Customer Reviews: Coleman 70-Quart Xtreme Cooler (Blue)
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on March 30, 2010
This review is for two similar Coleman Xtreme coolers, which are virtually the same size on the exterior: the 70-quart, 5-day, BLUE cooler and the 56-quart, 6-day, GREEN cooler. By the way, these coolers do not come equipped with a plastic shelf to keep food suspended above the melt water.

First, let me say that Coleman made its reputation years ago with its workhorse, white-gas cook stoves and lanterns. Today Coleman mostly makes products for backyard use and casual family camping. Coleman generally does not make quality products for avid outdoors people operating in rugged or demanding conditions, so you can't expect too much when purchasing a Coleman product.

That said, I went through to purchase a Green Coleman 6-day cooler because I didn't want to shell out hundreds of dollars more for a tougher product and because I needed a cooler that would fit comfortably between the gunwales of our canoes. So far, I have used this cooler on two river trips, the first of which lasted seven days in southern Utah during September, 09. The weather was hot, but could have been hotter. Our block ice lasted 6 days, and on the 7th day we had plenty of ice water, so the cooler achieved its 6-day rating.

This was followed with a 4-day trip in October, which wasn't long enough to test the cooling performance of the cooler, but did reveal the cooler's low-quality construction. On the second day out, one of the handles came off when its plastic retaining pin fell out. A member of our party had with them a smaller Coleman Xtreme cooler, and both of its hinges were broken off and useless. So, if you plan to use this cooler much, I would suggest taking the preventive measures described below. And then try to be gentle with it.

A few weeks ago I purchased a 70-quart, 5-day Blue cooler at Wal-Mart for $30. At this price I couldn't pass it up. Apparently the store had a few of these left over from last year, and they were being sold at a deep discount because Wal-Mart is featuring a different Coleman Xtreme product line this year. I haven't used this cooler yet, but I can describe how the two Xtreme coolers compare physically.

NOTE: See my "customer images" available under the main product photo to see what I am describing here.

On the exterior, the two coolers are indistinguishable except for the colors. Same cheap plastic hardware on both. On the interior, the 6-day green cooler has noticeably thicker walls implying more insulation, and thus 20 percent less volume than the blue 5-day cooler.

Here are the fixes I have adopted in an effort to overcome the flimsy hardware issues. When I got home from the second river trip, I used a screwdriver to pry out the plastic retaining pins on the two handles (two pins each) and glued them back into place with Gorilla glue. This I expect will hold the pins in place for a while. On the newer cooler, I removed the plastic handles altogether and replaced them with rope handles. This type of handle has the advantage of remaining in a fixed position (unlike the original sliding plastic handles) allowing me to run a strap between them to secure the lid in case of a canoe upset.

On the interior of each cooler, I have screwed into place a short nylon strap between the lid and the side wall. The strap is long enough to allow the lid to open beyond 90 degrees and remain in an upright and open position, but the strap is short enough to prevent the lid from extending backward far enough to place excessive strain on the hinges. I am hoping this will keep the hinges from snapping anytime soon.

2014 Update: We have used both coolers on several canoe trips. My son took them on a trip this summer and one of the plastic handles came off the green cooler--even after I had glued the retaining pins in place with Gorilla Glue a few years ago. I'll just go ahead and replace the plastic handles with rope, which has worked great on the blue cooler. No broken hinges on either cooler yet.

Here's a tip for fanatics who want to maintain a cold, refrigerated cooler for a week or more--for me, the longest period so far has been 8 days. The blue 70 gal. cooler is a perfect size for holding about five or six of my wine-bladder ice blocks. Here's how it works. After finishing off a box of Peter Vella's chardonnay in the 5-liter box (Almaden would probably work too), I remove the bladder from the box, use a largish flat-blade screwdriver to twist and pry out the plastic valve (careful--it's easy to slip and stab your fingers with the screwdriver), rinse out the bladder, and let it air dry. Save the box. Then, about a week before a canoe trip, I fill the bladders with water, put them back in the box (leave room for expansion), tape the box shut with duct tape, and place them flat in our chest freezer. You want the bladders to assume a flat shape when frozen, not a convex shape that bulges in the center.

When ready to leave on the trip, I remove the bladders (now blocks of ice) from their boxes, and arrange them side-by-side in the blue cooler, which is now the ice chest. I also place a couple of sheets of 1/4" inch thick, bubble type, flat insulation (available from hardware store) above the ice blocks. On the river, we pull ice blocks from the ice chest as needed to refrigerate the other cooler which serves as the refrigerator. After a hot week on the river, we still have ice cold beer. Sweet. Bonus feature: when the ice blocks melt, they provide clean drinking water. My son paddled with a thirsty group of friends this summer, and by the end of the trip, their water jugs were empty, and they were relying on back-up water from the bladders. The water tastes more natural from bladders that have held chardonnay (white) than a red cab. And the bladders can be reused until they eventually develop a leak between the double walls of the bladder. Cheers.
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on July 4, 2009
i bought this cooler in preparation for a 5 day camping trip to sequoia. I needed to store enough food for a family of four hungry campers, and needed it to fit in the bear proof boxes, and didn't want to be buying ice every day.

i only packed meat, eggs, and cheese items, mayo, mustard, etc. in this cooler, and kept veggies in a smaller, older cooler. I packed it with two one-gallon water jugs frozen, two half-gallon early times whiskey jugs, frozen (these are good because they are flat, flask-shaped jugs), and about four frozen water bottles. Several of the meat items were frozen when packed.

Day one, we traveled across Bakersfield, with the cooler sitting in the bed of my truck exposed to the sun, and the temperature in the sequoia foothills was 108 degrees. When we got to campsite, I was disappointed that the whiskey jug ice block had melted through. The cooler fit nicely inside the bear proof boxes (it fits in sideways as the bear boxes are 33" deep). Temperatures in the days were about 80 degrees with some sun exposure on the brown bear boxes. Day three the veggie cooler needed an additional seven pound bag of ice added. Day four I added an additional seven pound bag of ice into this cooler, thinking that it had been too hot the first day. Day six we drove back home, again through blazing 100 degree desert heat, and when I returned I found that one of the gallon water jugs was still half ice. All the leftover meat items were at a safe cold temperature.

So we got six days out of this cooler and it performed well for our trip.

I didn't buy from Amazon, but from a local shop, and I noticed of the two they had in stock one of them closed tighter than the other, so I picked the tighter-closing one.
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on November 12, 2009
I purchased this cooler to use as a mash tun in my ten gallon brewing system and it works very well. I've noticed very little drop in temperature during 60 minute mashes (perhaps just a degree or two) and by adding either a SS hose braid or bazooka screen it lauters very well. If you are a home brewer looking for the perfect size cooler for ten gallon batches of beer which holds mash temps well then this is the cooler for you!

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on September 21, 2011
These coolers may keep ice for 5 days at 90 degrees (I have not tried this particular test, yet), but their construction is shoddy. there is no difference between this cooler and the marine version, except for color, so save $10 and buy this version. see my review of the Marine version for details.)

Examples of shoddy construction:

-the bottom part of cooler is constructed of two pieces of plastic (inside part and external part) with foam in between. The seam where the two pieces of plastic comes together is not sealed properly. In some cases this gap is about 3/64". This compromises the integrity of the cooler. (This was way more prominent on the Marine version of the cooler. But, I have a feeling it is just inconsistent manufacturing and some Coleman coolers will be more screwed up than others, regardless of model. Wish I could find a store that carried them, as I could pick and choose and find the least crappy one, instead of ordering online and playing the lottery.)

-hinges are cheap and thin plastic that I suspect will break in less than a season

-handles are cheap plastic held together by cheap plastic pins (doubt they last more than one trip)

-drain plug is cheap plastic cover type and not screw type

-no basket to keep dry things dry

-inside of lid looks like it has channel for rubber seal, however, A) there is no seal and B) more infuriating is the fact that in 8 little places and one larger place near handle, this channel is missing, so you cannot even put in a seal yourself to completely seal cooler.

-no latch on front

If you want to purchase this Coleman Xtreme 70qt cooler, I would make the following mods:

1 pull out pins on plastic handles and replace handles with rope
2 replace hinges with stainless steel
3 seal seam between two plastic parts of bottom section of cooler
4 buy appropriately-sized cheap freezer basket and rig inside cooler to keep dry things dry

To go crazy with your mods you can add the following:

5 add foam seal to channel in lid where you can
6 add a couple draw latches to front
7 add some non-skid rubber feet
8 replace drain plug with screw type

Then you might have a decent cooler. Or you could bite the bullet and get a Yeti or Engel which are built like tanks.
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on February 21, 2012
It's a typical coleman cooler. Plastic and and works good. I've owned a few and they work great. I put two bags of ice and lots of drinks in the cooler the day we got it. 5 days later there was still some ice. Have not had it out camping yet and that will be the real test. I'll update then.

UPDATE: Second campout and it leaks and the handel came off. JUNK! JUNK! JUNK!

Not worth $10 in my opinion.
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on January 5, 2016
This cooler has the best insulation out of any cooler I have ever used--it really does keep things insulated and cool for five days.

Just a note, that 70-Quarts is HUGE. It is hard to tell from just the pictures instead of seeing it in person--this is MUCH bigger than I thought it would be. For the average family, this is probably overkill if you just want things cool for picnics, going to the beach, road trips, etc. It is definitely for longer hauls/long trips and bigger loads. I would probably have went with the 52-quart version for my purposes Coleman 52-Quart Xtreme Chest Cooler (Blue).

Note that popular online reviewers that I trust that tested a lot of coolers rank this cooler as the best hard cooler with the best long-lasting insulation. If going for a smaller version, there is more surface area that will be touching the air, so it will be a little less well insulated. That said, it is reported that all the NON-WHEELED Xtreme coolers fare very well. For some reason, the Xtreme coolers that have wheels, while more convenient, may not keep things cool as well as you would like compared to the non-wheeled Xtreme coolers.
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We're quite conservative when selecting, buying, using products -- which means when we needed to buy a cooler to last 4 days, we bought one that advertises five. We wouldn't buy a 5 day cooler to last 7. So, I can't tell you how much longer this cooler lasts past 5 days. It does remarkably well under five days, in 100 degree heat. By the end of the trip, the cooler was still cold as ever.

The handle did break off after only a few uses. The plug that holds the handle in place popped off and my husband couldn't find it. Coleman sent replacement plugs immediately and now it works just fine.

The cup holders on the lid came in handier than I expected. The only drawback to this cooler is the lack of wheels. Ice and drinks can make it quite heavy. Fortunately, my husband is willing to lift it.

This is the only cooler we have that can keep food cold for a five day trip in hot weather. Great buy.
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on January 7, 2012
I bought two for a two week trip to Baja. I filled one 1/3 full of water, removed the lid, and put it into a chesst freezer one week before we left. In the other cooler, I placed two 5# blocks of ice plus 20# of cubes. We put only frozen food in the first cooler and used the second cooler as our "working" cooler.

Once in Baja, we kept the first cooler in the shade, off the ground (on rock "feet"), and wrapped in insulated surfboard bags. The second cooler was simply kept in the shade and covered with one or two beach towels. The second cooler ran out of ice after 5 days, but the water stayed sufficiently cold by periodically adding ice chunks from the first cooler. The first cooler still had 10# of ice in it when we returned home.

The air temperature in Baja ranged from 45-80F

Be careful with the handles and do not pull laterally on them if the cooler is full (they will break).

We got both coolers for $80 delivered. What a bargain!
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on September 13, 2014
The handles are very flimsy for a cooler this size. The hinges are plastic and every time I open the lid I'm afraid the lid is going to rip the hinges off. I'm very careful not to allowing the lid to rest open and put pressure back on the hinges, I know it's just a matter of time before it rips the smalls screws out. Other then the hinges and handles I like the cooler, the ice last a long time and the self drain channel in the bottom allows the water to run out without propping up the cooler. I would have paid more for better hinges and handles.

I'll wait and see how long it last.
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on September 24, 2010
I purchased this large cooler for a 10-day camping trip in the desert heat of Black Rock City. Daytime temperatures soar well over 100 degrees. Kept in the shade, and opened 4-5 times a day, this cooler kept my food icy cold for 5 days just as advertised. By the third day, much of the ice had melted, by the fourth day, most ice was gone, but the melted water was still icy cold, and on the fifth day, the ice was gone and the water was just a little colder than a refrigerator-- beverages were refreshingly cold, butter still hard, etc. I was afraid the cooler walls would be super thick, but they seem comparable with my other coolers. I was able to refill the cooler with ice after the fifth day, and it worked as well all over again, getting me through the rest of the trip. I will never buy a regular cooler again. these xtremes are great!
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