Are you looking for a tough cooler that will keep your drinks or food cold for days? The Pelican cooler is a tough solution with thick walls that provide enough insulation to keep your items cold even when sitting in the sun for days. While it carries a hefty price tag, it will perform in extreme conditions and is built to last.
If you are in the business of needing tough products, then Pelican is the company for you. They opened their doors in 1976 and set out to design tough cases, lights and more that will take abuse. Since then they have been adopted by fire departments, hospitals and government agencies who rely on their dependability and toughness. While people in these industries have dealt with Pelican over the years, it has been coming a more household named as the consumer products have been hitting the shelves, which brings us to this cooler. Let’s take a look at the Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review and see how it stands up.
Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review Overview
For this review, we dive into the features and the cooling capability of this cooler. We didn’t take a look at the toughness for a couple of reasons. First, Pelican is known for their toughness and they put their products to the test. Second, if you do break their products, they stand behind them so no worries and no issues. If you break it, they will replace it forever. However, we did give this to a contractor for their crew. We will follow up and see how it’s holding up.
Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review Features
Pelican uses a polypropylene body to make this one tough cooler. The latches are made from an ABS plastic which is the same type of plastic made from power tools that are designed to be dropped and abused. We actually have an article coming soon all about the different materials tools are made of. Staying on the toughness of this cooler, the hardware is all stainless steel which means it won’t rust over the lifetime of the ownership.
As far as insulation, the cooler uses a polyurethane foam and is designed for ice retention of up to 6 days.
Pelican calls this a 30-quart cooler but it’s actually a 32.95-quart cooler just in case anyone is keeping track. The outside dimensions are 25.30″ x 19.00″ x 18.50″ while the inside is smaller due to the foam walls of 2.1″. The inside dimensions are 14.60″ x 10.20″ x 11.00″.
The empty cooler weighs in at 21.67 lbs. and also features built-in carrying handles. The rubber feet means it won’t be sliding around your truck bed as easily as plastic feet or a plastic bottom would.
On top of the cooler, you can see a couple cool features such as the built-in can holder, the imprinted measuring tool, and the top can also be used as a table or prep area.
On the front of the cooler, you can place a lock in case you are with a couple of buddies who want to snag your food or drinks. Right below the area for the lock is a bottle opener which is very handy since I tend to lose mine on camping trips.
On the front corners of the cooler, you can zip tie the lid shuts. The latches do a perfect job but if you want that extra protection or if this cooler will be shipped somewhere and out of your sight, the zip tie feature is handy.
On the bottom of the cooler, there is a drain plug. Mine didn’t leak but have seen people who have had issues with their leaking.
The latches use a push button open which offer more protection and a better close than a traditional latch system.
As you can see when you open the cooler, there is a definite size difference from the outside dimension to the inside dimension.
There are multiple hinges that attach the lid to the body. The cooler has a stainless steel rod that attaches through the hinges.
Besides the foam, the rubber seal helps keep the elements on the outside and your ice in a solid state longer.
One feature I love about this cooler is that the lid opens 90° so working with it is easy. The best part is once the lid is open, it doesn’t tip over the cooler when nothing is in it. As you can see, even part of the cooler is on an overhang and the cooler is still free standing. I love this as other coolers I have used tip over and it’s always a hassle to add drinks or ice when empty. It may seem small, but at times features like this make all the difference.
Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review Performance
I live in the Chicago area where it gets extremely hot so what better way to test this cooler. Everything you see in the cooler was room temperature and not out of the fridge. So when I added ice, it had to cool the drinks.
With all the drinks in the cooler, you can see there is still room on top to add more drinks for food.
I had more water I didn’t want to carry back so I added it to the cooler which meant it added more heat inside for the ice to cool.
I added ice to the top, closed the lid and let it sit.
The cooler sat in direct sunlight from about 8:00 in the morning to about 6:00 pm. Day one the temperature was in the mid 90’s.
I checked the cooler in the morning and since it sat in the direct sunlight and at high temperatures. I was surprised to even see ice in the cooler let alone how much ice was still left. Considering I put room temperature water in the cooler, I thought that might melt a bunch of the ice.
After day two, I checked it on day three. For day two the temperature was closer to 90°. Again I was surprised how much ice was left in the cooler and yes, everything was nice and cold.
For the third day sitting in direct sunlight and temperatures of mid 90’s, the ice finally melted. The drinks were still cold, but they were sitting in water. I checked it on the fifth day, meaning that it sat outside for four days straight. I can conclude you can easily get four days of direct sunlight and trust your items will stay cold. Now if you keep it in the shade or have lower temperatures, you will get a longer life.
One note, sorry I don’t have day three and four but took the pictures on a different camera and the card got formatted. But I think you can see after day one and day two, you can see how the ice is melting and get the point.
Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review Value
You can pick this cooler up on Amazon for about $225 and it comes in a wide range of colors. Yes, there are other coolers for less, but what do you really get for the extra money.
First, you get a cooler that is tough and made to withstand harsh environments and harsh handling from users. Second, you get a product that is designed for extended periods where people need to keep items cold for longer than a day.
So if you just need a day cooler, this is not worth the extra money. If you need something tough that will keep your food cold for extended periods of time, while the price is high, it’s still worth a look as it will provide you with what you need.
Pelican 30 Quart Cooler Review Final Thoughts
While the price tag is high, I can’t argue with the build quality. If you need to depend on keeping your food cold for extended periods of time, this cooler will suit your needs. While the cooler is heavy and bulky, it’s hard to get around those cons if you want thick walls for insulation and have the toughness to match. Bottom line, I like this cooler. It would be a cooler I would trust if I was traveling or camping in remote locations. For the professional who will be keeping this in their truck for cold drinks for their workers, it will be nice not having to change the ice every day.