Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
One thing I noticed a few years ago at the annual ICAST show was the number of booths solely or partially dedicated to selling “rotomolded” coolers. Rotomolding (short for rotational molding) has been around for decades and so have plastic coolers. So what was all the buzz about?
Through much of the plastic cooler history, the goal was to produce plastic coolers which would do a reasonable job of keeping things cold (occasionally hot) for a reasonable price. We’ve all used dozens of these in different brands and sizes over the years. We’ve all had hinges break, lids fly off, corners crumple or miscellaneous other problems.
Then a couple of brothers from Texas attacked these problem by producing a line of coolers (using the rotational molding process), added heavy duty hardware, better insulation and thicker, tougher sides. Then they gave their “super-coolers” a catchy name – Yeti – and attached a super-sized price tag to them.
In so doing they proved people were willing to pay roughly ten times more for these “super-coolers” and for many reasons. Some like them because they will withstand bear or gorilla attacks. Some like them because they will keep things cold two or three times longer than traditional coolers. Some like them because an adult can sit on them without crushing the lid. Some like them because they are cool, the same reason people buy Cadillac, Porsche and Mercedes products instead of Ford or Chevrolets.
One of the things I noticed at last summer’s ICAST was the small number of “super-cooler” sellers displaying their wares. I also noticed that for the first time, Plano had jumped into the rotomolded cooler market.
Why not? Plano is one of the oldest names in the fishing tackle industry, making tackle boxes since 1932 (it wasn’t plastic). Now they make plastic tackle boxes, general storage boxes, rod cases, gun cases and storage options for anything outdoors. Now they make a “storage” box for my lunch.
Called “Frost,” they come in three sizes, a 14 quart, 21 and 32 quart. I selected the 21 because it was the perfect size to serve as a lunch box for the small group of friends I usually fish with. I didn’t measure it in advance, but unlike other coolers I’ve use for the same purpose, I found that a tube of Pringles fits neatly across the bottom, a 16 ounce Diet Mountain Dew will stand up in the corner and there is enough space for sandwiches, fruit, cookies and the rest of the essentials my friends and I need. There’s even a small basket that can suspend items above the food and drinks below, like my cookies or crackers for the sardines.
I haven’t put it to the test against any bears or gorillas, but it’s passed every test I’ve put to it including a 250 pound person sitting on it, boating in 30 knot winds and keeping my Mountain Dew cold for the drive home from the lake. Available at many online and retail outlets or direct from Plano at http://www.planomolding.com.