When it comes to getting your game home cold and fresh, there is simply no substitute for a great cooler. Over the past two years I’ve put my “cooler trust” into a pair of state-of-the-art manufacturers: Yeti and Canyon. Both make exceptional products — products I will continue to use on future hunts.
Recently, a new cooler arrived at my doorstep via UPS. The label read “Siberian.” My wife and I had a Lone Star State axis deer hunt on the calendar, and I decided this would be a good test for this new kid on the block. Temperatures on the drive from Colorado to Texas were predicted to be in the 90s.
The night before we left I brought the 40-quart cooler into the kitchen and filled it with pre-frozen ice packs. I like to make sure any cooler I plan to use is cooled down well before the “trip ice” goes in. From the get-go I noticed that the cooler carried well – the easy-carry rope handles were appreciated – and I also liked the incorporated recessed carry grip handles. The cooler’s non-skid rubber feet, which my wife quickly pointed out when I went to set the cooler down on the wood floor, were also a much-welcomed feature.
At first glance, the assembly seemed to be solid. The tie-down system was easy to operate and married nicely with the freezer-style lid gasket. The seal appeared to be airtight. A quick glance on the manufacturer’s website told me that the cooler featured roto-molded one-piece polyethylene construction and tips the scales at 19 pounds. My scale had it at 19.38 pounds … close enough for me.
For the 10-hour drive I put a 5-pound layer of ice on the cooler’s bottom; threw in some water, Gatorade and cold cuts; and then put a 10-pound layer of ice over the consumable items. My wife and I first cracked into the cooler after five hours on the road. The average temperature during that time was 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ice held perfectly. I opened the cooler’s E/Z Drain Plug (no need to remove it) and collected less than two ounces of water.
The next time we opened the cooler was at the 10-hour, 38-minute mark. We had arrived at camp, and the outside temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit. I was very impressed. All my consumable items were still covered, and I collected only a small amount of water when I drained the cooler.
For the next three days the cooler sat out in extreme heat (I did this on purpose) and still had plenty of ice on the afternoon of day number three. Our drinks and cold cuts were ice cold and in good shape. I did drain the water every evening, but this is a process I do anyway, and it’s a process that will make your ice last longer no matter what cooler you’re toting.
We left our tasty axis in Texas to get processed, but I did haul the backstraps home, and they were still frozen solid after our 10-hour drive. I now have three cooler brands that I trust.