Making Coolers Great Again!

Testing three great off-road coolers

If you have $300 burning a hole in your pocket and you just can’t live without owning one of the best coolers money can buy, then boy do we have a treat for you. This summer, we tested three radically different coolers that all happen to fall in the same price range. They did cooling duty in off-road situations, beach and boat trips, at soccer and lacrosse tournaments, and at summertime parties. These coolers got equal doses of mud, sand, sun, and water. At one point, a high-quality cooler was hard to find. Nowadays, they’re plentiful. That being said, the three we’ve chosen to highlight deserve an extra nod if you find yourself in the market.

Orca 58-Quart

External Dimensions (length/width/height): 27 x 19-7/16 x 19-3/8 inches
Internal Dimensions (length/width/height): 19-7/8 x 13-7/16 x 13-1/8 inches
Lance Schwartz

If owning a large cooler capable of swallowing a weekend’s worth of food and drinks is your desire, the Orca 58-quart is an excellent choice. Besides having the ability to swallow up to 72 cans, this baby has some other great features as well! The handles are tough and durable, making it easy to grab when the cooler is heavy and full. The lid has an internal gasket that keeps the cool in and the nasty out. It also has a cargo net cable of holding objects like bottle openers or knives, that typically accompany coolers on an adventure.

OtterBox Venture 45

External Dimensions (length/width/height): 31.39 x 18.76 x 18.83 inches
Internal Dimensions (length/width/height): 18.10 x 10.60 x 13.30 inches
Lance Schwartz

The made-in-the-USA OtterBox cooler is, well, really cool! It’s certainly got all of the qualities of a great cooler, but that isn’t what makes the OtterBox Venture 45 so special. The cooler is designed to be modular, meaning you can buy accessories that attached firmly and securely. Although the Venture 45 comes with a bottle opener and a dry storage tray for free ($40 value), the other cool accessories that can be purchased optionally include:

  • Cutting board: $30
  • Dry-box clip: $5
  • Locks: $30
  • Double cupholder: $30
  • Bottle opener: $20
  • Separator: $25
  • Side table: $70
  • RAM Mount 18-inch-long pole with camera base and Tough-Claw: $77
  • Fishing rod/umbrella holder: $47
  • All-terrain wheels: $250

I felt that the OtterBox also had the most sturdy-feeling latch system I’ve come across. Internal notches in the cooler allow the cooler to be divided/compartmentalized to keep items separated. Plus, the Venture 45 comes with a limited lifetime warranty!

IceMule Boss

Dimensions (length/width/height): 11 x 24 x 17 inches
Lance Schwartz

If large, portable storage is your jam, then the IceMule Boss will be an amazing addition to your camping stash. The backpack design means the ultimate in portability, especially if hiking a portion of the adventure is in order. The Tri-Fold DriTop makes opening and closing the cooler simple, even with wet, muddy hands. Gone are the days of fumbling with a zipper to get to the grub and frosty beverages. The proprietary IM AirValve gives owners the ability to add air to the cooler, which helps with the insulation effectiveness. The Boss also has three large pockets, designed to keep sensitive electronics and other delicate items both secure and dry! We’ve loaded our Boss with more than 50 pounds of weight, and it handled the job with ease. The most difficult question is not how much can you pack into it, but rather who’s going to draw the short straw to truck this bad boy around on their back!