The market for premium hard-sided coolers is highly competitive and it takes quite a bit to stand out from the rest of the competition. Without looking at any of the specifications, the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers range do certainly stand out based on looks alone. They have very aggressive and rugged styling that literally shouts, “Take me on your next outdoor adventure!”. However we all know looks can only take you that far. For coolers it is all about ice retention.
The entire range of the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers go all the way from 20-quarts all the way to a massive 250-quarts. However, we will only be looking at the wheeled cooler lineup. The wheeled versions come in 3 sizes, 45Q, 55Q and 80Q. Right off the bat, it must be highlighted that the Pelican model numbers actually do reflect the actual storage size of the cooler. This is unlike some other makes that have model numbers that are significantly larger than the actual storage capacity.
The reason why we are only looking at the wheeled versions of the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers is that there is a price to pay for the rugged look and better ice retention capability. The coolers do weigh more than other similarly sized coolers. While you can certainly depend on pure muscle power to transport your cooler around, we prefer letting built-in wheels do most of the work.
The wheeled versions all come with an extending side handle. What you may not know is that Pelican designed the wheels not to touch the ground when the cooler is resting on the ground. This means that the cooler will not be sliding around if the ground is uneven on when it is in a moving vehicle.
The rest of the features on the wheeled version of the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers are similar to the not wheeled versions. This includes the powerful press and pull latches. They give a very satisfying click whenever they are secured. The Pelican latches are superior to the simpler T-latch designs used on most other brands.
As a further indication of how tough the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers are, they have Grizzly Bear Certification by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). Not only does this mean that the contents of the cooler are safe from a curious grizzly, it help keep bears safe and significantly reduce bear-human encounters.
While all of the above are interesting, at the end of the day, cooler buyers are most interested in the ice retention capability. The wheeled Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers all come with up to 10 days ice retention. Of course, actual performance will depend on a lot of factors like actual outside temperature, whether it is left in the shade and how often it is opened. Based on testing done by many users, the coolers can easily last 5 to 7 days even under extreme testing. This also means that the Pelican ProGear Elite Coolers can easily compete with the competition.
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