Keeping Cool: Finally, a Survivor's Ice Chest
Inside is a dry basket and a steel wire lid retention strap. The internal dimensions are 17-1/8 x 10-1/2 x 13-3/8 inches.

Keeping Cool: Finally, a Survivor’s Ice Chest

When the grid goes down, whatever is left in your fridge is given an immediate death sentence. With about 12 hours of viability, your food is intrinsically tied to your own ability to survive.

A gallon of milk, for example, stored at room temperature has a lifespan of a day or two until unhealthy bacteria levels make it no longer safe to drink. Of course, there’s no way any cooler can replace the chilling power of a fridge, but the Esky Series of coolers from Coleman is a step in the right direction.

Keeps Cold Inside

With two-inch sidewall insulation and 2.5 inches of insulation in the floor and lid, the cooler has the ability to retain vast amounts of cold for longer periods of time. This means less ice melt and a lower overall temperature. The air-tight seal from the rubber gasket and overlapping fit of the lid provides a solid airflow barrier, keeping warm air from entering and cold air from escaping.

The innovative rubber latches keep the lid tight and don’t protrude from the cooler.


With a scratch-resistant texture and coating to inhibit UV light, as well as a super hard exoskeleton, the Esky is a strong cooler, made to survive rough treatment, accidents, or incidents that would cause it to be thrown around. Large hinges and the heavy-duty rubber catches won’t snag on anything and tear loose if this cooler takes a spill. Coleman offers a six year warranty.

The heavy-duty handle attachment points and the flexible rope handles offer a multitude of carry options over the stiff handles of other coolers.


You know that small button drain that always comes loose at the most inappropriate times? This cooler has a two-stage drainage port. There is a threaded hose adapter so you can direct the drain-off in any direction, but if you need to evacuate the cooler quickly, a two-inch-wide mouth releases the water immediately. Underneath, the feet are non-skid and these coolers can be stacked on top of one another.

The double drain with a garden hose attachment and a two-inch-wide mouth for quick draining.

The included cutting board (as well as the inner liner) is infused with an antimicrobial additive that resists mildew, mold, and that stale odor found in most other coolers over time. The handles are rope (that can be replaced) with rubber grips, and the cooler features tie-down points to secure it to a boat or the deck of your bug-out shelter, while holes on either side can accommodate a two-inch padlock for security.

Inside is a dry basket and a steel wire lid retention strap. The internal dimensions of the 55-quart model are 17-1/8 x 10-1/2 x 13-3/8 inches.

They’re available in four sizes (in quarts): 55, 85, 135, 208 and in two colors, white and khaki.

The soda can test: The cooler was able to keep this soda relatively cool over a longer-than-expected period of time.

To the Test

Not to be left to the brochure, we placed a single can of soda and 20 pounds of ice inside a 55-quart cooler to test to see how long the cooler would retain the cold, keep the soda at a drinkable temperature and prevent the ice from melting. Stored in a garage at roughly 80 degrees, the cooler kept the soda at around 42 degrees for four days until the ice began to break up and melt. It steadily rose to about 60 degrees and the last of the ice melted on the 8th day.

Stored under the lid is a wide cutting board that is treated with an antimicrobial additive that resists mildew, mold, and odors. It sits in divots on the cover so it won’t slide around.

Of course, the more you pack into the design of anything, the heavier it will become and this cooler is no exception. At 30 pounds empty, this isn’t something you’ll strap to your pack as you’re escaping a neighborhood catastrophe, but then again, it was never designed to do so. Maybe this is a negative to some, but the concept behind this cooler is to keep things colder for longer, and if that means that it can keep a gallon of milk cold for seven days so you only have to leave your shelter once a week, then it is doing its job and doing it well.

The large knuckle-shaped hinges are recessed so they won’t catch on anything, and the cooler can be stored snugly against the wall.


Fast Facts




Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the June 2015 issue of American Survival Guide.

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