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Innovation is the name of the game for Kysek Coolers: their thermodynamic DuroCold ™ has won awards in an industry where the competition for finding the best insulation is cutthroat, and they’ve come out with revolutionary designs like an internal temp-sensor that works with a mobile app on your smartphone.
In short, they’re not a brand that screws around when it comes to performance, innovation, and design.
In this complete Kysek coolers review, we’ll take a hard look at the specs and integrated features behind one of the most exciting brands in the biz, as well as do a head-to-head comparison with the one and only original rotomold – YETI Coolers.
Kysek Coolers Review: Trademarks and Innovation from Head to Toe
The hardest part about writing this Kysek ice chest review will be figuring out where to start; the coolers have so many subtle little design details, I’m afraid a 2,000-word article might turn into a 200-page encyclopedia if we’re not careful.
Like all performance rotomolded coolers, Kysek ice chests are constructed with a high-grade liquid polyethylene (PE) that’s poured into a mold and rotated until it hardens, then filled with high-density insulation foam.
What sets Kysek apart from the competition is that they beef up their PE skin layers and insulation thickness at key parts of the cooler: on the lid, bottom, and throughout the front and rear walls.
They market this as ‘Optimal Density Insulation’, and regardless of the gimmicky catch phrase, it really does go a long way in maximizing ice retention. Two weeks’ ice retention under normal conditions should be pretty standard for a Kysek, and you can expect up to about 10 days in hot, direct sunlight.
Likewise, their trademarked DuroCold insulation rivals some of the best names out there, and it will go tit-for-tat performance-wise with any one the best coolers on the market — YETI, Engel, Pelican, Orca, etc.
Kysek Ice Chests: Features
This is where things start to get interesting: in our mind, Kysek is far and away the leading brand when it comes to functional, unique, integrated features.
CODEBLUE ™ Mobile App and Sensor
The first we’ve seen of its kind, and the only cooler to our knowledge that you can sync to your smartphone.
The bluetooth-powered sensor does not come with the ice chests (you have to buy it separately), but once you set it up you can check the internal temperature from your phone, set alerts when the temp goes above a certain limit, and set restock reminders.
An awesome innovation if you’re truly trying to get the top performance out of your cooler, and especially important if you’re stocking temperature-sensitive stuff like raw meat.
HEAVYHAULERS ™ Heavy-Duty Wheels
We don’t think wheels are incorporated and used enough in coolers, and this is another reason why we’re Kysek fans – every size comes stock with them, and they really do make transport way easier – especially if you’re hauling the thing around by yourself.
BEARCLAW ™ Lock Plate / Bottle Opener
Every Kysek cooler has two of these; one on each corner. They double as bottle openers and bear-proof plates that you can fit a padlock on. Super high-quality stainless steel construction.
EASYGRIP ™ Handles
Nothing too special here, just very nicely-built rope handles that fit into the one-piece cooler mold and are secured with high-grade aluminum pins. Every bit as rugged as YETI’s.
State-of-the-Art Drain Design
You’re probably wondering how something as simple as a drain plug could be improved upon design-wise, but leave it to Kysek to do so.
In addition to one standard ¾” garden hose-sized plug, All Kysek coolers are fitted with an X-Large 2” plug as well for super fast draining.
Necessary? Mmm, not quite. Better than a single plug when you’re trying to dump out a ton of melted water in a hurry? For sure.
Oh, and unlike YETI, both plugs on a Kysek are attached to the cooler with a stainless steel tether – never have to worry about losing those suckers.
POSILATCH ™ Beefed-Up Lid Latches
Again, Kysek found a way to one-up the competition when they thoroughly beefed up their standard t-band lid latches.
As it turns out, it’s actually a really good design improvement, as we’ve noticed that YETI latches over the years will kind of stretch out and wear thin, decreasing the ‘lid-latching power’ and not making as tight of a seal as when it was new.
Of course you can always buy new replacement latches, but why do that when you can just beef up the original ones and have them last forever?
COLDLOCK ™ Gasket System
Redesigned for 2017, Kysek’s new gasket apparatus is manufactured with Enhanced Bond Technology to never crease or fold over the entire lifespan of the cooler.
We’ve got to say, Kysek is pretty slick as far as tossing in catchy little marketing phrases like ‘Enhanced Bond Technology’, but like we said earlier one thing and one thing only is important: that everything performs the way they claim it to. It does…
Customizable Dome Labels
Every Kysek ice chest comes with a nice-quality dome logo (no junk-quality stickers or decals) that (for a price, of course) are fully customizable to put whatever brand or logo you want.
High-Density ZEROSKID ™ Feet
Just like YETI, the non-skid feet on these coolers are actually secured to the body with machined, stainless steel hardware, rather than being glued on with industrial adhesive.
This is a pretty important engineering aspect, actually, as we’ve seen way too many top-dollar coolers lose a foot or two and – oops – guess what? The warranty expired 3 months ago… Never have to worry about losing a foot (or more) on a Kysek.
Kyseck Ice Chests: THE LID
We figured we’d give the lid it’s own separate paragraph, as Kysek has managed to jam and stuff it so full of integrated features that the insulating foam might just explode right through the skin layer.
They market it as a 3-in-1 multi-purpose lid that outworks “anything on the market”; the three functions being a no-slip casting platform, an antibacterial cutting board, and a high-definition ruler.
Really? A high-definition ruler? If we’ve got one thing against Kysek, it’s that they have a tendency to go a little overboard on the catch phrases, like we’ve mentioned a few times now. They build one helluva cooler – there’s no need in our minds to go bananas with a bunch of fancy-sounding, trademarked mumbo jumbo.
Sizes, Styles, and Color Options
As of early 2017, Kysek has seven different size ice chests available:
Kysek’s smallest rotomolded cooler is a 25-liter that weighs around 23 lbs, holds up to 32 lbs of ice, packs 36 12-ounce cans, and measures about 22.5” long x 15” tall.Available in 7 different colors: (Marine White // Camo Tan // Purple & Gold // Hunter Green // Red & White // Marine Blue // and — for the ladies out there — Pink).
Weighs just under 37 lbs // holds 45 lbs of ice // 48 12-ounce cans // 30.5” x 15.25”Available in same colors as the 25-liter
The Kysek 50-liter is only available in 6 colors (no pink… sorry). It weighs just over 40 lbs, holds up to 80 12-ounce cans, and can take nearly 64 lbs of ice. Measures 31.25” x 18”
49 lbs // 96 lbs of ice // 120 12-oz cans // 33.5” x 21.5” // measures 33.5” x 21.5”
42.25” x 21” // approximately 61 lbs // holds 128 lbs of ice // 13 12-ounce cans
The behemoth of the bunch: measures 52.25” x 23.5” // holds nearly 200 lbs of ice // weighs just under 80 lbs // can fit up to 240 12-ounce cans. We haven't found it at Amazon but it may be available through kysek.com directly.
*Only available in Camo Tan, Hunter Green, and Marine White
Kysek Soft Coolers and Dry Bags
In addition to their rotomolded cooler lineup, Kysek’s got a full line of equally well-built soft coolers and dry bags. We haven’t had a chance to check out all of them yet, but we think it’s safe to say that they’re built with the same quality and attention to detail as the rotomolded hard coolers are.
Kysek Dry Bags
These are some really, really nice-quality bags that are constructed with a super durable, thermo-welded waterproof nylon. Available in 5 different sizes:
Small tote-style waterproof bag with an easy-access front zippered compartment and sling strap.
Comes with heavy-duty laptop style comfort handles (with reflective tape), and a good-sized front zippered pouch in addition to the main compartment that easily stores a laptop.
Messenger-style sling bag with padded, detachable shoulder strap. High-visibility reflective tape on the handles, and has a large front pocket and easy-access main compartment that’ll easily store a full-sized laptop.
Just like the 40L, but a step up in size.
Extra-large, waterproof, duffel-bag style with a massive main compartment and jumbo front zippered pocket. An awesome, super heavy-duty traveling bag.
Kysek Soft Sided Coolers
In addition to their lineup of dry bags, Kysek has two really nice soft sided coolers that will rival any other soft coolers out there in terms of performance. They’re a bit pricey, but there’s no substitute for the convenience, packability, and lightweight benefits of a quality soft cooler.
We’ve used similar-style backpack ice bags like these before (see IceMule coolers), and let us tell you – they’re pretty killer for taking on treks while trying to pack in a cold lunch or some cold brewskis to enjoy once you get to your destination.
The cool thing about backpack coolers is that they can function as, erm, a backpack and a cooler. You can load them up like you would any other daypack with all your essential gear, but then you can toss some ice in there and like we said treat yourself to a fresh lunch and some cold beers for your afternoon breather.
The Kysek backpack is fully waterproof, and it has super comfy, extra-padded shoulder straps to deal with the additional weight of hauling around a bunch of ice. Additionally, its UV-resistant rawhide skin is virtually impenetrable, yet they’ve managed to still keep it surprisingly light and flexible.
Holds up to 24 12-ounce cans and about 17 lbs of ice, and has a full three-year warranty.
Kysek vs. YETI Coolers: Is There an Upset in the Making?
Let’s get right down to the brass tax: are Kysek coolers better than YETI?
Oof. That’s a tough one. In our minds, however, yes – we like them better.
We love all the techy innovations that Kysek ice chests come standard with, and love the idea that you could get as technical as possible with add-ons like the mobile app ice monitor.
Also, we know that wheeled coolers have kind of a love-them-or-hate-them type vibe, but we’re definitely on the ‘love them’ side. (Of course, you can buy a YETI wheelset for your Roadie or Tundra cooler, but they cost a lot – surprise, surprise – and they’re not integrated into the cooler itself).
Overall, no matter what product we’re dealing with we do our best to try and look past the brand names and marketing schemes, and with Kysek we see a true heavy-duty ice chest that’s very well-built and smartly designed.
Although they do tend to be a little on the heavy side (YETI’s are a bit lighter size-for-size), we love the fact that the Kysek’s are cheaper, considering all the things that they come with in the base package – things you have to buy extra with YETI.
Strictly performance-wise, it’s probably a toss up as to which cooler has the longer ice-retention, but durability-wise we’d say that Kysek ice chests seem stronger. However, we’re all well aware of how tough, reliable, and well-built the Yeti Tundra series are.
Lastly, we really, really love the effort Kysek puts in as far as their attempt to convert boring, old-fashioned ice chests into smart coolers. Some of the features might seem a little gimmicky to some people, but we love the enthusiasm, and we love the thought of having a high-tech cooler that can do a heck of a lot more than our buddies’ standard old rotomold.
Bottom line is, from a performance standpoint you won’t go wrong with either YETI or Kysek. Dollar for dollar and pound for pound, though, we’ll go with Kysek any day of the week.
Kysek Coolers for Sale: Prices and Where to Buy Online
Again, Amazon seems to be the best bet in terms of where to buy coolers, Kysek including. It’s a super-reliable source, and their in-stock availability of all the different sizes and color options is often better than you’ll find on the manufacturer websites.
Not to mention, Amazon prices have actually been lower than the MSRP prices on the official sites. And when it comes to Kysek specifically, it looks that free shipping on Kysek products is available – for both rotomolded and soft-sided coolers alike.
Bottom Line / Summary
So that’s it for our Kysek Coolers review. Like we mentioned earlier, when it comes right down to it, considering the wheels, mobile app capabilities, and the pound-for-pound performance you get out of a Kysek, we wouldn’t hesitate to choose one of them over a YETI any day – super cool coolers and always at the forefront of rotomolding design and innovation.
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