If you’re serious about camping, hunting or fishing, you know that a basic cooler just won’t do. The latest trend is the 7-10 day ice chests. These are specially designed coolers that last much longer than your typical soft-top models, using modern insulation that can keep your food cool for an entire week. There are plenty of different options available, each with their own set of pros and cons.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of the underdogs in the cooler marketplace. Grizzly has dubbed themselves the “outdoor everything” company. They design equipment for serious outdoor enthusiasts. The type of people who won’t accept anything sub-par. And, their coolers are all made in the USA.But, the biggest reason we see to purchase a Grizzly cooler vs YETI or another big brand (aside from supporting a small business that manufactures in the USA), is that Grizzly’s are the lightest rotomolded cooler on the market, by several pounds for each cooler, and often more affordable. You’ll also notice that Grizzly cooler hold more cans than other brands – this is due to their true quart internal capacities. You can’t go wrong with a Grizzly, but check out the reviews below to find the right size.
Our Grizzly Cooler Review for 2020
It’s time to get to hands on with our Grizzly Cooler Review, in-depth for every size that they make. We’ve arranged the cooler reviews from smallest to largest, so it’s easy to look through. We’ll outline what sets each one apart and for whom each cooler is best suited. Also, did I just use whom correctly in a sentence? Seems I did. Bear with me now…
Remember, each one of these products is still made in the USA, and are protected by Grizzly coolers’ lifetime warranty.
Grizzly 15 qt Cooler
- Weight: 12 lbs
- Size: 19″ x 14″ x 10″
- Capacity: Holds 15 cans plus ice
- Colors: White, tan, orange, red, green, pink, blue, grey, sandstone (pictured above)
Grizzly 15 Cooler Review
Not many (if any?) premium cooler brands actually make a 15 quart cooler, and most just stick to a 20qt. But, we love what the 15qt offers that the 20 doesn’t, the shoulder strap. Now, some people actually prefer the stainless steel handle, but you can buy it separately if you really want to. It’s got the same great performance and ice life you expect from Grizzly coolers, but keep in mind that less ice means less ice life, though you probably can’t fit 7 days of supplies in there anyways. It’s the perfect lunchbox cooler for people driving long distances. It’s an amazing companion to take to the beach or for an afternoon of fishing. It’s a cheap way to keep everything you need cold, and secure for a day or two.
Grizzly 20 qt Cooler
- Weight: 16 lbs
- Size: 20″ x 14″ x 13″
- Capacity: Holds 24 cans plus ice
- Colors: White, tan, orange, red, green, pink, sandstone, grey, blue (pictured above)
Grizzly 20 Cooler Review
This is the most comparable cooler to other brands’ smallest cooler, a 20qt size. 20 quarts is an awesome size for day use, or overnight. Fitting 24 cans (with ice) means if you have a larger group, you may need to size up to 40, 60 or 75. But again, this is the kind of size for beach trips, day trips fishing or kayaking, or overnighters where you’re packing light. We love the build quality of the Grizzly 20, which is apparent in the stainless steel handle and burly rubber latches. Speaking of burly rubber – the rubber gasket keeps the cooler airtight and leakproof, so you don’t have to worry about anything getting out (or in).
Grizzly 40 qt Cooler
- Weight: 24 lbs
- Size: 26″ x 24″ x 14″
- Capacity: Holds 44 cans plus ice
- Colors: White, tan, red, green, pink, sandstone, grey, blue, orange (above)
Grizzly 40 Cooler Review
Grizzly 60 qt Cooler
- Weight: 26 lbs
- Size: 31″ x 17″ x 14″
- Capacity: Holds 84 cans plus ice
- Colors: White, tan, red, pink, sandstone, grey, blue, orange, green (pictured above)
Grizzly 60 Cooler Review
With the Grizzly 60 cooler, we’re now stepping into larger cooler territory, something actually suitable for an overnight trip. This is an awesome medium sized cooler that is definitely worth a look. 60qt is a versatile size of cooler. It’s large enough for fishing with, taking on a long weekend camping trip, but also just for use in the backyard during a party or taking to the beach. At just 26lbs empty weight, it’s suited for almost every use – but if it’s for hunting, or longer trips we’d recommend something larger. The large rubber feet are grippy, so the cooler won’t be sliding around in the boat or on the truck. With more than seven days of ice retention, this Grizzly cooler will have you covered.
Grizzly 75 qt Cooler
- Weight: 34 lbs
- Size: 33″ x 17″ x 16″
- Capacity: 95 cans plus 30lbs ice
- Colors: White, tan
Grizzly 75 Cooler Review
Grizzly 100 qt Cooler
- Weight: 38 lbs
- Size: 37″ x 21″ x 18″
- Capacity: 152 cans, with 50lbs ice
- Colors: White, tan
Grizzly 100 Cooler Review
If the Grizzly 75 cooler is too small for the type of fishing you’re doing, then the 100 may be better suited for your needs. This is also a great cooler for small and medium game, and with the great ice retention that Grizzly coolers offer, this is a great cooler for multi-day trips. With dimensions of roughly 37″ x 21″ x 18″, you’ll need to make sure you whatever vehicle you are to tote it around will fit it. And, you’ll need to make sure it fits on the boat if that’s what you’ll use it for. It’s tough as nails, holds ice for over a week, and made in the USA, what else could you ask for?
Grizzly 165 qt Cooler
- Weight: 62 lbs
- Size: 48″ x 23″ x 20″
- Capacity: 504 cans, 60 lbs ice
- Colors: White, tan
Grizzly 165 Cooler Review
Finally, we’ve reached the Grizzly 165 quart. This is the cream of the crop in terms of Grizzly Coolers, best suited for multi-day hunting trips, and will fit everything you need in there – your food and drinks, dozens of pounds of ice and whatever you caught or hunted today. Whatever you need to transport, you can rest assured knowing this cooler will stay airtight from the freezer style rubber gasket, and last you over a week of ice. You will probably need to drain it a little, but overall the ice retention is killer with this cooler – and it’s way cheaper than any other brand in this size. Plus, it’s covered by Grizzly’s lifetime warranty – how many other brands can say that?
Grizzly 400 qt Cooler
- Weight: 91 lbs
- Size: 55″ x 32″ x 31″
- Capacity: 60 cans, 75lbs ice
- Colors: White, tan
Grizzly 400 Cooler Review
We’ve now reached the “mama bear” of Grizzly coolers. This 400 quart monstrosity of a cooler is an absolute beast. To be honest, we thought this was an April Fool’s joke when we first saw it, but no, this is an actual cooler that Grizzly makes. It’s molded in such a way that it’s able to moved around with a pallet jack or forklift – which is great because when empty it’s 91lbs. There’s not too many scenarios where you need a cooler this size, but if you’re willing to spend $800+ on an ice chest, this is the one!
More Details: Grizzly Cooler Review
One of the nice things about Grizzly’s line of coolers is that their highest end features are available on all models. You’re not stuck making compromises just because you picked up one of the more affordable models. Whether you’re buying a simple cooler to hold a couple days of food or a massive park-model that can feed everyone at the family reunion, you always get the best options available. Before we get into the finer details, let’s take a broad overview of the line as a whole.
If you were to look at the external dimensions and compare them to some other top cooler brands (Yeti, for example) you might notice that Grizzly seems to be a bit larger. Our initial though was that, perhaps, these coolers have additional insulation, or are more durable. What we found was that they were actually very comparable. The difference in size can be accounted for by the way the coolers are measured. When you buy a 40 quart model, for example, you have 40 quarts of internal storage space. Yeti, on the other hand, measures the external dimensions. A 40 quart yeti cooler only holds about 37 quarts.
We’re not saying that one size of ice chest is better than the other, at the end of the day it doesn’t really make much of a difference. However, this is something you should keep in mind before you buy.
Like many top-tier coolers, this model uses rotomolding during manufacturing. This involves starting with polymer beads and a molded insulation shell. The beads are heated up until melted, and placed in a centrifuge along with the insulated shell. The plastic then forms around the insulation, creating a seal. The benefits of this type of construction include durability and increased cooling capacity. There are no air gaps or seals, so the plastic is sized equally throughout the ice box. This makes for a system that is significantly better than your standard coolers.
All of the joints are formed right into the plastic. This creates incredibly strong hinges. The lid opens all the way, and can rest beside the cooler when open. This is one of the biggest weak points, so we’re happy to see that it was made so reliably. The large, raised rubber feet you can see in the picture above aren’t just for looks. Raising the cooler off the ground helps keep it cool, and their grip keeps the ice chest from sliding around in the truck or boat.
You can also see in the picture, the large oversized drain plug. As good as these coolers are at keeping ice, you do need to drain them along the way, and of course at the end of use. Draining them can be a pain, but with the larger drain plug, it’s quick and easy. What you can’t see, is that there’s also TWO of these plugs for fast and easy draining. You also can’t see there are these really useful full length channels in the cooler to help fully drain.
The hinge of the lid is a common failing point for many coolers. Grizzly’s interlocking hinge is supported internally by a stainless steel rod, so you shouldn’t have any issues with failure there. It’ll be a long time (if ever) til it fails.
One of the unique things about the build is the latches. Grizzly calls this the “bear claw” system. Instead of plastic, these latches are made from rubber. Using them is very easy. You grab the handle with your two fingers, and stretch it down below the plastic hook. When attached, the stretchy rubber holds the lid shut like an elastic band. This helps keep the air seal, and keeps everything cooler for longer.
The question we’ve all been curious to answer: how long will your food last in this cooler? It’s rated for a week, like many others. In our tests, we were able to get 6 days before the ice was pretty much melted. There were a few little chunks of ice floating around, but at this point we’d be looking to add a new bag.
That being said, there are things that you can do to extend the life of your cooler. The first thing is to take advantage of proper drainage. Ice, when it’s sitting in standing water, melts faster. Water is a great conductor, so it covers the entire surface area of each chunk of ice and helps it to melt more quickly. Grizzly has a nice large drainage valve in the bottom, which allows water to flow easily and efficiently. There are also several channels engraved in the base of the cooler, which serve as flow channels to pull water away from the ice and into the drain. It’s also important that the cooler be completely full when you close it off. The more ice you have, the longer it will last. When we took those steps into consideration, we were able to stretch our ice to 8 days.
The rubber gasket that runs the circumference of the lid also functions to improve ice life. This freezer style rubber gasket seals the cooler air tight, retaining all the cooled are inside, and keeping the hot air out. If you consider using the cooler with dry ice you’ll need to make sure you leave the drain open or pop the lid for safety. But if you’re just using regular ice, the rubber gasket will seal the cooler efficiently.
Considering the fact that most basic coolers only last 24 hours, this is pretty impressive. At the end of the day, be confident that the ice will last you a long time, probably longer than you need. The Grizzly cooler is something we would want to have if we were going on an extended camping trip, and didn’t want to risk our food going bad.
There are a couple things that we thought made the cooler very easy to use. The most stand out feature was the handles. They are large rope handles, which are covered with a nylon guard. The handles are quite long, so it’s easy to carry the cooler even if it is quite heavy. Using a rope material for them allows a bit more flexibility, and is much more comfortable than hard plastic handles.
Another nice feature is the recessed bezel that runs inside the cooler. There is a small plastic tray included. This works like the cage in a deep freeze. You can store any food that you don’t want to come into direct contact with the ice. Things like sandwiches, fruit, or anything absorbent can fit here. If you like this feature, Grizzly has several additional trays available for purchase.
Just like in the pelican coolers, these models all have large O-rings on top that seal it from outside air. Despite what the brand implies, these are all 100% bear proof. Keeping outside air sealed improves cooling performance, and prevents attracting any wildlife.
There are a couple fun quirks on each of these models that really help to take them to the next level. If you’re into fishing, you’ll be happy to know that there is a built-in ruler on the top of some models! You won’t have your fish in the boat for more than 10 seconds before you know the measurement of your catch.
Rotomolding is known not only for its cooling power, but also its extreme durability. While we don’t have any concerns about the durability, since they’re still made in the USA, Grizzly coolers does provide a lifetime warranty on all their products. If you damage it for any reason, they’ll replace it free of charge.
Cooler Reviews to Compare
While Grizzly is a brand we like, there are plenty more reviews of other brands that you can read up on to see if one might be a better fit for your needs.
Grizzly Coolers vs YETI Coolers
This is a common debate that many people find themselves contemplating: Grizzly vs YETI. YETI coolers are often touted as the quintessential rotomolded cooler, but it seems to be just the result of great marketing. The number one complaint with a YETI cooler? It’s to expensive.
Considering a Grizzly vs YETI is another example that these durable rotomolded coolers don’t have to have the same premium price tag. At the end of the day, Grizzly and YETI are both fantastic coolers, well built, durable and with great ice life. But Grizzly coolers (vs YETI) are still made in the USA, and aren’t as expensive. Plus if you’re comparing the warranties of Grizzly coolers vs YETI coolers – Grizzly offers a lifetime warranty vs YETI that only puts up for 3 years. It’s up to you at the end of the day!
Final Verdict: Grizzly Cooler Review
Where rotomolded coolers are concerned, there are a lot of choices available. The Grizzly model didn’t let us down in any regard, and you’re able to save a couple bucks over some of the more premium brands. It’s keeps your ice frozen for upwards of a week, and the built in tiedowns allow you to throw it in the back of your truck without much worry. While there isn’t anything revolutionary about this model, it’s certainly the cheap and cheerful alternative you’ve been waiting for.