When searching for portable coolers, it’s hard to miss a Bison Cooler review. Formerly known as Brute Outdoor Coolers, these American-made coolers have a reliable reputation for high-grade performance. Not to mention, they’re in the same league as other leading cooler manufacturers.
After launching in 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas, Bison earned the trust of the outdoors crowds in the county shortly after. But since they weren’t big yet, you could find their coolers in very few stores.
However, a few years later, their coolers started showing up in online stores. And many customers loved them. Even today, they still gush about their reliability in their online Bison Cooler review.
After all, to survive in the outdoors, you need a high-quality cooler. You need your food and drinks to stay fresh and chilly as you like it and for as long as your trip takes.
But you might wonder: How do any of these coolers keep contents cold even in the hot summer sun?
- 1 How Do Portable Coolers Work?
- 2 The Bison Cooler Review: What Does It Offer?
- 3 How We Conducted the Bison Cooler Review
- 4 Bison Cooler Review: How It Compares
- 5 Rounding off the Bison Cooler Review
How Do Portable Coolers Work?
The two most essential components of a cooler are the insulation and the ice.
The insulation, which is usually foam or plastic, slows down the circulation of warm air, hence increasing the ice retention for cooling of your food or drinks. Let me break this down further:
Do you remember convection in your science class? Well, it’s bound to happen in an enclosed space. However, the insulation material helps slow down the warm air, and hence, cooling it — the slower the movement of air particles, the colder it gets.
But that’s not all the science behind coolers. You also remember conduction, right? It makes heat flow from a warmer object to a cooler one.
Since these two processes are inevitable, coolers resist their desire to warm your contents by creating an inhibiting environment. And that’s where the quality of the material build comes in. You’ll understand more when we discuss the features in our Bison Cooler review. Hopefully, it helps you make a smart purchase.
But, I bet you’ve heard of hard and soft coolers. And you may be wondering: how do they differ?
Hard or soft: what’s the difference?
A hard-sided cooler is larger and more rugged than a soft-sided cooler. A hard cooler also provides a longer ice life.
Soft coolers are great for daily use since they’re portable. They come in small bags that you can take with you to the gym, office, and even to the wilderness. However, they’re less durable than hard coolers.
If you’re going camping, hunting, or any other rugged outdoor activities, the best hard cooler will be more suitable. They usually feature tough exteriors that can handle substantial impacts. But you’ll have to be prepared to transport and carry the weight.
You can also get durability with portability in the best soft cooler. You can’t go hiking while carrying a bulky hard cooler. I prefer soft coolers since they can suit the spontaneous outdoor trips that require me to pack small.
Now that you know what to expect from coolers, let’s get back to the Bison Cooler review, shall we?
The Bison Cooler Review: What Does It Offer?
The Bison 24-can cooler is one of the top soft coolers in the market. Although it’s soft-sided, it’s built for rugged environments too.
The Bison 24-can model boasts twice the insulation of most premium soft coolers. It measures almost 1 inch, while most other comparable coolers fall under the 0.5-inch margin.
This optimized insulation helps retain ice for long hours.
The Bison 24-can cooler can keep ice for 24 hours in 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Although many cooler manufacturers overstate their ice life, Bison kept it quite realistic. When measuring ice retention, manufacturers might create a best-case scenario that doesn’t match many conditions that consumers face.
For instance, a cooler full of ice left in the Texas spring sun won’t match the reality of using the same cooler in the California summer sun. Remember, if you have your cooler in the wild for a whole day, you’ll be opening and closing it as you fetch your stuff. And as you do that, warm air keeps creeping in — raising the cooler temperature more than in the manufacturer experiment.
But for the Bison 24-can cooler, customers’ expectations have been met since the ice stays strong for at least 24 hours. That’s if you observe the cooling optimization measures like pre-chilling your food and drinks before packing, plus minimizing cooler opening durations. With good use, your beers can stay chilled in the Bison 24-can cooler for almost two days.
However, the ice life could be longer if the zip and can design was optimized. The zip could close tight enough for a better squeeze and seal. Also, if the can design were made with lesser surface area exposed, this bad boy would beat higher-priced counterparts.
But overall, the Bison is reliable for many soft cooler users. You can spend all day in the outdoors, taking chilly drinks and fresh fruit like you were at home.
The Bison 24-can cooler accommodates 24 cans and 10 pounds of ice. This capacity is what most people need for a day trip.
You can keep your dry contents in the side pockets without a second thought since it’s sweatproof. Also, you can pack some other stuff with the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) webbing this cooler provides.
Does the Bison cooler fit the standards of its price expectations? No, it goes beyond.
You might see it all pretty and soft, but it’s not. It features a heavy-duty 1000-denier vinyl shell plus UV shield.
And then there’s something sensational about stuff made in the U.S. Statista shows that America is one of the top trusted manufacturers in the whole world.
Also, Bison is known for its limited model production, which shows they focus on quality rather than quantity.
However, there’s a manufacturer glitch that has been noticed for a while. Some customers claim that the cooler is slightly shorter on one side, which compromises its stability. Hopefully, by now, it’s fixed because those claims aren’t popping up anymore.
Talk of style
The Bison 24-can is stylish as well as functional. You can confidently carry this cooler with you anywhere since it looks elegant.
And the best part is: It comes in colors (blue, sand, black, and pink) that fit diverse preferences. Furthermore, the removable shoulder strap helps transition to whatever you’re comfortable with.
Don’t worry about including a bottle opener for your trip, either. Like other premium coolers, It has one attached to the bag so you can pop your drink while it’s still cold.
pros and cons
How We Conducted the Bison Cooler Review
Using expert insight, we assessed the best and worst features of coolers. We then determined the overall impact they have on different aspects of performance. However, we didn’t just scrutinize the theoretical part.
We analyzed experiments performed in various controlled scenarios. But since real life isn’t perfect, and we can’t control the situations we use a cooler in, we explored further.
We dug into customer reviews, finding a pattern of results you’ll likely experience. And while we put all these facts together, we picked only the coolers that will satisfy your needs — creating this unbiased Bison cooler review with comparisons.
Bison Cooler Review: How It Compares
Although the Bison 24-can cooler is one of the best, you can find others that you might prefer.
The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 can carry 20 cans with a third of the space filled with ice. Since you can wear it on your back, you can bring along chilled drinks on any trip.
For insulation, the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 has closed-cell rubber foam that ensures ice retention for at least 24 hours. Its hydro lock zipper is waterproof and airtight too.
The zipper efficiency beats the Bison 24-can performance by some paces — which explains why YETI is pricier.
This cooler has a water-resistant dry hide shell that can sustain rugged and moist-dense environments. Also, it won’t fade since it’s UV rays protected.
The YETI Hopper Backflip 24 resembles the Bison 24-can. They’re both durable premium coolers that perform as advertised.
However, this YETI model is more versatile since you can carry it comfortably on your back. It can fit more wilderness activities than Bison — coming in 10 outdoorsy colors.
Also, you can judge its higher quality by its increased warranty.
TOURIT Soft Cooler 30 Cans Leak-Proof Soft Pack Cooler Bag…
- ADVANCED COOLING PERFORMANCE:…
- 100% LEAKPROOF and IMPACT…
- BPA FREE and FDA APPROVED: The…
- 3 WAYS to CARRY: With a…
- PERFECT DIMENSIONS: Exterior…
With its three uniquely built layers, this cooler provides advanced cooling for at least three days. The outer waterproof layer inhibits sweat production, the high-density foam middle layer ensures maximum insulation, and the inner layer is uniquely lined to be leakproof.
Apart from its impressive cooling abilities, the TOURIT Voyager 30 has a sturdy shell that can handle rugged use.
It beats the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 in capacity and insulation. And yet, it’s cheaper.
If you wish to get a cooler that acts as your all-weekend fridge, TOURIT is your guy. However, don’t expect anything from these waterproof zippers. No cooler company has perfected them yet.
This 32-quart cooler can pack your day trip supplies and still have space for more. It has a Thermal Plastic Urethane (TPU) exterior, which is known for its durable but lightweight properties. And even better: It can hold ice up to four days in around 90 degrees.
While most cooler parts are sewn, ENGEL HD30 majority features are welded. They attribute their ice retention power to this construction. However, they did more to maximize insulation.
This cooler includes a patent-pending vacuum valve technology that promotes ice retention. Before use, you can use it to suck the air out and enjoy at least 72 hours of chilled food and drinks.
If you want a cooler with extended ice life, ENGEL is for you. However, it isn’t that sturdy — many customers who regularly use it in rugged environments notice unraveling stitchwork.
So, for all-weekend cooling for at least a year of regular use, this cooler is suitable. But if you prefer more durability, the Bison, YETI, and TOURIT models should be your option.
Rounding off the Bison Cooler Review
For most wilderness enthusiasts, the ice life of a cooler matters a great deal. However, durability does as well. For the wild isn’t for the weak.
You don’t want something that fades or tears after a few months of use. And that’s why you need to choose from high-quality options — the prices will be worth it. You’ll see.
Featured Image Via Flickr
Which of these coolers would you choose? Why?
Jonathan O’Ryan is what you might call a seasonal digital nomad. When he is not thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or finetuning his custom UL camping gear in the middle of nowhere, he comfortably sits at his home desk – yes, he still has a physical address, we don’t know for how long though – sharing his insights on all things outdoors with Wilderness Today’s audience. We know life is an adventure, Jon, but we’d still like to have that urgent work email answered by noon.