Whether you are out to enjoy the Spring and Summer seasons or simply need a reliable storage container for fishing and other outdoor fun, selecting a foam cooler or foam ice chest is an economical way to keep food, drinks, or seafood catches cold while you’re out having a good time. However, when selecting which to buy, the wrong choice can lead to serious frustration and even food spoilage. When choosing between the cheaper, thin-wall variety (also known as “promotional coolers”) and the thick-wall versions (popularly referred to as “ice chests”), don’t let the seeming cash savings of the cheaper thin-wall product fool you into thinking you’re necessarily getting a better deal.
If you really want to have a worry-free good time and save money in the long run, avoid the thin-walled foam coolers (although their prices are very tempting) and spend just a little bit more to get a higher quality, thick-walled foam ice chest of a similar quality to the sorts of foam shipping coolers used by seafood and meat shippers. Sure, they may cost you an extra couple bucks, but they’re more than worth it for the following three reasons.
Thick-Wall Ice Chests Are Stronger
Nothing ruins an outing at the beach or park faster than having a cheap, flimsy foam cooler collapse and break on you when you’re trying to lug a load of iced down goodies from your vehicle to the campsite or beach spot. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an insulating container that can handle the heavy-duty load of ice, bottled or canned drinks, and foodstuffs without breaking? Foam ice chests generally come with a wall thickness of 3/4 inch or more, and evenly consistent all around each side of the container. This means greater strength and load reliability. The thicker the container wall, the better off you are because the expanded polystyrene (eps) material doesn’t add significant weight merely because volume is larger and denser.
Thick-Wall Ice Chests Are More Leak Resistant
Many of us tend to throw a loaded cooler on the back seat or carpeted floor board of our vehicle, and none of us enjoy reaching for it after we’ve arrived at our destination only to find that the cooler has leaked all over the place. Fact is that a well-made foam cooler doesn’t tend to leak because it isn’t rushed through the manufacturing process. One that is properly built is “fully fused”, which means the individual eps beads that comprise the body and lid have been thoroughly molded together, a process that prevents water from seeping through. If you take a cheap cooler and a quality ice chest and fill them both with water, you’ll very quickly find “sweat” on the outside of the low quality product while the better one stays dry. With that said, not all brands of foam ice chests are constructed with the same level of quality because some companies care a lot more about customer satisfaction than others.
Thick-Wall Ice Chests Last A Lot Longer
Being of a similar strength and rigidity as many types of foam shipping coolers, they can be relied upon for long-term reuse. Great for storage, they are often used for keeping things moth-free in the attic, plus people keep valuable goods in them to protect them from temperature fluctuations. Generally, you can expect to keep yours for many years as long as they are not subject to unreasonable damage due to misuse. The result is that you no longer have to keep buying foam coolers every time you want to go enjoy the great outdoors. This long-term durability applies to the better-made ones as opposed to those brands that are rushed through the manufacturing process for the sake of boosting company profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.
Although there are higher quality “promotional coolers” available on the market, the overload of available brands makes it difficult to know which ones will do a great job. Because these are often impulse purchases, most people don’t want to spend the time to investigate. The way to get around this is to raise your standard and go for a foam ice chest. In the end, you’ll save more money by spending a little extra now, and you’ll save yourself worry and frustration because you know that your food and drinks are protected.