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Old 05-30-2019, 12:10 PM   #1
thinkxingu
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Default Cheap Cooler Showdown

I posted some time ago about looking for an affordable cooler. Well, I ended up with an $11 Igloo Island Breeze 28 (all numbers are quarts of storage capacity) knowing that at some point I would probably revisit the issue.

First, I'm on a thin budget as I am taking the summer off.
Second, I'm cheap.
Third, I kinda like making "underdog" gear work.

Soooo, I'll be stopping by Walmart later to pick up one or two coolers, the Ozark Trail 26 and/or Lifetime 28. A 3rd contender is the Igloo BMX 25, but that isn't available locally and, given that my past two Igloos' hinges are junk and the BMX 25 gets bad reviews on hinges, I don't think I'll be bothering with it.

All coolers are ~$70, or about 1/2 to 1/3 the price of RTIC ($120 on sale for 20), Yeti ($200 for 20), etc.

Any additional comments or suggestions welcome!
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Old 05-30-2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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In my VERY professional opinion, a cheap cooler + summer off = priceless

That's awesome!
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:09 PM   #3
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A cheap cooler just means you have to drink them faster.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:12 PM   #4
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I'd go to a yard sale this Saturday morning and buy whatever I could for $5 or less. I'd spend the rest on beer!
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:30 PM   #5
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Default Omaha

Order something from Omaha Steaks. It all comes in a tight fitting Styrofoam cooler, no extra charge, with (reusable?) ice packs.
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:36 PM   #6
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In my experience Igloo is junk, the hinges break plus they don't hold ice well.

The Coleman Xtreme hold ice far longer then their regular ones despite looking and weighing about the same

I have made a couple patio coolers out of old beat up ones with wonky lids.

(not one of mine, just the first picture I found)
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the (cheap) suggestions, all! As mentioned, I've got a (mostly) functional cooler but am willing to invest a bit to A. Not use as much ice (both to save from buying and because my new fridge doesn't have an ice maker), 2. So's I have plenty of ice to keep my pop frosty, and C. For the cover to stop falling off every time my kids open it.

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Old 05-30-2019, 02:21 PM   #8
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I checked NH craigslist.com and saw some coolers offered for sale under "for sale" "household."

Might be a good way to get a used cooler which might otherwise be out of your price range.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:16 PM   #9
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Went through the same thing last year...wanted to conserve ice but didn't want to spend the "arm n leg" prices of the super coolers these days.
Ended up at Ocean State Job Lots and found these:

Coleman X-treme cooler. used it last season and it really was great at keeping ice longer and the kicker was that it was priced low to begin with and there was a special on it for an extra $20 off to boot! I think I paid $29.99 for what was an over $60 cooler to begin with.
See how thick the walls are on the inside? Almost as thick as the high $$ ones and it works!
Not sure if OSJL still has them but might be worth a look as you go by the one in Meredith. Beware though...I saw some of the Coleman Xtreme coolers at other stores that had the THIN walls. Be sure to look inside for the thick walled ones.
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Old 05-30-2019, 03:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillcountry View Post
Went through the same thing last year...wanted to conserve ice but didn't want to spend the "arm n leg" prices of the super coolers these days.
Ended up at Ocean State Job Lots and found these:

Coleman X-treme cooler. used it last season and it really was great at keeping ice longer and the kicker was that it was priced low to begin with and there was a special on it for an extra $20 off to boot! I think I paid $29.99 for what was an over $60 cooler to begin with.
See how thick the walls are on the inside? Almost as thick as the high $$ ones and it works!
Not sure if OSJL still has them but might be worth a look as you go by the one in Meredith. Beware though...I saw some of the Coleman Xtreme coolers at other stores that had the THIN walls. Be sure to look inside for the thick walled ones.
I have one of those for home--in the shade of our porch, it works awesome. In the sun, not so much.

For the boat, though, I need something smaller.

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Old 05-30-2019, 03:37 PM   #11
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The test has begun.

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Old 05-30-2019, 04:02 PM   #12
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I am sure you do this already but it's worth mentioning....

Freeze bottles of water (or other non carbonated beverage) and use it as a supplement to the ice you need for drinks. I freeze a gallon jug and use that instead of buying a block if space permits in the cooler.

If I have extra space in the cooler after it is packed, frozen bottles of water will fill that space. Pull one out and drink it as it melts.
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Old 05-30-2019, 05:54 PM   #13
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Father's Day is coming- put in a request!
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Old 05-30-2019, 06:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Father's Day is coming- put in a request!
LOL, I'll keep that in mind for my wishes!
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:03 PM   #15
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You're doin' it wrong:


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Old 05-31-2019, 09:44 AM   #16
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You're doin' it wrong:


If you tie that up to your boat in a no rafting zone isn't that breaking the law?
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Old 05-31-2019, 01:53 PM   #17
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We're 24 hours in. Average temp in my garage over that time was 75. The Lifetime is clearly the superior cooler--the OT has about 50% of the 5-lb. ice left whereas the LT has barely any melt--maybe 10%.

I'm really impressed, given that it was not precooled and it's only one 5-lb. bag. I'm thinking one could get a whole day out of it with essentially zero melt. Looks like I'll be taking this one up to camp for further testing.

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Old 06-01-2019, 04:20 PM   #18
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We're into hour 49, and the LT has about 30-35% of the original 5lbs. remaining. I didn't bother taking the OT to camp because of both the ice melt and closing straps--the LT is much more user-friendly.

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Old 06-02-2019, 03:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXUM View Post
If you tie that up to your boat in a no rafting zone isn't that breaking the law?
I think it would qualify under the exemptions for a "Tender" since it can be brought aboard.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:10 PM   #20
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..... how about ....... 'plug-in picnic cooler'..... do a search at ebay, amazon, walmart or anywhere ... for a plug-in cooler that works on 12v or 110v .... and go electric?

.... no mess, no fuss, no puddles or wet food with a modern 21st-century, electric powered, picnic cooler for like $50 to $100.

.... just imagine what a chore it could be, to have an ice box in your kitchen instead of a 110-v refrigerator?

You probably cannot row your boat, it has a motor and a battery ..... so why go with ice?
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:36 PM   #21
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Question Coolers

I saw on Utube drilling holes in the cooler and injecting that canned insulation. some said it worked good
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Old 06-03-2019, 05:11 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arthurc View Post
I saw on Utube drilling holes in the cooler and injecting that canned insulation. some said it worked good
Yeah, I was thinking of doing that with my Igloo, but I'd still have junk hinges and the weight would be the same. And it's still not as good as a better cooler.

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