After leaving the gear shop to pursue other career options I found myself in need of a larger, heavy duty lunch box. Knowing that my lunch would be tossed around in the back of pickups, stacked next to boxes of dynamite and baked in the summer heat; I had to find something tough. As a child I remembered my dad heading off to work with his trusty green Stanley lunch box and iconic thermos. Twenty years later I knew there was only one way to go. My days in the field were slightly different then dad's and required a new take on a classic. With the development of premium coolers hitting the market, Stanley took a swing at that market with the Adventure Cooler.
Initial Thoughts- The Stanley Adventure Cooler comes in three sizes a 7qt (the same as dad's old Heritage Cooler), 16qt and 30qt. Knowing that the 7qt size wouldn't cut it I went with the 16qt. The 30qt is great if you don't plan on lugging the cooler around a jobsite. The cooler is not light, weighing in at just under 7 pounds. This is primarily due to the build and added foam. The base of the cooler is made of one piece of thick plastic protecting the foam insulation. The handle of the cooler enters the base near the top of the sides and rotates forwards and backwards allowing access to the top lid. The lid opens using two heavy duty hinges. The lid is secured using two clips on the front of the cooler. The clips are not easy to unlatch, but are very secure feeling. The underside of the lid has a rubber seal gasket to reduce the chance of leaks. On the top of the lid there is a bungee system that is designed to hold Stanley's thermos or other similar shaped containers. The over all build of the cooler is on par with the Heritage cooler I remember my dad using (by the way that cooler is still going today).
Real World Use- The Stanley Adventure Cooler is tough. End of story. No really the thing as been tossed around the bed of truck while my coworker sped down a 's' shaped road for hours. I have dropped it while loading it in the back of trucks. It has spent hours sitting in the 120 degree Arizona heat on a rooftop and still managed to keep my water cold and fruit cool. The heavy duty handle has held up to me carrying over 15 lbs of water in the cooler. I have also used the handle to tie the cooler down to a flatbed to ensure it wouldn't end up on the highway. After over a year of use the latches are still difficult to close, but are always secure. The hindges show little signs of wear, except for the pin on one of the hinges works it's way out after a few months and has to be pushed back in. The second day I used the bungee cord system on the lid, it broke. The bungee end is terminated in a plastic nob that slides into slots. The nob popped off so I made a BFK in the end and it has worked fine like that since then. The exterior of the cooler is scuffed, but you can hardly tell (especially with the stickers). The most used feature of the Adventure Cooler is that it doubles as a seat. Although not a perfectly flat surface on the lid, it works great at the job site or trailside.
Final Thoughts- The Stanley Adventure Cooler takes the classic cooler and revamps it with a few features. The durability and design combine to make a exceptionally useful tool. The thick foam sides provide insulation in a range of temperatures that is comparable with more expensive alternatives. If you are looking for a lunch pale or personal trailside cooler the Adventure Cooler may be the solution. Find out what size and design fits your needs at Stanley's website.
*This product was purchased for testing.