Nash’s new flagship 23-quart Sub Z cooler (100% made in the USA) has recently hit the market as a direct competitor to YETI’s popular 20-quart Roadie, and it’s been receiving some solid reviews so far (at Amazon at least).
Its main draw? It is less than half the price of the Roadie, and it comes standard with a padded high-top chair that buttons onto the lid (well over $100 extra on the YETI, last time we checked).
Nash Sub Z Cooler Review: Does it Live Up to the Hype?
There’s no denying or hiding the fact that YETI manufactures the best, most high-performance coolers on the market. This is a direct result of their top-notch rotomold construction and 2” of high-density foam insulation.
The Nash Sub Z has 1.5” of insulation, so in that regard it is just a tad inferior to the YETI. However, other parts of the construction are practically identical.
The Sub Z is built with maximum durability and performance in mind, with the exact same polyethylene double wall construction and high-density foam as you’ll find in the YETI.
Construction and Design Features
One of the most crucial performance features of any cooler is its seal, and the 360-degree Arctic Dome ™ freezer gasket on the Sub Z does a really good job of keeping the icy air inside the cooler 100% sealed from outside air.
Also, just like on YETI’s, the Sub Z lid incorporates two heavy-duty rubber T-bands to tightly lock and seal the lid, and the bottom comes standard with integrated rubberized feet for non-skid traction (a godsend when using it as a casting platform on your boat).
One of the major things that people really seem to like about the Sub Z ice chest is that they’re way lighter than the YETI’s and other top brands – almost 40% lighter, to be exact.
And as far as the hardware and hinge system, the Sub Z is almost identical to the Roadie. The double rear hinge in the back is fully integrated into the rotomolded body, and stainless steel pins are used for maximum durability and longevity, even in tough saltwater conditions.
One big difference between the Sub Z and the Roadie is the handle design; while the YETI uses rope handles on either side of the cooler, the Nash uses a one-piece stainless steel swing-up handle that locks into place. Neither design is really superior or inferior to the other, but some people like the one-piece because they say it’s easier to carry by themselves.
And lastly, perhaps the best feature of all on the Sub Z is the padded high-back seats they come with that button onto the lid. They’re not the best quality in the world (made of a mid-grade nylon), but they’re definitely comfortable and super-functional, and are an excellent value considering that cushions for the YETI cost well over $100 (check the current price here).
Nash Sub Z Ice Chests: 100% Made in the USA
Another thing that people are loving is the fact that the coolers are made 100% in the USA – definitely not something to be ignored or undervalued.
Considering the fact that buying American-made products is important to tons of consumers, pretty much the only competition Nash has in that regard is Engel and Pelican, both of which are much more expensive, and don’t offer many superiorities in design or performance. (Most YETI coolers are made in the Philippines).
Sizes, Colors, Warranty, and Ice Retention
The coolers do come with the high-back seat, but if you want to save a few bucks and get just the cooler, you can do that as well for just over 100 bucks.
Also, the Sub Z is a true-to-size 23-quart cooler, unlike YETI’s which are actually slightly smaller than their model number. (The YETI Roadie is a 20-quart cooler, so the Sub Z is actually a little larger, although many people say it’s the perfect size for one-person carrying).
The cooler weighs right around 16 lbs (empty), and the outside measures 18.5” W x 15.75” H x 13” D, while the inside measures about 13.75” W x 11.5” H x 9” D.
It’ll easily hold about 20 12-ounce cans with a full 10 lb bag of ice, but it’ll take larger pint cans and bottles just as well.
As far as ice retention, keep in mind that the Sub Z is built up to the same standards as YETI or any other top brand – it’ll hold ice for up to 5 days even in hot sun, so make no mistake about that.
And finally, the warranty on the Sub Z is maybe where it falls fall short of the top brands – it only has a 1-year limited warranty (compared to YETI’s 5-year).
Nash Sub Z Cooler Review: What are People Saying?
Like we mentioned briefly already, the reviews coming out so far for the Sub Z have been hot, to say the least. People are loving how lightweight it is, and thus far have been raving about the build quality and performance regarding ice retention.
This guy owns both the YETI Roadie and the Nash Sub Z, and you might be surprised by what he has to say after reviewing both of them head to head. (Here’s another one from someone who also owns both coolers on the right).
While performance reviews regarding durability and ice retention have been great overall, a few people have mentioned that the Sub Z doesn’t have quite the nice finish and clean lines as some of the top brands do. Nothing that affects performance too much, they just have mentioned that they don’t look quite as pretty.
Nash Sub Z vs. YETI Roadie – The Final Verdict
So which to buy between the two — Nash Sub Z or the one and only YETI?
Nash is pretty much a total newcomer to the industry, so keep that in mind. Although preliminary reviews have been super positive, they definitely don’t have the years and years of experience and reputation that YETI has under their belt.
Also, a lot of folks end up buying YETI’s because of the lifestyle image. It’s no secret that they’ve become quite the kings of the outdoor lifestyle – if you own one, people know that you’re no novice outdoorsman.
If you get a Sub Z on the other hand, it won’t make much of a ‘statement’ as to how hardcore of a hunter or fisherman you are. Whether or not this makes any difference to you is of course your prerogative.
All in all, if you’re strictly about performance, you honestly will not notice much difference between the Sub Z and the Roadie, at least in terms of ice retention and day-to-day functionality. Whether or not the Sub Z ice chests hold up for years and years down the road (like the YETI’s do) without losing their quality, is yet to be seen.
Also, naturally the main driving point between going with the Sub Z over the YETI is the price – at literally 50% the cost, from a dollar perspective it obviously makes more sense to go with the former over the latter. However, keep in mind that you’re only getting a 1-year warranty with the Nash, compared to the 5-year warranty you’ll get with a YETI.
Bottom line if you’re on a budget, but still want a thoroughly good cooler, you won’t be disappointed with the Sub Z. In our mind and based off what we’ve seen so far, it’s actually a pretty awesome cooler.
If you prefer the reputation of a branded product on the other hand and are ready/willing to pay for the name and the image, you certainly can’t go wrong with the YETI Roadie either.
If we ourselves were in the market right now for this size cooler, we’d opt for the Sub Z personally. Not because we don’t like the Roadie (we love it!), but simply because we appreciate the performance you get for the value, we like the fact that the Sub Z is made in the USA, and we also love the padded high-back seats they come standard with.
Where to buy Nash Sub Z Coolers
If you do decide to pull the trigger on a new Sub Z, definitely check out Amazon – their prices as of right now are lower than the Nash website, and they’re also offering free shipping on all coolers.
Moreover, at the time of writing this post they’ve got everything in stock for the 23-quart Sub Z, including all 5 different colors (blue, lime green, orange, tan, and white).
If Amazon does happen to sell out a particular color that you’re looking for, they might have it in stock over at the official Nash website, but you might end up paying a bit more.
Bottom Line / Summary
Well, hopefully this Nash Sub Z Cooler review was in some way helpful to you, and as always if you’re still having questions about something, feel free to hit us up with a comment or e-mail.
Bottom line is these are really awesome, well-made little coolers for a fantastic price, and we definitely don’t hesitate to recommend you check them out and give them a shot.
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