OtterBox Venture 65 ReviewPrice: $350 List | $350.00 at MooseJaw Pros: Excellent insulation, durable construction, useful features
Cons: Expensive, bulky
Bottom line: The absolute best high end model on the market.
Measured Capacity (quarts): 66
Weight: 33.3 lb
The OtterBox Venture 65 is built like a tank and offers top-notch insulation performance. It makes comparably priced models look flimsy when placed side-by-side. In our insulation testing it took top honors, keeping pace with the now dethroned ORCA despite being 11 quarts larger (according to our measurements). It backs this up with thoughtful design touches like a built-in bottle opener, a mess-free drain plug, and an angled floor so that draining the meltwater doesn't become a Crossfit style workout. There are also attachments points for a plethora of interesting looking (but pricey) accessories, like cutting boards, wheels, and cup holders. All this performance does come at a price. At $350 the Venture certainly isn't a steal, and its extra insulation makes it quite large and bulky when compared to other models of a similar capacity. However, if you're willing to swallow a premium price tag, we think the Venture 65 is the best choice. If you're looking for high-end performance on a budget, you might want to check out the slightly inferior but but somewhat more reasonably priced RTIC 65.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Earning the highest score in our review, the OtterBox Venture 65 impressed our testers with its overbuilt construction and refrigerator-esque insulating properties.
The Venture 65 earned a 9 out of 10 in our insulation testing, placing it among the top-scoring models.
We were impressed with the stellar insulation of the Venture 65. Despite having a larger internal volume, it outlasted the YETI Tundra 65 in our testing, where it held an internal temperature below 40 degrees F for almost 7 days in a temperature-controlled room with sustained highs of 95 degrees. With the addition of ice blocks and lower outside temperatures, we would expect food to last well over 10 days below 40 degrees F in the OtterBox.
Despite being larger than the ORCA 58 Quart, the OtterBox has comparable insulation and both maintained an FDA-approved internal temperature for roughly one week in our tests.
The OtterBox Venture 65 is one of the most robustly designed coolers in our review and made the other models looks flimsy in comparison. Its walls are significantly thicker than those of both the YETI and Engel, and the rigid handles are much less susceptible to wear and tear than rope handles that are on most of the other models.
Similar to most of the other high-end models, the OtterBox has metal pin hinges that run the entire length of the cooler. We couldn't get them to bend in testing and it would be nearly impossible to break them in normal use.
The OtterBox earned an 8 out of 10 in our user friendliness metric, which is the highest score that any of the coolers earned. We liked that the lid of the Venture 65 is difficult to inadvertently close when the cooler is open. Even in moderate gusts it didn't slam shut, which was one of our biggest complaints about the ORCA 58 Quart and YETI Tundra 65.
The latches of the OtterBox are unique compared to models with rubber handles like the Orca and RTIC and we found them to be some of the easiest to open and close. They are opened by pulling a lever outwards. It's easier to inadvertently open them but we didn't find this to be common in our testing. Otterbox sells an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee-certified locking kit if you want to maximize security and ensure that nothing gets into your cooler. They also sell less expensive single locks if you aren't worried about bears but still want to keep people or small animals out of your cooler.
The Venture 65's drain was our testers' favorite and doesn't make a mess while draining excess water. The plug is attached to the cooler by a plastic leash and a spout ensures that water pours out in a single stream. This is preferable over models with drains that spill water under the cooler.
For a 65-quart cooler, the Venture 65 is one of the largest models that we tested and it only earned a score of 6 out of 10 in our portability metric. It is substantially larger than the 65-quart YETI despite claiming the same capacity. It received an unimpressive score in this metric because of its large exterior dimensions and relatively heavy weight of 33 pounds. The Venture 65 also won't fit inside of a standard Yosemite National Park bear box, which makes it harder to travel with if you camp in places that require you to store food in bear lockers.
It has rigid plastic handles that are similar to those of the Pelican Elite 70. We preferred this style over rope handles for carrying coolers longer distances and found it especially easy to move with two people. The main disadvantage of rigid handles is that dragging the cooler can be more strenuous when it is fully loaded. The handles also can be problematic since they make the cooler longer than it would be without them.
The Venture 65 comes with a dry storage tray and bottle opener attachment but additional accessories are available. Its injection molded body has many attachment points for accessories, which enable its high degree of modularity.
OtterBox offers a wide range of accessories including cup holders, side tables, internal dividers, and wheels. Like many other models in our review, additional accessories are steeply priced. It has 3 internal divider slots, which enable plenty of modularity for different storage arrangements (dividers are sold separately).
Listing for $350, the OtterBox is expensive, yet reasonably priced for a high-end cooler. This is $50 cheaper than both the YETI Tundra 65 and Pelican Elite, which couldn't match its performance. The Venture 65 offers premium durability and is built to last for many years, making it more of an investment. The RTIC 65 is a step down in terms of insulation and durability but lists for $240 and is often available at a lower price online.
The OtterBox Venture 65 is a great option if you want the burliest cooler out there and don't mind the extra bulk that comes with it. In a field of already impressive models, this one stood out for its insulation and durability. It earned our Editors' Choice Award for its strong performance and unique design.
Other Versions and Accessories
OtterBox Venture 45
- Smaller 45 quart capacity
- List price: $300
- Even smaller 25 quart capacity
- List price: $230
OtterBox Venture Accessories
- Most accessories are available at REI if you don't want to buy directly from OtterBox
— OutdoorGearLab Review Team
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Most recent review: April 30, 2018
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