My parents always brought a Coleman cooler on our family camping trips, so I’ve always been used to them. I guess you could say I grew up with them like you probably have as well. A couple of years ago, I veered away and purchased a different brand and never felt like the quality was quite the same. I decided the cooler I had simply wasn’t going to cut it after taking it on a few disappointing camping excursions.
In this Coleman Xtreme Cooler review, I’ll go over some of the features that sold me on the product and led me to buy it.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Hard Cooler
Before buying a cooler you should think about why you want it and what type of camping or outdoor trips you’ll be taking. Are you going to the beach or park for an afternoon, or camping for a week?
How many people will be in your party? If you’re going backpacking with a friend, a standard lightweight cooler is all you need. If you’re bringing the whole family, you’ll need a tougher cooler made of durable plastic. For longer, rougher camping trips, you may need a metal cooler, especially in national parks or in out-of-the-way areas where bears and other wildlife may get at it.
Here are a few questions to ask before buying a hard cooler:
- Number of cans or bottles it holds
- How long ice lasts before melting
- Are the lid and sides insulated?
- Are there separate sections or dividers for food and beverages?
- Is there an area for nonfood items (car keys, cell phone, paper products)?
- Does it have handles or straps?
- Does it have wheels?
- How much does it weigh?
About the Coleman Xtreme Cooler
If you have a large group to feed picnic or camping trip, The Coleman Xtreme 52 Quart Cooler is sturdy enough to withstand daily wear and tear. It’s not so heavy that you can’t cart it down a trail or up a hillside by yourself.
This cooler holds 82 cans, so if you have a large picnic, you won’t need to worry about running out of drinks bore the day is out. The top of the cooler has molded holders for four cans, so it doubles as a makeshift table.
If you typically travel solo or in a much smaller group, you could probably downsize.
- Holds 82 cans
- Wheels so you can easily transport it anywhere
- Easy to drain melted ice
- Keeps items chilled for up to 3 days
- Difficult to keep lid up
- Could be better constructed
- Hinges may break
Features and Benefits
Made of durable plastic this 52-quart hardback cooler is still easy to lift even if you’re not strong or coordinated. It has a rubber-hinged lid, so if the people in your party need to grab drinks every few minutes, it’ll be easy to keep the lid up (and close it when necessary). The handle bar feels natural, and not tough on the skin. The cooler has limited ground clearance, and since the wheels are set far in, you’ll need to tilt to pull the cooler at a comfortable height.
The hinged lid has four cup holders so you can use the cooler as a tabletop. This cooler is made of sturdy plastic. Although it can stand a bit of battering from humans, it’s not bear or wildlife-proof. It offers you a two-way handle for easier carrying. Transporting the Xtreme may require extra muscle power if it’s packed to the brim with food and cans, but you should be able to handle if the cooler contains a moderate number of perishables.
The lid closes tight even though there’s no latch. The Xtreme’s sturdy enough that you can put a good amount of weight on the top of it. You could sit on it for awhile if you’re tired, but it’s not specifically designed for that.
There’s enough room for you to put a tray of foil-wrapped, homemade cheesecake, lasagna or meatloaf, plus space for tall bottles – and plenty of ice cubes or ice packs to keep them cool.
This 52-quart model is good for a small family excursion to the park or beach, or a long weekend camping trip with your spouse or Significant Other. When packing this cooler, remember, more ice takes up more volume. It’ll keep your food colder, but you’ll be able to pack less of it.
You can store up to 82 cans of soda in this cooler, enough for any picnic or family reunion in the park. If you have lots of guest’s along for the trip, this cooler has the capacity to store enough water, soda or other beverages to last the entire day without a refill.
There aren’t any baskets or trays inside. You could add your own if you want, or just store everything loose.
Ability to Keep Food and Drink Cold
The Coleman Xtreme lets you store food and drinks safely in temperatures to the upper 80s for a few days. The temperature of this cooler remains at 45 degrees (that’s a little warmer than the 40 degrees your fridge) but enough to keep your drinks and food cold and edible for a few days out in the wilderness or on a road trip.
Propping up the cooler on a table or pedestal will help it to retain cooler internal temperature longer. Some users even put frozen water bottles instead of loose ice into the cooler, which prevents waste when the ice melts – you can still drink the water in the bottle.
Since this is a Coleman product, it gives you the advantage of Thermozone insulation. That’s another way of telling you the cooler has extra padding to retain coolness longer. The lid, walls, and bottom are all insulated with the same material.
To get rid of melted ice, you need to tilt the cooler, and the rustproof drainage hole, located under the handle on the lower side, lets water flow out evenly. The drainage hole keeps the cooler free of standing water. It’s leak-resistant so that it won’t cause any damaging mini-floods on the campsite or picnic area. The recessed bottom allows for complete drainage to keep your cooler and picnic area cleaner at the end of the day.
You’ve probably heard of The Yeti Tundra Cooler or some of the earlier Yeti cooler models if you’re a regular camper. I’ve trusted the Yeti name for years, and you’ve probably owned, or considered owning one at some point.
The Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler holds 26 cans, so you may prefer this if you don’t need all the space of the Coleman Xtreme Cooler. The Yeti’s made of roto-molded polyethylene, so while the Coleman’ s tough, the Yeti’s a bit tougher.
Coleman Xtreme Cooler vs. Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler
- Holds 26 cans to the Coleman’s 82
- Both coolers are made from polyethylene
- Tundra has a dry goods basket; the Coleman doesn’t
- Yeti keeps food drinks cold for five days, Coleman early 4th day
- The Yeti cost 8-10x more than the Coleman
If you’re an occasional camper on a budget like I am, the Rubbermaid 60-Quart may be a just as good or better for you than the Coleman Xtreme. The Rubbermaid 60- Quart ice chest/cooler gives you another choice to keep food and drinks for one to four people cold. It has large wheels at the back of the unit, so you don’t have to carry the cooler long distances. (The telescopic handle helps you push it.)
Coleman Xtreme Cooler vs. Rubbermaid 60-Quart
- Holds 10 quarts more than the Coleman
- The Rubbermaid 60-Quart has wheels
- The Rubbermaid’s slightly more expensive
- The Coleman’s deeper at 14 inches; the Rubbermaid is 10.75 inches deep
- Coleman keeps contents colder longer than the Rubbermaid cooler.
The Coleman Xtreme Cooler gives you all the space and insulation you need to keep food and drinks cold for short camping excursions or road trips. The name Xtreme might be a bit misleading because this Coleman cooler lacks bells and whistles, but it does boast durable construction and lots of space.