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Discussion Starter #1
I would really like to change the question. Which coolers come close to a Yeti in performance but not in price?
 

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If my life depended on keeping ice for more than a couple of days, I would probably consider buying some brand of so-called "peformance cooler". But as it is, I can't justify putting out that much money for any of 'em. First of all, I don't camp when it's so hot that I'm sweating just by sitting, so right there I've eliminated some of the need for the extra insulation. I use Igloo marine coolers. All white - nothing dark to absorb sunlight. I freeze quart and half gallon milk cartons to make block ice instead of cubes so it lasts longer. Then, on top of that, I keep the cooler in the shade with a reflective space tarp over it. That usually gets me through a three day weekend. But, having said all that, and if you're really bent on going high tech, my choices would be Ozark Trail (Walmart) and Lifetime.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
MacGyver you mentioned shade which makes sense. However i have just had a brain wave. What about making a jacket for the cooler out of reflectix https://www.lowes.com/pd/Reflectix-50-sq-ft-Reflective-Roll-Insulation-24-in-W-x-25-ft-L/3011904
Use card stock to give it a bit of strength. Me thinks that will work. What do you think?

P.S. Most of our camping will be done in Florida. We are going to plan a road trip to California in the next 12 months. Oh and the Smokey mountains in the very near future.
 

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I've seen plenty of people online mention using Reflectix, but you're the first I've seen mention stiffening it with card stock. I've thought about making a jacket from time to time but for some reason I never get around to it. I already own a couple of space blankets and they seem to work well enough, so that's what I use. But, if you're anything like me and like to put things together to see how it goes, I say go for the Reflectix.
 

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Hmmm, interesting. In fact, so interesting that I'm finding myself exploring reflective tarps and reflecting (corny pun intended), on the many immediate and possible future uses of them. Thanks guys, Lol, seriously, found a 10' x 8' at Walmart, fairly reasonably priced and hope to pick up one or two if they're in stock.
 

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Hmm

Just saw this somewhere and thought this might help to answer your question. The Engel High-Performance cooler is just as good as a Yeti, if not better, in many ways. To begin with, it is a bear resistant-container just like the Yeti, which makes it as close to indestructible as possible. Similar to the Yeti, the Engle cooler offers UV resistance for long lasting color and appearance. The Engle’s marine grade latches are comparable to the Yeti’s T-Rex lid latches, which holds the lid securely in place for an air-tight fit.
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We had a cheap Coleman cooler when we first started camping that didn’t work very well. It barely kept ice for 2 days.
I lined our cooler with Reflectix. Instead of lining the lid I made a the back taller to make an inside lid. The ice lasted a lot longer with this. We also keep a couple of small quilted pads over the cooler. It doubled our ice retention.

Last year we bought a couple of Engle coolers and we love them. They really are worth the money.
My daughter and her husband quit their jobs and moved to North Carolina while he interviewed for his dream job. They decided to live in their tent for a couple of months. To save money. They purchased an Engle and it performed really well for them also. One thing they did was made a Reflectix cover to hide the expensive cooler.
 

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My opinion is Yeti, Pelican type coolers are better and last a very long time. I use my all the time for trips to the gulf and back. They just plain hold ice and food longer and don’t break as often. But you have to prep them before using.... bring them in and get them cool with ice before using.

Try a lifetime from Walmart. I bought a 77 qt because I need more space for fish and I was surprised how well it does.
 

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Another vote for Pelican roto-mold coolers. You can save 1/3 vs. a Yeti and have the same performance. I'm still dreaming of a 50-qt. pellican for Christmas!
 
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