All loaded up for an adventure. we measured the Coleman's internal capacity at 64 quarts.
The Xtreme just about hit the average mark in our insulation test with a score of 4. While this is quite far from the top performer, the ORCA, which received a 9, it is well ahead of its direct traditional competitor, the Rubbermaid DuraChill, which scored a 2. This is an admirable performance from a traditional model in a field that was skewed with a larger number of high-end models. In our insulation test, it held ice for five days and maintained safe food storage temperatures for three full days. This is better than the other two traditional models we tested and even bests one of the high-end models (Grizzly 75). Although the Xtreme and Grizzly reached 40˚F at approximately the same time, the Xtreme held colder temperatures up to that point and had better ice retention than the other two, so we see it as the clear winner in that race. This means the Xtreme can easily handle keeping food fresh on a long weekend camping trip and could keep beverages nice and chilly for even longer. It could also service longer trips where fresh ice could be purchased halfway through.
People who will mostly partake in a couple of weekend camping trips per year, and the occasional longer trip, would probably be better served with the Xtreme and dealing with restocking ice midway through that occasional longer trip, rather than ponying up the extra cash for a high-end model. In general, this is the best insulation performance per dollar that our testing revealed and is the major reason the Xtreme picked up our Best Buy Award.
The Xtreme still had an appreciable amount of ice left on day 5 of our insulation test.
The Xtreme again scored just about average regarding durability, picking up a score of 4. This is appreciably less than the high-end models, which scored 7's and 8's, but it scored better than both of its traditional brethren that we tested, both of which scored a 3. The extra point was mostly due to Coleman's stiffer lid and slightly more sturdy looking hinges. The hinges of the Xtreme have a bit more heft to them and look as if they could stand up to some decent use and abuse, while the looks of the hinges on the other traditional models we tested don't inspire much confidence. In fact, after inspecting the hinges on the other traditional models, we found ourselves instinctively opening and closing their lids gingerly, but didn't feel the need to do so with the Xtreme.
Its lid did leak water in our slosh test, but not as much as the other traditional models. The Xtreme's lids and walls also felt just a bit sturdier than those of the other traditional models. This is particularly true compared to the lid of the Rubbermaid. We felt completely confident sitting on the Xtreme's lid, but sitting on the Rubbermaid's lid caused some noticeable bending. While it would be somewhat unrealistic to expect a traditional model to rival a high-end model in durability, the Xtreme again delivers high performance per dollar.
The hinges on the Xtreme have slightly more heft than those on the other traditional models we tested.
Ease of Use
Here again, the Xtreme was the best in class for the traditional designs we tested, and even rivaled and outstripped some of the high-end models. It scored a 7, putting it just below the three high-end models that all scored an 8, tying for the top spot. It also put it ahead of the remaining three high-end models and both of the other traditional models we tested. Its draining performance was the best we experienced; the drain plug is easy to remove, and the resulting stream of water is predictable and mess free. It does require tipping the cooler to get the last bit of water to drain, but most of it will drain without coaxing. The majority of the high-end models we tested produced a lot of splashing when unscrewing the plug or dripped water onto the underside of the cooler, or both. The Xtreme was able to avoid both of these issues, making draining refreshingly mess free.
However, it does lose some marks for the lid. The internal latch can be a bit temperamental and hard to open, specifically when it is empty and there is no weight to pull against. Often it required two hands to get free. This is an issue that was shared with Rubbermaid.
The Xtreme was our favorite model in terms of draining performance.
Our testers weren't particularly impressed with the Xtreme's handles during the carry test. Most found the handle design a bit too pinchy for their liking, but still found them preferable to the handles of the much pricier Yeti Tundra and Grizzly 75.
The Xtreme is the lightest of the large models we tested (with the obvious exceptions of the personal-sized coolers), making it among the easiest to move around when empty. After moving around the much heavier high-end models during our photo shoot, picking up the Xtreme was refreshing, and soothed our deflated egos. It is also one of the slimmer designs and is much friendlier to those with limited trunk space. This combination of attributes scored it a 6 in our portability testing. This works out to an average score in a top-heavy test that saw scores ranging from 4 to 7.
While not our favorite model to carry, we did prefer the Xtreme's handles to those of some of the much more expensive high-end models.
This model includes a drain plug leash, four cupholders molded into the lid, and a built-in ruler. Unfortunately for you exaggerating fisherman out there, the ruler is accurate. These features earned it a score of 4 in our features test, which is a fairly low score in a field that ranged from 3 to 7. This is mostly due to the Xtreme lacking the added construction features of the high-end models.
For you penny pinchers out there, the Xtreme delivers the best ratio cost to performance of all the models we tested and was the winner of our Best Buy Award by an extreme amount. Listing for $70, it is the cheapest model we tested. In our insulation test, the Xtreme held safe food temperatures for 3.7 days, while the top performer, the ORCA, held safe food temperatures for 6.5 days. The ORCA lists for $300, meaning the Xtreme performed a bit better than half as well as the top performer in our insulation test while listing for less than a third of the price. We would recommend it to anyone on a tight budget looking to get every last bit of insulation performance that they can.
For those that need a cooler for occasional camping trips, not one that can survive the apocalypse, the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt is the best choice. It offers the most insulation performance of any of the traditional coolers we tested and has some nice design features. Unless you tend to drop your fully loaded cooler out of your truck a lot, the Coleman will serve you well.