Summer temps have been record breaking this year, making it harder than ever to stay cool. Whether you’re heading to the jobsite, a tailgate or picnic, or on a road trip, you need something to keep your food and drinks cold. Today we are reviewing the 8 qt. Pelican Cooler. This is a smaller, lunchbox-style cooler meant to carry a meal or two, or just a few drinks. After we take a look at it and some deluxe features we’ll let you know how this compares to other lunchbox coolers, including YETI.
Need a bigger cooler? Read about the 30 qt. Pelican “Elite” Cooler in our TIA article: Cooler Challenge: How Long Does Ice Last in a Cooler?
8 qt. Pelican Cooler Review Guide
8 qt. Pelican Cooler Overview
The 8 qt. Pelican Cooler (#8Q-1-DKGRYEGRN) is a personal cooler and the perfect companion for simple day trips. This cooler measures out to 13.40 in. x 9.45 in. x 10.50 in., with interior dimensions of 10.80 in. x 6.40 in. x 7.50 in.
Weighing only five pounds, this 8 qt. cooler is easy to carry around, especially with the help of the fold-down handle.
Our staff immediately noticed how much thinner the Pelican Cooler’s insulation was compared to other brands we’ve seen. This frees up a lot of storage space. We just needed to know if it kept things cold…
Pelican “Elite” Cooler Collection
This 8 qt. Pelican Cooler is a smaller version of a 20 qt. cooler from Pelican’s “Elite” line. If you’re interested in a larger cooler, check out the video below to see if the Pelican 8 qt. or 20 qt. Cooler is right for you.
8 qt. Pelican Cooler Features Review
The 8 qt. Pelican Cooler is not your everyday, basic lunchbox cooler. Let’s check out some of the features that make it stand out from the rest.
All-Day Cold Retention
Dual-compound insulation helps this cooler keep food and drinks cold all day.
The dual-compound consists of two layers: the first layer is that durable, trusted Pelican hard case. The second layer is the insulating layer. The two of these work together to hold a cold temperature.
We did get to test this cooler out “in the field”. It did a good job of keeping food cold until lunch. But it does need a fair amount of ice or cold packs to hit that “all-day cold” mark.
Secure Press & Pull™ Latch
Pelican has been known for a long time for their quality, heavy-duty cases. They are great at keeping precious items, like camera equipment safe. So, of course, Pelican would have their own patented Press & Pull™ Latch.
The Press & Pull™ Latch works exactly as you’d think it would: press down on the center, grey latch, and then pull out from the bottom of the black latch on the front.
This secure latch makes up for the lack of an actual lock. Which, is not a required feature on a personal lunchbox cooler. However, the firm hold of the Press & Pull™ Latch gives you confidence the cooler will stay closed during accidental falls.
Collapsible Carrying Handle
I mentioned the handle earlier. This handle folds down when you don’t need it and folds up when you do. The handle has a good grip and the weight is balanced throughout.
6-8 Can Capacity
This cooler fits 8 standard drink cans perfectly when placed in vertically. They are snug and don’t slide around with just enough wiggle room to fill with ice.
Removeable Dry-Storage Tray
A removable tray fits into the top portion of the cooler. In fact, if you do decide to fill this cooler up with cans, this tray would sit just above them.
It’s a great place to store a sandwich, a snack, or any condiments you plan to enjoy with your lunch.
Integrated & Removeable Ice Pack
Built into the inside of the lid is a removable ice pack. It’s pretty thin, but helpful for keeping cold anything that’s resting in the removable tray.
Removing the ice pack is easy. Just turn the lock to release the ice pack to put in your freezer.
Exterior Cup Rests
For lunch on the go, this cooler does have two molded cup rests built into the exterior of the lid. The cup rests fit the average drink can or to-go cup.
Inner-Lid Dry-Storage Compartment
There is another storage compartment. Built into the exterior of the lid is a dry-storage compartment that’s accessible by a smaller Press & Pull™ Latch.
The compartment itself is rather shallow. It doesn’t provide any cold insulation. We used it to hold drink packets. It’s also a good place to keep napkins, or maybe a spare notepad and pen that you might need traveling across jobsites.
We agreed with customer reviews that this latch is a bit awkward. Aside from that, we thought it was a useful compartment.
Bottom Stabilizers & Tie-Down Openings
You never know where lunch will take you and sometimes the road gets bumpy. The 8 qt. Pelican Cooler has both four bottom feet to prevent sliding around while driving, and tie-down openings on each side to secure the cooler in one spot.
8 qt. Pelican Cooler Value Review
The 8 qt. Pelican Cooler is available on Amazon in three color combinations: grey and green, blue, and white. Depending on what color you want, the cooler sells between $69.95 to $89.99.
This price is on the higher side for an 8 qt. cooler. However, the 8 qt. Pelican Cooler has the all-day cold retention, plus a variety of features that other lunchbox coolers don’t have. On the other hand, the Pelican Cooler is tremendously more affordable than comparable YETI coolers, by at least $100.
Pelican VS YETI
Comparing Pelican to YETI is a lot like comparing apples and oranges. Neither company sells bad coolers, but they are definitely different. So, it’s not so much “which is better?”. Instead, it’s “what’s the trade-off?
Here are some key differences between Pelican and YETI coolers:
- Pelican coolers are generally cheaper than YETI coolers.
- Pelican coolers tend to be lighter and easier to transport.
- Pelican coolers tend to offer more features.
Depending on the model, yes, ice may last longer in a YETI cooler than a Pelican. However, Pelican coolers are still designed to perform well in most scenarios and have the durability to last a long time.