For those of us without a fridge onboard - of merely wanting to keep drinks cold from ship to shore, a top quality cooler box is essential
With the summer now in full swing, keeping cool is key for those of us spending time out on the water. And for those of us heading to the beach – or without a fridge onboard – a cooler box is a key bit of kit for helping keep food and drink cool and refreshing.
The ability to enjoy an ice-cold refreshment during or at the end of a day afloat is to some, including myself, of paramount importance. So much so that keeping things cold can become a somewhat addictive pastime in the summer.
Of course the simple answer to this might be a good refrigeration system, but for those with limited cold stowage or who want the option of being more portable and beach-ready, a cooler box is absolutely essential! A good cooler box will keep drinks cold for days, so keeping one in the cockpit during those sunny weekends will leave your fridge space below decks clear for food.
Yeti makes some of the best cooler gear I’ve come across. It’s built to take on the rigours of the wild and its marketing approach has a healthy reliance on word of mouth.
It puts the product into the hands of fishermen and boaters who require coolers on a regular basis, so they can see just how robust and fit for purpose it is.
Granted the price tags may make your eyes water and could put many off. However, when you consider how much your frustration levels are tested when kit breaks and needs to be replaced, then the motto of ‘you get what you pay for’ should ring true with Yeti.
Indeed first impressions and comments on its products all centre on how well built they are.
Yeti Roadie 24
Best coolbox for maintaining frozen temperatures
This is perhaps the most exciting addition to our good ship this summer. It’s a wonderfully robust compact cooler box. The trickery lies within its densely insulated walls, which are pressure-injected with polyurethane foam to ensure your ice doesn’t melt for days (literally). The latches give a reassuring clunk as they close, like shutting the door of a German car. Carry handles are integrated into the moulding each side, the strap makes a heavy load practicable and I like the non-slip rubber feet for protecting the decks.
The Roadie doubles as a sturdy seat or step with non-slip coating on the lid, which I have already found useful for reaching the boom and securing the mainsail. I have tested it against other coolboxes, by placing a set amount of ice in each and the Yeti won hands down.
I then took it aboard for our first truly sunny summer weekend, and despite leaving it baking in the sun in the cockpit, was pleasantly surprised that just one bag of ice kept all drinks perfectly cold.
The 24lt model is 13in high inside to fit a standard wine bottle and can fit 18 12 oz/340ml cans. Yeti also makes its own Ice Packs, which are designed to fit the cooler and to pre-chill it to keep ice frozen for days.
- Dense insulation means ice last days
- Variety of sizes
- Strong, sturdy and incredibly effective
- Premium price considering the size (only 18 cans)
RRP: £200 / $250
Yeti Roadie deals
Buy the Yeti Roadie 24 from Amazon (UK)
Buy the Yeti Roadie 24 from Amazon (US)
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Hopper Backflip 24
Best portable coolbox
For those who don’t want a hard cooler box, the Hopper is a formidable portable alternative, complete with backpack straps for lugging cold ones to or from the boat/beach.
A no-nonsense leakproof zip gives instant clues to the build quality. Closed-cell foam is used for the insulation. Check back here for ongoing reviews of these products as the season progresses.
- Portable, backpack shape
- Leakproof zip
- Great insulation
- Premium price considering the size (only 18 cans)
RRP: £200 / $499
Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 deals
Buy the Hopper Backflip 24 from Amazon (UK)
Buy the Hopper Backflip 24 from Amazon (US)
Best coolbox for harsh environments
Dometic has launched its answer to Yeti’s hard coolers in a new range of Patrol iceboxes. Built to last from rotomolded polyethylene with PU insulated walls, they come in a range of new colours.
They feature leakproof drains and full-length hinge pins and are available with rod or cup holders as optional extras. Three size options: 20lt, 35lt, 55lt.
- Strong and well insulated
- Leakproof drains
- Multiple size options and rod + can extras
- Premium price considering the size (only 15 cans on the smallest model)
RRP: £185 / $399
Buy Dometic Patrol coolers from Dometic
Dometic CFX3 25
Best in-car electric coolbox
This is the most compact new electric cooler box from mobile experts Dometic. We have tested a couple of the larger models in this premium end range in the past and they are impressive mini portable fridges.
This 25lt model is small enough to fit behind your seat in the car, which makes a useful option for keeping some key items cool en route to the boat. Downsides? Insulation means weight, so go for the smallest you can – and they’re not cheap.
- Innovative, controllable by an app
- Well built with multiple power options
- Extremely pricey and heavy
RRP: £782 / $900
Dometic CFX3 25 deals
Buy Dometic CFX3 25 from Amazon (US)
Buy Dometic CFX3 25 from Dometic
Best premium electric coolbox
The future of the cooler box? An off-grid mobile cooler box which includes a lithium battery and solar panel, this is taking cooler box tech to the next level.
The 45lt coolbox doesn’t require ice – in fact it can make its own (it has a freezer section) – and has a compressor which lets you regulate temperature between -20 to 20ºC. It includes all-terrain wheels, an interior light and tie-down straps. Launching in July.
- Makes its own ice and regulates temperature
- Lithium battery and solar panels
- 45 Litres
- Premium price to match
RRP: £600 / $799
Yeti wine tumbler
Best drinkware cool tumbler
If your plastic glasses don’t do your Cotes de Provence justice, or you don’t like risking broken glass on board, these 10oz tumblers make an attractive yet robust solution that will also keep your beverage ice cold.
Made from stainless steel and available with lids, we’ve found the double wall vacuum insulation really works – clammy hands don’t warm the good stuff inside. They are dishwasher safe and come in funky colours.
- Keeps beverages ice cold
- Unlike glass, it’s more secure and longlasting
- Great insulation
- Premium price considering their small size
RRP: £30 / $25
Yeti wine tumbler deals
Buy the Yeti wine tumbler from Amazon (UK)
Buy the Yeti wine tumbler from Amazon (US)
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