Whoever thought we’d even consider one of those “ridiculously expensive” coolers. What ever happened to the good old days where you walked into WalMart and walked out with an Igloo cooler for $19.95? But our Igloo cooler finally bit the dust — after using duck tape for hinges for the last several years of its useful life. RIP.
Now we’re trying to decide if we invest in a cooler we’ve always made fun of, choose something in between, or wait until we’re back in the land of WalMart and get one then.
We borrowed a Yeti Roadie 20 cooler from another boat and put it through its paces to see if it really performs that much better than a standard cooler. First we filled it with warm drinks and ice. After reading everything online we could find, one of the reasons coolers don’t last is if you fill them with warm drinks – both the inside of the cooler and the warm drinks melt the ice quicker than ideal, so it’s important to “precool” any cooler and items before loading them in the cooler.
Day 1: After precooling, we covered the entire contents with ice. The photo below shows the contents under ice and ready to begin the test.
Day 2: exactly 24 hours later we opened the cooler to determine the success … or not … of the Yeti Roadie 20 keeping ice. Keep in mind, it’s sitting inside the cockpit, in indirect sun most of the day and the daytime temperatures here in Key West were approximately 80 degrees.
Surprisingly enough, even though alot of the ice has turned to water, David swears his coke and beers were colder Day 2 evening than ever in our boat refrigerator….. not sure what that says about the fridge… 🙁
Day 3: OK the third morning, the ice is mostly gone, but the beverages are still ice cold, interestingly enough.
This test has a few faults – first the cooler wasn’t totally full with ice and drinks to start the test — as I understand it, the fuller the cooler, the longer the ice lasts. Second we were using standard crushed ice that you buy from the marina – larger blocks of ice last longer. And lastly … as you can see, this cooler is mostly empty of stuff. I wonder if it would have lasted longer had we restocked with a chilled version of whatever we took out so the contents wouldn’t have diminished so radically.
However, in real life, the contents of a cooler are likely to diminish over a few days. So our conclusion is that yes, the Yeti Roadie 20 holds ice longer than our old Igloo $19.95 cooler, BUT it’s not nearly as long as some of the claims made by Yeti and other manufacturers. So will we buckle and “invest” in a premium cooler, or go back to the standard WalMart Igloo … stay tuned, we haven’t decided yet. 🙂