A Cooler – it’s pretty much the one thing that goes on every offroad trip, whether you are heading to the desert, to the dunes, or to the mountains. Even though it’s the one essential we tend to not forget, it’s usually the one most do little to no research on before they purchase. True, you could go to your local Walmart and pick up a decent looking cooler instead of spending hundreds for a premier brand, but how many trips and how many seasons is that cooler going to last you? And even the cheapest of cheap coolers still add up those dollars out of your pocket, especially after it lets you down almost as soon as you walk through the automatic doors.
Recently, Bryan from Grizzly Coolers posted in the RDC forum, looking for someone to test out their coolers in the dirt so I told him I would help him out, but warned him that I would be putting them to the ultimate test. Grizzly sent me two coolers to try out, the Grizzly 16, which is the smallest cooler, and the Grizzly 60, one of their mid size coolers.
Iowa Rotocast Plastics, Inc., which started in 1986, introduced their first outdoor cooler under IRP Outdoors in 1999. In 2011, the company rebranded as Grizzly Coolers with new tooling and designs. Grizzly has been one of the top brands for hunters, fishermen and BBQ teams all over the country. Ultra4 desert racer, Shannon Campbell, has been using Grizzly Coolers for their race team as well.
For the Grizzly 16, I decided to do a torture test in the dirt by filming it dropping out of my truck at various speeds to see how it would hold up. After seeing how well the Grizzly’s are built, I wasn’t too surprised to see that it came out with only minor cosmetic scratches. The latches work very well and remained latched, even after being dropped out at top speeds of 65 mph.
Since the Grizzly held up so well with my off-road test, I wanted to push it to the limit by driving over the top of the cooler to test it’s overall strength. Watch the video to find out what happens.
Grizzly Coolers are also IGBC Certified as bear proof with the use of their unique latches when combined with padlocks. Although we don’t come across bears in the desert to often, this is good if you also do any trips to the mountains.
Besides wanting to see how they hold up to my off-road tests, I also wanted to see how long they would actually hold ice, because we all know there is no point to a sturdy cooler if it can’t actually keep our stuff cold. For my first test, I paired the Grizzly 60 (right) side by side with an Igloo 60 quart (left). I filled them both with ice and drinks for a big BBQ we had Memorial Day weekend.
After the BBQ was over, I left both of them with a similar amount of ice and drinks for the rest of the week to see which would hold ice the longest. After four to five days, you could see that the Igloo (left) wasn’t lasting as long.
By the 7th day, the Igloo had no ice and the Grizzly still had a fair amount of ice left. The ice retention rating for the Grizzly 60 is 9 days 21 hours, which I assume is keeping it closed much more than I was doing for my test.
Another thing I am impressed with on the Grizzly cooler are the latches, which are very durable. Not only are the latches meant to withstand heavy use, if they do start to wear, they are replaceable, unlike other coolers I’ve used that have latches that eventually break and are impossible to replace. Or like other coolers that don’t even have a latch at all, such as the Igloo pictured above. A cooler with latches is a must for a true offroader!
I only have two cons to mention. First, as of now, none of the Grizzly coolers on the market come with wheels. I personally would love to see one with wheels; however, to be fair, I haven’t seen any other competing coolers that can hold up to this level with wheels either. My second complaint would be that Grizzly only offers four sizes. But I am told that a 75 is coming out this month and a 40 in September.
Overall, I am very impressed with the build, quality, and design of Grizzly coolers. Their pricing is similar to other high-end coolers I’ve seen on the market and they offer allot of different colors compared to competing brands that I’ve seen. Grizzly also offers a lifetime warranty on manufacturing defects. I look forward to using Grizzly Coolers for future desert and camping trips for years to come.
Visit Grizzly Coolers at grizzlycoolers.com
Grizzly 16 Specs:
Price – $229.99
18- 12 oz. cans: 16- 12 oz. bottles
10- 20 oz. bottles.
SIZE – Weight: 11.5 lbs.
Exterior Dimensions: 20″ Wide x 11.5″ Deep x 14.5″ Height
Interior Dimensions: 14.5″ Wide x 6.5″ Deep x 11″ Height
Ice Retention: 4 days, 5 hours
Grizzly 60 Specs:
Price – $369.99
78 – 12 oz. cans: 42 – 12 oz. bottles
40 – 20 oz. bottles
SIZE – Weight: 25.75 lbs., 28.5″ Wide x 20″ Deep x 19.75″ Height
Ice Retention: 9 days, 21 hours