Yeti Cooler Vs The Coleman Xtreme

Yeti and Coleman Xtreme


In the past 5 years or so it seems as though a cooler war has begun.

Coleman is the trusted brand that has been around forever. They make a good product for a fair price, nobody can deny that.

Yeti is the new kid on the block. Yeti has successfully disrupted the market and changed the way that consumers view their coolers with aggressive marketing and extremely high-quality products.

We have seen people start to think of their cooler as an investment that will last a lifetime rather than a few years. It has also become an expectation that your cooler should keep your food cold and ice frozen not just for one day but for at least a solid week.

Other high-end coolers are becoming more popular as well, such as Engel Coolers, Grizzly Coolers, Igloo Yukon Coolers and Coleman Xtreme Coolers. While each of these coolers has subtle differences, they are all high-end solid coolers that will keep your food cold much longer than a standard cooler.

Today, I wanted to test the cheaper everyman cooler, the Coleman Xtreme and see how it compared to the rest. You see, the Yeti, Engel, IRP, and Yukon are all great coolers, but they are all quite expensive, from $200-$500. These coolers are solid, bear-proof and boast of abilities to keep food cold for 5-10 days.

But the Coleman Xtreme is a bit different, Coleman went for a cooler with high-end cooling capabilities without the price to match the other big boys.

In theory, the Coleman Xtreme is meant to compete on the cooling side of the equation while still maintaining an incredibly affordable price. The 100 qt Coleman Xtreme is available from Amazon for well under $100 and the 52 Qt Coleman Xtreme is well under $50. Both also have 4+ star ratings on Amazon.

What you don’t get with the Coleman Xtreme is the durability of the other coolers mentioned (but you also don’t have the extra added weight either!). This includes being bear proof. So, if you are looking for a cooler that will keep things cold for a long time at a great price, the Coleman Xtreme should be a good option. If you are looking for something that will last a lifetime as well, then one of the other coolers is probably a better fit.

Does The Coleman Xtreme Really Last 5 Days

I decided to do my own test of the Coleman Xtreme and put it against my personal favorite cooler, my 50 qt Yeti.

For this test, I placed each cooler so they would be in direct sunlight for approximately half of each day and in shade for the other half. This is typical of what you might run into if you have a cooler with you out camping.

I then packed each cooler with 20 lbs. of ice and 1 drink (so you can better see where the ice is at).

NOTE: Yes, I do realize that both coolers are slightly different size. This is not a 100% perfect scientific test, it is a practical, real-world test of how people use similar coolers.

Xtreme vs Yeti

Each cooler was opened only once per day to photograph where the ice level was at and how well each cooler was doing.

Note: If you are looking to get maximum results, all coolers recommend that you pre-chill the cooler before packing it with ice and food. This will prevent the loss of cold due to initially cooling down the cooler. Potentially this could get you an extra day out of your ice. I chose not to pre-cool our cooler because we have found that most people do not actually do this and I wanted to best represent what a typical family would experience. Also, every cooler manufacturer recommends filling your cooler to the top with ice in order to get the longest cold time.

Check Out Our Complete Guide To Camp Cooking Here

After 1 Day

After the first 24 hours, each cooler was doing great. Each had a little bit of water in the bottom of the cooler and experienced a bit of melt due to cooling down the room temperature coolers. The temperature on day one reached roughly 75 degrees.

Yeti vs Coleman Xtreme
Both coolers doing well

After 2 Days

Day three experienced more of the same, a little bit more melt, but still lots of ice. High Temp: 74 degrees.

Yeti Vs Coleman
Coleman Xtreme and Yeti after 2 days.

After 3 Days

After the third day, the water and ice were getting pretty low in the Coleman Xtreme. It definitely was looking like the Yeti was starting to outpace the Coleman. High Temp: 72 degrees.

The Coleman Xtreme is starting to fall behind.
The Coleman Xtreme is starting to fall behind.

After 4 Days

After the 4th day, the Coleman was about 90% water and 10% ice but still very cold. The Yeti, on the other hand, was roughly 70% water and 30% ice. High Temp: 68 degrees.

The Coleman Xtreme After 4 Days
The Coleman Xtreme After 4 Days
Yeti Cooler After 4 Days
Yeti Cooler After 4 Days

After 5 Days

The Coleman Xtreme was officially done on the 5th day (this included the start day). No ice was left but the water was still very cold. It would definitely be time to pack in some more ice or wrap up your camping trip. The Yeti wasn’t too far behind either, it had roughly 10% of its ice left in the cooler. High Temp: 70 degrees.

Yeti vs Coleman After 5 Days.

After 6 Days

After the 6th day the Yeti joined the Coleman Xtreme and was all out of ice as well.

I expected the Yeti to go at least one more day, but I wasn’t really disappointed as I know that their claim of 7 days is with a pre-cooled cooler that is full to the top with ice, so 6 days was pretty good.

Yeti After 6 Days
Yeti After 6 Days


In the end, if the price isn’t your deciding factor, the Yeti Cooler is still an amazing cooler. It will keep your food cold for an incredible amount of time, last a lifetime and is safe to bring on any camping trip. You can purchase the Yeti Tundra 45 below:

On the other hand, the Coleman Xtreme is an incredible cooler for the price. For roughly $30-90 you can have a cooler that will keep your food cold for an entire camping trip. While it may not last a lifetime, it also doesn’t come across as cheaply made, it is definitely a solid cooler. You can purchase the Coleman Xtreme below:

Check out our 9 Best Coolers For Camping here.

44 thoughts on “Yeti Cooler Vs The Coleman Xtreme”

  1. Not really apples to apples comparison. The Coleman is much larger, which causes it to have more void space for air. Next time try using the same size (quarts) coolers.

  2. Coleman 25% larger. Much more heat gain/loss. Only 1 bag of ice hurts larger cooler much more. Besides the price!!!, what kills the Yeti for me is that it weighs as much empty as the Coleman w/ ice! For one man lifts w/ full cooler, if you care about your vertebra, it’s a big deal. Wait till you wreck your back. You will understand. The Coleman 52 weighs nothing. Your back is important. I can buy them on sale @ Kmart on sale for 40$…Several for the cost of a Yeti. And it can be left in the pickup bed while you run into the store for 5min!!! Your wallet is important. Just trying’ to be honest and helpful. Cheers.

  3. The Coleman Xtreme keeps cold for 4-5 days, weighs less, costs much less, and it’s MUCH less likely to get stolen over a Yeti.

  4. you need to fill the cooler with the same ratio of ice to total volume since these coolers are two different sizes. Of course the Coleman won’t last as long as it has a large volume. With the same amount of ice being used in both the yeti will have less air space. Everyone knows that air on of the primary causes of ice to melt. IMO the test in this comparison is flawed.

    1. Jason, you are completely right. However, I never said, nor did I intend, for this to be a scientific test. It was purely meant to show exactly how a normal person would use both coolers, which was to buy a bag of ice and throw it in. if there was the same amount of air and all things equal with both coolers, the Coleman Extreme probably would have done even better.

  5. I wonder how the Coleman Extreme Marine Pro coolers would stack up against a Yeti? They are a little more than the regular Coleman Extremes, but they have much thicker walls than the one shown above — closer to the Yeti. But they still cost a fraction of a Yeti

  6. Nice comparison, Ryan. I too have found the Coleman Extreme to be a solid cooler, especially when factoring in price vs some of the other higher end competition. Yeti, Bison, & Pelican are all great coolers, no doubt. But I would venture to guess that most folks don’t want to spend that much on a cooler.

    1. Good read. My Coleman Extreme does well in my situation. It keeps whatever i put in it cold while vacationing,hunting, and fishing along with picnics. I can’t see paying 400 dollars for a yeti just to last another day longer but hey? I can always get more ice. I assume that some outdoor trips last longer than five days and you may need a yeti but it’s just not in my budget.

  7. My hats off to Yeti. They sure do know how to make and extreme cooler. They also showed the world that the old cooler technology needed upgrading. I purchased a Coleman xtreme 5 100qt and I have to admit, for the price, it is the best money I have ever spent. At $49 at Walmart, it was the deal of the century considering the comparative factors. I like the new technology in the Coleman and Igloo brands for 1/10 the price. This comparison showed that the new technique for making these coolers, is working and the 5 day claims are very likely.

    Just 2 weeks ago my old fridge in the garage died, I have an old red Coleman 48 with the white non-insulated top and in our house at 73 degrees it could only hold the ice for 1 day!!!! The new one held the ice with 2 gallons of milk 1 gallon of cider, and 14 bottles of hard cider and after 2 days it still had ice and then the new refrigerator was delivered. I took out all of the items and left the ice and water and there was a few cubes of ice floating in there for 3 more days!!! As I said $49 vs ~$600 is kind of a no brain-er. Although, if I find myself needing an armored cooler (bears etc.) then I could see spending the money on a Yeti.

  8. Yeti coolers have become s status symbol. They are no doubt good coolers. But the prices are ridiculous. For 99% of the applications in which they are used. A Coleman xtreme would more than do the job. Like was said earlier. If the size had been exactly the same. The Coleman would have stayed with the yeti. Your paying for that name. But I have to admit. They have done a wonderful job at marketing. They sale like crazy. Just not to me.

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  12. It seems that I am a bit late to the party considering this thread started in 2015…but since there are still comments being posted I figured why not comment as well. I have 2 Coleman Marine 70L Coolers and they are great. They are not nearly as good as the Yeti’s in so far as Ice life and durability is concerned as mine only lasts about 4 days with 40lbs in each. However, I started using a Kooler Kube in each of them that can be bought from Amazon for around $15 and that takes my ice to around 5 days on the beverage cooler that will be opened many times and 6 days for the food cooler that is opened less frequently. I am in the forest on a regular basis and the Kooler Kubes is what takes the Colemen from being good to being great. I have never had a Yeti and for the price it is doubtful that I ever will. However considering the number of trips to the forest that I take annually I probably should just so that I don’t have to fear getting my rig destroyed by a hungry bear intent on getting to my food that I always keep in the vehicle because it cannot be secured like a Yeti….maybe one day….I’ll save my quarters for a year maybe….peace out….

  13. I used both YETI and Colman. Both are great. YETI costs more than the colman coolers. But it provides better cooling. If you need more ice retention, YETI cooler is the best option for you.
    Anyway, thanks Ryanc for the great comparison.

  14. I always assumed that Colemans lasted a lot longer than it is being given credit for. My large coleman is on its 42nd year of hunting trips. years of being left outside in the sun, faded and stained it goes every year, hanging out in the boat during the summer, has regularly been used as a bench during camping trips, and still ticking.

    I am pretty sure I spent less than $30 dollars on it in the 80’s, and when I see people paying $300 for a cooler that holds ice an extra day, I feel worried for our nation, but there will always be consumers that want the trendy item, and drop more cash, and 99% of those that do will never be in the woods for 2 days, nor be out of range of the camp store selling .99 cent bags of ice. I think this story and comparison speaks more to trends and those that have money to waste, then a sensible purchase, and in reality when we are out for 4-5 days in the woods, we are backpacking in to hunt, and no coolers are taken where they are truly needed the most. In the end, to each their own, for me; an avid outdoorsman, I’ll stick with my $30, 40+ year old Coleman.

  15. BT best comments on this thread. You speak the truth brother. I also own Coleman coolers that have lasted many years despite hard use. I have never had to have my ice last more than a couple days.

  16. Ryan, nice comparison and review, however there is one major flaw, when camping, most people get into their cooler 3 times a day, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The cube Ice in my 50 qt. Coleman Extreme will last 2.5 to 3 days while camping in or near the woods with cooler being in the shade. If you leave your cooler in the car all day/night (Bear Country), with leaving the windows open an inch or two, the ice will only last two days at best. Now keep in mind the above days far exceed comparable price coolers on the market for keeping ice. My only complaint with the Coleman Extreme coolers are the cheap handles which are only 3 ml thick and break easily when the cooler is filled with just 2/3 of ice alone and no other product. When cooler handles break, one soon realize just how important it is having durable and reliable handles for your cooler.

    1. Thanks Rob. This was never meant to be a scientific or 100% realistic test. It was merely a test to see how two coolers performed in the same conditions. Yes, they were each only opened once per day, but for a regular camper you might open your cooler 1-100 times, you might keep it in a hot car, you might keep it in 100% shade, you might keep it in the sun all day, there are too many variables to recreate every possible scenario. I think what this did show was that the Coleman can perform very well in 1/2 days sun and opened minimally. If you open it more, each time you open it, it will obviously shorten the ice lifespan, as will more sun and a hotter environment. When I take either my Yeti, Coleman or Igloo Maxcold coolers out, 3 days seems to be the magic number with how often we open them and let the warm air in. Totally agree with you about the handles!

  17. I have had my Extreme for many years. It is hands down the best cooler I have ever used. I freeze water in gallon milk bottles before I leave. This extends the ice. It also gives me extra water as it melts. I also have a ratchet strap I use if there are curious animals. Won’t stop a bear, but it should be in a bear box or your car if they are around. Yetis May be good, but they are way beyond the technical needs of most people. You can buy a lot of ice for the difference in price.

  18. This doesn’t sell the Yeti at all for me (and i know you’re not trying to put out an advertisement here, just sayin that in my mind the Coleman blew the Yeti out of the water in my mind when you factor in price). Yeah the Yeti kept ice for an extra day over the Coleman, but i probably would have drained the water and added fresh ice in either of those coolers at least by the end of day 4, speaking practically (and that’s what this test was after – practicality, right?). Yeah the Yeti had more ice in it by that point, but if there’s still frozen ice, then by and large you’re still in the ballpark concerning food safety. Maybe if you’re going way out where there’s no convenience stores and wanna push your food safety to the absolute limit the Yeti would be worth it (hint-going that far out with no non perishable food aint the brightest idea anyway). No way, no how is one extra theoretical day worth 2 or 300 dollars to me, though.

  19. After reading all the reviews, I bought Coleman Xtreme 5 Day 70 qt. chest for multi-day camping trips. I bought at the store. The handles and hinges were fine, though it should have a restraining strap for the lid. I first put a bright lantern inside and saw that the lid did not sit flat at the ends. I added a single strip of bulb-type window seal (MD #02576) all around the lid to improve the seal.

    I then added 20 lbs of ice to the warm chest. That ice lasted 3 days. On Wednesday morning, I packed the pre-cooled chest with plastic bottles (1×1 gal and 5×1 liter) that had been filled with water and frozen. This is roughly 21 lbs. of ice. I then filled the chest with pre-chilled supplies, including frozen shrimp and hamburger patties, multiple bottles of chilled wine and soda, tequila, condiments and vegetables. During our trip, the weather ran in the low 80’s during the day and low 50’s overnight. When we returned on Sunday afternoon (4+ full days), 2 of the 1 liter bottles and the 1 gal jug still had ice. The remaining supplies were still cold. The temp at the bottom of the chest measured 40 degrees F. It probably would have made it 5 days.
    Interestingly, the weather strip seal was tight enough that while draining the small amount of water with the lid closed, the drain had to “gulp” for air.

    1. Sounds like the Coleman did a solid job Craig! I never thought to check if the lid is perfectly flat like you did, I’ll have to check mine. Love the weather strip idea too!

  20. Great review. The final water temp inside the cooler once the ice is melted is a important piece of information though. On that final day(s) if the temp is still low enough to keep the contents cold enough to be safe for consumption, it wouldnt matter if its water, ice, or magic doing it.

  21. 8 days of ice with the coleman Extreme 54 quart cooler. I recently took a Coleman extreme cooler on a 12 day whitewater canoe trip in Canada. No pre chilling and I did pack it to the top with frozen foods and 2-1 gallon frozen water jugs. We endured 2 days in the middle 80s, the other days in the upper 70s, all day in direct sun (with wet white towel draped over it) and didn’t open the cooler until day 3 and only quickly in and out. This was the older version of about 8-10 years ago. No sure the newer Coleman extreme model will do the same…seems like thinner walls. Anyone compared the older version to the newer one?

  22. Had a Coleman stocked with fish fillets and crab covered in ice at my campsite. We woke up in the middle of the night to find ferrel hogs eating up our catch !!!! Wtf! Bought a yeti soon after! Just FYI they’re Hog-proof as well, and can hold their fair share of pork chops.

  23. My personal tips as an avid camper: Buy both for different purposes.

    Yeti (and other expensive coolers) must be made thicker to keep your food colder. Great BUT your internal dimensions are smaller. I use a 20 quart Grizzly (like a Yeti) for meats. Just throw a bag of cubed ice on top. Lasted 4 days in 70-80 degree weather, opened 3 times a day. Had to add another 10 lb. bag of ice for the remaining 3 days.

    For non-meat items (beer, veggies, condiments, etc) that don’t spoil as easy, I use a 70 quart Coleman Xtreme5. USE A BLOCK AND A BAG OF ICE. The block almost lasted the whole 7 day trip keeping the bottom water layer cold. The bags melted out twice but was opened about 10 times a day in 70-80 degree weather.

  24. I use an “old” Coleman eXtreme (silver and white) with 20lb block ice for $7.00. I don’t pre-cool, and stay in 8o-90 degree day temps, and 70-80 degree evening temps. I can get a solid 7 days, disposing a 1/2 to 1lb chunk of ice when done. The latch is broken, so I tie it from handle to handle across the top to keep the lid shut tight. I do not go in and out of the cooler, and keep open times to a minimum. I think that’s the trick. I also shade the cooler and block the sun with tarps (silver side out to reflect the rays away from the cooler). This is also a good way to preserve the longevity of the ice. Good test on this subject. I hope someone can use the tips I also provided.

  25. Thank you for the comparison but I think your personal preference shows though too much.

    The Yeti had 10% ice on the 6th day.

    The reality is that you’d add ice to these coolers at the same time. The Yeti is smaller, heavier, and way more expensive. You obscured these Yeti negatives.

    With any sort of budget, this is a Coleman win.

  26. The only way to perform tests on coolers is to precool the chest, then freeze 1 gallon jugs of water to solid ice, then use a couple those to ice down the cooler followed by either crushed ice or cubes over the food before sealing. Using just crushed ice is a poor test since it melts much faster than block ice. One nice trick I use out in the desert to cool bottled water is to bring a small cooler, leave all my bottled water cases out at night under the truck, early morning I add some of these cooled by the night air each day to a cooler with no ice in it, but keep it shaded, I got cool water all day every day in desert without having to add warm bottles to the main ice chest.

  27. Allow me to mention a couple things that none of the previous comments note. First, because cold air is heavier than warm air it is possible to open your cooler without losing much cold if you open it fairly slowly. If you yank it open the swirl of air does displace the cold air with warm. Same thing if you open it in a windy location. Second, if you confine your ice in a container, such as a milk jug or even better soda bottles, the inside of your cooler doesn’t become awash in melt water, and the ice will keep quite a bit longer because it doesn’t have physical contact with the cooler wall which slows thermal conduction. Using these techniques I kept ice into the 8th day on a long canoe trip down the Green River in Utah. One other thing I did to prolong the ice was to drape a white towel on top of the cooler and flip river water up on it occasionally to keep it damp. Evaporation no doubt kept the surface temp down considerably. The cooler was sitting in full sun all day every day in the middle of my canoe.

  28. How the hell do you stare at two beers, for six days, and not drink them?

    The Yeti looks like a bank vault!

    We have the Coleman, it’s a good cooler, opt for the white top, blue bottom, and why anyone would want this black top, black bottom, is beyond me.

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