Looking for a cooler that can withstand some tough conditions? Have a read of our guide to finding the best rotomolded cooler.
Rotomolding is the process of manufacturing an object (like a cooler) using one thick, continuous piece of plastic. This is great for a few reasons, including cooling power - it stops cold air from being able to escape through joins or cracks, because there are none. This is why many hard-sided coolers are rotomolded.
The question is, how can you find the best one?
Here are a few features you should definitely look for when looking for the best rotomolded cooler:
Coolers can range hugely in size, from a cooler just big enough to hold a few drink bottles, right through to huge chest-style coolers with enough room for a long fishing or hunting trip. Most coolers measure their capacity in quarts, with 1 quart being equivalent to 1.13 liters.
It's worth bearing in mind that the larger the cooler, the heavier it will be. That's before you add any food or drinks. You'll also require more ice to keep the contents cool, which will add to the weight. You may need a lot of ice to keep a large chest cooler cold enough to safely store food, so you might need to look for a cooler with either two heavy-duty handles (for two people to carry) or wheels for easier transportation.
Not all manufacturers will state ice retention time for their rotomolded coolers, but some do, and it's worth having a rough idea of how long ice will stay solid in your cooler, as this will obviously impact how long the contents will stay cool for.
It is worth knowing that ice retention tests tend to be done under ideal conditions. So while ice may last for, say, 5 days in a cooler that is being kept in a dark room, it might melt much quicker in direct sunlight if you're out and about. So it's worth taking ice retention time as a perfect case scenario.
Speaking of salt, you can use rock salt to make ice last longer in a cooler, if you want to maximize ice retention time.
Rotomolded coolers work really well at keeping its contents cold, partly down to the thick walls. Look for walls that are 2-3 inches (5-7.5 centimeters) thick. Thick walls are great for increased durability, too, as they're less likely to crack or break.
You can also look for strong latches, which will help to seal the lid tightly closed, keeping warm air firmly locked out. You can also look for a thick rubber gasket, which can help to keep cold air sealed inside.
As a bonus tip: you can pre-chill a cooler by filling it with ice the night before. This will help to make it nice and cold before you add the contents.
Durability is a big factor. Coolers can be expensive, and if you're taking it camping or on hunting trips, you're going to be putting it through some potentially tough conditions. As we said, thicker walls are great for increasing durability. You can also look for strong components (like hinges) and reinforced handles that will work well time after time.
If you're going for a wheeled cooler, don't forget to check out the wheels themselves - are they robust? Will they work well on different surfaces?
Some coolers have IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee) certification. This means that the cooler (when used with a padlock) has been certified as being grizzly-bear-proof. This should give you a good idea of how durable it is - if a bear can't get into it, there's a good chance it will survive whatever you plan to do with it!
One thing to think about is how easy your cooler will be to clean. Coolers can get dirty pretty quickly (especially if you're using them for hunting or fishing). The outside can get grimy too, as you may be exposing it to some tough conditions. Look for a cooler that is easy to wipe down, with minimal grooves or areas that dirt can get trapped in.
Most rotomolded coolers have a drain, which is really helpful for dumping out melted ice. Look for a cooler with a large drain, which will make this process much quicker.
You can also look for some other features, like:
- A fish ruler
- A built-in bottle opener
- Non-stick feet
- Cup or water bottle holders molded into the lid
- A storage basket, or some way of organizing the contents of your cooler
To Sum Up …
We hope this has helped you to know what to look for when shopping for a new rotomolded cooler. They can be a big investment, so it's worth taking your time to choose the best one for you.