- Paul Kahan
The Ozark Trail cooler review comes in various sizes and shapes, including igloo-style coolers, rolling coolers, and large cooler models. These Ozark Trail coolers are made to be lightweight and portable to easily carry onto campsites or into the wilderness for adventure seekers.
Do you need a cooler that will keep your perishables cold and fresh during your next outdoor adventure? If so, we’ve got you covered with this review of Ozark coolers.
Each of the Ozark coolers we tested can keep ice retention for up to five days, but there were some significant differences in performance. The 50-quart cooler brand had the best cooling power, but it had more than its share of issues.
We mentioned that Ozark offers both soft-sided and hard-sided coolers. Ozark coolers can be measured in quarts, while soft-sided coolers can hold as many cans as they want. In the next section, we will discuss the sizes available.
Ozark Trail Hard-Sided Coolers
Ozark cooler models currently have three sizes of hard-sided coolers. There are three sizes available: 26-quart, 52 quarts, or 73-quart.
As with most Ozark cooler brands, smaller coolers will use an overhead carrying handle. Larger coolers will use traditional side rope handles. This review will provide more information about these features.
Three sizes are a little too small for size selection. Ozark has managed the impossible by incorporating sizes that people want. There are three sizes: small, medium, and large. People who want a large ice chest (100+ cubic inches) to store items for a whole family or a week of camping adventures will find a noticeable gap.
Ozark Trail Soft-Sided Ice Coolers
Over the years, Ozark soft-sided coolers have seen a lot of changes. Many models have been updated, and new sizes have been introduced to the marketplace.
You can currently choose from a 6-can, 12-can, 24-can, 24-can, 36-can, 42-can, premium backpack soft coolers, or premium tote Ozark cooler. Other sizes have been available in the past, but we will be focusing on these models.
You will find a wider range of products here than with the Ozark hard-sided coolers. You will also find a wider range of Ozark cooler types and layouts. You will find smaller, more basic coolers that can hold lunch and larger, premium coolers with a longer shelf life.
The more capable premium models should keep ice retention for up to a day and a half. Mobility and Durability – Our favorite feature of the Trail Soft Coolers is their additional storage options.
Every model will come with at least one separate zippered pocket and many will have multiple zippered pockets in addition to mesh side pockets. Another great feature is mobility.
You can expect different features depending on whether you choose an Trail hard or soft-sided cooler. In the following sections, we will detail the features of each type of ice chest.
Ozark Trail Hard-Sided Colder Features
These coolers have hard sides and are meant to be competitive with premium Ozark trail coolers. Ozark Trail has not tried to make a lower-range model. Instead, they have attempted to include many of the same features that you’re used to seeing in brands such as Yeti, RTIC, and Engel at a lower price.
Roto-molded cooler construction is the essential element to hanging with the best coolers. This one-piece, seamless construction is crucial for rugged coolers and can hold ice for extended periods. All Ozark hard-sided coolers have rotomolded sides!
Wall thickness varies from one size to the next. However, you can expect the walls to be thick and 2.5 and 3 inches. This is the average premium Ozark cooler we’ve tested. These thick walls are protected from the sun by coating with a UV-resistant coating.
A thick rubber gasket is the next piece of equipment that will make your Ozark cooler last longer. Ozark found a freezer-grade gasket that was very similar to the ones you’ll find on more expensive coolers.
Robust latches with a lot of clamping force are necessary to maximize the squeeze that the gasket creates. Ozark coolers feature the “T-latch,” a popular design. Some brands will make the pin catch the bottom of the “T,” but Ozark prefers to place the pin caught in the middle of their latch. From our experience, both approaches work the same.
It is essential to mention that all metal components are made of high-quality stainless steel. This prevents the possibility of corrosion and breaking even after years of continuous use.
It is, therefore, no surprise that Ozark Coolers has been awarded the IGBC seal of approval. They are strong enough to withstand a mauling from a grizzly bear.
Ozark includes components that are related to ice strength and toughness. But what about features that make it easier to use their products?
You will first find a significant drain that quickly melts any ice. It is easy to remove the threaded drain, which will stay in place due to the attached chain.
Anti-skid feet are available in many sizes. These feet protect your floor, truck bed, or table’s paint or finish. A cooler filled with drinks and ice can weigh a lot and can drag it along the ground.
Ozark also included a stainless-steel locking plate in the center of its base. This locking plate doubles as a bottle opener. A bottle opener is an excellent addition to coolers, as it’s rare that someone will not need it.
The cooler’s lid has a fish ruler that is molded in for fishers. You can also find four and 7-quart models, respectively, and two 26-quart models.
An internal wire basket is included in both the 52-quart and 73-quart models. This basket is often not included with coolers and comes as an extra. We appreciate Ozark throwing it in for free.
It is crucial that the cooler brands can be transported safely and comfortably. Premium coolers are heavy, to begin with. It can easily weigh over 100 pounds when full of drinks, food, and even ice. The 26-quart model will have an overhead stainless-steel handle with a comfort grip, while the 52/73-quart model will have heavy-duty side handles.
Ozark Trail Soft-Sided Cooler Features
The Ozark Hard-Sided Coolers were designed to compete with premium coolers in the industry. However, the soft-sided coolers are more balanced.
There will be both low-cost and high-end models. Low-cost models won’t impress you with their features, build quality, or long ice lives. Instead, they try to find the right balance between being very cost-effective and still providing excellent value. Premium models will be more expensive, but they will have features that allow them to compete with premium soft-sided coolers.
You will have multiple storage options no matter what model you choose. The large, insulated storage area and the storage pockets on either the sides or front are critical. While the pockets at the front will have zippers, those on the sides will have mesh and open mesh. These pockets are great for storing your keys and wallet and any other items that you don’t want to be cold or wet in the insulated areas.
There will be plenty of space to store your items. Many models have an expandable top, which can raise the storage height to three times. It is large enough to hold a 16-liter can or stack 12oz containers on top of one another. They can accommodate any bottle opener, no matter how big or small.
Most models come with a padded shoulder strap for mobility. However, some models will add to this feature in new ways. The 42-can model comes with wheels and a telescoping handle that can be extended. The backpack cooler also has shoulder straps that can be worn as a backpack.
The premium cooler bag comes with two carrying options: an overhead handle and a removable shoulder strap.
Protecting soft-sided coolers requires structure. Without a hardliner, a cooler is more likely to have its stored items damaged during moving.
Ozark soft-sided coolers come with a removable liner. The premium cooler backpack and cooler bag have an EVA compression-molded base.
We’re talking about premium soft-sided coolers. Here are some additional features. These coolers have built-in bottle openers and daisy chains attachment points. They also include a compression strap, thicker insulation, and a washable 600D outer coating.
When analyzing coolers, ice life is an important metric. Ozark has a wide range of coolers, so we will have results that vary.
These soft-sided, low-cost coolers don’t offer much insulation or storage space. Their ice life is therefore severely reduced.
The premium soft coolers, especially hard-sided coolers, have more standard features when thinking of long ice lives. You can expect them to have longer ice retention.
Ozark is very quiet about the ice life of their coolers, except for their hard-sided ones. They state that the 26-quart can last for 4.5 days, the 52-quart takes seven days, and the 73-quart takes nine days. These numbers are impressive, but are they accurate?
We filled the products with about 1/3 of ice to test this. The products were then placed in the heat and opened occasionally. This allows for a more realistic representation of real-life usage.
The coolers with hard sides had an advantage, as expected. They are larger and have thicker insulation, rubber gaskets, and a more ice-friendly design.
The premium soft-sided coolers are no joke. In real-liTheld keep ice for approximately 1 1/2 days, while in real-life light conditions backpack should hold ice for a full day.
Some coolers with soft sides, lower-end models, had trouble holding ice. They are not designed to last more than a few hours. They are great for lunch and small picnics. You may not be able to use them for longer than a weekend, though.
Now, back to the hard-sided coolers. While the ice life was good, it wasn’t as long as Ozark claimed in their specifications. This could be because the Ozark testing was done under better conditions. The cooler’s ice life would increase if it was filled to the brim only with ice and left in a dark area. However, this is not how most people use their coolers.
Depending on the model, you will get between 2 and 5 days of ice-life. This is still quite impressive and should be sufficient to meet most people’s requirements. It is not as good as the premium coolers at the top of the market.
The appearance of these ice chests will vary depending on the model you choose. The non-premium soft-sided coolers are the most affordable. They come in a safe, solid color. You may find some white fabric or subtle grays, but the primary color will prevail.
Below is an example of the colors available for the 24-can soft cooler.
You should note that different models may have different color options. The premium cooler backpack and tote are only available in gray.
The styling of the hard-sided coolers is modern. Its attractive features and sharp edges make it a standout. We love the subtle orange accents at the latches and handles. There are only two color options: silver and white.
We are happy with the overall aesthetics. The premium soft coolers, as well as the hard-sided coolers, are our favorites. All models could use a few more color options. There are no options for custom colors or decals.
Prices for Ozark Trail Coolers can vary depending on the model. All models should be affordable, especially compared to the industry competitors because Ozark is making low-cost products.
However, this comes at a price (other gear than money). These asking prices were possible by using some manufacturing and quality shortcuts.
Rotomolded is a must if you want to make a top-of-the-line cooler. It’s made in one piece. This is a crucial aspect of cooler design. It must be durable and rugged. Ozark coolers are rotomolded, so there’s no need to worry about that minor detail.
The wall thickness will vary depending on the size of your home, but it is generally between two and a quarter inches and three inches. This insulation is solid and in line with industry standards for premium coolers.
A UV-resistant coating protects the cooler from sunburn.
A premium cooler should also be able to keep ice in place for more extended periods. This means that you will need a thick, high-quality rubber gasket. Ozark has a freezer-grade gasket similar to what you’d find in a high-end cooler.
You have a robust gasket. However, it must be squeezed very tightly to make it worthwhile. A pair of solid latches is the answer. The T-Rex Latch is the most preferred latch design for premium coolers. This is precisely what you’ll find on Ozark coolers.
However, there is one difference: The pin attaches to most latches at the base. Ozark chose to do something a bit different and installed a hole that attaches directly to the pin. The hole is still as tight, so it doesn’t make any difference in function.
Ozark coolers are also made from stainless steel. This makes them resistant to corrosion and breaking. This makes them more durable.
Their coolers have been certified bear-resistant (IGBC) by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. They join the ranks of bear-proof coolers. This means that you won’t need to worry about grizzly bears getting to your cooler contents.
We’re now going to explore the features that make this cooler more convenient to use. You don’t need to wait longer to drain the melted ice from this drain.
It has a threaded design so that you can attach it to a chain.
The anti-skid feet protect your tabletop against the super-heavy cooler. It would help if you did not drag your cooler around, as it could damage the finish of your floor or paint on your truck bed.
Stainless Steel Locking PlateStainless Steel Locksmith
A stainless steel locking plate is located at the bottom of each Ozark Cooler review. It can also be used to open bottles. It can be used to lock your cooler and open water bottles when you are away.
A molded fish ruler is another feature that a premium cooler has. If you are a fisherman, it’s located on the lid. It allows you to measure the size of your catch.
All coolers come with molded drink holders. Two are on the small cooler, and four are on the large and medium.
A wire basket is located inside the coolers. This is a great feature considering that many brands charge extra for wire baskets.
Heavy-duty handlesOzark also thought about how comfortable your cooler will be to carry. Premium coolers are heavy, so it is essential to consider how they will be designed.
An overhead handle is available for the 26-quart cooler. Side handles are available for larger coolers. They would still do better if the giant cooler had wheels.
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Ozark Trail Cooler vs. Yeti
Yeti produces some of the most durable coolers available. Their ice retention capabilities are impressive. They are also costly. Let’s face the facts.
Many people are now looking for alternative brands. Ozark is a brand we are often asked about. The vast price reduction and similar ice retention are appealing, we must admit.
The below test done by Lifetime coolers shows how the Ozark keeps ice for a decent period of time but doesn’t keep up with coolers like Yeti, Lifetime, or Orca.
I did a full review of Ozark vs Lifetime coolers as well as Ozark vs Yeti coolers and talk more about ice retention in those reviews if that’s something you’re interested in.
Which is better?
Despite its best intentions, Ozark Trail doesn’t have the same ice retention or toughness as a Yeti cooler. They have many of the same features as Yeti coolers, but Ozark models have significant quality issues. These include premature leaking, warping the lid, and sewn tears.
Yeti cooler has a solid reputation. Yeti’s ice life is one of the best in the business, and its products are built to last a lifetime. If so, then there are Ozark Vs Yeti Cooler – two main options to choose from. The first option is the Ozark Cooler. This brand offers affordable coolers that are durable and can keep ice for up to three days.
Ozark is a good alternative if you have a tight budget. They are almost as good as Yeti coolers for 25% less! You can find many of the same features as Yeti coolers here, and the ice-life, although not the best in the industry, isn’t too bad. It isn’t Yeti, but it isn’t bad!
Yeti soft cooler is the best option if you want the best and are prepared to spend a lot of money to get it.
Is Ozark Trail or lifetime cooler better?
Because they are roto-molded, Ozark coolers can withstand more than Lifetime coolers. Lifetime coolers, however, are blow-molded. The lifetime coolers can handle just about anything. Ozark coolers are probably a little more complicated, but it’s not by much.
Is Yeti better than Ozark?
Even though the initial temperatures of the tumblers were slightly different, it took each cup approximately 45 minutes for one degree to heat up. Both the Ozark and Yeti mugs did a fantastic job of insulating cold beverages. They were almost identical, we found.
Do Ozark Trail coolers leak?
The Ozark Welded Cooler’s outer is waterproof and puncture-resistant with a 100% leakproof seal.
Can you put a drain plug in a cooler?
A drain plug placed in the bottom will allow water to escape. However, there are other considerations. Cold air sinks and a hole at the bottom of a cooler allows cold air to escape. You might want to plug the drain line after you have installed it.
Ozark Trail Coolers are some of the best options on the market when looking for a new cooler. With all the benefits to choose from, it’s hard to deny that this will be an investment worth making. It might cost a little more upfront, but it will save you both time and money in the long run. So consider purchasing one of these, and try it out for yourself. You won’t regret the investment, and you’ll be glad you did it.
Please, take a moment to leave a comment below. Tell us about your experience with Ozark Coolers. Do you have any suggestions for other people looking to purchase one? Would you recommend this cooler to your friends? Please leave a review below, good or bad.
Last update on 2022-08-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API