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When you are heading to a picnic or a beach party, any old cooler will do just fine to keep drinks cold and prevent food from spoiling. Hunters demand more from a cooler than just cold beverages. A cooler is essential for quickly cooling freshly harvested meat to reduce the possibility of bacterial growth and spoilage.
The best way to figure out which cooler will be the best is to look at the brands that make coolers for hunters. Each has unique technologies that give their products an advantage over competitors. In this article, we look at the top cooler brands for hunters and what makes their products special.
It didn’t take long for us to find out the most popular brands with hunters. Our friends in the industry pointed us to the following companies. These brands are not ranked in any particular order.
Yeti has become synonymous with outdoor adventure since its founding in 2006. The mission statement at Yeti says it all -build the cooler you would use every day if it existed. The company’s products are found on commercial fishing boats and used by professional hunting guides all over the world for one simple reason: their coolers last season after season.
Some of the features that set Yeti coolers apart include up to two inches of insulation, freezer-quality gaskets, and a one-piece molded design that is tough enough to stand up to a hungry bear. Yeti coolers are engineered to provide longer ice retention than other coolers which is a key feature for hunters who need their cooler to stay cold all day.
Yeti makes hard-sided and soft-sided coolers that are built for hunters, fisherman, and pitmasters that demand the ultimate in durability and capability. All Yeti coolers come with a lifetime warranty that covers any possible manufacturing defect. Unfortunately, Yeti has a bad reputation for customer service and currently has a 1.18 of 5 rating with Better Business Bureau.
Orca -which stands for Outdoor Recreation Company of America- started in 2012 with the goal of building a better hard-sided cooler for outdoor adventures. The result was a phenomenal 75 quart cooler (a perfect cooler size for hunting) that led the company to expand their offerings. They now manufacture and sell hard and soft coolers, drinkware, and accessories for hunting, fishing, and all facets of outdoor fun.
Orca coolers feature bear-proof latches, stainless steel handles, and as much as four inches of insulation in some models. The coolers have special drainage spouts and an integrated, one-piece freezer seal in the lid that can keep ice frozen for up to ten days. The handle design makes carrying an Orca cooler more comfortable than other brands.
All Orca products carry a lifetime warranty, but buyers need to be aware that numerous things may not be covered. According to complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, things like lids on drinkware and damage that can’t be shown to be a defect will not be covered. Orca is not accredited with BBB and has logged just four complaints in three years. In some cases, Orca resolved the issue by offering a refund, but in cases where a product was damaged, the company typically was unhelpful. Only products purchased through the website or an authorized dealer -such as Dick’s Sporting Goods- are eligible for warranty coverage. Purchases made on Amazon are not covered.
When twin brothers John and Jim Jacobsen created RTIC, the goal was to produce a durable cooler that met the needs of hunters without costing a fortune like the competition. The result was a line of coolers that are high-quality, incredibly durable, and more affordable. The secret is in the direct-to-consumer approach and the lack of investment in advertising. Instead, the company relies on word of mouth promotion and social media attention to drive the sales of their coolers.
The biggest thing you need to know about RTIC Outdoors coolers is that they are built to save you money, but not at the expense of performance. RTIC Outdoors uses thick insulation that is lighter weight than competitors to produce coolers that are easier to transport while featuring bear-resistant latches and the ability to keep ice frozen for up to four days.
RTIC Outdoors advertises a 4.6 of five star rating on their website with more than 3,600 reviews, an indication that the products they sell are good quality. Better Business Bureau has received a total of 34 customer reviews of the company’s customer service and has a 1.08 of five star rating. Buyers report that customer service at RTIC is difficult to get in touch with and rarely follows through with prompt service. Many customers filed complaints due to refunds that were never issued.
Riding the wave of popularity started by Yeti, Cabela’s introduced the Polar Cap and Coldsnap hard and soft coolers. The Cabella’s coolers are more than just clones of other products, though. These coolers stand on their own and have outperformed the very best coolers on the market in independent testing. A Cabela’s Polar Cap cooler retained ice for 13 days and maintained a lower average temperature than other coolers over the test period.
Some of the cool features you’ll find on Cabela’s coolers are the barrel-shaped rubberized latches that include an integrated bottle opener. The latches provide the rotomolded cooler with excellent resistance to bears and other scavengers while making it easy to open the cooler, even when your hands are slippery. The coolers have physical handles built into the design and replaceable rope handles to make moving the cooler around simple.
Cabela’s coolers generally have positive reviews from customers. Reviews mention that the coolers work even after five or more years of regular use. Some reviews mention that the rubber latches can break, but Cabela’s now offers replacement pieces if this should happen. Better Business Bureau gives Cabela’s a B rating, but customer service reviews are pretty bad. Out of the 84 reviews, Cabela’s received just a 1.02 of five star rating. Customers expressed issues with Cabela’s service both in the store, on the phone, and through email with issues ranging from rude employee’s to credit card and gift card fraud.
Leave it to a kayak manufacturing company to come up with one of the best coolers around. Jackson Kayak introduced their Orion Coolers line in 2014. The goal was to incorporate innovation into the design of functional coolers using ideas that no one else had thought up yet. Orion Coolers are Made in the USA, a feature that few brands can claim.
No matter how innovative a cooler is, the primary job is to keep things cold. Orion coolers do an excellent job and will keep ice frozen for about a week with minimal melting. Locking bear-resistant handles, the use of metal to protect the corners, and even a removable interior light are just a few of the features we like about Orion coolers. What makes these coolers stand out from the crowd is the unique accessories that are available. Orion makes and sells things like a cutting board that works as a divider in the cooler, a cup holder/ snack tray that mounts to the side, and one of the coolest features, a grab handle that doubles as a seat back rest.
Reviews of products from Orion are positive and the cooler received a five-star rating in independent testing. On top of the excellent reviews these coolers receive, the company also does a great job of handling customer issues. The Better Business Bureau has never received a complaint against Jackson Kayak, the parent company behind Orion coolers. Jackson Kayak has an A+ rating at this time.
Pelican Products built a name for itself by creating some of the toughest and most durable cases on the market. Whether carrying munitions and supplies for the U.S. military, medical supplies for the Red Cross, or protecting sensitive electronics from damage, Pelican offers superior protection. The company’s coolers don’t look like coolers at all. In fact, they look a lot like the ultra-rugged cases Pelican provides for emergency services and military applications.
The features of these tough-as-nails coolers include flip and latch closures, a one-piece freezer-type seal, integrated handles and bottle openers, and stainless steel fittings. The coolers will maintain ice for ten days or longer. They are even available in a range of interesting colors and feature a lifetime warranty.
Pelican coolers are well-regarded by customers who report that the products live up to the promises the company makes. The coolers are durable, easy to handle, and work well to keep ice cold. Better Business Bureau reviews show that customers are not too happy with how Pelican handles problems. Though having just ten reviews, Pelican Products has a one-of-five star rating and gets a B- from BBB. Customer complaints largely focus on the company’s unwillingness to fulfill warranty claims and a claims process that is unnecessarily complicated.
The brands here are far from all of the companies making good coolers these days, but these ones are the brands that you can trust to provide an excellent cooler that keeps your ice frozen for a long time and will hold up to the rigors of outdoor adventure, whether you are hunting, fishing, or hiking.
Also, we have a blog summarizing the Best Hunting Clothing Brands too if you're interested!