Monday, May 5, 2014

Product Review: IceMule Classic Cooler - Medium (15L)

The legs are a distraction, I know, but check out that IceMule cooler!

Keeping things ice cold when doing something outdoors for an extended period of time seems to be a dilemma we all share. Carrying your cold beverages around in a hard case cooler can be inconvenient or tiresome on the arms. The IceMule Classic 15L Cooler solves both and for an active person it’s awesome!

When you first look at the cooler it looks kinda bulky and to be honest, doesn’t look like it could keep things cold for an extended period of time. Then again, that’s just the first look and you should never judge a book, right? You can inflate or deflate the exterior portion of the cooler to fit what is inside and to give you extra cushion when you have it resting against your back. Keep in mind that the more air you add, the more difficult it can be to close.

Image courtesy of IceMule.

The 15L cooler weighs in at 4 lbs. empty, so when you add in ice and whatever you want to eat and drink, it can get slightly heavy, but I am also not planning on hiking for miles. A little extra cushion against your back provides a comfort unlike any other cooler I have used. Any hard cooler wouldn't hold a candle to this! You won't catch my strapping a hard cooler to my back.

It is built well and reminds me of a dry bag or compression sack. Once you get your items inside, you fold over the top portion at least twice (letting air out as you go), and then use the clip ends to lock the fold in place. It's that simple and is very effective.

From the IceMule website:

Dimensions & Capacity
  •     10" diameter x 16" tall when closed
  •     12 Cans Plus Ice OR
  •     5 Wine Bottles plus ice

Features

  •     TriFold DriTopTM System. Foolproof seal to keep ice in and air out.
  •     MuleSkinEVTM.  Tough Inner and Outer layers; 2X thicker than most soft coolers.
  •     PolarLayerTM Insulation. Keeps ice intact and contents “IceMule Cold” for up to 24 hours.
  •     IM AirValveTM.  Allows for insulation layer air removal so the collar can roll up for storage in its stuff sack.

For the past two very warm weekends, I have been putting the IceMule Medium 15L Cooler through a series of tests. The first weekend was extremely hot and over 90 degrees, so I placed two large bottles of water (one with ice inside and one without), two cold beers, a 2 liter of Kooler gel, and just one tray of ice (12 cubes). Instead of putting it in the shade, I left it right out in the direct sunlight…for three hours as I worked in our garden. Whenever my daughter or I needed a cold drink of water, we opened the IceMule Cooler to get one. Having a 5 year-old help with this review was great because she constantly wanted to see if the water was cold and it was something new to check out. With the constant opening and closing (at least twice, sometimes three times per hour) the ice stayed solid and the water with the ice retained the ice for nearly three hours. Had I used more ice, I am sure it would have stayed solid for a few more hours.

The outside of the IceMule was hot to the touch and I figured there was no way for the contents to remain cold, but I was very wrong. It was like a night and day difference outside vs. inside. This is something to consider if you are going to use the carrying strap and hang it over your back or if you have kids that are using the cooler. I would not recommend carrying the cooler with no shirt on in the hot sun as the cooler might be a tad warm to the touch.

The weather dipped into the 80s the next weekend, so I decided to test out the comfort level of carrying the cooler using the strap provided. I opted to mow my lawn with a push mower and carry the IceMule over my shoulder. With the design of the cooler being cylindrical, it fit close to my spine and was rather comfortable. The softness aided with comfort and conforming to the contour of my back. For short distances I would see this being very valuable, but not for long distances. After twenty minutes, the shoulder strap (and yes, it comes with a padded portion, too) began digging into my shoulder and felt uncomfortable. I took the cooler off and left it in the sun. Once mowing was done, the beverages were still cold. Very impressive IceMule!

The cooler is leak proof and will float, but I did not test those features out fully. The claim is that it is leak proof, but use care when handling it. I can see the cooler getting punctured very easily if you are not cautious. I am aiming to test it out over the summer while swimming in the ocean (I will be adding a few feet of paracord to it to be sure it doesn't float away) or utilizing it while lounging in our small kiddie pool. I am sure the family will love having a cold beverage inside the pool with us instead of having to get out to find a drink in a hard cooler. The IceMule Cooler is a winner!

The IceMule Classic 15L Cooler is not inexpensive, yet is a worthy investment. It retails for $49.95 and for something that not only keep things as cold a it does, but also can be transported in different ways, I think it is worth the money. Plus, IceMule offers a full 90-day unconditional guarantee. I do wonder if you can patch up any holes that might appear on the outside. Beyond that, I will be using the IceMule Classic 15L Cooler all summer and I am sure the family will as well.

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I received the IceMule Cooler for free from IceMule as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication. All opinions are strictly my own.

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