There’s so much to consider before going on a camping trip that a cooler seems pretty minor. Well, after getting food poisoning and being forced to cut a trip short, I won’t overlook the importance of a good quality cooler again.
What my friends and I didn’t realize was that my old cooler wasn’t enough for the hot car ride to our campsite. Now I always use a heavy duty hard cooler when my destination requires a long drive.
I hope this Pelican cooler review helps you decide on a cooler that keeps your food chilled and safe to eat.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Hard Cooler
A solid cooler will keep your food and drinks cool even in hot weather. Melted ice in a thin cooler is frustrating when you’re trying to keep drinks cold, but it can be unsanitary and unsafe if you’re carrying meats or foods that can spoil quickly.
Heavy-duty coolers are perfect for people going on camping trips, especially if your stay spans a few days. The strongest coolers on the market can retain ice incredibly well and should be sturdy enough to keep out wild animals.
However, if you need to do considerable hiking to reach your campsite, you might want to opt for a lighter cooler or stick with foods that don’t need to stay cold.
Before buying a heavy-duty cooler, consider:
- Where you plan to use the cooler
- Whether you’ll be able to transport the cooler to your destination
- How much space you need in a cooler
- How long your edibles need to remain cold
Introducing the Pelican Elite Wheeled Cooler
The Pelican Cooler is a heavy-duty wheeled cooler that can keep food and drinks cold for days. The Elite wheeled coolers come in several different sizes and colors. They have several additional built-in features and are bear resistant. You might be wondering, where are Pelican coolers made? They’re manufactured right here in the USA.
People who need to keep items cold will be impressed with this cooler’s ability to retain ice for up to ten days. Wheels and an extendable hand make it easy to transport. However, this product isn’t for people covering long distances on foot. For camping trips and parties, the Pelican Cooler has you covered.
- Extremely durable and bear-resistant
- Retains ice for up to 10 days
- Wheels make transport easy, even with a heavy load
- Might be too large for small trips
- Heavyweight could make it difficult to load and upload
- Lacks a second handle for loading
Pelican Cooler Features and Benefits
The Pelican Elite Cooler is certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) to be bear resistant. Bears might not be something most campers worry about, but this certification is an important point for Pelican. Campers are placed in danger when they come into contact with bears, and it can ruin your camping experience.
However, bear and camper contact can also have long-lasting adverse effects on the environment. As bears come into contact with people more often and steal food, they become conditioned to associate people with food. They may even become dependent on human food.
That’s why Pelican has ensured that this line of coolers is completely bear-proof, protecting you and minimizing our human impact on nature.
This cooler isn’t called “elite” for no reason. Manufacturers say that it retains ice for up to ten days under normal conditions. The cooler has two inches of thick polyurethane insulation, and upon opening a Pelican cooler, you’ll realize just how thick the walls are.
It uses a freezer grade gasket, or rubber lining to keep the lid secure and airtight.
The latches on the Pelican lid are real latches with a press and pull function. They’re extra wide, so you can sue them easily even when wearing gloves. Other brands make do with a simple rubber T-latch, but these aren’t as sturdy and can wear out quickly.
The hardware on this product is stainless steel and corrosion resistant. The Pelican also has a molded-in lock hasp with a plate made of stainless steel for extra security. Large, heavy duty wheels are designed to make it through nearly any type of terrain without getting stuck.
Pelican Elite Cooler comes stamped with “guaranteed for life,” which is how confident the company is about the durability of its product.
There are several additional features to the Pelican cooler that add to its convenience and make it plain fun to use. The side of the cooler has a built-in bottle opener. On the lid, an integrated fish scale lets you measure fish or make any other measurements you need.
The Pelican Cooler takes convenience a step further with features that make transport, storage and daily use really simple. Unlike most coolers, this line from Pelican has two large, stable wheels that can roll easily over most terrain. An extendable handle allows you to pull the cooler along at a comfortable height.
When your cooler isn’t in motion, four feet underneath keep it that way. The feet on this cooler are non-skid and non-marking, so they’ll rest comfortably on kitchen tiles without budging. There are four molded-in spaces for tie-down straps, so you can secure the Pelican in a truck bed or trailer as needed.
Inside the bottom of the cooler, there are round indents designed to hold cans. The drain plug is non-obtrusive and rotates smoothly. Its cover is attached to the cooler to prevent you from losing track of it. The drain plug opening fits a standard garden hose attachment. Of course, the drain is appropriately sloped for smooth water flow.
You can purchase an Elite Wheeled Pelican in two sizes: 45-quart or 80-quart. They come in two standard colors: Outdoor Tan and Marine White. However, Pelican offers a custom color program on their website, where you can request nearly any color for your cooler.
Alternatives worth looking at:
RTIC is a popular cooler brand. Its 45-quart size is much lighter than Pelican. A few features are lower quality, like the rubber T-latches and foam insulation. However, RTIC has the same 10-day ice retention promise as Pelican. I’d attribute this to the amount of insulation, which the company lists as “up to three inches.”
In a battle of Pelican vs RTIC, Pelican meets more heavy duty needs. However, for a more affordable option that still has impressively high ice retention, try a 45-quart RTIC cooler.
The Coleman Vintage Cooler is another lighter cooler option. This cooler holds 54 quarts and is steel-belted. It has a unique look and several color choices. While the RTIC and Pelican have similar ice retention rates, Coleman Vintage keeps ice for only four days. Coleman uses foam insulation but doesn’t provide information on its thickness.
The Coleman Vintage Cooler is affordable and best for those shopping for a mid-range hard cooler.
- 45QT and 80QT sizes
- Retains ice up to 10 days
- 2″ polyurethane insulated walls
- Two wheels
- Press-and-pull latches
- Extendable trolley handle
- Interior Dimensions: 19″ x 12″ x 12″ / 29.00″ x 13.00″ x 13.00″
- Exterior Dimensions: 29.66″ x 20″ x 19.25″ / 42.88″ x 20.75″ x 20.25″
- Weight: 37.25 lbs / 49.50 lbs
- Retains ice up to 10 days
- Up to 3″ foam insulated walls
- No wheels
- Rubber T-latches
- Rope handles
- Interior dimensions: 19.38″ x 10.5″ x 11.88″
- Exterior dimensions: 26.5″ x 13.75″ x 15.88″
- Weight: 25 lbs
- Retains ice for 4 days at up to 90-degree weather
- Foam insulation
- No wheels
- Stainless steel latch
- Small metal handles
- Interior dimensions: 24.38″ x 16.25″ x 16.13″
- Exterior dimensions: 25.4″ x 17.8″ x 17.4″
- Weight: 18.38 lbs
Using a high-quality cooler makes a camping trip more enjoyable. It also keeps your food safe from trip-spoiling bacteria and bear invasions. The Pelican Wheeled Cooler is a sturdy choice to keep your food secure and cold for a ridiculously long time.
If you’re looking for a high-quality hard cooler, click here to check out Pelican coolers.