"Cordova Cooler: Beyond a Stunning Design, A Comprehensive Review"

As of October 7, 2022, Brandon F. confirmed that Cordova Coolers trace their origin back to an intriguing bet between Scott Campbell Jr., a renowned fisherman featured on the popular reality TV show Deadliest Catch, and his fellow fishing buddies. In this bet, Scott wagered that he could craft a cooler that could fit into the opening of a boat and cool drinks throughout the day. And with this bet, the seed that would later grow into the thriving Cordova Coolers was planted.

cordova cooler review

Although there have been changes in its ownership, the core vision of Cordova Coolers remains unchanged. Situated in Idaho, the company currently produces a range of drinkware, soft-sided coolers, and hard-sided coolers.

What sets Cordova Coolers apart from other high-end cooler brands, according to the manufacturer, is their distinct design approach, which emphasizes specialized features such as thinner walls. These features enable larger storage volumes for a given size while keeping the expected ice retention and ease of use.

In this review, we will examine several of Cordova's hard-sided coolers. Additionally, we will give a brief overview of their other product offerings. For quick reference, check out the table below, highlighting some of our preferred Cordova Coolers.


Maximum Storage Volume and Ice Life

Nice Balance of Performance and Price

Cordova Coolers Extra Large Cooler - 128 Quart/Can Capacity Portable Insulated Hard-Sided Cooler with Carrying Handles & 5-Days of Ice Retention - CCXLAW-125

Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler, 88 QT Gray

Cordova Coolers Medium Cooler - 48 Quart/Can Capacity Portable Insulated Hard-Sided Cooler with Carrying Handles & 5-Days of Ice Retention - CCMAW-50

Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler, 28 QT Gray

Storage Volume (Quarts)

Estimated Ice Range (Hours)



Cordova Coolers Extra Large Cooler - 128 Quart/Can Capacity Portable Insulated Hard-Sided Cooler with Carrying Handles & 5-Days of Ice Retention - CCXLAW-125

Storage Volume (Quarts)

Estimated Ice Range (Hours)


Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler, 88 QT Gray

Storage Volume (Quarts)

Estimated Ice Range (Hours)


Cordova Coolers Medium Cooler - 48 Quart/Can Capacity Portable Insulated Hard-Sided Cooler with Carrying Handles & 5-Days of Ice Retention - CCMAW-50

cordova hard sided cooler lineup

Storage Volume (Quarts)

Estimated Ice Range (Hours)


Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler, 28 QT Gray

Storage Volume (Quarts)

Estimated Ice Range (Hours)

The Cordova Cooler Lineup

Although our primary focus in this review will be the Cordova Hard-sided coolers, we deem it essential to highlight the other products offered by Cordova. Here, we will introduce briefly the various Cordova products and break down the size alternatives available.

Cordova Hard-Sided Coolers

Looking for hard-sided coolers that offer maximum storage capacity and superior cooling power? Look no further than Cordova! Boasting an impressive range of sizes, Cordova hard-sided coolers are available in five models: the Cordova Tailgater 25, Cordova 35, Cordova 50, Cordova 100, and Cordova 125. While the numbers in the product name do not directly correlate to the actual storage quarts, it is important to note that the specific storage quart for each model is listed below:

- Cordova Tailgater 25: 32 Quarts/24 Cans

- Cordova 35: 28 Quarts/28 Cans

- Cordova 50: 45 Quarts/42 Cans

- Cordova 100: 86 Quarts/85 Cans

- Cordova 125: 126 Quarts/120 Cans

It is interesting to note that while the smallest Tailgater 25 Cooler is larger than the Cordova 35, it also boasts a differently shaped and curved design (with much thinner walls). However, all other Cordova cooler sizes share a similar design approach and feature lineup.

cordova soft sided cooler lineup

From small to giant sizes, Cordova has coolers to suit all requirements. The only noticeable gap in their lineup is a tiny personal cooler, which is easy to overlook.

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Cordova Soft-Sided Coolers

cordova drinkware lineup

Apart from hard-sided coolers, Cordova also has a range of soft coolers, including the soft-sided cooler and the cooler backpack. While the soft-sided cooler can hold up to 16 cans, the cooler backpack offers storage for around 36 cans.

If you want to know more about Cordova's soft coolers, we have good news! Cordova kindly sent us their soft coolers, and we have written a thorough review of them that you can read here.

Cordova Drinkware

Looking for high-quality drinkware? Check out Cordova's impressive collection of tumblers and jugs. Whether you need a 10oz, 20oz, or 32oz tumbler, Cordova has you covered. They also offer specialized water jugs that feature the same top-notch manufacturing process as their hard-sided coolers. The Hydro Jug, available in 3.5 and 5-gallon models, is a great example of Cordova's commitment to excellence.

cordova cooler thin walls

Cordova's approach to cooler manufacturing is notable for its balance. Instead of focusing on just one type of product, Cordova offers both hard-sided and soft-sided coolers alongside their drinkware lineup. This strategy is similar to other top-tier cooler brands like RTIC and Yeti, and it's a smart move if Cordova wants to stay competitive.

Cordova Cooler Features

Cordova's coolers are designed to keep your beverages icy and your food fresh for days. The company's original goal was to create a cooler that could store plenty of ice while still being compact enough to fit in a boat. To achieve this, Cordova uses a denser foam material that makes it possible to have thinner walls without sacrificing insulation. This results in a cooler with the same external dimensions but more storage space.

However, when we compared Cordova coolers to other brands with similar can storage capacity, we found that the difference in wall thickness was not as significant as we expected. For instance, the Cordova 50 can hold around 42 cans, which is the same as the Tundra 65 from Yeti. While the Cordova is slightly thinner, it's also deeper and taller than the Yeti. The inside diameter of the Cordova 50 is slimmer, but its walls are taller and deeper than the Yeti 65.

It appears that some of the cooler brands' names for their specific models do not align with their storage capacity, as shown by the Yeti 65, which would make more sense to be called a Yeti 50 due to its size. Despite this, what is most important to note is that Cordova Coolers utilize almost identical wall thicknesses, with the exception of the Cordova Tailgater 25. Unlike its larger counterparts, this cooler has relatively thinner walls, resulting in increased storage capacity but shorter ice life, as you can see in the included chart below.

cordova cooler quality

Now that we have covered that, let's move on to some other excellent features.

You can buy all Cordova Coolers on Amazon, which are rotomolded and made in the USA. As the industry standard for high-quality coolers, Cordova's American-made parts come straight from Idaho, giving you peace of mind that you are getting a quality product. Additionally, Cordova offers a superb lifetime warranty and an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee certification, which may come at a slightly higher price, but for many people, it is worth it.

cordova cooler quad core rubber gasket

To assist with ice retention, Cordova employed a typical thick rubber gasket design, which they call their "Quad-core rubber gasket." While it sounds impressive, we could not see much difference between their design and other premium coolers we have tested. However, the design works, so that's all that matters.

cordova cooler t-latch

The cooler also comes with a typical rubber T-latch design, but they have flipped them upside down, allowing users to open the cooler without having to open their truck tailgate or lift the cooler to access the latches. This makes it excellent for small spaces. We love this idea and are surprised other cooler companies have not thought of it!

cordova cooler CNC machined handles

A notable difference between Cordova Coolers and most of their competition lies in the handles. Rather than the traditional rubber-gripped rope handles, Cordova has impressive CNC machined handles. This design minimizes the chance of accidentally pinching your hands, which is a common issue with many rope handle designs. Additionally, the handles' rigidity helps stabilize the cooler while carrying it. Furthermore, they look fantastic! The handles also come outfitted with built-in bottle openers near the base, and for those who prefer a traditional built-in handle, there are molded handle cavities under the machined handles.

cordova cooler built-in raised tray

Cordova Coolers has introduced a new design that replaces traditional cup holders with a custom raised tray. This raised tray provides a stable surface to hold your food, beverages, or fishing gear while on the move, making it an ideal choice for boating enthusiasts. The decision to incorporate this feature is a reflection of Cordova's nautical heritage. While this change may not appeal to everyone, it's a refreshing change from the norm that we happen to like.

cordova cooler lid lock

We've all experienced the excruciating pain of a cooler lid slamming down on our fingers, especially when dealing with larger coolers that have thicker lids. Cordova has a solution to this problem in the form of their patented lid lock system. This system holds the lid firmly in place without the need for manual support, eliminating the risk of injury. This feature should be a mandatory addition to all large coolers, in our opinion.

cordova cooler additional features

Other standard features of Cordova Coolers include a high-flow drain port, anti-slip feet (also known as Anti-slip Goat's Feet), and rope mount points. These may seem like commonplace features, but Cordova's implementation is specialized. Their drain plug is made of Delrin plastic, a stronger and more durable material, while the Anti-slip Goat's Feet provide excellent traction, ensuring that the cooler stays put on any surface.

Cordova is making its mark in the highly competitive premium cooler market by introducing innovative features that are hard to ignore. However, the ultimate test for any cooler is its ability to keep ice for an extended period. Cordova claims that their coolers can hold ice for ten days, but we wanted to verify this ourselves. We filled up the cooler with ice, left it outside in the hot Texas weather, opened it periodically, and recorded the results. We found that the cooler exceeded our expectations and kept ice for an impressive length of time. Cordova advises a 2:1 ice ratio for optimal ice retention, but we found that this ratio wasn't necessary. The chart below demonstrates our findings.

cordova coolers estimated ice life

Cordova Cooler Ice Life

If you're looking to buy a Cordova Cooler, the ice life is something that will likely impress you. The combination of ice retention features makes it about what you'd expect, and the naming system ensures that Cordova models will outperform equivalent models from other brands. For example, a Cordova 50 will have ice life more similar to a Yeti Tundra 65 than a Tundra 45.

However, despite claims of 10 days of ice retention, we found that most models will provide between 150 and 190 hours of ice life. This translates to over a week of ice, which is still impressive. The smaller models have less ice life, with the Tailgater 25 providing just 2 days or less. This is due to its thinner walls, which make it noticeably different from the larger models.

In terms of aesthetics, Cordova Hard-sided Coolers come in five color options: Aqua, Gray, Orange, Sand, and White. This is about average compared to other brands. It's worth noting that all colors come with a white lid except for the Sand option, which comes with a color-matching sand lid. Whether you prioritize looks or performance, a Cordova Cooler is a solid choice.

The Cordova coolers are standout products not only for their color offerings, but for their exceptional design. The coolers' front, side, and back faces boast jagged edges that resemble a beautiful mountain range, a welcome departure from the customary flush faces of other premium coolers. The addition of impressive CNC handles and innovative upside-down latches further distinguish the Cordova brand from its competitors. In fact, we believe this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing coolers on the market.

cordova 35 cooler color choices

It's important to note, however, that there aren't currently any custom shop options available for Cordova coolers. This means that if you're looking for a specialty color or custom decals or lettering, you may have to look elsewhere. Hopefully, the company will add these features in the future to further enhance the visual appeal of their ice chests.

cordova cooler attractive face

In terms of the price, Cordova has all the features and quality you'd expect from a high-end cooler, but with a middling price point compared to other premium brands. While Yeti may command a slightly higher price for a given size, Cordova falls comfortably in the middle of the premium cooler price range. Although these are not budget coolers by any means, they offer great value for the features and looks they provide. Plus, with Cordova's lifetime warranty, you can trust that your investment will last a lifetime.

When it comes to comparing Cordova with the industry standard Yeti, both offer a wide range of products including hard- and soft-sided coolers and drinkware. Yeti, however, outshines Cordova with their vast offerings of sizes, configurations, and accessories. In terms of ice retention, both brands perform similarly well given their storage volumes, thanks to similar wall thickness and features. Ultimately, Cordova edges out Yeti with its impressive built-in features and lifetime warranty, as well as its superior styling. While neither is cheap, Cordova is the slightly more affordable option of the two.

After careful consideration of their respective features, we have decided that Cordova is the better choice for comparison, although both models have their merits and could be considered depending on budget.

Cordova Cooler Assessment

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Positives: Effective ice retention, Lifetime guarantee, Numerous innovative features, Stylish design

Negatives: Limited range of sizes and colors, High cost

Features: High-density foam, Quad-core rubber gasket, Reverse rubber T-latch, CNC machined handles, Raised lid tray, High-flow drain plug, Anti-slip goat’s feet, Lid locking system

Although inspired by boating, Cordova's wide selection of coolers is suitable for any setting and incorporates traditional high-end cooler features with unique characteristics. The result is an exceptional product backed by one of the strongest warranties in the market. While the high price tag may deter some consumers, we found no negative aspects with this product.

Cordova Outdoors Basecamp Class Hard Cooler, 88 QT Gray

Insulation Capability – 

Based on our experience with these ice boxes, Cordova Coolers provide superior ice retention that is comparable to other high-end coolers of the same size. However, be aware that the nomenclature of these coolers may differ from other brands. For instance, the storage capacity and ice retention of a Cordova Cooler may be similar to that of a 65-Series model from alternative cooler brands. This discrepancy is due to certain companies' failure to align the names of their coolers with their actual storage volume.

Depending on your chosen model and conditions, the ice retention period ranges from a few days to over a week. Although some people claim up to ten days of ice life, we believe such claims are unrealistic and inflated. Nonetheless, these numbers are impressive and exceed expectations.

Cordova Cooler ReviewCordova Cooler Review

Portability and Durability – 

Cordova Ice Chests are both exceptionally durable and user-friendly, with several innovative features. We especially appreciate the reverse T-latch design, which employs proven T-latches, but reverses them for easy access and lid opening when space is limited.

Additionally, transporting a full cooler is effortless with the CNC machined handles, and the lid lock system safeguards hands and fingers from the weighty lid. Other convenient features include the built-in raised tray, high-flow drain plug, and anti-skid feet.

Cordova Cooler ReviewCordova Cooler Review

But it's not only the convenience that makes Cordova coolers stand out. These ice-boxes boast top-notch construction, high-end materials, a lifetime guarantee, IGBC certification, and a Made in the USA label. These tough products are designed to withstand years of use and abuse.

Visual Appeal – 

We are enamored with these coolers' appearance, which sets them apart from most other coolers at this price range. With an eye-catching mountain range imprinted on the faces, sleek metallic handles, and an eccentric latch design, this ice chest is a definite eye-catcher. With multiple color choices, most consumers will be satisfied. However, the absence of a custom shop is a minor flaw.

Cost – 

As anticipated, Cordova products are not inexpensive, being situated in the premium price range. Nonetheless, the exceptional features justify the hefty price tag. Additionally, the lifetime warranty ensures the consumer's peace of mind, knowing that if anything goes wrong with your cooler, the company will repair or replace it.

Cordova Cooler Review

Overall Rating – 

We are impressed with Cordova's relatively small cooler line-up and innovative features. The outstanding ice retention and durability are impressive, but what stands out are the unique characteristics, stylish design, and lifetime warranty. If you want a cooler that's distinctive from the ubiquitous Yetis and RTICs at the lake, consider a Cordova cooler. You may find it your new favorite cooler.

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