler and a roto-molded cooler knows the name Yeti is expensive - which increases its risk of being stolen.

  24. #22
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    +1 on that. The cooler has been updated with a better seal and sturdier lid too. The Lifetime 55 easily keeps stuff frozen for five days under practical camping conditions. The drain plug works well.

  25. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbuMike View Post
    Save yourself a few hundred dollars and get a Lifetime from Walmart. I have Yeti and Orka coolers and the Lifetime from Walmart is just as good if not better in some ways than both of the others.
    only thing wrong with them is they are not leak proof, water will splash out traveling

  26. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfchunker View Post
    only thing wrong with them is they are not leak proof, water will splash out traveling
    Mine doesn't. it rides in the back of my truck all the time and no leaks at all..

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