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View Full Version : Coolers YETI vs. ARB Fridge


dshockley
03-10-2013, 05:18 PM
As we're gearing up for the 2013 season, I've decided it's time for a cooler upgrade. Currently, I'm just in a standard Coleman igloo 36QT that you can buy for $40.

I've been looking at the YETI 45QT Tundra series ($329) and the ARB 50 QT Fridge / Freezer ($775). I searched the forum and didn't find many comments about coolers so decided to start a thread. Please chime in if you have any thoughts on these models or ANYTHING else you'd recommend.

Here are links to the two models I'm looking at:

YETI: http://www.yeticoolers.com/categories/Tundra-Series/

ARB Fridges: http://store.arbusa.com/Fridges-C11.aspx

Obviously with the ARB, I wouldn't buy anymore ice. By my calculations, I could pay for it in about 2 years with the savings from buying ice. However, the YETI would reduce my ice usage over my current cooler.

I do have some experience with both coolers. Friend with the ARB does a lot of Jeepin' and ARB is huge in the 4x4 world. With a integrated power system - there's no external power transformers required to operate the fridge on 12V DC, 24V DC or 110V AC. NO ice. Plus, I could use it throughout the week inside my office or at the house. The other really cool thing is that it fits perfectly between the bow seats of my X15 and the lid opens towards the transom for easy access.

The YETI is basically a top of the line cooler that has the same functionality of my current cooler but will hold ice longer. I've been around the YETI where it's blown other standard coolers out of the water with the ability to handle heat. Last July, out of 5 coolers (4 standard and 1 YETI) it was the only cooler that wasn't straight water by 3pm. The YETI ice was still dry and as cold as when they filled it up in the morning.

Thank ya'll for the comments in advance. Here's to a great 2013!

TN Barefooter
03-10-2013, 05:58 PM
I only have experience with the Yeti, a friend of mine has it and we have taken it hunting several times. By far it is the best non electric cooler I've seen. It is pricey but you're getting what youno pay for in coolers.

dshockley
03-10-2013, 06:10 PM
I only have experience with the Yeti, a friend of mine has it and we have taken it hunting several times. By far it is the best non electric cooler I've seen. It is pricey but you're getting what youno pay for in coolers.
Thanks TN Barefooter. I'm with you. You get what you pay for. Never bought a higher end cooler always been from the mindset that they're not that much better. But I did see the difference with the YETI.

Cobra Rob
03-10-2013, 08:13 PM
Only problem I see with Yeti is for the same footprint they don't hold near as much... It would be great if I could fit one where the stock cooler is. Our problem is with the side cooler and the bow cooler we still can never even come close to having enough room.. Only thing maybe a yetti under the radio area just to store the extra ice for the day but then we lose the storage room for the boards if we need to get them out of the way to tie up...

fskof
03-10-2013, 08:48 PM
You cant go wrong with either. They are the best of the best. I have friends that have both and they couldnt be happier.
The ARB is well know to the off roaders around the world. Built to last.
The YETI is the gold standard to coolers and is well known with outdoorsman, hunters and fisherman.
Both are expensive but this is "You get what you paid for". Which one do you think you will get?

KahunaCraft
03-10-2013, 10:01 PM
Could buy an ice maker for your house fridge freezer and use it as a constant cheap source of ice. If so, then maybe go with the Yeti...you'll be buying less ice too...Save the space in the bow.

On the flip side, i like that power cooler. I wonder whether you need to look at the batteries / charging systems impact of a constant draw...no worse than a hopped up stereo...

In either decision, Id suggest looking at thermos type cups for passengers to stretch the life of the ice once it is outside the cooler, this limit spills too.

mlawler34
03-10-2013, 10:04 PM
Only thing I will say, us if you get a Yeti, get the one from the Rowdy Gentleman!

http://rowdygentleman.com/products/the-american-flag-toasting-man-yeti

east tx skier
03-10-2013, 10:43 PM
We have a Yeti. It's very heavy duty. But it has a couple of drawbacks. First, the walls are very thick. As a result, for its size, your interior space isn't quite so great. Second, it is heavy as hell. Finally, for things like boating, where you're opening the cooler frequently, it's not going to keep the ice from melting.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great cooler. But for as much as it costs, you might do as well with a Coleman Xtreme for $30.

mmhsval
03-11-2013, 12:08 AM
If you go the cooler route there are several options similar to the Yeti. Boating magazine just did a nice review of several "mid-tier" coolers. Yeti actually falls into this category according to their criteria. The "top-tier" would be fiberglass coolers like Frigid-Rigid. Also, the fishing world is a great resource for cooler information and real-world abuse tests. If you are considering the Yeti there is a big thread on TheHullTruth.com (a very active forum that caters to the center console offshore fishing crowd) about their less than stellar customer service. There are also tons of other "which cooler" threads to browse. However, just like any online forum, you should take it all with a grain of salt. Hope this helps!

http://www.boatingmag.com/gear/marine-accessories/boatinglab-tests-top-shelf-coolers
http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-forum/450609-yeti-coolers-not-all-they-cracked-up.html

nautibynature
03-11-2013, 06:08 AM
I'll stick with my Coleman's

http://youtu.be/6-TE4RnqT0U

CantRepeat
03-11-2013, 06:53 AM
This cooler will keep a case of drinks cold for two days with very little melting.

https://www.mastercraftbydesign.com/index_823.asp

CruisinGA
03-11-2013, 08:15 AM
The ARB fridges are sweet, lots of guys I used to offroad with had them.
FYI- exact same thing as an Engel.

I'm not sure the Yeti coolers are worth the $$$.

02ProstarSammyD
03-11-2013, 08:50 AM
We got a coleman to replace an older coleman last year. Thing was alot better on holding things cold than the old one but I agree that opening/reopening is going to kill any ice in any cooler. If I know we are in for a long day I put a cubic ton of ice in mine and just rotate in beers as the day goes by. If you are on 2 or 3 day trips the arb would be great. I just can't find the justification for a 350 dollar cooler that is 10x heavier to load/unload every other day.

bsloop
03-11-2013, 11:38 AM
Those extreme cooling options sound neat but I really dont think they are a viable solution for most boaters. If a person regularly boated Powell or other super remote locations it might almost make sense. Those "mid" to high level coolers are really desigened for preservation of expensive contents not beers.

High end units might hold ice longer than cheap coolers in preservation tests, but a boat cooler is used differently. Drinks of less than ideal temp are often dumped in which is a negative. Then the lid is opened 50 times in an afternoon which will lose cool with every opening.

Choosing a decent cooler is a good starting point. Look for one with insulation in the lid, not just dead air. I have had good luck with Igloo marine Cube. They are tall enough to sit on and have more volume per sq foot of floor space. I can make it 2-3 days exposed in 90-95deg heat as a drink cooler when set up as I detail below.

The biggest problem may be the ice used! Most commercially produced ice is tubular. This is very efficient to produce as it basically slides along a chilled outter and inner wall and is extruded as ice in a continuous process. It is fine for liquid cooling where the liquid can touch all surfaces but AWFUL for cooler ice. The hole is inefficient taking up space and allowing an air space that warms every time the lid is opened. Also, ice out of the store often starts "warmer" than home ice.

Make your own solid ice and it will last much longer. I have a dedicated upright freezer that makes ice in the bottom drawer. This is solid cubes and good for drinks but solid chunks are even better.
We freeze milk jugs solid then slam them on concrete or hit with a 15" crowbar on the boat. Utility knife down the side opens the jug if it has not split already. The tiny crushed ice falls down between cans and bottles very tight yeilding more ice and colder ice in a given space.
The bottom layer usually refreezes into a solid chunk to start the day.
We save milk jugs year round and usually start the seaon with 3 large leaf bags full of empties. Those combined with what we empty on a weekly basis will take us though the summer.
We boat almost every weekend and go though 5-7 gal; 50# a weekend easy.

We also keep our beverage refrig just below freezing, this will not usually freeze items but does start drinks with a good chill. Sometimes beers in the back are a little slushy if I am off a little on temp but those just go to the bottom of the cooler for use later in the weekend.

Finally, for big food weekends one cooler is dedicated to food only. Unbroken jugs keep things cold without the risk of water damge due to melted ice. This cooler is not opened as frequently as the beverage cooler so it stays cooler and lasts longer.

For those counting, that is 3 refrig/freezers; Kitchen, Beverage, and deep freeze. A person could get by with just two frig/freezers but we get a side of beef and stock up on frozen grocery items so the 3rd is well utilized.
All total there is electricity used but $$$ saved in ice and time saved not stopping for ice provide a positive ROI. Grocery money saved is a bonus.

dshockley
03-11-2013, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the replies fellas. Great information / ideas. Keep 'em coming.

dshockley
03-11-2013, 12:00 PM
Only problem I see with Yeti is for the same footprint they don't hold near as much... It would be great if I could fit one where the stock cooler is. Our problem is with the side cooler and the bow cooler we still can never even come close to having enough room.. Only thing maybe a yetti under the radio area just to store the extra ice for the day but then we lose the storage room for the boards if we need to get them out of the way to tie up...

I agree. With the thicker walls, the inside space is smaller and won't hold as much.

dshockley
03-11-2013, 12:01 PM
You cant go wrong with either. They are the best of the best. I have friends that have both and they couldnt be happier.
The ARB is well know to the off roaders around the world. Built to last.
The YETI is the gold standard to coolers and is well known with outdoorsman, hunters and fisherman.
Both are expensive but this is "You get what you paid for". Which one do you think you will get?

FSKOF, not sure which one I'll get yet!

dshockley
03-11-2013, 12:01 PM
Could buy an ice maker for your house fridge freezer and use it as a constant cheap source of ice. If so, then maybe go with the Yeti...you'll be buying less ice too...Save the space in the bow.

On the flip side, i like that power cooler. I wonder whether you need to look at the batteries / charging systems impact of a constant draw...no worse than a hopped up stereo...

In either decision, Id suggest looking at thermos type cups for passengers to stretch the life of the ice once it is outside the cooler, this limit spills too.

KahunaCraft, GREAT ideas on the cups. Thermos cups all around.

dshockley
03-11-2013, 12:06 PM
We have a Yeti. It's very heavy duty. But it has a couple of drawbacks. First, the walls are very thick. As a result, for its size, your interior space isn't quite so great. Second, it is heavy as hell. Finally, for things like boating, where you're opening the cooler frequently, it's not going to keep the ice from melting.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great cooler. But for as much as it costs, you might do as well with a Coleman Xtreme for $30.

+1 for East TX Skier. I agree, that's why I haven't bit the bullet yet on these high dollar ones. I want to see if someone can convince me. The cost difference is easily 175-200+ gallons of fuel this year.

ttu
03-11-2013, 12:11 PM
This cooler will keep a case of drinks cold for two days with very little melting.

https://www.mastercraftbydesign.com/index_823.asp

i have one of those. works great.

dshockley
03-11-2013, 12:11 PM
Those extreme cooling options sound neat but I really dont think they are a viable solution for most boaters. If a person regularly boated Powell or other super remote locations it might almost make sense. Those "mid" to high level coolers are really desigened for preservation of expensive contents not beers.

High end units might hold ice longer than cheap coolers in preservation tests, but a boat cooler is used differently. Drinks of less than ideal temp are often dumped in which is a negative. Then the lid is opened 50 times in an afternoon which will lose cool with every opening.

Choosing a decent cooler is a good starting point. Look for one with insulation in the lid, not just dead air. I have had good luck with Igloo marine Cube. They are tall enough to sit on and have more volume per sq foot of floor space. I can make it 2-3 days exposed in 90-95deg heat as a drink cooler when set up as I detail below.

The biggest problem may be the ice used! Most commercially produced ice is tubular. This is very efficient to produce as it basically slides along a chilled outter and inner wall and is extruded as ice in a continuous process. It is fine for liquid cooling where the liquid can touch all surfaces but AWFUL for cooler ice. The hole is inefficient taking up space and allowing an air space that warms every time the lid is opened. Also, ice out of the store often starts "warmer" than home ice.

Make your own solid ice and it will last much longer. I have a dedicated upright freezer that makes ice in the bottom drawer. This is solid cubes and good for drinks but solid chunks are even better.
We freeze milk jugs solid then slam them on concrete or hit with a 15" crowbar on the boat. Utility knife down the side opens the jug if it has not split already. The tiny crushed ice falls down between cans and bottles very tight yeilding more ice and colder ice in a given space.
The bottom layer usually refreezes into a solid chunk to start the day.
We save milk jugs year round and usually start the seaon with 3 large leaf bags full of empties. Those combined with what we empty on a weekly basis will take us though the summer.
We boat almost every weekend and go though 5-7 gal; 50# a weekend easy.

We also keep our beverage refrig just below freezing, this will not usually freeze items but does start drinks with a good chill. Sometimes beers in the back are a little slushy if I am off a little on temp but those just go to the bottom of the cooler for use later in the weekend.

Finally, for big food weekends one cooler is dedicated to food only. Unbroken jugs keep things cold without the risk of water damge due to melted ice. This cooler is not opened as frequently as the beverage cooler so it stays cooler and lasts longer.

For those counting, that is 3 refrig/freezers; Kitchen, Beverage, and deep freeze. A person could get by with just two frig/freezers but we get a side of beef and stock up on frozen grocery items so the 3rd is well utilized.
All total there is electricity used but $$$ saved in ice and time saved not stopping for ice provide a positive ROI. Grocery money saved is a bonus.


bsloop, WOW. Thanks for taking the time to share your ice knowledge. Great ideas and $$ saved on ice. Gotta love that!

east tx skier
03-11-2013, 12:38 PM
+1 for East TX Skier. I agree, that's why I haven't bit the bullet yet on these high dollar ones. I want to see if someone can convince me. The cost difference is easily 175-200+ gallons of fuel this year.

Ours was a gift. Don't get me wrong. It's nice and all. But it's really heavy and does not have a lot of interior space for its heft.

jafo9
03-11-2013, 01:21 PM
we have a coleman (i think) 12v fridge on our other boat. it came built into a little kitchen type setup on our pontoon. at first we were going to tear the whole thing out for extra space, but then we came to really like the convenience of a fridge. when we bought our mc, we struggled with the idea of adding one to it. in the end we ended up just using a cheap "marine" cooler that fit behind the drivers seat. our decision was based on the fact that if we are going to be gone for a long time either anchored or visiting friends on the lake, we'll be on the 25ft pontoon which is way bigger than our 02 X30.

to us the biggest downside to a fridge on the mc was size (bigger than the space we wanted to put a cooler) and need for power. the need for power isn't a great demand, but if you are going to run it for extended periods of time you will need to plan ahead. the best solution i found on the pontoon was to add an ACR to the dual battery setup that came from the factory. i rewired the boat to act more like a cabin cruiser with a "house" battery and a "start" battery. the only load on the start battery is the starter. once the start battery gets fully recharged and exceeds 13.6 volts, the ACR combines the batteries and then the motor charges the house battery. when the motor is off, once the house battery drops below 13.6v, the ACR disconnects and isolates the batteries so only the house battery gets discharged. this lets me run the fridge non-stop during the day and not worry about getting home. i also wired in a dual battery charger to let the house recharge overnight. if you go this route, i highly recommend adding a 2nd voltmeter to your helm so you can monitor both batteries independently. this lets me watch the ACR kick in and gives me peace of mind that everything is working properly.

obviously the big up side to a fridge is the convenience. turn it on and load it up. it really helps if the stuff you put in is already cold. for us its easy, as it comes out of the fridge in the house and goes straight into the boat fridge. i've never counted, but i can probably fit close to a case of beer as well as plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. then there's the cool factor. its fun to be visiting friends at their docks, offer them a beer, and tell them "its in the fridge".

TN Barefooter
03-11-2013, 01:32 PM
I'll stick with my Coleman's

http://youtu.be/6-TE4RnqT0U

That was an interesting review, thanks for sharing the link.

jdl xstar
03-11-2013, 02:00 PM
My unsolicited take on coolers....

The majority of us "weekend warrior" boaters don't need a cooler that will keep ice frozen for more than, say, 8 hours therefore I don't see the need for a cooler that costs so much more than your regular run-of-the-mill cooler. One 10 lb bag of ice will keep many beverages very cold for a very long time even in the direct sun. Now if you are doing overnight trips or keeping caught fish, that is another story.

Yeti's are cool though so if someone gave one to me, I'd gladly accept. ;) But I say save some coin and get a fancy igloo cooler and call it a day!

gts-20
03-11-2013, 02:39 PM
We use one of theses:

http://www.polarbearcoolers.com/product/PB247.html

Works great, keeps ice for a weekend, and takes up very little room. We usually by a bag of ice on the way to the lake Sat. morning, and we still have ice left Sunday evening when we are wiping the boat down. Very happy with it.

RaggedEarl
03-11-2013, 07:45 PM
I have a Yeti, and I love it.

There are a couple other options for rotomold coolers.
http://k2-coolers.com/ (a little cheaper that Yeti)
http://iceholecoolers.com/ (a little more expensive than Yeti)

rgardjr1
03-12-2013, 12:21 AM
i have one of those. works great.

I have been very impressed with ours as well. I use one along with the standard Igloo cooler. I was considering a high dollar cooler, but decided to buy a small dedicated icemaker instead. Picked one up off of Craigslist last year for $250. It does about 60 lbs in 24 hours and the ice bin will hold about 25 lbs before you have to start bagging it up to make room for more. It more than keeps up with our ice consumption and we have plenty to bring down to my wife's parents place when they need some.

Thrall
03-12-2013, 04:54 PM
What bsloop said!

Side by side comparison though, Yeti to Coleman boat cooler, the std white marine cooler. Yeti in the sun, Coleman in the back compartment, shaded. Similar # of beers dranken!
Yeti kicks Coleman's @ss.

As mentioned though I don't have one due to their cost, weight and how few beers they carry for their size.

I also live where it rarely gets to 80deg so ice lasts all day anyway. Plenty left for cocktails after the beer is gone!

thatsmrmastercraft
03-12-2013, 05:33 PM
What bsloop said!

Side by side comparison though, Yeti to Coleman boat cooler, the std white marine cooler. Yeti in the sun, Coleman in the back compartment, shaded. Similar # of beers dranken!
Yeti kicks Coleman's @ss.

As mentioned though I don't have one due to their cost, weight and how few beers they carry for their size.

I also live where it rarely gets to 80deg so ice lasts all day anyway. Plenty left for cocktails after the beer is gone!

That fits the requirement. :rolleyes:

musicmd
03-12-2013, 11:24 PM
Those extreme cooling options sound neat but I really dont think they are a viable solution for most boaters. If a person regularly boated Powell or other super remote locations it might almost make sense. Those "mid" to high level coolers are really desigened for preservation of expensive contents not beers.

High end units might hold ice longer than cheap coolers in preservation tests, but a boat cooler is used differently. Drinks of less than ideal temp are often dumped in which is a negative. Then the lid is opened 50 times in an afternoon which will lose cool with every opening.

Choosing a decent cooler is a good starting point. . . .



This is an amazing post, written by someone who has obviously put some thought into the matter. Strong work.

RaeRay
03-13-2013, 10:25 AM
Yetti!!!!