Igloo Yukon Cold Locker Review
Cons: Large exterior, expensive
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Yukon scored a 6 on our insulation test, maintaining safe food temperatures for 4 full days and holding ice for 6 days. This put it right about in the middle of the performance of high-end coolers we witnessed. While this range of performance is fairly wide most models sit at the upper end. The worst performing high-end model we tested held safe food temperatures for 3 full days and scored a 4 in our insulation test. The remaining 4 high-end models all held safe food temperatures for 5 or 6 full days and accordingly scored 8 or 9 in our insulation test. So while the Yukon's insulation performance is better than that of the traditional models we tested, which kept safe food temperatures for 2-3 days, it is significantly worse than the majority of high-end models.It can still keep food freah for a long weekend camping trip and then some, but we would expect just a bit more from a high-end model.
The Yukon was one of the top scorers in our durability ratings. It has all the hallmarks of high-end construction and beefy extended handles that are molded into the body of the cooler. It is also the only model we tested that has a drain plug leash made out of metal. It is clear that the Yukon was designed to last a lifetime, and then some. It scored with the best of the models we looked at in our durability tests, taking home a top score of 8. This is much better than the scores of 3 and 4 that the traditional models earned.
Ease of Use
The Yukon shined in our ease of use testing with simple latches, a lid that stays open and an easy to open drain plug. It also drained quickly, completely, and with minimal splashing. The leash on the drain plug is long enough that it can be slotted into the hard models handle, keeping it conveniently out of the way when draining. The drain is large enough that it is possible to lose some smaller ice cubes while draining, which can be disappointing if you're trying to eek out every ounce of insulating performance. This minor complaint did not stop the Yukon from earning a top score of 8 in our ease of use test, which included scores between 5 and 8.
The Yukon received an average score of 6 in our portability testing, a metric with scores ranging from 4 to 7. The unique stationary extended handle design makes the cooler easier to muscle around when it is already loaded into a trunk, but doesn't function as well for carrying as other more common handle designs. All of the other all rigid handle designs we tested pivot at the connection point at the body of the cooler. The fact that the Yukon's handles don't means that loads can be distributed unevenly when walking across rough surfaces. The Yukon is one of the beefier models we tested and is too large to fit into one the smaller Yosemite National Park bear boxes. Its lack of pivoting handles doesn't help it in this area either. It is the only model that offers reversible feet that are smooth on one side and rubberized on the other. This allows you to choose between being able to slide the cooler around in the bed of a pickup or having it stationary in a rocking boat.
The Yukon includes a built in ruler on the lid, reversible feet that allow you to choose between traction and slidability, external latches, pin style hinges, and the burliest drain plug leash we've seen. This set of features earned it a score of 4 in a metric with scores ranging from 3 to 7.
When considering the entire range of models available, the Yukon is an above average performer. However, when only considering high-end models its performance is decidedly below average. It also comes with the highest price tag of any model we tested, listing for $462. We don't feel that below average performance for an above average price translates to a good value.
The Yukon was surpassed by most of the other high-end models in our insulation test, but somewhat lived up to its high-end pedigree by bettering all of the traditional models. For most people we believe one of the other slightly cheaper and better performing high-end models would be a better choice, unless you particularly like the Yukon's unique handle design or its reversible feet that allow you to choose between slide-ability and traction.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata