Tied in our insulation testing with our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Yeti Tundra, the Orca boasts excellent insulation capabilities. Rotomolded construction and an airtight seal help earn this cooler an IGBC certification. The tall, thin design helps it stand out among the coolers we tested, though we think it also makes this cooler a little more challenging to dig through. We also feel that this shape makes it less conducive to carry, and we weren't the biggest fans of the narrow, rigid handles. Overall, it's a high performing cooler and might be precisely the cooler you've been searching for.
ORCA 58 Quart Review
Cons: Tall narrow shape is hard to dig through, expensive, not our favorite handles
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Our Analysis and Test Results
As one of the top performers in our torturous insulation testing, the Orca kept pace with our Editor's Choice award winner, the Yeti Tundra. It maintained USDA-recommended safe food temperatures of 40º or less for about half an hour longer than the Tundra, reaching a full 6.5 days of cool. However, the Tundra kept ideal beer temperatures of 50º or less for about 90 minutes longer than the Orca - though 7.3 days of cold beer is nothing to scoff at! The Orca is one of many rotomolded coolers we tested with a rubber gasket to seal its contents and an integrated hinge to help prevent bear entry. When it comes to keeping things cold, we found the Orca to be one of the top contenders.
Another metric in which the Orca excels. This beefy icebox joins the ranks of several other Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee certified products we tested, including the Yet Tundra and Roadie, RTIC, Engel, OtterBox Venture, Rovr RollR and Pelican. The official testing that goes into this certification gives some sense of durability to any product bearing the official sticker.
Never ones to just trust a label, we still put the Orca through the wringer. We found it to be super sturdy to sit or stand on - though it's narrow base makes it easier to tip or wobble than most the other coolers we tested. It has thick rubber latches and sturdy rope handles to facilitate this cooler lasting a long time. We found the integrated hinge to be as solid as we'd hoped. When we left the Orca in the hot sun for several hours, it, like several other coolers we tested, bowed slightly in the heat but quickly returned to normal when we put it back in the cool shade.
Ease of Use
With a simple design, the Orca is reasonably user-friendly. The thick rubber latches are a bit more challenging to operate with a single hand compared to competitors like the Tundra and RTIC. The Orca does have one of the easier drains to use, with a sloping channel that facilitates a complete water exodus, rather than blocking it with an ill-placed ledge leading up to the drain, as several other models we tested do.
Our biggest complaint about the usability of the Orca has to do with its size. As a tall, narrow model, we found it all too easy to lose items in the bottom of the cooler underneath layers of other food and ice. This translated into more time spent with the lid open searching for that last craft beer or the dijon mustard you swore you brought with. This is at least partially offset by the slightly smaller size of the Orca 58, but compared to the long, low profile of other models we tested, we certainly noticed the difference.
Tipping the scales at 30.6 pounds and with a measured capacity of about 56 quarts, the Orca is about average weight vs. capacity among the coolers we tested. Without wheels, this cooler isn't bound for portability magic. It's more narrow profile does facilitate a single person being more comfortable to carry it for short periods, and if it's not too full. However, this same taller profile also bumped uncomfortably against the knees and legs of some of our testers. Like several other coolers we reviewed, the Orca has a second set of handles for two people to better co-carry it from the car. The Orca's version of these handles wasn't our favorite of the bunch, as the rigid plastic grips aren't quite wide enough for two hands or cushy enough for most of our testers not to complain about. That being said, they're not the worst handles we tested, and they still get the unpleasant job of hauling around a big cooler done.
With no internal dry storage, drain plug leash, or bottle openers, the Orca isn't the most flashy cooler we reviewed. It does have one exceptional feature that we found quite handy though - a large netted pocket on the back of the cooler. Though we don't think it's the best space for squishy objects like a loaf of bread or bag of chips, it works quite well to bring along spices for the barbecue, plates for the guests, or paper towels for clean-up. The Orca also has tie-down points on either end to secure your cooler in transit while still being able to open it and retrieve a refreshment or the next ingredient in your outdoor meal.
The Orca offers excellent insulation and a high level of durability in a different-shaped package than most of the competition. If you're looking for a cooler that has a smaller physical footprint but offers the same capacity and performance as other impressive coolers, we think you'll like the Orca. If this shape isn't quite your cup of tea, consider the Yeti Tundra, with a nearly identical capacity but a lower profile.
With a similar price to many other top-performing coolers, the Orca is unlikely to save you money. However, it offers excellent performance in a different-shaped package that just might be the perfect shape for your vehicle or patio. If it's the performance you're after, we think that what you get from the Orca is a great value. If you're not married to the shape of this tall, narrow cooler, but love the performance, check out the even higher-scoring Yeti Tundra. Not excited to spend quite so much but still want a great cooler? You might then consider our choice for Best Buy for a High End Cooler, the RTIC 65.
In what sometimes feels like a sea of identical coolers all making fantastical claims, the Orca 58 Quart brings something a little different to the table. With great insulation and durable design, this handy model pulls it together in a slightly different shape than most the competition. If this shape ticks the box for what you want, we think you'll be quite pleased with the performance of the compact Orca 58.
— Maggie Brandenburg