Coolers aren’t exactly, well, “cool.” Traditionally, they’re nothing more than big insulated boxes that end in a cold, soupy mess two days into a cottage or camping trip. But many manufacturers are upping their coolers’ cool factor by offering “how-did-we-live-without-these” features such as HazMat-level leak proofing and built-in blenders. Here are seven revolutionary coolers for hot summer days.
While Kelty’s Folding Cooler is only good for a daytrip, it wins out when it comes to storage. This lightweight cooler is semi-rigid, so you can collapse it down to half its height when you’re not using it. The reinforced bottom and waterproof lining mean you won’t be dripping cooler juice on your adventure. More info: www.kelty.com
Coolers are, of course, primarily used for keeping things cool. But sometimes you might be after warmth. If you’re regularly taking pre-cooked dishes to potlucks on another lake, you may want to invest in a dual cooler/warmer. Reverse the plug connection on the Koolatron’s electric “Kool Wheeler” and you’ll switch from deep freeze temps to 54°C in no time. More info: www.smarthpme.com
One of the worst things about coolers is the inevitable smell that develops after a few seasons of use (and subsequent storage). The Coleman Esky 85 saves your nose thanks to an antimicrobial liner that resists odours, mould, and mildew. It’s thick insulation and a cork-fit lid also promise your ice will stay frozen longer. Plus, there’s a cutting board that slides into the lid for storage and a dry-storage rack so you don’t have to worry about soggy sandwiches. More info: www.eskyseriescoolers.com
Thank Kickstarter for bringing to life the “Coolest” cooler, described by inventor Ryan Grepper as “a portable party disguised as a cooler.” His cooler has been getting a lot of press and has raised $8 million to date on Kickstarter. Why the buzz? Well, it has a waterproof wireless Bluetooth speaker, USB charger, built-in bottle opener, picnic plates, and—our favourite—a rechargeable blender built right into the lid. More info: www.kickstarter.com
Heading out but don’t need a full-size cooler? If you only need a small cooler for an afternoon or a few days, the YETI Hopper is the best option out there. This soft-sided cooler has straps for easy carrying but, unlike typical soft coolers, its insulation will keep ice frozen for days. It’s also, according to YETI, 100 percent leak-proof, even if you flip it upside down. In fact, the airtight zipper is the same design used on HazMat suits. More info: www.yeticoolers.com
For those heading out into bear country, the Alaskan Guide by Cabela’s is certified by the Interagency Gizzly Bear Committee to keep the beasts out of your supplies. The cooler features molded-in hinges with stainless steel pins and a brass latching system that takes shackle padlocks. As well, Cabela’s says the double-walled design and insulated lid will keep your contents cool for days. More info: www.cabelas.com
The YETI Tank looks like a giant bucket, but is actually a party-ready cooler that can hold a full-size keg or up to 96 cans, plus ice. Perfect for keeping everyone out of your fridge during your next cottage party, this cooler features YETI’s patented “Permafrost” insulation to ensure long-lasting chill. And even if your party gets a bit wild, the Tank will survive thanks to a roto-molded design that the website describes as “nearly bombproof.” More info: www.yeticoolers.com