A winner in our 2010 report, the Coleman 50-Quart Wheeled Ultimate Xtreme gets top honors again. Slate.com writer Tom Bartlett gives this cooler high ratings for its ability to sit under a hot sun for four days and still keep food and drinks cold; he adds that while this doesn't quite meet the manufacturer's claim of six days, it could probably do so if kept in the shade and properly packed. Bartlett and other reviewers also like the cooler's roomy capacity, and ease of loading and hauling. Amenities such as large, smooth-rolling wheels; easy-open lid; sturdy handle; and cup holders are nice details.
User reviews on retail sites such as Amazon.com, REI.com, Cabelas.com and Buzzillions.com praise the cooler's rugged, hard-shell exterior, which protects food and drinks from getting smashed; its 72-can capacity; and its channel drain that allows you to empty ice melt without having to tip the cooler over. It's important to note that several sites, such as Walmart.com and Cabelas.com, have reviews for various sizes of the Coleman "Xtreme" but not the Ultimate Xtreme; this new and improved model promises to keep food and drinks cold for six days instead of five.
Slate reviewer Tom Bartlett tests six large coolers, filling them with ice and beer, setting them outside in both sunny and shaded areas, and opening them every 20 minutes over a period of several hours. The Coleman 50-quart Wheeled Ultimate Xtreme stays cold in the sun for four full days, and offers other amenities such as big wheels; a channel drain; cup holders; and a roomy, 72-can capacity.
Review: Nice Ice, Baby, Tom Bartlett, July 4, 2006
2. Choice magazine
This Australian consumer website conducts tests on a variety of medium-sized coolers by first chilling them to 71 degrees F, then loading them to 35 percent capacity, filling them with ice and placing them in a 90-degree F room. Tester James Thomson then checks each cooler to see how long it takes for the cans inside to warm up a few degrees; he also tests the coolers for lid latch security, and ease of loading and hauling.
Review: Coolers Review and Compare, Martha Psiroukis, Oct. 1, 2010
Amazon user posts are overwhelmingly positive about the Coleman 50-Quart Ultimate Xtreme, applauding its rugged durability, roomy capacity, and amenities such as a channel drain and cup holders. At least one reviewer points out that the drain design could be improved by placing the drain at the opposite end.
Review: 50 Quart Ultimate Xtreme Wheeled Cooler, Contributors to Amazon.com
REI customers are enthusiastic about the 50-quart Ultimate Xtreme, with users praising its portability and ability to stay chilled for a number of days. A few reviewers mention that the drainage plug on their cooler leaks.
Review: Coolers, Contributors to REI.com
There's only one review available for the 50-quart Wheeled Ultimate Xtreme model (although other sizes of Ultimate Xtreme coolers also get enthusiastic posts); however, this owner gives the review some weight by saying the cooler can hold ice throughout a five-day trip in the desert.
Review: Coolers, Contributors to Buzzillions.com