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Tim with www.hiconsumption.com states: In general, when spending time off of the grid, one’s loadout is limited to the gear that they can carry on their person. And while heading into the wilderness usually means having to forgo a great many of the creature comforts and amenities that we enjoy at home, rolling coolers allow users to enjoy the benefits and utility of a refrigerator from practically anywhere on the planet. Due to the game-changing nature of these items, rolling hard coolers have become increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts over the last few years.
Just like with soft-sided coolers or backpack-style items, there are several factors that can hugely impact the overall quality and performance of a rolling cooler. Below, we’ll briefly touch on five of the most pivotal areas to take into account before buying a new wheeled hard cooler.
Materials: Not unlike practically any other piece of outdoor gear, the overall quality of a cooler will largely boil down to the materials used to make it. Special plastics and composites are the most commonly-utilized constructions, though there are also outliers such as coolers made from recycled materials.
Construction: Just as important as the materials that a cooler is made from, is how the cooler was pieced together — i.e. the construction technique(s) used to craft it. While hard coolers can be produced in a myriad of different ways, rotomolded — or “rotational molding” — coolers have increasingly become the standard in recent years.
Insulation & Thermal Retention: While a cooler’s strength and durability are primarily owed to its shell material and the construction method(s) used to create it, its performance capabilities — AKA how long it can keep its contents cold — mainly boils down to the type of insulation used to line its walls. Another factor that will play a major role in a cooler’s thermal retention is its closure/closing system, as well as its gasket.
Physical Dimensions & Storage Space: Rolling coolers are obviously available in a wide range of sizes, though some boast markedly thinner walls while still affording stellar thermal retention. The best way to get a read on this area is to review the external dimensions of a cooler, and then compare these figures to the internal space.
Hardware & Components: Though its exterior construction and the insulation it’s lined with will play the biggest role in a cooler’s overall quality, there are some smaller elements that are still worth exploring. Areas such as the constructions used for latches, attachment points, handles, wheels, and axles, can all make a surprising difference when it comes to the overall user experience.