Should you invest in a rotomolded cooler?
Well think about this:
How many times have you packed a cooler full of food and drink, only to look inside a few hours later to find a bunch of half-warm beers floating in melting ice, alongside some wet sandwiches that might be spoiled?
Chances are if you’ve skimped out on a cheap styrofoam cooler from the gas station you’ve probably experienced this disaster.
Whether on a camping trip, BBQ, or any other excursion this can be a huge bummer.
Most coolers in the past have been pretty lackluster, only keeping your stuff cold for maybe a half a day before turning into a soupy, leaky mess.
Fortunately, things are changing with the rise in popularity of rotomolded coolers.
Rotomolded Coolers have become all the rage in recent years, and for good reason.
Brands such as Yeti and Igloo have started offering rotomolded models that keep your food and drink much cooler, for much longer.
They even require using less ice than previous types of coolers.
Not Your Dad’s Cooler
This new breed of coolers uses a manufacturing technique called “rotational molding”.
Coolers manufactured with rotational molding provide a higher quality product with thicker walls and better insulation.
This means that some models will keep ice for literally weeks without melting.
We highly recommend making the investment in one of these coolers.
Traditional coolers simply cannot keep up.
It’s fair to say that you are going to pay more up front, but the difference in performance is astonishing.
Rotomolded Cooler Comparison
The biggest factor to consider when comparing coolers is how long they can maintain their temperature.
This really should be the decisive consideration since this is what the cooler built to do.,
Just keep in mind that there is a big difference between the best performers and the rest of the pack.
Another thing to think about is durability.
Rotomolded coolers are investments that should last for years (or decades).
They should be able to withstand being dropped, turned over, even falling off the back of a truck.
You should also think about security (from humans and bears)
Here is our guide to finding the best rotomolded coolers:
Chances are you’ve seen these coolers around campsites, tailgates, and parties.
Igloo has been making coolers for over 60 years, and now offers several rotomolded options.
The Sportsman and Yukon product lines are both high-quality rotomolded options that come in a variety of sizes.
Yeti is a relatively new brand but has become extremely successful as a pioneer of high-end rotomolded coolers.
This brand helped popularize the rotomolded style with its extremely well-engineered coolers.
They have even earned a cult-like following in the outdoor world and beyond.
Yeti coolers feature 2.5″ thick walls that can store ice cubes for up to five days before they melt.
They also feature a patented ColdLock™ Gasket that provides a complete seal, which goes a long way towards keeping the cold in.
One notable feature is the fact that they do not collect condensation on the outside.
This helps alleviate any worries about them causing a mess.
The Yeti Tundra line-up features a dozen different sizes, so you will be sure to find one that is right for your needs.
RTIC (think “Arctic”) is a relatively new player in the rotomolded cooler game.
They claim to offer all of the functionality and durability of Yeti coolers at a lower price point.
In fact, their original slogan was “A Yeti at half the price”, so there isn’t anything surprising about their business model.
They offer products that appear to be extremely similar to Yeti in pretty much most major features.
This includes their appearance, which was so similar that Yeti actually filed a lawsuit.
While RTIC rotomolded coolers are built to hold temperature as well as Yeti, some of the components seem a bit cheaper.
It doesn’t take an expert to tell that the cooler is built a bit cheaper and may not be as durable.
Still, if the price point of Yeti is a bit out of reach for you, and you don’t need something so rugged, an RTIC makes a sensible alternative.
As far as cheaper rotomolded coolers, this one would be our choice.
How Are Rotomolded Coolers Made
Rotational molding has been around for decades.
However, this molding technique has just recently become cost-effective enough for producing things like coolers.
Essentially, rotational molding works by loading a polymer into a mold and then heating and rotating the mold until the polymer has evenly coated its walls.
The mold is then cooled down slowly so that the material can return to room temperature at an even rate.
This process differs from injection molding, which simply squirts the polymer into a static mold.
Rotational molding is a significantly longer and more labor-intensive process, but it ensures that the walls of a cooler will be perfectly uniform in thickness.
This means that you won’t have to worry about a “weak spot” in the design letting the cold out and melting your ice.
Largest Rotomolded Cooler
Rotomolded coolers come in a wide variety of sizes.
The largest on the market are currently made by Icey-Tek, which top out at a whopping 760-quart volume.
These are mostly geared for commercial fishermen on giant boats, so may be overkill for your average outdoor enthusiast.
The next option would be Grizzly’s massive 400-quart option.
This is an extremely durable cooler and can fit enough beverages to supply a large party.
If you don’t need something quite that huge, Yeti makes a 250-quart cooler which is most likely big enough for a long weekend expedition.
Like all of their products, this Yeti cooler is tough, performs well, and looks great.
One thing to think about before purchasing a cooler is how safe it is from a bear attack.
Depending on where you plan on taking your cooler, there may be bears that are attracted to all the tasty food and drink you’re bringing with you.
Keep in mind that bears have just about the best sense of smell of any animal on earth.
They can easily hone in on your campsite from miles away.
Especially if you’re cooking bacon!
Avoid this potential problem by getting a cooler that is certified bear-proof by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Council (yes, it exists).
These coolers have survived actual field tests with real bears without breaking.
Yeti, Igloo, and Pelican all have popular models that are Certified Bear Resistant.
If you are hiking in Yellowstone, for example, or many places out west, this may be a crucial factor in your decision.
Actual bear attacks are extremely uncommon, but you still don’t want them pawing through your food.
A high-quality bear canister is also an option.