Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $30
Pros: Light and portable
Cons: Small and not watertight
Best Uses: Bringing home groceries. Taking casserole to a potluck dinner.
The Flip-Box Iceless cooler is the lightest in our test and perhaps a model that the average consumer will use more frequently than any other design. In hot climates, this cooler could find application on every trip to the grocery store. In cold climates, people will find ready usage in carrying hot dishes to dinner parties. The Flip-Box is constructed of seven panels of hinging and interconnecting foam insulation. It folds and stores flat, yet deploys into a sturdy and insulating box for usage. The foam is the same as is found in bicycle helmets; it is light but strong.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Flip-Box iceless cooler is the most unique in our test. This purpose-built, highly portable container is designed specifically to keep in your car for longer trips home from the grocery store.
While the ultralight status and folding construction suggests that the Flip-Box would be a light-duty insulator, it held temperatures remarkably well in our testing. Again, users of this cooler will be using it for short-term insulation of groceries or potluck dishes while in transit. In this context, the foam insulation and interlocking joints keep heat transfer to a minimum.
Ease of Use
The Flip-Box "assembly" takes a few minutes to master. However, once you figure it out, deployment takes less than a minute. The short and flat stature makes packing a breeze. To stow the cold contents of a "normal" trip to the grocery store, the Flip-Box seems to be just the right size. Because of the flat shape, a little game of "tetris may be in order to arrange the milk and eggs and ice cream. Used to transport hot dishes, the Flip-Box easily holds a full-size 9x13 casserole pan. It's a little short in height for use carrying a slow-cooker crock.
Credit: Jediah Porter
The best testimony to the Flip-Box's durability is on the manufacturers website. They post footage of a car driving over the collapsed cooler. While we didn't test in such a potentially destructive manner, we did toss around, load up, and generally abuse the cooler. Our experience with the device, while not as confidence inspiring as the Editors Choice winning Yeti Tundra 45 or equally rugged Pelican Elite 45, demonstrated better than expected service. The foam feels rigid and fragile but, when pressed, yields, flexes, and springs right back.
Credit: Jediah Porter
This thing is tiny and ultralight. It is designed to be ultimately portable. No other cooler on the market, aside from far less insulating fabric models, packs this ratio of portability-to-contents space.
With better-than-expected durability and a friendly price point, the Flip-Box is a great deal. The most valuable equipment is that which is there and ready when you need it. This cooler can live in your car for every trip to the grocery store and may save its own cost in ice cream. In hot climates, this cooler can change the order in which you do errands. Rather than always saving the food shopping for last, one can triage tasks based on other factors. This flexibility can save a great deal of hassle.
This unique insulator could find a place in many people's lives. It is a cooler that will be used in everyday sort of situations. The larger and more water-tight coolers in our review are better suited to picnics and travel.
— Jediah Porter
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 24, 2015
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