For months we tested and analyzed these coolers. Though the Coleman isn't the most impressive of the bunch, it has several merits that beg further consideration. For basic cooler needs, this one performs great for its price.
The Coleman (top) is by far the cheapest cooler we tested.
As the cooler with the thinnest walls we tested, the Coleman didn't blow us away with an amazing insulation value. Compared to high scoring models like the Yeti Tundra's and Orca's 6.5 days of below 40º, or the Pelican's and RTIC's 6 days, the Coleman's 4.1 days doesn't sound that great. However, considering we torture tested all of these coolers in our insulation tests and the Coleman still outcompeted nearly half of the included units, and was just hours shy of the 4.5-day average.
Similarly, the Coleman managed to maintain an ideal beer temperature of 50º or less for 4.8 days. Once again, this performance is just short of the 5.1-day average. This performance can likely increase by using some helpful insulation tips and tricks, like prechilling the cooler and its contents, using ice packs and a 2:1 ice to food ratio, none of which did we do during testing. Though the Coleman may not be as impressive at face value as many of the high-end models, it still performed better than some of the more impressive-looking coolers, such as the Yeti Roadie, Igloo Trailmate Marine, and Igloo BMX.
The results from our rigorous insulation testing.
Unfortunately, this is where the Coleman falls short. The first flaw easily noticeable is the thin, flimsy hinges. As the lid overextends, you can hear the screws ripping right out of the plastic. The lid lacks the rubber seal of so many competitors, meaning the Coleman is neither airtight nor leakproof. The drain plug also lacks a rubber seal, and while we had no issues with our unit during testing, many user complaints suggest that this plastic-on-plastic seal has an eventual expiration date. Additionally, the handles attach via short plastic pegs in small plastic holes, which translates into a sketchy connection under a heavy load on handles that already bow alarmingly with this amount of effort.
Though it doesn't have the IGBC certification that so many others we tested do, the Coleman can serve as a seat. It's the only cooler we tested that has an actual weight limit listed for it - 250 lb. To put that to the test, we had our 225 lb tester jump on every cooler, and the Coleman was no exception. Though it doesn't have the same rock-solid feel that many of the rotomolded coolers have, the Coleman seemed to have no problem being an impromptu trampoline. If you treat the Coleman Xtreme nicely, you may be able to get a bit more life out of it, but if you're rough on your gear, this cooler probably isn't the right choice for you.
Thin walls and even thinner hinges aren't the Coleman's best features.
Ease of Use
The Coleman is a super simple design. No latches, no dry bins, no frills at all. With a simple push and pull lid, it's easy to open and close. The interior is rather roomy - Coleman claims 70 quarts, and we measured it at 68, which is pretty darn close. The drain features a small channel to help pull all the water out, though there is a sizeable lip in front of the actual drain that prevents a small amount of the water from exiting without some tipping assistance. The plastic handles on the sides are easy to blindly grab as you head out the door to your party or picnic and swing back down into place when you let go.
While this metric is where the Coleman Xtreme performed best, it's not without its downfalls. The lack of latch and rubber gasket means that leaks can happen quickly from tipping or sloshing - think about how wet you want your sneakers as you carry this cooler down the beach or across the campground if not first drained adequately. Additionally, the handles aren't wide enough for two hands (if you grab a friend to help you lug it) nor reliable enough for heavy loads. The Coleman is simple; it's pretty straightforward and basic.
The Coleman has one of the easiest opening drains among the models we tested.
Tipping the scales at a mere 11.9 lb, the Coleman is shockingly lightweight. Only one of the personal models we tested, the Igloo BMX is lighter. This fact certainly adds to the Coleman's portability, as many of its competitors weigh three or four times as much without even anything in them! The overall width of this cooler is also fairly conducive to a single person carrying it.
Beware, the narrow plastic handles tend to dig uncomfortably into the bent fingers of whoever takes this cooler for a stroll. When loaded with light things, this is less noticeable. However, if you decide to fill the Coleman to the top with ice and soda, you may soon be wishing you hadn't! If you can manage to carry this fully loaded 68-quart icebox by your lonesome, you may also agree with our testers who think that the height of this cooler lets it bash unceremoniously into the bearers knees or legs as they walk. So depending on how you pack your Coleman, you may have no problems wandering through the city park with it, or you may have a tough time merely loading it into the back of a Subaru.
Simple plastic handles aren't the most comfortable to use, but they work.
Unlike the feature-filled frivolity of the Rovr RollR and Igloo Trailmate Marine, the Coleman Xtreme doesn't offer too much beyond the necessary. It does have several beverage holders molded into the lid, as well as measurements running across the top so you can easily check to see if your catch is a keeper. Importantly, this cooler also comes with a leash attachment for the drain plug - it's one of the few in this review that does.
We may have wished for such niceties as a dry bin or the ability to handle dry ice, like many of the other coolers in this review, but such is not in the cards for the Coleman. This cooler is all about keeping it simple and functional.
Compared to the hinges found on the competition, the Coleman's are rather thin.
We think this cooler is a great solution for shorter-term insulation needs. A weekend of camping, a day on the boat, a road trip with friends. Its low weight makes it easier to cart around if it's not full, while its large capacity allows you to fit more in its gaping mouth. If you'd rather spend money on something a little more durable, check out the ultra-durable RTIC, which takes home our award for Best Buy for a High End Cooler.
Lined up next to the much sturdier coolers we tested, the Coleman (far left) doesn't look like much, but it could save you hundreds.
Value is where the Coleman truly shines. Not an incredibly impressive cooler by the numbers, it's the only large model we tested that only has two digits in its price. Sure it may not hold ice for a 10-day river trip or withstand the gnawing of a hungry grizzly, but it's a just-under-average performer that could be just the simple solution for your lifestyle. Trying to bring home ice cream in August in Arizona? Looking to keep some beers on ice for your backyard barbecue? The Coleman Xtreme can help you there!
The Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt is an underwhelming cooler to look at when lined up with coolers many times its price. But in the cooler world, looks don't matter. The Coleman is an easy to use, no frills cooler with decent insulation for under a hundred bucks. Though it's no tank and may not be something you pass on to your children someday, the money you save getting it can be used to fill it with the best picnic and most delicious beverages.
The Coleman has four beverage holders molded into its lid and makes an inexpensive companion on your next camping weekend.