Originally Posted by ob1coby
+1 Costco in Arvada had some last year for a great price. They might quite possible be the strongest most bomber coolers I've ever seen. They might also hold ice the longest because the capacity might be the smallest in respect to the outside dimensions. I think that means they have VERY thick walls/insulation.
Unfortunately I couldn't make the shape or dimensions work for boating. They had sharp corners, and weird protrusions and parts (like the handles) that make them awkward for boating. That is weird to me since rafters/caters might be the largest market for these kind of high-end coolers. I hope they expand their line in the future to include more raft/cat friendly sizes.
They definitely look odd in person. Odd dimensions and extrusions that seem problematic on rafts. Latches seem like they could be a problem with the amount sand we deal with. I am guessing their seals and retention are amazing though considering their historic market and products.
I would guess the biggest market is day users, especially fisherman. When you really look into wilderness rafting its a niche sport (while pressure for multi-day permits may be going up its actually decreasing per capita from what reports I have seen). On the other hand, fisherman make up a substantial and more accessible sport. Just look at the marketing of most cooler manufacturers; they target fishing and hunting far more than rafting. Or look at other advertised features like fish scales, bait box inserts, non-slip feet, corrosion resistant metal (saltwater) and tie down points that are not consistent with rafting design. Even most of the locking mechanisms have more to do with the issue of theft that has accompanied the expensive root-molded coolers since their inception. Pelican itself emerged from scuba and ocean sports.
Even the entire ice retention issue seems more targeted towards buyers who open their coolers up regularly during the day. I would love to have one but its hard to justify a $500 cooler right now when my current 90 Quart Marine will hold ice for 5 days on the river, plus 1.5 days of prep and travel. That satisfies 95% of the trips we do. We almost always walk away with ice with 2 boats and old school coolers. But we only open our coolers 2 maybe 3 times a day. But if I opened up my cooler every 15 minutes or so on a fishing trip in 95F heat to grab bait, beer or store fish we would be having a different conversation. Most people I know who have them are fisherman with the 45 quart range for at most 2 day trips.
Except for a few regional brands we are a secondary if not tertiary market from what I can tell. Seems to justify spending with those companies that are targeted at whitewater even more, as they are more likely to design coolers around our needs sooner and more consistently.