Though it's not our favorite cooler in this review, we are rather impressed with the performance of the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt in the face of so many high-end coolers. Costing less than a quarter of most of the competition, while still boasting decent insulation and pretty good usability, the Coleman snags our award for Best Buy for tight budgets. It's a simple, classic design that works. Despite being a cooler with one of the largest capacities in our review, it's also one of the lightest. It's not airtight, leakproof, lockable, or particularly durable, but it can get you through a weekend and won't break the bank in the process.
Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt Review
Cons: Not airtight, not particularly durable, uncomfortable handles
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Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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 with impressive insulation testing values of 6 or 6.5 days of below 40º, 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.
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.
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.
Tipping the scales at a mere 11.9 lb, the Coleman is shockingly lightweight. Only one of the personal models we tested 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.
Unlike the feature-filled frivolity of a few of the other elaborate coolers we tested, 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.
Value is where the Coleman truly shines. Not an incredibly impressive cooler by the numbers, it's the only large model we tested that has just 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.
— Maggie Brandenburg