Exploring the Best Cooler Options for Off-Roading Adventures
Looking to keep your drinks ice-cold and your food fresh during your off-roading adventures? Look no further! We've curated a list of the best coolers for off-roading, guaranteed to withstand the roughest terrains while keeping your goodies chilled. From the rugged durability of the Yeti Tundra 65 and 75 to the innovative design of the Polaris Off-Road Northstar, these coolers are ready to tackle any adventure. Join us as we dive into the world of off-road coolers and discover which one reigns supreme as the best cooler for off-roading!
Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler
|Outside dimensions||17.25 × 16 × 30.6 inches|
|Inside dimensions||10.6 × 11.1 × 23.1 inches|
|Internal volume||65 quarts|
|Empty weight||29 pounds|
|Other sizes||35 quarts, 45 quarts, 75 quarts, 105 quarts|
We begin with the Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler, which is manufactured by Yeti, a company based in Austin, Texas. Yeti was one of the pioneers in creating robust coolers designed for outdoor adventures. The Tundra 65 is a durable cooler made from rotomolded polyethylene. It features a lid and walls that are 3 inches thick, insulated with pressure-injected polyurethane foam. With this construction, the cooler can typically keep ice from melting for 5-7 days.
Unlike some other companies that use hard plastics or aluminum, Yeti uses durable rubber latches for the lid. The cooler also has integrated tie-down slots, making it easy to secure in a vehicle or on a rack. While Yeti coolers are not the cheapest option, they have an excellent reputation and are highly regarded by outdoor enthusiasts.
The Tundra series is available in various sizes, ranging from 35 to 105 quarts. Visit the Yeti website to explore the different sizes and models, including a wheeled version of the cooler.
Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler
Yeti revolutionized the cooler industry with their first commercially successful rotomolded cooler. The Tundra 75 model has two inches of polyurethane foam insulation in the sides and three inches in the lid. It can hold up to 50 cans, making it perfect for a trail adventure. The cooler features built-in tie-down slots for easy securing in the bed of a UTV. Yeti also offers brackets and locks specifically designed to keep this expensive cooler secure in your vehicle.
Polaris Off-Road Northstar Cooler
Leave it to Polaris to create a cooler specifically designed for side-by-side vehicles. The Polaris Off-Road Northstar Cooler is IGBC Certified Bear-Resistant and comes with integrated tie-down cleats for easy securing to any off-road vehicle, boat, or truck. The cooler features durable aluminum pin latches and hinges for long-lasting durability.
SuperATV Heavy Duty Insulated Cooler
The SuperATV Heavy Duty Insulated Cooler is spacious and watertight, allowing you to carry clothing or extra gear that needs to stay dry. It is equipped with three inches of thick insulating foam, heavy-duty rubber latches, and a tight lip seal to keep everything secure. Although it is a higher-priced item at over $300, it performs its job exceptionally well. The cooler's ability to fit in your cargo area is particularly advantageous when traversing off-road trails.
RTIC Ultra-Light Cooler
This "overbuilt" RTIC cooler is designed with heavy-duty rubber T-latches, molded tie-down slots, a freezer-style lid gasket, heavy-duty rope handles, and an innovative injected molded design. The 52-Quart Ultra-Light Cooler comes in various colors, including a festive green and purple Mardi Gras version. It is easy to clean and boasts three inches of closed-cell foam insulation, keeping ice frozen for up to 10 days.
When it comes to standing out among numerous cooler companies, Orion has taken a unique approach. Their coolers feature metal bottle openers on the four corners and a padded, non-slip surface on the lid, allowing it to be used as a step stool. The coolers offer 7 days of ice retention and even come with a built-in light for the interior. Orion coolers are known for their durability, making them a long-lasting choice.
Pelican Elite Cooler
|Outside dimensions||30.00 x 20.30 x 20.40 inches|
|Inside dimensions||17.50 x 11.00 x 13.70 inches|
|Internal volume||50 quarts|
|Empty weight||26.4 pounds|
|Other sizes||30 quart, 100 quart|
As previously mentioned, Pelican Elite Wheeled Coolers are our top choice for overlanding coolers. Pelican is a renowned brand known for producing durable, waterproof storage containers. Their Elite series coolers, made of rotomolded plastic, are among the most durable options available. While Pelican coolers may not be the most affordable, they offer exceptional quality and durability.
One notable feature of Pelican coolers is their lifetime guarantee, setting them apart from many other manufacturers. I personally tested and reviewed the wheeled versions of the Elite Coolers and have been consistently impressed.
Canyon Coolers 74 Qt. Outfitter
Canyon Coolers is a newer company that made a strong entrance into the market. Initially designed for river rafters, their coolers are known for their durability. The company is so confident in their products that they offer a lifetime warranty. These coolers can keep ice for an impressive 7 to 16 days. The recessed latches prevent snags and securely hold the lid in place.
Kemimoto 26-Quart Cooler
The Kemimoto 26-Quart Cooler is specifically designed for the Polaris RZR. It fits perfectly in the cargo bed and offers unique features that most coolers don't have, such as a built-in bottle opener, molded-in can holders, and an integrated fish ruler on the lid. The cooler comes with four tie-down straps to keep it securely in place during your ride.
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Blue Cooler Ice Vault
|Outside dimensions||18.1 × 18.9 × 27 inches|
|Inside dimensions||12.5 × 13 × 19.2 inches|
|Internal volume||55 quarts|
|Empty weight||28.2 pounds|
|Other sizes||30 quart, 100 quart|
Blue Coolers, founded by individuals from Salt Lake City, Utah in 2018, offers a range of affordable coolers suitable for overlanding. The Ice Vault model is specifically designed to keep ice frozen for up to 10 days, a claim that has been verified by owners. Blue Coolers also produces a 5-day version of the cooler, which is more budget-friendly.
These coolers are made from durable rotomolded plastic and share similarities in design with Yeti coolers, including rubber lid latches and an overall aesthetic. Notably, stainless steel plates are added to the front corners of Blue Coolers for locking purposes. The main differentiating factors between these coolers are the brand and price. While Blue Coolers may be less widely known and pressure-tested, they offer a solid discount compared to premium brands like Yeti, Dometic, and Pelican.
The Ice Vault cooler is available in white, blue, or gray.
When choosing a cooler for overlanding or car camping, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
1. Cargo Space: Space is limited when overlanding, so choose a cooler that is large enough to meet your needs without occupying excessive cargo space. Opt for a lighter cooler to prevent strain when carrying it.
2. Capacity: Rugged coolers designed for outdoor adventures come in various sizes, typically ranging from 15 to over 250 quarts. For most overlanding enthusiasts, a cooler with a capacity of 40-100 quarts should be suitable, depending on travel duration and availability of fresh ice.
3. Cooling Performance: Unfortunately, there isn't a standardized cooling rating across all cooler manufacturers, making it challenging to compare performance. Rely on anecdotal evidence from users to gauge how long a cooler can keep ice frozen and food cool. A good cooler should keep food cold for approximately 5-10 days.
4. Durability: Overlanding coolers should withstand rough conditions, including vibrations and exposure to inclement weather. Look for coolers made of rotomolded polypropylene, which offers superior strength and leak resistance. ABS or heavy-duty rubber latches are preferable for high-use/leverage areas. Insulation with polyurethane foam is the industry standard for effective cooling.
5. Additional Features: While not essential, extra features can be advantageous. Examples include a fish ruler on the lid for fishing enthusiasts or cup holders molded into the top. Wheels are particularly useful for easier transportation.
6. Warranty: A great warranty is a sign of a reliable manufacturer. Most coolers recommended here offer 5-year warranties, while Pelican provides a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.
If you are venturing into bear-inhabited areas, consider a bear-resistant cooler. A guide to the best bear-proof coolers is available on the Ordealist website.
Differentiating between coolers and refrigerators/freezers is important. Coolers rely on ice and insulation to keep food cold, while portable refrigerators are electric or gas-powered, maintaining a cooling system. Coolers are simpler, lighter, and more cost-effective, but they cannot freeze food and are limited by the duration of ice retention. Cooler selection is suitable for beginners in overlanding or casual car camping, while those planning extended periods in their vehicle or RV may opt for a portable fridge. However, many overlanding enthusiasts continue to rely happily on coolers without investing in a fridge.
For more information on fridges, refer to the Ordealist guide to overlanding refrigerators.
In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best cooler for off-roading adventures, these top contenders certainly don't disappoint. Whether you're looking for maximum ice retention, rugged durability, or easy portability, there is an option on this list that is sure to meet your needs. From the Yeti Tundra 65 and Polaris Off-Road Northstar to the Blue Cooler Ice Vault and Orion Cooler, each cooler offers unique features and benefits that will enhance your off-roading experience. So, pack up your supplies, hit the dusty trails, and rest easy knowing that your beverages and snacks will stay refreshingly chilled throughout your thrilling off-road journey.
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