Icebox Throw-Down

This New Foam Cooler Is Lighter, Stronger and Cheaper Than a Yeti


We ask a lot of our coolers; we want them not only to keep ice frozen for days but to be near indestructible. And thanks to companies like Yeti, OtterBox, Pelican, Orca and others, we get exactly that. These brands use processes like rotational molding (rotomolding) and injection molding that creates a plastic shell with exceptional durability. That’s how most high-end coolers are made these days, and the only downside, as any owner of one of these coolers knows, is that they’re heavy. As in, can’t lift it by yourself when it’s full heavy. But recently, a company called Rugged Road Outdoors revealed a new cooler that has the same durability and cold retention as a molded one but only weighs eight pounds.

The cooler is called Onitis, and it’s made of foam instead of plastic. Rugged Road claims that achieving this cooler’s outrageous strength involved “a proprietary spray that was originally used to make the Pentagon blast resistant.” The downside of the construction is that unlike roto- and injection-molded coolers, which use hinges and latches to create secure containers that are bear-proof and that you can lock to the bed of a truck, the lid and body of the Onitis are two separate pieces secured together with a strap. There’s a range of benefits though: the top flips over to reveal cup holders, it floats, and it’s easy to lift and carry. A choice between the two will depend on what you want out of a cooler, and the Onitis makes a hard case for convenience.

The Onitis comes in a 45-quart size and costs $115 on Kickstarter (making it notably more affordable than a rotomolded cooler of comparable size).

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Orca Podster Soft Cooler ($200)
Hydro Flask Unbound Cooler Backpack ($275)
Yeti Tundra Haul Cooler ($400)
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