Of all the types of coolers out there, those coolers that are made for hunting represent the crème de la crème. That is because hunting is an intense activity that demands a lot from the hunter and his tools. It represents a constant reach for greatness and the struggle to be worthy of that greatness.
You just have to respect it at the end of the day. The kind of environment within which hunting happens also demands quality because you’re dealing with the elements and Mother Nature herself.
Because of all the above, hunting demands that the kind of cooler you use be a serious cooler; a cooler for serious users with absolutely no room for compromises or weaknesses of any sort.
In fact, for the serious hunter looking for the serious cooler, the price of the cooler isn’t always a deciding factor. If the cooler delivers what it promises to deliver and makes the hunting job easier and more enjoyable, then the price will be paid.
Because making a cooler for a huntsman represents making a top quality cooler, the most serious brands in the cooler market all lean toward this direction, making only the pro stuff.
Another thing that cannot be separated from hunting is the National Rifles Association or NRA. A serious manufacturer of coolers for hunting will naturally want to support the NRA to align itself with the proponents of legal gun ownership.
Depending on the kind of hunting you will be doing, a major factor in the kind of hunting cooler you will buy is the size of the cooler. But let us not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let us review and talk about that first.
Best Cooler for Hunting – Quick Comparison
|G15, G20, G40, G60, G75, G100, G165, G400||Gray, Lime, OD, Orange, Red, Sandstone, Seafoam, Tan, Teal, White||Rotomolded|
|Orca 20, 26, 40, 58, 75, 140||Olive Green, Tan, Green, Pink, White||Rotomolded|
|Orion 25QT, 35QT, 45QT, 55QT, 65QT, 85QT||Forest, Blaze, Bluefin, Dorado, Red-Black-White||Rotomolded|
|22QT, 45QT, 65QT, 85QT||White||Rotomolded|
|25QT, 50QT, 75QT, 100QT, 150QT||Sand, White, Gray Granite, Olive Green||Rotomolded|
|Cordova 35, 50, 100, 125||White, Aqua, Gray, Orange, Sand||Rotomolded|
Polar Bear Coolers
|6-Pack, 12-Pack, 24-Pack, 48-Pack, Backpack||Black, Green, Navy, Red, Camo||Soft Sided|
|12-Can, 24-Can, 36-Can, 48-Can||Black, Bluefin, Charcoal. Mossy Oak, Manta, Navy, Red, Royal Blue||Soft Sided|
Ice Mule Pro
|Large, X-Large, XX-Large||Gray, Matte Black, Olive, Realtree||Soft Sided|
Igloo RealTree Line
|24-Can, 30-Can, 36-Can, 48-Can||RealTree||Soft Sided|
What are you Hunting for?
The key to having a great hunting experience is to find the right cooler. That means the following factors should be considered:
- Ice retention is something else you will definitely have to consider. How long will you be on the hunt? If you’re going on an elk-hunting spree and it lasts a week, then you want a cooler that will last that long. It’s that simple. And the roto-molded coolers are the best in this field.
- The size needs to be just right for the kind of game you’re hunting. Hunting big game means you will need a large cooler so it can haul all of that meat around.
- The weight of the cooler also matters. If you want to travel light and will mostly be carrying your cooler by hand, then you want a cooler that is light for its size. If you get one that’s too heavy, then you can expect to be exhausted most of the time.
- The color is also important depending on your needs for camouflage. Camo coolers come in many different camo schemes, and the right one for you depends on the specific environment you’ll be hunting in.
- Mobility is something else you need to consider. How easy is it to haul the cooler around? Does it come with wheels? Does it come with extra space for your other stuff apart from what you want to keep at a low temperature? Mobility is just as important as weight when considering a cooler.
- Another factor you need to seriously consider is the kind of game you’ll be hunting. Big game includes the likes of elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, bear, caribou, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bison, boar, and so on. Small game, on the other hand, includes ruffed grouse, armadillo, ring-tailed cat, skunk, porcupine, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, hare, rabbit, and so on.
If you’re going for big game, then you will generally want a larger cooler with longer ice retention than if you’re going for small game.
Best Hunting Coolers – Our Top 6 Ice Chest Picks
Grizzly coolers are praised as the kind of cooler that can be everything and do everything. That means a lot in the world of coolers. To have something versatile enough to perform well in just about any kind of environment is to get massive value for your money.
That said, Grizzly make hunting coolers, and that is primarily how they market themselves. They have categorized their coolers into small hunting coolers, medium hunting coolers, and large hunting coolers. The very smallest of their coolers, the G15, has ice retention of 4 days and 15 hours while the largest, the G400, has ice retention of 19 days and 10 hours.
The materials are great, and the coolers are strong and rotomolded. They also come with custom color options, an oversized drain for quick draining, bear resistance, and a lifetime warranty.
Buy Grizzly Coolers at Amazon
Orca coolers is one of America’s premium brands and is often duking out with Yeti when it comes to who is going to produce a better quality product.
They make hard coolers, soft coolers, and drinkware with a loyal fan base close to rivaling that of Yeti. Orca proudly sells coolers that are one hundred percent American and also offer a lifetime warranty on all of their coolers.
They offer high-quality coolers that are not only diverse in terms of size but also in terms of colors while offering great ice retention. Orca is also a firm NRA supporter who, together with being made entirely in the US, gives them an advantage over Yeti for the average hunter.
If you want a firmly patriotic brand to use on your next hunting trip, then Orca is your best bet. What’s more, their coolers are certified bear proof.
Buy Orca Coolers at Amazon
Orion coolers come from the so-called Kayak Kings, who leveraged their extensive knowledge of kayaking to make coolers that would be perfect for those who spend their time kayaking and other activities in extreme environments.
Hunters fall in the same category of those who spend their time in extreme environments so Orion should have plenty for them as well. Interestingly enough, Orion Coolers are named after the famous hunter of Greek mythology, after whom a constellation of stars is named.
On the Orion website, they point out that, just like that hunter, their coolers “…exemplify strength, dominance, skill, and longevity.”
Orion coolers are manufactured in Sparta, Tennessee and are therefore fully US-made. They also have a wide variety of ice chests in terms of size and colors, with a number of options in full camo. They’re also proud supporters of the NRA.
Buy Orion Coolers at Amazon
Siberian coolers like to position themselves as the ideal coolers for outdoor enthusiasts, putting them firmly within hunter territory. The particular line of coolers you will find interesting here is the Alpha Cooler lineup.
There are four coolers in this line, with the smallest one having 22 quarts and the largest one having 85 quarts. As far as the design and construction is concerned, these are among the best-built coolers on the market with some of the best locks we have ever seen.
They’re also quite feature-rich and have decent ice retention, being able to hold your ice in for at least 8 days. The color sector is a bit less diverse than the other sectors but they are customizable so you can make them as you want them.
Buy Siberian Coolers at Amazon
Bison coolers were formerly known as Brute coolers. They are a well-known brand among Texans, and they happen to be fully made in the USA. The coolers produced by this brand are premium coolers and are comparable to other premium coolers in the market, including Yeti, Orca, Grizzly, and the rest.
The whole idea behind Bison coolers was to make a cooler that is 100% produced in the USA and also happens to be top of the line. If you’re a Bison hunter, then there is a bit of a plus in using a cooler named Bison.
They have a great range of sizes with the 25-quart cooler being the smallest and the largest being 125 quarts. Where they fall, a little short is when it comes to the color range. However, they more than make up for it with the quality of their coolers.
Buy Bison Coolers at Amazon
Cordova coolers have one major advantage over the other coolers on this list, and that is the fact that they happen to be directly endorsed by the NRA. They are 100% made in the USA, like the other coolers on this list and while they have a bit of a narrow range of sizes, the sizes are well distributed enough that there is a size for your needs, no matter what they might be.
The features on these coolers are pretty great with our favorite being the aluminum handles, which double up as bottle openers. In terms of colors you get 4 colors which may seem a little narrow, but some of these colors, such as sand and battleship grey, lend themselves very well to hunting.
Overall, this is a great brand for the hunter, and it even happens to be cheaper than Yeti while still offering great quality.
Buy Cordova Coolers at Amazon
Best Soft Coolers Bags for Hunting
A hunter often needs a soft cooler as well as a hard cooler, and so it makes sense to explore what is on the market and find out if there are any soft coolers worth taking with you on your next hunting trip.
Polar Bear Coolers
However, what we’re looking for here, in particular, is the Polar Bear camo soft cooler. This is their camouflaged option that would blend right in for you if you’re a hunter. Given Polar Bear’s great qualities, the camo option is a great add on that you will definitely appreciate.
Buy Polar Bear Coolers at Amazon
They also come with great features, like extra straps, pockets, and a range of colors. They are great for hunting, boating, fishing and so on. The particular color we fell in love with here is the mossy oak, which is a great camo version for the hunter. You are definitely going to appreciate it.
Buy AO Coolers at Amazon
Ice Mule Pro
We’re particularly interested in the camo version, which is perfect for the hunter. It comes with all of the benefits of the Ice Mule classic while adding the camo feature on top so you can move through the forests without arousing too much suspicion among your targets.
Buy Ice Mule Pro at Amazon
Igloo RealTree Line
All of the coolers in this line are camouflaged and have great features. They are great companions for both the hunter and the camper and happen to be lightweight. They are definitely worth considering seeing as they come from such a great brand.
Buy Igloo RealReee Line at Amazon
Hey, what about Yeti?
Yeti is definitely a great cooler for hunting, and if you’re a die-hard Yeti fan, then you can always get yourself a Yeti cooler to go hunting with. If you want a hard cooler, you can consider getting one from their Yeti Tundra series, and if you want a soft cooler, you can get one from their Yeti Hopper series. There are, however, a few issues with Yeti.
For starters, Yeti make great coolers for outdoor enthusiasts, but they don’t have any specific products for hunters. Instead, they make general purpose coolers which you can then customize on your own.
However, given Yeti’s wide third-party market, that shouldn’t be very difficult. Note, however, that Yeti does not have a camo option for their coolers. If you want a camo option, you will either have to customize your Yeti or look for a camo version elsewhere.
Another issue to consider is the fact that Yeti is perceived as the company that does not support the NRA (although they say the opposite)). The widely commented news caused quite a buzz last year, and many NRA supporters even vowed to boycott the brand.
If you feel very strongly about the NRA and support the work they are doing, then maybe Yeti isn’t the best brand to buy for your hunting and instead, you should get a cooler from one of these pro-NRA cooler brands.
All the same, Yeti coolers are quite good and are worth going hunting with if you’re willing to overlook the things mentioned above.
Hunt for your Ice Chest! Where to buy it?
You can buy them in lots of places, including the producer’s website, local websites, and online marketplaces. We, however, typically recommend Amazon.
It is the world’s most trusted marketplace, and you can buy coolers and pretty much everything else at Amazon. You get to read real reviews by other users, you get to enjoy buyer protection if you don’t like the product, and you also get to enjoy perks like 1-day shipping or free shipping, especially if you’re a Prime member.
Hunting Cooler FAQ
- What cooler size for deer/elk hunt?
If you’re looking to hunt deer or elk, then you will definitely need a large cooler to haul your game in and also to keep it cool for as long as possible. 55 quarts upwards is a good choice.
- Does cooler color affect ice retention?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that it may but in a very marginal way. Most coolers have been designed to be able to retain ice well no matter what color they are.
- Do I need a rotomolded cooler for hunting?
Yes, you do. A rotomolded cooler is stronger and more durable due to its one-piece construction. It also retains ice much better than non-rotomolded coolers.
Best Cooler for Hunting – The Bottom Line
And with that, we end our best hunting cooler review. As you can see, the coolers market has you well sorted out, and there are plenty of options for you no matter what your needs. Happy hunting!
ADVENTURE GUARANTEED: Hunting with Grizzly Coolers
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