There was a time when the old Coleman cooler was the standard in keeping summertime drinks cold and wild game meat cool. The rest of the year these big, heavy coolers spent time in the garage, or out in the shed. But times have changed. A new standard has come in the way we keep things cold. Regardless of who actually got the ball rolling, Yeti is the one everyone seems to know as the first to launch these premium, high-dollar coolers that were built to be grizzly bear proof and help your ice outlast your hunting or camping trip. Other companies quickly jumped on the bandwagon and began offering coolers of all colors, shapes and sizes as well. And like much of your other hunting gear, I believe a compact cooler is one tool your truck (or car) should never hit the road without.
Think about it. How many times have you come out of the woods from hanging stands or doing food plot prep and you’d kill for a cold drink? Of course, none are to be found, and you’re nowhere close to the store. It’s the perfect example of why keeping a cooler full of cold drinks in your truck 24/7 is priceless.
These compact coolers take up little space tucked into the back corner of your truck and you’ll find ample uses for them wherever life takes you. Having a cooler with ice in the back of the truck as saved me a pile of cash over the year as I’ve been able to bone out deer meat on the spot on warm weather hunts rather than the expense and hassle of taking the deer to the local processor. I’ve used these coolers to chill the keepers when fishing, as a dove stool and bird cooler when dove hunting, camp chair/table/stool/sink/step, ground blind chair and food storage, duck blind food and drinks, and the list goes on. They honestly have earned their keep as standard equipment for sportsmen.
Here’s a look at a handful of our favorites…
Yeti Roadie 20
Whether you’re hunting, fishing, or camping, you’ll find plenty of uses for this small but mighty compact cooler. With its compact body and rotomolded construction, the Roadie can handle any abuse you dish out. It’s ColdLock Gasket helps keep your ice cold longer and the No Sweat Design ensures you’ll be free from messes.
It’ll hold 14 canned drinks, or 20 pounds of ice. It’s perfect for keeping drinks cool and ready for after the hunt, or sitting around the campfire. It’s big brother, the Tundra 35, works great as a meat hauler or camp bench and table too.
$199 / www.yeti.com
ORCA 20 Quart
As the name implies, this slick little cooler features a 20-quart storage capacity and built with beefy roto-molded construction. Its integrated insulation design maximizes cold retention and freshness of your goods for up to 10 days. Other features include: lid gasket for sealing, single flex-grip handle for easy carrying, and cargo net attachment for exterior storage.
$189.99 / www.orcacoolers.com
Canyon Outfitter 22
The Outfitter Series from Canyon Coolers was designed to provide some of the longest ice retention and the toughest construction in the business. The compact Outfitter 22 is no exception. This cooler’s recessed features make it easy to pack and countless accessories allow for a custom cooler that’s sure to meet all your needs. Truck friendly skid plates make for an easy load and unload. The EZCAM latches do not stick out, helping it pack like a box and fit like a glove. The company offers a Lifetime Warranty to protect your cooler investment.
$124.99 / www.canyoncoolers.com
Siberian Alpha Sidekick 22
Siberian Coolers set out to design quality coolers at a great price for hunters and outdoorsmen. The uniqueness of this cooler is in its Alpha Cam Latch System. The latches sit flush to the body face allowing the cooler to be tightly packed with other gear and prevent hang-ups from fishing line or other items that easily snag on typical latches in the boat, truck, or around camp. The Siberian Cam Latch is made with high quality nylon fiber infused thermoplastic and military grade hard-anodized aluminum, creating a latch system able to withstand use in extreme temperatures and corrosive saltwater environments. The latches can be easily opened and closed without sacrificing the integrity of the lid seal. Other features include: stainless steel hinges, tie down strap slots, hidden pad lock plates and lifetime warranty.
$159.99 / www.siberiancoolers.com
K2 Summit 20
Real value…Real Cold. That’s what the crew at K2 Coolers says about their lineup of premium coolers. They are constructed of food-grade material that is UV resistant and DryIce compatible. These coolers feature a SNOWblown insulation injected under extreme pressure for maximum ice retention. Its ICEvault gasket is designed and installed to lock heat out cold in. And a stout hinge system ensures years of use and abuse.
$159.00 / www.k2-coolers.com
Keep a cooler in the back of your truck in the days ahead. No matter whether you’re working, hunting, or playing, a cooler full of cold drinks at the end of the day can be worth its weight in gold.