Orca Ice Chest: A Widely Trusted Cooler Brand
The Yeti brand heralded the age of premium coolers in the ice chest industry, but it didn’t take long for other brands to attempt to offer alternatives. One of Yeti’s main challengers is the Orca brand of ice chests, which quickly gained a following of its own. Orca has comparable capabilities to other premium brands like Yeti, but in the regular (yet still nice) colors their prices are a bit more affordable. Get up with the same high-end prices, and you get a lot more color options that make your Orca ice chest even more distinctive and attractive.
Orca uses the same method of manufacturing ice coolers that Yeti does. This is the use of roto-molded polyethylene. Setting aside the complicated scientific jargon, this is basically the use of a single piece of insulating plastic. This means there are no seams in between separate pieces where water and heat can come in and out. These spots are also vulnerable to breakage.
Sizes of Hard-Sided Coolers
It’s important that you get precisely the right size for your needs. If you get something too small, then it’s an annoyance for your tailgating parties. But if it’s too large, you may not fit it in your car or you just overpay for storage space you never use.
- 20 quart. 16 gallons, 18 cans or 15 bottles
- 26 quart. 4 gallons, 24 cans or 18 bottles
- 40 quart. 3 gallons, 48 cans
- 58 quart. 12 gallons, 72 cans
- 75 quart. 6 gallons, 90 cans
- 140 quart. 1 gallons, 192 cans
So how long will the ice last inside the Orca ice chest? Orca claims a 10-day ice-life, but the reality is that this is only true for optimal settings. If it’s winter, you fill it to the brim with ice, and you don’t open the lid, then 10 days is possible for your ice to last.
But in real world conditions, Orca ice chests are used in the summer. Plenty of people just fill up halfway with ice, and of course you open it regularly to get your beer can out.
Ice-life expectancy also increases as your ice chest gets larger. That’s because you’re more apt to put in more ice, and so the ice lasts longer. Here’s a quick look on how long your ice will approximately last depending on the size of the cooler:
- Orca 20. 40 to 55 hours
- Orca 26. 45 to 60 hours
- Orca 40. 60 to 70 hours
- Orca 58. 70 to 95 hours
- Orca 75. 95 to 140 hours
- Orca 140. 120 to 200 hours
On the whole, these ice-life ranges are actually comparable to what you’d expect from other premium coolers.
Premium coolers are supposed to be tough. That’s why many hunters and anglers look for them and buy them even if they earn minimum wage. These people don’t buy these high-end coolers just for the prestige (though some people like well-off frat brothers do), but for the fact that they can take the abuse.
Forget about being able to sit on them—these people want these coolers to handle people standing on them. They don’t want to worry about leaks, or about hinges wearing down.
Orca performs well in this regard. As we’ve already mentioned, it comes with roto-molded walls, so there are no seems that may turn out to be vulnerable spots. These walls are also about 2 to 2.5 inches thick. This extends the ice-life, and also extends the lifespan of the cooler itself.
The other components are also made from high-end materials with excellent designs. The bolts are great. You’ve got thick beams made from stainless steel, so they’re thick and rust-resistant. There’s thick rubber on the latches so you can go through thousands of cycles without worrying about any tearing.
Finally, there’s even a limited lifetime warranty that covers any manufacturing defect and any damage under normal use.
On the other hand, it’s strange that it doesn’t have the seal saying that it’s been certified bear-resistant by the IGBC (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee). Other premium brands proudly display this seal to demonstrate their toughness. Orca has not (as of yet) gone through this certification yet, but then most Orca customers don’t actually expect their coolers to be attacked by grizzlies.
Additional Orca Features
Admittedly, the Orca range of features isn’t really all that long. But this may be intentional, since having more features and components can mean that more things can go wrong. Orca coolers are meant to work simply too, and you know what to expect.
- One nice touch though is the use of same side flex-grip handles for all models except for the smallest Orca 20. This handle offers a nice secure grip, so 2 people or even a single individual can carry the box without too much awkwardness.
- The lid gasket is fitted perfectly to ensure a perfect seal.
- Every model comes with easy-flow drainage spouts on the side. This will enable you to empty the cooler of the melted ice without having to tip the cooler over while it still contains items. The drain spout is on the side of each model, so it’s not hard to find.
- There’s also a unique mesh cargo net attached to the back of each hard-sided Orca cooler. That’s not something you see with many of the other premium coolers. It’s very convenient, as you can place any sort of accessories or items in there. These can be your bottle openers or even coasters
This is perhaps the most distinguishable features of the Orca coolers. Other premium cooler brands offer very little in terms of colors. But Orca offers a huge range of colors to choose from, with various designs intended to show your favorite allegiances.
- These are the basic colors you can choose from except that you’re not limited to a handful of hues. Instead, you can choose from 10 colors including pink, tan, seafoam, pink, or navy.
- Pro Leagues. Here you have designs that show off the logos and colors of your favorite American sports teams. You’ve got various teams from the NFL, MLB, and NHL. These are great if you’re going to a party where you watch a game like the Superbowl.
- These include the Greek Life colors which feature the logos of various fraternities and sororities, as well as the NCAA logos and colors of various collegiate athletic teams.
- These are many different color combinations that may match the colors of your own teams, such as the Little League team of your kids. You can then just customize them with letterings to specify the name of your team.
- First Responders. These feature an American flag on the lid.
- On the lid you get a design featuring the Rod of Asclepius, which is the Greek god associated with healing.
- One Nation. On the lid there’s a picture of many American flags bunched up together.
- Some of the coolers are for hunters, featuring camouflage designs on the lid.
- Some of the special editions feature the official logos of the national Rifle Association (NRA) or the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). You can pick among several colors with any of these logos.
- So far, we only have the Tennessee Tristar design available, but Orca is trying to increase this.
- Luke Combs. A black 20Q may also feature the name of this American country singer.
Orca coolers come with premium price tags. But if you designate the “premium” range into low, mid, and high price ranges, you’ll find that their classic colors are in the “mid” range, while other brands like Yeti are firmly in the high range.
Some of the Orca coolers do come with “high” range premium prices too. But these feature special designs and logos that can make your Orca cooler really stand out.
Other Orca Coolers
If you’re looking for other Orca styles, here are your options:
- This uses 4AA batteries to light up the LEDs so you can see what’s inside the cooler at night.
- Backpack coolers. These are for short trips to a camping site, and it can keep your beer cold with its insulating fabric and waterproof zipper. You even have color options ranging from pink to “Realtree” camouflage.
It’s not surprising that Orca has managed to acquire a lot of fans. They’ve managed to make their coolers durable while able to keep the ice from melting for a very long time. For many people, that’s what they need from a premium cooler.
Orca takes things further by paying attention to the design and look of their coolers. It’s wonderful how they’ve managed to partner with various professional athletic leagues, NCAA teams, and even Greek organizations so people can show off their memberships and fandoms,
Even the range of classic colors is greater than what you get from other brands. With other brands, sometimes you’re even limited to a single color for some of their coolers! But Orca offers more “classic” colors at more affordable prices compared to other premium brands.
So if you pick Orca as the brand for your next cooler, you won’t be the only one. They’re gaining more and more fans, and it’s easy to see why. Their coolers aren’t just capable—they look terrific too.