What is a heavy duty cooler?

Coolers can also be used for more extreme events, either you’re hiking in the deep woods or climbing the steep hills, due to their durability, these beasts of coolers are known as heavy duty coolers.

There are many types of coolers so which cooler is right for me?

Heavy duty coolers or heavy duty ice chest as many people call it are available in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Apart from these characteristics, another important thing that is different across the models is their functionality. Some aren’t able to keep the contents cold for that long, some leak, and then there are others that require you refill them with ice every time.

Best Heavy Cooler – The Top 6 Choices

ORCA Cooler - heavy duty cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

If you are looking to buy a heavy duty cooler, this one from Orca is sure to impress you. Orca is already a famous American brand in the world of water coolers and when the very name of the company (Outdoor Recreation Company of America) shouts outdoor adventures, you can be pretty sure that you are buying the right product.

Materials and Design

One of the most common problems with many of the heavy duty coolers is the difficulty you face while draining water from the cooler. However, the Orca heavy duty coolers feature easy-flow type drainage sprout that makes the drainage process simple and quick. They also come with a lifetime guarantee to be bear proof and are also certified by IGBC for the same. Their high-quality build makes them virtually indestructible, allowing them to provide you with flawless functionality for years to come.

This heavy duty cooler has a capacity of 20 quarts, making it an excellent choice for short trips. Their roto-molded construction offers exceptional durability, whereas, the integrated insulation ensures maximum retention of ice/cold and keeps everything fresh up to a period of 10 days. There is also a gasket on the lid to properly seal the cooler. Even the handle is made from stainless steel and has flex-grip to allow you to easily carry the cooler. Moreover, there is also an attachment for cargo net, which you can use for storage.

ORCA Cooler Open - heavy duty cooler

Dimensions and Weight

Apart from the functionality, the manufacturer has laid a major emphasis on the appearance of these coolers as well. They are available in a variety of attractive colors that not only make it look classy but also allow you to easily separate your cooler from the others. Moreover, there is also Orca logo on the front and top part of the cooler to further aid you in keeping an eye on your cooler while you are out on an adventure.

When the coolers are empty, they weigh 22 pounds and they can easily store 24 cans along with ice. Their inner dimension is 14” x 10” x 11 and outer dimension is 19” x 13.75” x 15”.

Orca Extra Heavy Duty Coolers – Summary

Pros
  • Highly durable
  • Roto molded construction
  • Easy to carry
  • Cargo net attachment
Cons
  • Slightly expensive
  • Some users have complained that the lid sometimes snaps shut very unexpectedly

Heavy-Duty Soft Sided - heavy duty cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

If you are looking for a cheap and lightweight cooler, this Heavy Duty Soft Sided Collapsible Cooler Bag from Bayfield Bags is sure to appeal to you. A lot of people feel that their hard-sided coolers get too heavy when ice and cans are added to them and this soft-sided bag can be an excellent replacement.
The bag is made from quilted-polyester and has an insulation of ¾ inches along with thin PEVA liner that is double-heat sealed to maintain optimum temperature inside the bag. The leakage problems that you very commonly face while using a hard-sided cooler will be a problem of the past due to the high-quality build of this cooler bag.

Heavy-Duty Soft Sided Collapsible Cooler Open - heavy duty cooler

Materials and Design

The bag also features two straps that are made from nylon webbing and feature handle grips with Velcro to make it easier for you to carry the bag while travelling. Along with ice, the bag can accommodate up to 16 cans. The top opening of the bag is wide to ensure that you are able to easily store and access all your beverages and food items. Once you have stored the required stuff inside the bag, simply close the top zip, fasten the top edge with the help of the compression straps, and you are good to go.
Moreover, if you have used a soft-sided cooler in the past, you might have seen that they get torn over time and are no longer useful. However, this Bayfield cooler bag is sure to function flawlessly for years to come with tearing or leaking. Also, as compared to a lot of other coolers, this collapsible cooler bag will keep your beverages and food items colder for longer durations.

Dimensions and Weight

The blue-colored bag only weighs 1 pound when empty and measures 3.6” x 12.1” x 19”, making it a perfect accessory for all your outdoor fun.

The compression straps do an excellent job of making sure that the stuff stored inside the bag does not move while travelling and you find them in a perfect condition when you open the bag. Moreover, the straps also keep the insulation close to the beverages and food to keep them colder for longer durations. For enhanced convenience, the bag also features a handy bottle opener which is made from steel and a key clip to make sure that you don’t lose them while enjoying outdoors.

Heavy Duty Cooler Bag with Soft Sided Collapsible – Summary

Pros
  • Light in weight
  • Can accommodate 16 cans along with ice
  • Compression buckles
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • No shoulder strap
  • Some customers found this cooler bag smaller than they had expected while ordering

Nash Sub Z Cooler - heavy duty cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

The rugged build of this Nash Sub Z Cooler is sure to be appreciated by every outdoorsman as a cheaper alternative cooler. To be honest it looks durable enough to contain nuclear waste. The reasonable price tag of this heavy duty cooler makes it a perfect addition to the list of best coolers. The cooler is rotationally moulded and is made from polyethylene to ensure that it is easily to withstand all the external factors whilst still keeping your beverages and food items cold.

Materials and Design

Moreover, the company also suggests that this Sub Z Cooler is about 30% lighter in weight as compared to other 23 quart coolers available in the market. This is definitely an added advantage which will be surely appreciated by people who take outdoor trips on a regular basis which can be seen a small cooler. It features a double-locking lid with an Arctic Dome gasket which is very popular for its ability to provide a tight seal.

The insulating foam of this cooler measure 1.5 inches to make sure that it is able to provide you with reliable service for long years to come in virtually every condition. At the bottom of the cooler you’ll find 4 feet made from rubber to provide it with better grip on the surface on which it is placed. On the top of the cooler you will also find a 2 inches channel which you can use to ratchet strap on it. It has a large drain plug and even the plug design is pretty unique. Simply give this plug a half turn and water will slowly start to drain from the small drain hole.

Dimensions and Weight

The cooler has an outer dimension of 18.5” x 15.75” x 13” and inner dimension of 13.75” x 11.5” x 8.90”. Made in USA, this reasonably priced Sub Z Cooler from Nash can be a great choice if you are searching for a heavy duty cooler.
The coloration too is pretty consistent throughout the build of the cooler and the finish looks pretty solid and even. The hinge at the back of the lid makes use of a single rod of steel and runs throughout the cooler’s length. Even its stainless steel handle is highly comfortable and allows you to carry the cooler with ease.

Heavy duty cooler: Nash Sub Z Cooler – Summary

Pros
  • Roto-molded polyethylene construction
  • Light weight
  • Arctic dome gasket
Cons
  • Some users are unimpressed with its ice holding ability
Igloo Super Tough STX Cooler Open - heavy duty cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

The next addition to this list of best heavy duty coolers is the Super Touch STX Cooler from Igloo. The high-performance cooler is one of the toughest models offered by Igloo and can easily withstand extreme conditions. This feat is achieved through a number of features, like its side handles that are bolted to the body of the cooler, hinges and latches made from stainless steel, drain pug of trip-snap type, extra thick shell, fully foamed lid, etc.

Ice can easily last in it for about 6 days before needing a refill. However, while closing the lid make sure that you check the fasteners closely to make sure that there is no gap through which air escapes. The cooler also has UV inhibitors to protect itself from sun damage.

Materials and Design

Apart from the functionality, user-friendliness is also equally focused with features, like 4-cup holders molded inside the cooler, comfortable handles, etc. Thanks to the Cool Riser Technology, sealing lid and shell which is extra-thick, the cooling ability of this 120 quart cooler is pretty good.
While the above-mentioned cooler was 30% lighter than other coolers in its category, this Super Touch STX Cooler is 30% heavier than other Igloo coolers in its category. As a result, you might need some assistance in carrying this cooler when it is filled with ice and beverages. The drain plug of this cooler is threaded and features a tether made from stainless steel for hook-up of hose and draining.

In addition, there is also a ruler for fish-measuring that is moulded on the lid. If we talk about the appearance of this cooler, it surely is an attractive product. The alternating colors look aesthetically appealing and make the cooler stand out from the crowd. The plastic build of the cooler  made from stainless steel and the backup plates of gasket, makes it look like a classy product.

Igloo Super Tough STX Cooler Side - heavy duty cooler

Dimensions and Weight

The cooler weighs 18.9 pounds and has a dimension of 18.25” x 17.9” x 38.2”. The STX cooler has a reasonable price tag too, making it s perfect pick for anyone who is looking for a higher capacity, heavy duty cooler that can provide them with years of flawless functionality.

Igloo Super Touch STX Cooler – Summary

Pros
  • Large capacity
  • UV inhibitors to protect from sun damage
  • Lid is fully foamed for enhanced cold retention
  • Can hold ice for up to 7 days
Cons
  • Latches are not as good as they should be
  • Some users have also mentioned that the cooler is not able to retain ice for 7 days

Yeti Tundra Cooler - heavy duty cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

Yeti is undoubtedly the most popular cooler brand and their Tundra range of coolers are loved by people who enjoy outdoor activities. The cooler is made from roto-molded polyethylene, which the same process that is used in the construction of kayaks. This unique construction process of these coolers provides them with enhanced durability and ability to withstand extreme outdoor conditions.

The walls of this cooler are extra-thick and have been built with PermaFrost insulation which is a proprietary insulation only done by Yeti. The insulation is injected with pressure to provide it with the ability to easily withstand outside temperature and maintain a cool temperature inside. The Tundra range of coolers are known to be compatible with very low temperatures and you can also use dry ice in them. As a matter of fact, the cooling power of dry ice is 3 times more as compared to standard ice.

In Addition…

This Tundra cooler has a capacity of 61 quart and can easily hold up to 39 cans along with ice. Moreover, it can also accommodate bottles that have long necks. The lid of this cooler completely seals the cooler when closed with the help of the ColdLock gasket throughout the lid to prevent any kind of air exchange. The T-latches are made from high-quality rubber and snugly fit in latch keepers to ensure that the lid stays completely closed while travelling.

Yeti Tundra Cooler Open - heavy duty cooler

Materials and Design

The cooler also features tie-down slots that are moulded on the cooler and can be used to mount the cooler on your truck or boat. The rod that connects the lid and body of the cooler is made from rustproof aluminium and the moulding of the hinge stops is done right into the lid of the cooler to make sure that it never breaks.

The drain plug on this cooler is of screw-in type and features a gasket to prevent leakage. Simply unscrew the plug partially and the water will slowly drain out. On ends, you will find haul handles which are innovatively designed to allow two people to easily carry the cooler. The textured grips on the handles are further secured with the help of nylon rope of marine-grade. If a single person is carrying the cooler, they can make use of the recessed handles which are integrated right into the body of the cooler.

Dimensions and Design

Moreover, the cooler also feature separate rack which you can use to store food items, like sandwiches to ensure that they do not get soggy. At the bottom of the cooler, you will find feet made from non-marking rubber to prevent sliding.
The Tundra heavy duty cooler weighs 27 lbs and measures 30.5” x 17.4” x 16”. With thousands of positive reviews on the internet, this Tundra cooler from Yeti is sure to impress one and all.

Yeti Tundra Cooler – Summary

Pros
  • Roto-molded construction
  • PermaFrost insulation
  • ColdLock Gasket
  • NeverFail Hinge System
  • Most popular cooler in this list
  • Thousands of positive reviews
Cons
  • Not the cheapest cooler

Pelican Heavy Duty Cooler

Ice Retention / Insulation

Durability
Mobility

Last on the Heavy duty coolers list, the Pelican is a popular brand that manufactures a number of hardcore coolers and cases for several other applications. The company also manufactures many different types of cases for military use and heavy-duty business operations. Needless to say, their ProGear Elite Cooler is one of the most durable coolers currently available in the market.

The dual-latched cooler features polyurethane insulation of 2” that are well-known for their ability to maintain temperatures for long durations. This cooler can keep your beverages and food items cold and fresh for up to 10 days without needing a refill. The hardware on this cooler is made from stainless steel and is corrosion resistant to provide reliable functionality for years to come. See how Pelican compare against Yeti Coolers.

Materials and Design

The handles of this 45 quart cooler are moulded-in when not being used and the hinges that connect the handles to the body of the cooler are also made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Even the tie-downs are moulded in for enhanced convenience. The dual-handle system of this cooler provides you with the freedom to carry the cooler with the help of its hinged sliding handles or the hard-built handles that are moulded-in the body of the cooler. For more info view our Pelican cooler review

At the bottom of the cooler you will find non-marking and non-skid raised feet to prevent sliding of the cooler when stored in trucks or boats. It features tethered threaded type plug and sloped drain to make it easier for you to drain water from the cooler. Moreover, there is also a fish scale on the lid measurement, helping you catch your ideal Fish.

Dimensions and Weight

The cooler weighs 35.95 pounds and has an outer dimension of 29.66” x 20” x 19.25”, whereas, the inner dimension is 19” x 12” x 12”. The ProGear Elite Cooler is bear-proof and comes with a guarantee for life. For people who like to buy only high quality products, this heavy duty cooler can be an excellent choice for them.

Pelican Products ProGear Elite Heavy duty Cooler – Summary

Pros
  • Polyurethane insulation
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel hardware
  • Molded-in tie downs
  • Press and pull latches
  • Guaranteed for life
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Best Heavy Duty Coolers List – Conclusion

These are some of the best heavy duty coolers currently available in the market. However, before choosing any one from the above mentioned list, make sure that you clearly understand your requirements from the list to make sure that you only choose one that suits you best. And don’t forget to consider the pros and cons before making a decision.