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Testing Coleman’s Two Best Coolers

Coleman Coolers

As far as necessities go when heading off-road, I can list a few things such as spare parts, a good jack, a thorough set of tools and of course, things to drink and eat. That being said, I can’t remember a time during any off-road adventure when I didn’t bring a cooler with me to keep some drinks or food cool and at the ready.

This month we test two types of coolers that work well for any off-road journey. We put Coleman Steel and Xtreme® coolers to the test, so that you can determine which type of cooler is best suited for your off-road experience.

The Coleman Xtreme® Cooler:

All Coleman Xtreme® coolers have extra insulation in the lid and case to provide superior cold retention, holding ice up to five days at temperatures up to 90 degrees. These coolers also have two-way handles, a channel drain and a hinged lid with drink holders.

Specifically, the Coleman Xtreme® cooler we test was the 62 Quart Xtreme® Cooler (Model No. 6262-748), which features:

  • Holds 85 cans with ice
  • Comfortable tow handle for one-hand operation
  • Two large wheels for easy pulling, even on rough terrain
  • Hinged lid with four beverage holders
  • Lid designed to accommodate 24″ elastic cords for additional storage
  • Two-way handles for easy lifting and transporting
  • Channel Drain™ for easy, no-tilt draining of liquids
  • Dimensions: 17 x 31.5 x 15.5

The Coleman Steel Cooler:

Returning to the scene after a 10 year hiatus, the Coleman Steel Cooler returns after nearly every cooler owner all but demanded a steel cooler which would take the rigors thrown at it. The cooler we tested was a 54 Quart Steel™ Cooler (Model No. 6155-707), which features the following:

  • Stainless steel lid and case provide durability and protection.
  • Large, sturdy stainless steel handles with rubber comfort grips makes transporting easy
  • New solid steel latch
  • Stainless steel hinges and screws resist rusting and breakage
  • Durable base and liner are easy to clean
  • Leak-proof, rust-resistant drain allows for complete draining
  • Completely redesigned for today’s active lifestyles
  • Limited 6 year warranty
  • Dimensions: 24.25″ x 16.75″ x 16.75″


Our findings:

Our environment was a two-day camping adventure in eastern Indiana. The weather; hot and humid. Our temperatures ranged from 62 degrees Fahrenheit to 92 Degree Fahrenheit. Humidity ranged from 25% to 100% during peak temperatures. Further, the coolers sat in the sun and were subjected to as many as 25 openings per cooler, per day.

The Coleman XTreme® Cooler, by far outperformed any cooler we’ve ever used in regards to keeping items cool. The ice barely melted even though the cooler was opened as many as 50 times. Drinks and food stayed at darn-near freezing levels the entire time. The cooler was easy to move around through the campground due to its two large wheels and large swinging handle and the built in drink holders (in the lid) where convenient as well.

Up sides: extreme cooling periods, large wheels for moving the cooler
Concerns: all-plastic construction and its related long-term durability.


The Coleman Steel Cooler, as expected, did not perform to the cooling levels of the XTreme® cooler. It is designed however, for more abuse that its all-plastic brethren. The stainless steel wrapped body and lid help aid against from both damage due to abuse, and sun-warping/cracking. The all steel handles and handle mounting hardware, along with the all steel hinges make this one very durable cooler. The Coleman Steel Cooler also sports a steel latch to secure the cooler lid, but a good tug on the lid will pop it open. A simpler widow-type latch may work better for this cool. Nevertheless, in two days time, we had to add ice to the cooler two times. As well, we had to add ice to the cooler twice in two days to keep the contents cool. Admittedly, the high temperatures, high humidity and the 25 or so openings per day are a bit extreme, but we still had to add ice, twice. It’s our opinion that the steel top may be conducting more heat than a plastic one, thereby decreasing the coolers efficiency.
If you’re out roughing it and plan on opening the cooler many times, this may not be the cooler for you. However, if you’re strapping this cooler in the back of your truck, SUV or rack, then the steel casing will certainly give you a longer life span on your cooler.

Up sides: Steel body, hinges and handles. Greater interior capacity as compared to outside measurements of XTreme® coolers. More durable overall construction
Concerns: Lack of cooling capabilities


Coleman Inc.
Phone: 800-835-3278
Web site: www.coleman.com

About Rick Webster

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