Reviews You Can Rely On

Igloo Mission 50 Review

A conveniently sized, mid-range model with a useful shape and helpful features, but with less impressive insulation
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Igloo Mission 50 Review
Credit: REI Co-op
Price:  $180 List
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Manufacturer:   Igloo
By Maggie Nichols ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 4, 2021
  • Insulation - 50% 3.0
  • Durability - 20% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5.0
  • Portability - 10% 8.0
  • Features - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Igloo Mission 50 is a lightweight cooler with good capacity for its middling size and a handful of features that make it appealing. However, it managed to underperform many smaller coolers during our insulation testing, leaving us underwhelmed with its cold-keeping prowess. The simple pull-to-open lid, fish ruler, and integrated bottle openers create a crowd-pleasing list of attributes that many will likely appreciate. The drains leave much to be desired, though, and the rubber seal around the top doesn't make it leakproof. If it came with a lower price tag, this mediocre cooler might be a compelling model, but we're not convinced it's worth the money.
Easy to open
Convenient size and capacity
Attached bottle openers
Lower price
Doesn't seal
Not our favorite drain
Flimsy hinges
Just okay insulation
Igloo discontinued the Mission 50.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Igloo Mission 50 is a blow-molded model with a single set of plastic handles and an indented lid that accommodates items up to 12 inches tall, including standard bottles of wine and 2L soda. It features a fish ruler on the lid, two bottle openers by the handles, tie-down slots on the sides and indents on the lid, and plug leashes for both sized drain plugs.

Performance Comparison

igloo mission 50 - the mission 50 is a snappy-looking mid-sized cooler with a number of...
The Mission 50 is a snappy-looking mid-sized cooler with a number of handy features. Our overall impression, though, is just so-so.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg


Though advertised with the vague claim of “keep[ing] your [items] cold for up to 4 days”, the Igloo Mission 50 maintained food-safe temperatures of below 40°F for just 2.3 days. It managed 2.8 days of refreshing beverage temperatures (below 50°F). This may be enough to get you through a weekend camping trip but is far below the performance of most other coolers its size — and even lower than some coolers much smaller. It has a narrow rubber seal around the lid, though it doesn't seem to seal out warm air temperatures much from what we observed during testing.

igloo mission 50 - mid-sized model insulation performance, comparing results of our...
Mid-sized model insulation performance, comparing results of our rigorous insulation testing in units with capacities from 35 to 54 quarts.
Credit: Maggie Nichols


When pitted next to thick, rugged rotomolded models, this blow-molded cooler seems fairly insubstantial. It readily squishes when heavy items are placed on top of it. The hinges are made of relatively thin plastic, screwed into the body of the cooler, and they creak noisily when overextended. The rubber gasket that interacts with this cooler's lid doesn't create a waterproof seal, either. The drain is a separately manufactured plastic component that's been set into the plastic wall of the cooler. Though it didn't leak during our testing, we worry that a few hard knocks could lead to longevity issues down the road.

igloo mission 50 - the mission 50's hinges aren't particularly impressive and creak...
The Mission 50's hinges aren't particularly impressive and creak loudly when put to the test.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Use

Comparing similarly sized chests, the Igloo Mission 50 has more available volume within for its external dimensions — an attribute we truly appreciate. Its metal latches are simple to use and the plastic handles stay where you put them — up and ready or down and out of the way — though it lacks a set of indented handles under the lid that most other similarly-sized coolers now include. An indented lid bottom easily accommodates standard 12" tall bottles of wine and 2 liters of soda. Two separate, but connected, drain caps allow for slow or quick drainage of your meltwater. For some reason though, the drain opening is raised above the V-shaped drainage channel, leaving a good bit of water still in your cooler when draining on flat ground.

igloo mission 50 - this drain is one of the least convenient aspects of the whole unit...
This drain is one of the least convenient aspects of the whole unit, as it's too high and leaves too much water sitting in the bottom of the cooler.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg


Weighing just under 16 pounds, this nearly 48-quart cooler is far lighter for its size than most others we tested. The firm, plastic handles are less comfortable to use than many others, but not uncomfortable, particularly over shorter distances. Their biggest detriment is that you have to use them (as opposed to conveniently indented handles hiding under the lid — the Mission 50 doesn't have them), which lowers the body of the cooler and leads to annoying contact with your legs while carrying this model.

igloo mission 50 - the plastic handles stay where you place them, but don't quite come...
The plastic handles stay where you place them, but don't quite come all the way up for carrying. This keeps your knuckles from being smashed but puts a lot of stress on the handle joints when the cooler is fully loaded.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg


The Mission 50 has a fair few features it comes with, including a fish ruler, leashes on the drain plugs, tie-down slots, and two functional bottle openers by the handles. However, it lacks more useful features we appreciate about its numerous competitors, including rubber feet and a dry goods basket.

igloo mission 50 - bottle openers adorn the sides of the mission 50 -- though we'd...
Bottle openers adorn the sides of the Mission 50 -- though we'd rather have a set of indented handles here instead. The location of the bottle opener here isn't our favorite.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg


Though we've tested other Igloo coolers that we think are well worth the cash, the Mission 50 is the wrong combination of sub-par insulation, so-so features, and price. There are other coolers we've tested that cost less and perform just as well — often better — that are far more worth the investment. If priced significantly lower, this model would have more appeal to our team of testers and editors.


Though promising at first glance, the Igloo Mission 50 just isn't able to keep up with the competition when it comes to insulation. We like how lightweight and easy to use it is, but even with the added bottle openers, fish ruler, and tie-down slots, we just don't know that this mid-sized cooler is worth its mid-sized price.

igloo mission 50 - the mission 50 is on the large end of medium-sized coolers but just...
The Mission 50 is on the large end of medium-sized coolers but just doesn't really impress us enough to give it a strong endorsement.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Maggie Nichols