Today’s coolers are marvels of modern technology
Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of the summer weekend picnics our family took to a favorite picnic grove along the Big Bear Creek in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
After arrival, my father set up a folding picnic table then placed the cooler of food my mother packed in a shady spot under a large hemlock tree. If memory serves, the cooler was a green Thermos or Coleman, but no matter. It kept our food cold enough throughout the afternoon, but not without a price. The insulation on our cooler was minimal to say the least, and after a few hours the ice inside was mostly cold water. My mother was smart enough to anticipate this scenario and packed the potato salad, cole slaw and even the hot dogs she brought in mason jars to protect them from being ruined by the melted ice inside the cooler.
Fast forward 65 years and consider my recent experience. Last month I rented a boat at a nearby state park and took my grandson fishing. I knew the day was going to be hot and I also knew a 10-year-old would want something to eat and drink, so I packed some soda, water and a sandwich in the expensive soft cooler my son gave me for Father’s Day. This little cooler was big enough to hold our lunch, drinks and enough ice to cover the four cans of soda and two bottles of water.
The cooler sat in the hot sun on the middle seat of the boat for most of the day and when I got home I was astonished to find the ice had barely melted. What a difference between a good modern cooler and the one my parents used so very long ago.
In 2006, Yeti focused on maximizing the insulating capacity and durability of their outdoor coolers, and a few years later several other manufacturers followed suit. These coolers use a single-piece plastic shell, which is then injected with high-quality insulating foam. They also feature external latches and pin-style hinges built into the lid, making them more durable than traditional designs. Additionally, they utilize thicker walls and rubber gasket-sealed lids to increase insulative performance.
High-quality coolers like the one I took on the fishing trip with my grandson come in all sizes and shapes and they keep ice and the things inside cold for days rather than hours. In addition, manufacturers have included features any outdoor enthusiast will find extremely useful.
For example, the “Go Anywhere” Small Cooler by Cordova might prove useful for daytripping, an overnight camping trip or an afternoon fishing trip on the lake. Unlike older-style coolers, the “Go Anywhere” cooler includes amenities users will appreciate such as a no-fall lid lock system that keeps the lid open when retrieving items, and the CNC-machined aluminum handles with an integrated bottle opener. It even has a raised lip on the lid that keeps items from sliding off while a quad-core rubber gasket ensures the cold stays in while the heat stays out.
As nice as some features may seem, the primary purpose of a cooler is to keep things cold, so insulation performance is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing one. In the case of cooler performance, you generally get what you pay for. High-end models, regardless of manufacturer, are generally able to get few more days of safe food temperatures than the traditional models, and this could be an important consideration when returning home with frozen meat from a western hunt or when taking a fly-in fishing trip to a remote lake in Canada. Keep in mind, though, the larger the cooler, the more it costs.
Depending on your needs and budget, manufactures like Cordova, Yeti, Yukon, Pelican and others offer high-end coolers that can keep food or beverages cold for days. In addition, they are extremely durable and well-engineered with a variety of convenient features, sizes and shapes to meet just about anyone’s outdoor needs.