I have always used Igloo coolers in my raft setup for a couple reasons. The main reason is because the cooler fits perfectly in most raft frames.
I’m not sure which came first the cooler or the raft, but they seem to fit perfectly; like they were made for each other.
The other reason? They keep ice pretty well. But…not so well that i’m discounting all other coolers. In fact, the most recent Igloo cooler we bought has got me wondering if I should switch brands altogether.
Here’s the deal, we bought a brand new Igloo cooler last river season. We always get the one’s with the flat lid because they’re easier to deal with in a raft. The raised, shaped lids are a pain in a fully packed raft, so we get the basic flat lid without any of the special little openings. They’re actually becoming harder and harder to find (people love their gimmicks).
A year later; one river season later; this cooler looks likes it’s been to the barber. Both front latches have broken off, making it impossible to truly close it up tight. One side has completely lost the rope and wood handle. It’s gone, snapped off, leaving only the plastic anchor. The other side handle is half off.
So, this cooler is basically useless. It’s actually worse than useless, it’s dangerous. In order to use it we have to put a cam buckle strap around the side without a handle in order to carry it.
We pack our coolers heavy, so you can imagine trying to move it from the back of the truck to the raft. It’s hard enough moving a fully loaded cooler when both the straps are functional. It’s downright dangerous with a strap and half a handle. Every time we do it were ready to bail out if that half a handle breaks.
The thing that really galls me though, besides the fact that it’s fallen apart after only one season, is how expensive the replacement parts are. In order to fix that broken handle, which is simply a matter of replacing the side hinge plate, it will cost us 50 bucks. It’s just a bit of plastic and some screws.
Since we spent a lot of money on the initial cooler buy, I’m unwilling to pay for that part (I need two). I have no idea about the front latches, or even if you can replace them.
Now that the bulk of the river season is over, I’m not going to spend any more money on this damned cooler. I’m going to explore different options.
I don’t know what’s happened to quality of the igloo coolers. They used to be work horses, but now they seem fickle.
I’m impressed with the Yeti coolers, a friend of mine has one and they seem well made and worth the rather extravagant price tag.
Igloo has served me well for many years but now I think it’s time to move on.