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Grizzly Hunting or Tailgating Cooler Review
Cons: Poor insulation for price, hard to open drain plug, expensive
Bottom line: Doesn't quite deliver on the promises of a roto-molded model
Capacity (quarts): 70
Weight: 35.4 lb
Of all the high-end, roto-molded models we tested, the Grizzly was the only one that didn't impress in our insulation tests. In fact, the Coleman Xtreme 5-Day 70qt, which lists for 1/5th the price, performed just as well. Sure, the Grizzly is much more durable, but if you're worried about durability the RTIC 65 is just as durable, insulates better, and lists for nearly half the price. Bottom line, unless you can find it very discounted, we don't think the Grizzly lives up to its price tag.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
We were disappointed with the Grizzly's performance in our insulation tests. It maintained safe food temperatures for 3 full days. This was matched by 2 of the traditional models we tested, the Coleman Xtreme and the Igloo Max Cold, and is only a day better than the worst performer, the Rubbermaid Extreme. It retained ice for for 5 days, which was also matched by 1 of the traditional models, the Coleman. The Grizzly's performance garnered a score of 4 in our insulation testing. This score fits in much better with the traditional models, which score in the 3-4 range, than with the high-end models, most of which scored in the 8-9 range. Its performance also indicates that a long weekend camping trip would be the longest trip we'd feel safe using the Grizzly for. We expected much better insulation value from a high-end model.
The Grizzly is ruggedly built and scored high in our durability rankings. It has dependable hinges and latches and a burly drain plug. It is very difficult to find any negative user reviews related to durability. The seal on the lid barely leaked any water during our slosh test. This put it in the upper echelon of our durability testing, scoring an 8. All of the high-end models we tested scored a 7 or 8 in this test, so unlike insulation, this is a metric in which the Grizzly is decidedly high end.
Ease of Use
The Grizzly is the only model we tested that utilizes 3 latches, all of which are the rubber pull down variety. Our testers generally found these latches easy to secure and undo. The Grizzly's lid opens easily and stays open. We were a bit wary of it slamming shut during our testing, as it doesn't quite open a full 90 degrees, but we never had any issue with it. Draining the grizzly is a bit of a hassle. The drain plug produces quite a bit of splashing when first unscrewing it. Once open it drains quickly, but the drain is large enough that it is quite easy to lose ice cubes. Also, the drain plug has a propensity to stick and can often require quite a bit of force to get open. This led to some emasculating experiences in our testing room. Overall the Grizzly received a score of 6 in our ease of use testing. This is a slightly below average score in a metric with scores ranging from 5 to 8.
The Grizzly received a 4 in our portability, the worst score that any model received. This is mostly due to its handle design. The Grizzly's handles are made of semi rigid rubber attached with nylon webbing. While a similar design worked exceptionally well on the Editors' Choice Award winning ORCA 58 Quart, we found the Grizzly's handles to be incredibly uncomfortable. The rubber isn't quite rigid enough, allowing the handle to wrap around and pinch hands. Our testers' hands were left red and raw after lugging the Grizzly around in our carry test, and was thus the most unpleasant to carry of all the models we tested.The Grizzly also has quite a husky design, but is still just short enough to fit into the smaller Yosemite National Park bear boxes.
The Grizzly includes slots for 2 internal dividers, ruler markings on the lid, recessed and extended handles, and the external latches and pin style hinges common on most high-end models. It is the only model we tested that has two drain plugs, one on each end. This bevy of features earned the Grizzly a score of 5 in our test, a slightly above average score in a metric that saw scores ranging from 3 to 7.
Listing at $440, the Grizzly is one of the more expensive models we tested. At this price point it provides all the durability you would expect from a high-end cooler, but, according to our tests, very little of the insulating capacity. Due to this discrepancy between price and performance in a key metric we consider the Grizzly to have the least bang for the buck amongst all the models in our review. If you're looking for a deal on a high-end model, we would suggest you check out the RTIC 65 or the recently discounted ORCA.
The Grizzly has the design, durability, and aesthetics of a high-end model, but falls well short of what we'd expect in insulating performance. Almost all of the other other high-end models we tested offer comparable durability with better insulating capacity. We feel the Grizzly Hunting or Tailgating could serve as a very expensive tailgating cooler, but wouldn't stand up to the increased insulation demands of longer hunting trips.
— OutdoorGearLab Review Team
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