Pelican vs Yeti
High End Coolers
Are high end coolers worth the money? I decided to do a thorough review on some of the top cooler brands to see if they were as good as they seemed.
I’m sure some of you reading this have gone through dozens of coolers in your lifetime. I know I have! I probably buy a cheap new cooler every other year. I don’t know where they all end up, but someone out there is getting a lot of my free coolers. I have a problem keeping them, but half of that problem is that I just don’t care enough about them. I have always purchased the most inexpensive cooler the store had to offer.
Two years ago while hunting with a friend, I couldn’t help but notice the cooler that he had brought with him. It was a YETI™ cooler. We started talking about it and he told me that when they went to Lake Powell, the ice lasted 4 days in over 100 degree heat while the cooler was sitting in the sun on the beach. My first thought was, “Yeah right. Prove it.” As time went on I started to learn more about these coolers and the claims that these big cooler companies were making about them. I also thought about how nice it would be if they were true. How would it be to go camping for over a week and still have ice in the cooler? One of my biggest pet peeves is warm drinks. Not only have I wasted my money on coolers, but I’ve also wasted time, gas, and money driving into town to buy more ice.
Fast forward a couple of years and I now know a lot more about these coolers and the benefits of owning one. Some of the coolers, being high end and very reliable, can be a bit pricey. If you are thinking about buying one, and need to convince a partner or spouse (like I did), I will give you some good ammo to justify spending the money.
There are many brands to choose from, but the ones you see most around here are the Pelican™ and YETI™. The YETI™ was the more expensive out of the two, and after days of research I never could come up with a straightforward answer as to why that was. Was it because they had a better name, warranty, there ice retention was better, or because they are grizzly proof? When searching reviews and reading other people’s opinions, they both seemed to have a great name and were reputable companies.
The warranty on the YETI™ coolers gives a 5-Year Limited Warranty against defects in material and workmanship. For the Pelican™ coolers they are guaranteed for LIFE. So you have to give it to Pelican on the better warranty. Also, I did want to mention that both coolers are made in the U.S.A, but the YETI™ does get some of its parts from their facility located in the Philippines. Another thing to keep in mind is the weight. The YETI™ Tundra 65 weighs 29 lbs while the Pelican™ 65qt Elite comes in at 48lbs, so if weight is an issue, the YETI’s are much lighter. A far as being bear proof, they both are Certified Bear Resistant.
Now, for which has the better ice retention. Pelican claims they have a 10 day ice retention in 90 degree heat properly loaded to capacity. YETI™ does not claim a number of days on how long they will hold ice. I decided to do my own ice retention test to see which one performed the best. The three coolers I tried out were the Igloo™ Polar, YETI™ Tundra, and Pelican™ Elite. I got three blocks of ice and placed them in each cooler. The coolers were all the same temperature when I started. I started at noon, just before the hottest part of the day. All three coolers were in direct sunlight and the temperature that day was around 105 degrees.
The first time I checked the ice in the coolers, it was 11 hours later. All three blocks of ice were pretty close to the same. The Igloo’s block was the smallest but not by a lot. I decided to check back at 20 hours, and at that point, the Igloo’s block had completely melted. The other two cooler’s ice blocks were still neck and neck. At 26 hours, the remaining two blocks of ice in the YETI™ and Pelican™ were getting smaller but still pretty close in size. At 35 hours the Pelican’s ice block was gone. The YETI’s ice block was very small also but it did have more size to it than the Pelican’s ice. Based on my experiment, the YETI™ seemed to have the best ice retention. The Pelican™ was not far behind, and for a while I thought the test was going to be dead even. Obviously there are a lot of factors that can contribute to better ice retention, and each of these cooler companies have tips for packing a cooler on their websites.
So which is the better cooler? That is going to be different for every person. Some people may not need really good ice retention as they only need ice for a day or two. On the other hand some people going on a week long camping trip may need the best possible ice retention money can buy. I always consider a company’s warranty. If they guarantee their products, it makes it very hard for me to pass them up.
**We are not endorsed by any of these companies, and have no obligation to any of them. We just want to give an honest review for the average person that does not want to do all the research themselves.