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Jun 26, 2014 07:11 PM

Ice Chests...Yeti versus Pelican versus Brute Box

I'm in the market for a bomb proof ice chest. I am looking for an ice chest for both cook outs, beach days, weekend camping trips, AND for hurricane preparedness. After Hurricane Iniki here in 1992 (It was Sept 11 btw...) Kauai didn't have electricity totally reestablished for 3 months. It wasn't fun. Having a good ice chest is key. I want one that is large, and that will survive lets just call them...rigorous conditions.

Yeti is really the gold standard for high end ice chests, they are built like the proverbial brick outhouse. But them come at a cost, they are not cheap.

Pelican is new to the high end ice chest market, but makes some nice ones. I've used their plastic cases for years, and use one for luggage on repeated trips to the 3rd world. Pelican cases simply WORK. Their ice chests are nice, but bulky and heavy. I don't know enough about their ice holding characteristics to comment on them. They are cheaper than the Yeti's and I have even seen them for sale at Costco.

Brute Box.. US made, not as heavy as the Yeti's and a bit cheaper in price. I read some reviews, but don't have or don't know anyone with real world experience with them.

I lean towards the Yeti's and have a Yeti Roadie chest already. It is their smaller car/6pack sized ice chest. I REALLY like it, and in an informal test at home here, it kept ice in it for 7 days. That's pretty impressive. One of the things that I would think of as a disaster scenario is the loss of electricity for an extended period of time, and preserving the food in my fridge and freezer for as long as I can. After Hurricane Iniki, the daily routine was going to the grocery store, buying a bag of ice, drinks and food...daily or every other day. Trust me, it wasn't fun. So you can see my desire for a well built ice chest.

Anyone have experience with these brands and can compare them?

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  1. I have no experience with any that you listed. My wallet just allows for Igloo and Coleman. However, I will say this...

    I'm an avid outdoorsman and primitive river camper and etc etc etc. I read a lot online (forums, reviews, blogs, etc) pertaining to my "survivalist" hobbies, and have researched enough to say to get a Yeti if you have the money. You'd buy a Mercedes for a luxury sedan if you had the budget, right?

    Second, I own a couple Pelican products. Their plastic is high quality but nothing spectacular. Think Target quality versus Walmart quality. Nothing special.

    Get a Yeti and be proud of it, if your wallet allows it. You're already looking at high end products so save if you have to and get the Yeti.

    Just my opinion.

    I want a Yeti or two but I get by with "3 day" and "5 day" Colemans and Igloos. 3/4 inch Dow blue board foam and gallon block ice (with Hawaiian Punch plastic jugs) has worked quite well for pushing those coolers to their limits with my blue collar wages.

    1. Muddirtt. Are you talking about Pelican consumer cases for iPhone/digital camera when going camoping, etc. Because the *other* regular cases in Pelicans primary lineup are considerably better than your normal case.

      I'm working on a job now that is quite remote and wanted something fairly insulated as well. Out of all of them, I'm leaning on a Igloo Sportsman myself

      1. I have no experience with any of these to offer. I just wanted to let you know I saw Pelicans at Costco if you decide that is an acceptable alternative to the Yeti.

        1. I own a Pelican Ice Chest. It has the Hardigg Stormcase latches which are a big plus for me. As you know, the ice chest walls are thick so, interior volume is less than a cheapie "5 day" ice chest at the local "big box" place. Yes, it is heavy for size but, if you want something you can air drop into a field, it isn't going to weigh 5 pounds like a imported cheapie.

          Engel Engineering is another top maker that is more oriented to off shore boaters, anglers, etc.

          Igloo Rotomold cases as found at Sam's Club and similar places are relatively cheap (~$230~$250) in their ~65qt size and are very similar to the Pelican's except for the latch which is a traditional rubber handle that latches into a catch.

          Advertising claims aside, Yeti and Engel are super nice but Pelican (personal experience) and Igloo are just as nice performance-wise without the extra fluff and expense.

          There are other names which come just as highly regarded though shipping and availability out in the Pacific are questionable. One to consider is

          1. I own a Brute Box 50 Quart and love it. If you charge it with ice for 24 hours before you are ready to use it, it will keep ice for almost 10 days...unless it is crazy hot outside, but on average, just putting things in it w/out getting it cold first...probably a solid week and another day of ice cold water once the ice is gone. There is a great youtube video that a buddy showed me which is why I got a Brute rather than a Yeti....
            ...hope this helps.