We receive a ton of emails and YouTube Comments from people who will be on a week long elk hunt, extended camping or rafting trips etc. Almost all want to know which cooler to buy which will hold ice for an extended period of time, yet not brightly colored as to stick out like a sore thumb. We have tested most of the top rated cooler on the market (our video test results embedded below) and luckily most of the top performing cooler manufacturers offer camo patterned options.
Camo Hunting Cooler Comparison
|Size: 18 Can||Sizes: 25-123Q||Sizes: 20-400Q||Sizes: 14 & 28.5Q|
|Cost: $$||Cost: $$$$||Cost: $$$$||Cost: $$$|
|Holds Ice: 1 Days||Holds Ice: 7+ Days||Holds Ice: 5+ Days||Holds Ice: 3+ Days|
What Makes the Best Hunting Cooler?
When it comes to a solid hunting cooler; quality depends on way more than just color. For instance, the best hunting cooler is able to keep ice for an extended period of time AND be discrete. Some rugged, hunting type coolers are able to retain ice for up to two weeks. The features that make this possible is double walled insulation and a virtually airtight seal on the cooler lid. Some coolers have even thicker walls that may be up to three inches thick.
Durable locks are also important to most hunters and campers if they want to keep wild animals, especially bears, from getting inside of their cooler. Most hunting coolers now are also bear proof coolers. Keep in mind that even if a cooler is bear proof, it must be properly locked, to actually keep wildlife out.
Considering the price of many hunting coolers, most people also want durability and ease of cleaning features included in their cooler.Some people also enjoy using the waterfowl cooler styles because they have soft sides. A lot of them are camo, which makes them ideal for some hunters, but they are also lightweight and easy to carry. They are less bulky and hold just enough for one person to handle.
Hunting Ice Chest Retention Times
As previously mentioned most of the hunters we receive messages from are concerned with extended trips. Thus, ice retention times are paramount. We have tested and ranked (see ranking under video below) a large majority of the most popular cooler manufacturers. The good news is, most roto molded coolers will hold ice for at least Five Full Days, even in the middle of summer in Florida. Because hunting season (or most anyways) falls in much cooler temperatures, we feel confident most hard sided coolers outlined below will be sufficient. For those looking for a cooler for duck, or any waterfowl, hunting ice retention times are less of a concern. Rather, waterfowl hunters should be concerned with weight and portability.
Below is our most recent Best of The Best Ice Challenge. As you’ll see some coolers lasted 8 Full Days in 90°+. The lids of these coolers were regularly reaching 100°+ Fahrenheit. I think it’s safe to say, most will not be hunting in temperatures nearly as extreme. This is important to understand, as external temperatures greatly influence the length of time a cooler can maintain ice. For example, we ran a very similar test in December in Central FL with afternoon temps in the 70-80° range and coolers held ice 50-100% LONGER. The Engel and Pelican held ice for 10 Full Days in December vs 7 Days in June.
Best Of The Best Cooler Challenge
RESULTS: Longest Lasting Cooler
|Siberian Alpha 65Q||8.5 Days||Full Review||$$$|
|Kysek 53Q||8.5 Days||Coming Soon||$$$$|
|Techni Ice 47Q||8 Days||Full Review||$$$|
|Orca 58Q||7.5 Days||Full Review||$$$$|
|Engel 50Q||7 Days||Full Review||$$|
|Orca 40Q||6.5 Days||Full Review||$$|
|Sub Z 48Q||6 Days||Full Review||$$|
|nICE 45Q||5.5 Days||Full Review||$|
Does The Color Of Camo Cooler Affect How Long It Holds Ice?
Although our gut (and probably many others) wants to tell us, yes cooler color affects ice retention times, we have not seen this in our testing. The lids of tan and darker colored coolers usually will reach 10-30° hotter than the exact same cooler that is white in color. However, in our testing the ice retention times have been almost identical. We have witnessed this with Grizzly, Yeti, and several other cooler manufacturers and even Tumblers. Needless to say, picking a camo colored cooler should NOT affect how long your cooler will hold ice, but manufacturer and size will.
Popular Camo Coolers
Below are are some of the most popular camouflage coolers. You’ll find some camo backpack coolers, hard sided roto molded coolers and even small tote style coolers. Each serves its own purpose. Remember to not only focus on ice retention times but also to consider functionality and portability, especially of those hiking miles into the woods.
This water resistant waterfowl bag is everything you could want in a cooler and more. It has several exterior pockets for easy access and storage to everything you could need while hunting. It has an adjustable shoulder strap that is padded to help you carry even a full cooler comfortably. Even though it is soft sided, it has a hard shell bottom to give it durability and added moisture protection . Total it is 11”x13.5”x10” and weighs about 2 pounds when empty.
This camo ice chest was designed by Grizzly, a popular brand of active, outdoor coolers. It is a 60 quart cooler that has a large 2 inch drain hole so that cleaning it out is easy. It has non skid rubber feet ensuring that it will never move around in the back of a truck or UTV. As with all Grizzly products, it is proudly made in the USA. One point that needs to be made with the Grizzly is the ice retention times. This cooler did not hold ice the longest of all the coolers we tested. However, this is one of the most durable coolers we have tested. The Grizzly will still hold ice for 5 Days+ and the lifetime warranty make this cooler highly attractive to any outdoorsmen.
Igloo has been a popular cooler brand for many years and this camo cooler is proof of why it is such a great name brand. The Gripper has a comfort rubberized grip handle with a reinforced bottom. Inside you will find two different storage areas. It also has a large front and back pocket for items that do not need to be chilled. It also has cool vents thanks to a mesh panel that can also hold an ice pack so that you never have to worry about carrying a bag of ice and using up all your internal bag space. __________________________________
This Igloo is slightly different as it is a backpack cooler. Offered in Real Tree camo, this cooler appeals to those who like to keep their hands free. This is perfect for those hiking into the woods or waterfowl territory, allowing you to keep your hand on your rifle. This backpack has exterior pockets which allow you to hold opened drinks and gear that you need to have within easy reach. It has adjustable straps to ensure shoulder comfort and it can hold up to 18 cans of your favorite beverages. __________________________________
With this camo cooler, you have several options. You can choose from a variety of sizes and all of them are guaranteed to keep your food and drinks cold. It is made in the USA and it is built to resist odors and stains, no matter what you put inside. The 48quart cooler can hold up to 68 cans plus ice. However, the best thing about it is that it does have comfort grip handles so that your hands will never have to ache from carrying it around. Keep in mind the availability of this cooler comes and goes frequently.