Gear Test: Cool­ers

To­day’s lux­ury-cooler mar­ket is heat­ing up, with higer price points draw­ing smarter de­sign and in­no­va­tion into a for­merly staid mar­ket. Mobility and ex­ten­si­bil­ity are ma­jor themes as ev­ery man­u­fac­turer has mas­tered the science of keep­ing ice cold for days

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents -

YETI Tun­dra Haul

$399, yeti.com

PROS: YETI is syn­ony­mous with durable, bul­let­proof cool­ers, and the Tun­dra Haul lives up to the ex­pec­ta­tions. The han­dle is sturdy and strong and han­dled the worst abuse we could dish out. The fin­ish on the Tun­dra Haul is typ­i­cal Yeti—semigloss on the sides with some tex­ture on the top that doesn’t show scuffs and pro­vides trac­tion for what­ever you set on it. The wheels are low profile and don’t eat into in­te­rior space, as some oth­ers do. It’s sure-footed and when not be­ing pulled, will not slide even on smooth floors. CONS: The wheels feel a bit cheap given the price, rel­a­tive to their com­pe­ti­tion. YETI’S T-strap clo­sure sys­tem re­quires more hand strength than oth­ers we tested. THE VER­DICT: Ev­ery one of these cool­ers can keep ice cold for a long week­end of camp­ing or fish­ing, so the real test is dura­bil­ity and util­ity. The solid con­struc­tion of the Tun­dra Haul han­dle and the ef­fi­cient way it of­fers full in­te­rior space de­spite the wheels are fan­tas­tic touches—you can see the at­ten­tion to de­tail through­out. —Jamie Bogner

Ot­ter­box Ven­ture 65

$349, ot­ter­box.com

PROS: The Ven­ture 65’s strength is in its de­sign, as the team at Ot­ter­box de­vel­oped the line with mod­u­lar­ity in mind. From the slide-on bot­tle opener to the in­te­rior dry-stor­age tray, avail­able side-ta­ble at­tach­ments, and de­signed-to-fit ice packs, they’ve thought of just about every­thing. The matte fin­ish feels so­phis­ti­cated, and the con­struc­tion is durable, with clev­erly de­signed fas­ten­ers that use lever­age to achieve ten­sion. The molded ribs that en­cir­cle the cooler serve both as fas­ten­ing points for ac­ces­sories and shock re­in­force­ments—we couldn’t dam­age the cor­ners de­spite a num­ber of drops with weight in the cooler. Molded han­dles of­fer solid tie-down points, and the in­cluded dry-stor­age tray is handy. CONS: The matte fin­ish picked up dirt a bit more than the semigloss fin­ish of other cool­ers, and the locks re­quire very long loops to prop­erly se­cure the cooler. The molded han­dles make it wider than oth­ers of the same ca­pac­ity. THE VER­DICT: The Ven­ture feels more “tech­ni­cal” than some oth­ers in our test, per­fect for gear­heads who care about de­sign. —Jamie Bogner

Rovr Rollr 60

$399, rovr­prod­ucts.com

PROS: The Rollr 60’s wheels were in a class of their own, with in­flat­able tires on alu­minum hubs that were fully ca­pa­ble when used with the op­tional $50 bike at­tach­ment. The fit and fin­ish of the Rollr 60 were top-notch, with a semigloss fin­ish that shed dirt. It’s sturdy when sit­ting, with trac­tion pads op­po­site the wheels to keep it in place. A fold­ing dry bag flat­tens and straps to the top of the cooler when not in use or ex­pands and straps to the cooler, mak­ing it per­fect for haul­ing non-re­frig­er­ated items. CONS: While the pull han­dle was slightly less con­fi­dence-inspiring than the Tun­dra Haul, we weren’t able to ac­tu­ally break it. The in­te­rior loses space due to the wheel axle, mak­ing the over­all cooler phys­i­cally larger for the given ca­pac­ity. THE VER­DICT: The Rollr 60 was the stand­out of our test, and the bike at­tach­ment made it all the more use­ful for a va­ri­ety of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. The strap-down loops and col­laps­ing dry-stor­age bag are small but pow­er­ful de­sign touches. All things con­sid­ered, the Rollr 60 was the one cooler ev­ery­one on the staff wanted to take home at the end of the test. —Jamie Bogner

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