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The 5 Best Pelican Coolers
If you plan on bringing food camping, you need the best Pelican cooler for the job. A camping cooler is an essential part of any camping kitchen setup, so you need to ensure you have a quality cooler that isn’t just going to let your food go bad. Among coolers, Pelican is a brand that is known for its quality products. Keep reading below for Pelican cooler reviews and ratings.
In This Article
Best Choice: Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler with 2 Inches of Polyurethane Insulation
The Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler with 2 Inches of Polyurethane Insulation is the best Pelican cooler because it uses two inches of insulation to keep your food cold and has durable locks to keep it closed.
Here’s the way to achieve maximum ice retention. We’re talking about two inches of high-efficiency polyurethane insulation, and a deep-freeze-quality gasket that runs 360 degrees around the cooler opening. That’s the kind of design it takes to deliver the extreme level of ice retention effectiveness this cooler is designed to provide.
Our Top Pick of Pelican coolers features an over-molded carrying handle, a reinforced lock hasp and durable 3″ lock latches. It has a shear-resistant hinge system as well as tie-down rope slots that are molded into the cooler’s construction, and rubber no-skid feet.
Some of the built-in extras featured in the Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler includes an attached stainless steel bottle opener, four cup holders with self-draining bottoms. This is great for avoiding the messy process of monitoring and cleaning out condensation from beverage containers in conventional non-self-draining cup holders.
- Thick, high-efficiency insulation
- Freezer-grade gasket
- Heavy-duty handles and hinges
- Built-in tie down slots
- Self-draining cup holders
- Relatively complex detail molding on exterior is harder to keep clean
Premium Pick: Pelican Elite 150 Quart Cooler with 2 Inches of Polyurethane Insulation
The Pelican Elite 150 Quart Cooler with 2 Inches of Polyurethane Insulation is the best Pelican cooler because it can hold ice for up to 10 days, making it perfect for extended camping trips.
This elite cooler is advertised as providing “extreme ice retention,” and hat’s a fair statement. The cooler is built with two inches of polyurethane insulation, and it has a gasket the same grade as a residential deep freezer running 360 degrees around the opening. This extreme cooler is designed to hold ice up to 10 days
Just some of the high-end features on the exterior of the Pelican Elite 150 Quart include durable molded handles, a reinforced lock hasp 3-inch lock latches, shear-resistant hinges, and tie-down slots built into the construction. Other great features of this maximum cooling system include a drain with leak-proof plug and wide rubber non-skid feet.
The Pelican It has a stainless steel bottle opener, and it even features a measuring board (in both inches and centimeters) made into the lid. Between the extraordinarily advanced cooling features of this serious portable cooling system and the extra function features, the Pelican Elite 150 Quart Cooler serves as a veritable outdoor operations center for food preservation.
- Extreme efficiency in ice retention
- Large 30-quart capacity
- Unique measuring feature, ideal for fishing
- Commercial-grade mechanisms for locking in cold
- Does not include removable container
Best Value: Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler with Overmolded Carry Handle
The Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler with Overmolded Carry Handle is the best pelican cooler because it’s a smaller, more easily portable version of other Pelican coolers but doesn’t skimp out on the features.
The Pelican Elite 20-Quart model features the same extreme ice-keeping properties as the larger 30-quart version of the Elite line. The same two inches of polyurethane insulation and heavy, deep freeze–type gasket maintains temperatures for food preservation as well as the larger model.
As a smaller Elite model, the 20-Quart cooler is built with over-molded handles, reinforced lock hasp and 3-inch lock latches, just like the big 30-quart version. The smaller Elite 20-Quart also has the shear-resistant hinges and built-in tie-down slots, for securing the cooler on boats, off-road vehicles, and whatever other adventure craft your imagination leads you to strap it down on for a bumpy ride.
The Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler does not spare the extras. Like the larger models of ice chest included in our Pelican cooler review, it features a stainless steel bottle opener and 4 self-draining cup holders for when the ice melts.
- All the functionality of the bigger 30-Quart Pelican
- All the same comfort features of the larger Pelican coolers
- Highly durable for camping
- Huge color selection for people who like an aesthetic bonus in their color
- Lower capacity may not be good for long trips
Runner Up: Pelican Elite Backpack Cooler with Leak Resistant Zipper And Insulated Inner Walls
The Pelican Elite Backpack Cooler with Leak Resistant Zipper And Insulated Inner Walls is the best Pelican cooler because it’s a backpack that is easy to carry and has a capacity great for short backpacking trips.
Here’s something truly new and exciting for keeping cold foods while packing into an area. This is Pelican’s backpack cooler, made of puncture-resistant fabric to withstand the abuse of serious outback use. The Backpack cooler is lightweight and has comfortable padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort and portability. The upper cooling compartment has a 13-liter capacity, and the lower compartment has an additional 5. 4 liters of cooling space.
The Pelican Elite Backpack Cooler sits on a durable molded base, which increases the structural strength of the backpack unit. It has a leak-resistant zipper around the top, with waterproof seal, to help keep ice and food items securely in place. The cooler’s inner walls are lined with high-density foam insulation, for exceptional quality. Of all the cooler products in our Pelican cooler review, the Backpack Cooler is definitely one of the most fun and innovative, in our view.
- Exciting option allowing perishable foods when going deep outback
- Pretty large capacity for a backpack cooler
- Comparatively high-efficiency for ice retention in a backpack cooler
- Great looking shape and natural tan color
- Not collapsible for stow away on return leg of backpacking use
Honorable Mention: Pelican Products ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler
The Pelican Products ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler is the best Pelican cooler because it features wheels that can make transportation easier and even has UV protection.
Pelican’s ProGear wheeled cooler is the grand-daddy of all coolers in the product line. The ad for the ProGear model says it’s the last cooler you’ll ever need to buy. We believe it. The extra-heavy-duty construction makes it among the most durable of coolers made for conditions beyond normal consumer use.
The ProGear has all the insulation and gasket construction features of the other three chest-type coolers evaluated in our Pelican cooler review that made our Top 5 Picks. The ProGear chest-style cooler design goes further with reinforced corners for even greater cooling efficiency and durability and all stainless steel hardware. The Pelican ProGear cooler comes with UV protection built-in. It also features press-and-pull latch mechanisms, built-in tie-downs, raised non-skid feet, built-in hasp, stainless steel plating, and a sloping drain with threaded plug and tether line.
This design also features a built-in trolley handle, in addition to the molded handles. The cooler has heavy-duty wheels, for optimum mobility and exceptional durability when mobilized, even on rough terrain. This amazing cooler has the convenient bottle opener and even a built-in Fish Scale on the lid.
Pelican’s ProGear cooler is IGBC certified as bear-resistant, for increased safety of humans and bears. This exceptional safety rating for woodland use, in combination with the cooler’s amazing construction and ice-keeping efficiency makes the Pelican Products ProGear Elite Wheeled Cooler one of our favorites.
- Outstanding cooling efficiency
- Exceptional durability
- Exceptional mobility
- Professional-grade performance
- UV protection built in
- Most appropriate for established camps, may need additional, more agile cooler for casual use
History and Mission Statement of the Pelican Brand
Pelican’s stated mission includes its goal to continue its growth through providing its customers world-wide with high-quality products and services, adding value for customers. And, the company certainly has been achieving its mission.
The Pelican company was founded in 1976, in a Torrance, California garage, by an avid outdoorsman who simply wanted to make super-tough flashlights and casings for the niche market. Eventually, the company earned its first patent, for state-of-the-art high-durability flashlights. Over the years, as the business grew to have locations all over the world.
Now, more than 50 years later, the Pelican product lines has expanded to include today’s array of top-quality outdoor products, including what we believe are some of the world’s best coolers for people who want to optimize their efficiency and enjoyment in outdoor living. The products we’ve listed above in our top five picks excelled in our Pelican cooler review, as our favorites among the company’s Elite models.
Why Should You Buy a Pelican Cooler?
There are a lot of different cooler brands out there, such as YETI coolers and Fatboy coolers, so what sets Pelican aside? Our Pelican cooler reviews revealed quite a list of impressive features and benefits in each of our top five picks from this well-respected brand of outdoor living products. It’s easy to see why the brand has developed a reputation for highly durable coolers that cool exceptionally well and last a lifetime, here are some additional good reasons we found to choose a Pelican brand cooler:
Top Quality Performance
For preserving food during extended stays in the outback, high-performance Pelican coolers are made to do the job. Based on our own simple analysis, as part of our Pelican cooler review, comparing the upfront cost of a top quality cooler, to the cost of a lesser quality cooler at a lower price point, you can save over a number of outings, because you can buy less ice, and throw away much less food that didn’t last for the duration anticipated, due to rising temperatures in your cooler. A cooler built to perform ideally in hot outside temperatures, like this top-grade Pelicans, offers a better long-term value.
Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage
The Pelican coolers on our list are built to last throughout the lifetime of the owner. All Pelican coolers come with the manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee, backed by their simple full commitment to customers, “You break it, we replace it. Forever!”
Extra Functional Features and Made-to-Fit Accessories
Helpful accessories such as bottle openers, cup holders, even measuring boards, are made especially to fit Pelican coolers. Wire baskets, ice packs, and other very useful accessories are sold separately, but they’re made to fit specific coolers.
Made in USA
Pelican coolers are all made in the USA, which contributes maximally to the local and national economies where these cooler products are bought, sold, used, and eventually disposed of, or recycled.
Are the Pelican coolers right for you? If not, try an Igloo cooler, RTIC cooler, Orca cooler, Otterbox cooler, or Canyon cooler. Find the right cooler today by reading our individual brand reviews.
While all of the different coolers on this list are excellent, we feel that the Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler with 2 Inches of Polyurethane Insulation is the best Pelican cooler overall. It offers the full array of efficiency and durability features shared by most of the other model options on the list.
While we were thrilled with the exciting backpack model, and dazzled by the wheeled ProGear option, we were taken away by the broad applicability of the Elite 30-Quart across the world of people who enjoy outdoor living. Because it offers the additional 10-quart capacity over the Elite 20-Quart model, we settled on it as our favorite.
The Pelican Elite 30 Quart Cooler also features an especially attractive price point, lower than all but our Budget model choice, the Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler. When shopping for coolers in the price range of these high-end Pelican models, that makes a difference for us, when looking for the best possible overall value for outdoor lovers interested in our equipment shopping recommendation. I hope these Pelican cooler reviews have been useful in helping you find the perfect cooler for your next camping trip!