Coleman has been around forever, and we mean forever. The company was started when a young man, W.C. Coleman, spotted a new type of lamp that burned truer than the kerosene lamps of the day and decided to make a living selling it. That’s how long they’ve been around – since the days of kerosene lamps.
Coleman now is a master of budget camping and outdoor gear. Their coolers offer durability and solid ice retention but won’t blow your entire budget while doing it. In fact, if you play your cards right, you could get a cooler, tent, and sleeping bag for the same price as some of the higher end coolers we’ve reviewed.
Coleman’s hard-sided coolers are easy to find in a variety of stores and online. They’re an affordable alternative to high-end coolers that can get your tailgate, camping trip, or backyard barbecue going. Let’s take a look at everything Coleman coolers have to offer in our Coleman cooler review for 2020 to see if this should be your next cooler.
Best Coleman Coolers for Most People
Coleman carries a lot of coolers. A lot. Here are two of our everyday favorites that satisfy what the average user is looking for.
Coleman’s soft-sided cooler is a great personal or small use cooler that can store up to nine cans. It’s lightweight and transports easily with a shoulder strap. It features four different places to store water bottles, plus a zippered pocket to keep small items in check.
It has a removable hard liner you can use with ice or take it out to use with ice packs. It has a germ resistant coating that also holds off mold, mildew, and odors. It’s affordable and packs enough food for two people to be out all day.
What Customers Like
- comfortable to carry
- hardliner is removable
- doesn’t hold cold as well as some higher end soft coolers
- tends to tip forward when picking it up by the shoulder strap
The 16 Quart Excursion is an updated version of Coleman’s classic chest cooler. It features hard plastic exterior and about two inches of insulation through the sides. The lid has reinforced hinges, but there are no latches on the front. It does have a good seal and is suitable for people who need an option for the day.
The handle is in an excellent spot to be carried and is reinforced adequately so it won’t break during first use. The hinges are durable and can handle some abuse. It’s a good budget alternative to more expensive coolers and suitable for average use.
What Customers Like:
- easy to open lid
- convenient handle
- no lid latches
- moderate ice retention
Everything Else: The Entire Coleman Product Line
Coleman has a lot of different kinds of coolers. A whole lot. Let’s look at the different categories that can cover every single need you may have.
Soft Sided Coolers
Coleman’s wide range of soft-sided coolers is meant for easy transport and range in size from a lunchbox style to something that can transport 40 to 45 cans. They come in a wide variety of styles as well.
This style offers a shoulder strap to make transport simple. Many of these have removable hard liners to store ice, but you can also take the liner out to use cold packs and improve storage. They have front zippered pockets to store small items.
The zippers are durable, but they aren’t waterproof. Make sure you’re careful, or the zipper could snag as you’re opening or closing it.
Some of the larger soft sided coolers also have wheels. This reduces the weight of standard hard-sided coolers and still gives you the convenience of pulling it behind you. They’re bigger and more suitable for larger groups or for families.
Some of Coleman’s specialty coolers also come in soft versions as well. Their durable marine cooler comes in a soft-sided version that reduces weight. There’s also an extreme soft-sided cooler that can retain cold for up to 24 hours.
Hard Sided Coolers
Most of Coleman’s hard-sided coolers are the classic chest cooler. They have a sealed lid and durable plastic exteriors, but the classic Colemans don’t have lid latches. Some of the specialty hard-sided coolers are throwbacks to steel and feel like a cool, retro cooler your grandfather would have carried.
Their Xtreme series coolers are even more durable and offer you improved ice retention of up to five days. These are great for longer outdoor trips and excursions where you’d need to keep food fresh for a lot longer than just the afternoon. They have improved insulation and handles on the side are guaranteed to close easily without crushing your fingers.
Coleman’s hard-sided coolers also come in wheeled versions. The wheels are a durable rubber and plastic that never goes flat and are big enough to roll across a range of terrains without getting stuck. Coleman coolers aren’t very heavy to begin with, but the wheels make transport even more comfortable. You can also find Coleman’s Xtreme line with wheels, too.
Coleman has a range of personal drink coolers as well as drink dispensers for more than one or two people. They’re a classic round shape with a spout on the bottom, but one of Coleman’s lines is actually stackable, giving you the option of bringing more than one drink. They use the same sturdy plastic as Coleman’s hard-sided coolers.
For the most advanced of you, Coleman’s thermoelectric coolers bring you back from off the grid. It’s situated somewhere between a standard cooler and a full-on refrigerator, giving you the power of long-term chill for your trips. These are good for RV travel, trucking, or excursion style trips.
Coleman Coupons & Promo Codes for 2020
It’s simple to find Coleman coupons, and right now a select few of Coleman’s products are 20% off directly from their website. You may not need anything, however, because Coleman’s price point is wallet friendly.
The Xtreme 3 cooler is part of the Coleman line intended to help compete with a more expensive cooler. It improves the insulation and lining of the standard chest cooler to bump up ice retention to three days. It’s not roto-molded, but it will give you plenty of cold storage and durability for most trips without your wallet hating you.
Coleman’s Xtreme technology helps to reduce leaks throughout the lid and body of the cooler, increasing cold times, and the surface of the top is smoother so you can wipe it clean much faster. Inside, the material is food safe and leak proof.
The insulation is packed in, and it’s certified low CO2, so Coleman produces fewer emissions during the manufacturing process. That also means there’s less of that cooler smell each time you open it.
The hinges are reinforced and equipped to handle repeated openings. The handle is made of the same material as the exterior for durability.
This cooler looks like that traditional chest cooler of yore. It comes in a few different colors (our favorite is orange), and the top makes a great seat. It can support up to 250 pounds, making it a great seating alternative in a pinch. Molded cup holders keep your drinks close while the increased height of the interior makes it easier to store bottles. It holds 48 cans and has a comfort grip handle to offset carrying it.
These coolers aren’t known for storing the ambient temperature of the room, but it never hurts to prepare ahead of time. Make sure your cooler is clean and place ice inside the night before you decide to take it out. The insulation will absorb the cold and help increase the time your cooler will retain ice in more extreme temperatures. The cooler guarantees ice retention for about three days in up to 90 Fahrenheit provided the lid is secured beforehand.
You’ll have to take care to tie it down because it doesn’t have built-in tie downs like some other cooler brands. However, the smooth edges make it easy to wrap your tie downs around without worrying about friction weakening the tie downs over time. The lid doesn’t have a latch, but the design helps prevent it from tipping over in most cases, making it suitable for truck trips, boat trips, and for afternoon barbecues.
What Customers Are Saying
Coleman has been around a long time, and you probably know someone who has one. Whether it’s your friend, family, or you, just about everyone has owned something with the Coleman name across the top.
What most people love about Coleman is the balance between functionality and price. Sure there are coolers out there that can offer days and days more ice retention but at triple the price. Coleman is a good back up cooler or a good option if your budget has no wiggle room. Plus, you can find them just about anywhere.
It’s great for outdoor activities, but it’s also suitable for people who work mainly outside and need a place to keep food fresh.
“I work for an asphalt paving company as an equipment operator, when I’m up on top of the paving machine in 100-degree weather with 200-degree asphalt underneath me, it gets hot! This cooler keeps all my drinks and food cold all day long with just two blue ice packs! Drinks are even still cold the next day!”
It even translates well to everyday activities because it’s lightweight and a really convenient shape (with space for upright 2 liters)
What Customers Like
- affordable and works great as a backup cooler
- tight lid seal keeps things cold for up to three days
- increased height makes bottle storage easier
- no lid latch so be sure not to tip it
- no drain spout for cleaning
Coolers Like Coleman
Yeti is the name in hard-sided coolers right now and with good reason. They’re ultra-tough and can keep ice cold for up to seven days (and sometimes more depending on ideal circumstances). This functionality comes at a serious price, however, making them out of reach for a good portion of the population.
Yeti has a lot to offer with roto-molded plastic walls and pressure injected, commercial grade insulation. Handles are molded into the side, and all the lines and corners are rounded to reduce injury. They have plenty of offerings in many different sizes and styles.
If you’ve got the budget and you frequently travel outdoors, investing in a Yeti is a great idea. It’s durable and solves a lot of issues people have with coolers. The latches are a rubber blend that doesn’t crack, and the hinges are reinforced. Definitely worth it.
If you’re on a tight budget, or you’re looking for a backup cooler, Coleman coolers have great alternatives to the Yeti. You could have your main Yeti cooler and a Coleman for drinks. You could get a Coleman for those afternoon soccer games. If the price is the final point, Coleman is the best option.
RTIC is a direct to consumer brand that cuts costs by removing the retail middleman. It has roto-molded coolers for a much better price point than companies like Yeti, and soft-sided coolers meant to stand up to the elements.
It has commercial grade insulation and plenty of storage within the coolers. The size offerings are excellent and should satisfy your needs regardless of whether it’s a huge trip or just an afternoon with the family.
RTIC gets you something closer to a Yeti, with cold retention of up to five days and latched lids. You can’t find it in stores, so if you need one this afternoon, you’re out of luck. Get a Coleman for an ultra-affordable cooler in a pinch because you can find Coleman just about anywhere.
If you’re looking for a middle ground between budget and high price and can wait a few days for delivery, RTIC offers an excellent option. You get your fancier cooler, but you don’t have to mortgage your house in return. Win-win.
Coleman gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars for selection but a 3 for performance, rounding it up to a 4. It’s not going to keep your food cold for the entire week, but it will get the job done when you need it to, and you will be able to find exactly what you need from the Coleman line whether it’s a lunchbox or a 75-quart hard-sided cooler.
Coleman’s experience helps the company balance affordability with function, and we think there’s a reason Coleman has stuck around for so long. Be sure you know what you’re getting when you pick up a Coleman, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.