HomeTactical & SurvivalLighter, Cheaper, Roomier: Blue Coolers Ice Vault Review

Lighter, Cheaper, Roomier: Blue Coolers Ice Vault Review

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For a number of years, coolers have been all the rage. With about a million options for what seems like the same cooler over and over again on the shelves, how do you even know which one to choose?

Let’s face it. We are still living in the era of YETI. It’s almost impossible to review or even speak about a cooler without comparing it to what’s become the industry’s gold standard for boxes that keep your stuff cold. If I’m being honest, it really gets down to splitting hairs when it comes to rotomolded coolers.

I’ve tested a lot of coolers, and for the most part, they all seem to be more or less carbon copies of their competitors, each performing pretty dang well. But in the end, I almost always end up tossing one of my favorite YETIs back in the truck and hitting the road.

The Blue Coolers 60 Quart Ice Vault might be the first “other brand” cooler that has performed just as well, if not better, than my YETI coolers. It should speak volumes that this Blue Cooler has been in my truck bed for over a month now, being drained and replenished with ice as needed. I didn’t have the best first impression (which I’ll get into later), but this thing certainly hangs with the big dogs, mirrors them, and might even outperform.

In short: It doesn’t have a sexy name like Roadie or Tundra, but the very thoroughly named Blue Cooler 60 Quart Ice Vault Roto-Molded Cooler With Wheels does everything your favorite YETI does with a portion of the price tag.

  • Collapsible Grab-N-Go Handle
  • All-terrain wheels
  • Airtight gaskets and seals
  • Tie-down slots
  • Utility port
  • Dry ice compatible
  • Chrome-plated lockable lid system with built-in bottle opener
  • Non-skid feet
  • Rapid drain system
  • Dry basket & divider-ready design

  • Keeps ice just as long (if not longer) than competition

  • Easy to move around, even when full

  • Latches securely

  • Nice chrome-plated corner details

  • Release port for draining while closed


  • Plug not attached

  • Latches get in the way of closing

Blue Cooler Ice Vault Review

I stumbled on Blue Coolers by chance. After reaching out to Caddis Sports about its legacy float tubes, the brand nudged me about this cooler brand I should check out. Not one to shy away from a cooler test/beer-tasting opportunity, I obliged.

I had my preconceptions, of course. I figured it would be a slightly lower-quality cooler that held ice roughly as long as my go-to brand. And when the cooler arrived, I immediately recognized it. It was a “… rose by any other name would smell as sweet” moment.

At first glance, disregarding minor differences in color, branding, latches, and one small additional feature, the 60 QT Ice Vault with Wheels ($320) looks almost identical to the YETI Tundra Haul ($425).

To be frank, I didn’t plan for this review to be a head-to-head, but the brands really gave me no choice. This isn’t a side-by-side test, but it is an apples-to-apples comparison.

Nearly Identical … but Slightly Different

The overall construction of the two is basically the same. It doesn’t take a cooler surgeon to see that.

As a person with a slighter build than most, moving coolers, even while empty, is hard for me. Wheels and a solid, drop-arm style pull handle are big perks for little people. Plus, they both have bottle openers, “rugged” wheels, and lockable lids.

Now … let’s split those hairs.

Latches

The latches are clearly different; honestly, a latch is a latch. The rubber pull-down T-Rex-style latches on the YETI work just fine, as do the lock-down latches of the Blue Cooler. The only thing I can say is that the Ice Vault does tend to close on the latches, while it seems the YETI latches stay out of the way.

‘Utility’ Port

The Blue Cooler Ice Vault has what is labeled a “Multi-Use Utility Port,” which seemed odd to me.

I realized it’s really an airlock vent. As far as I can tell, it just helps the thing drain quicker without having to open the lid.

Size and Capacity

The YETI Tundra Haul weighs 37.5 pounds empty. The Blue Cooler is 1 pound lighter at 36.5 pounds.

When it comes to size, I had to do a little mathmatizing. Were it all metric, it would have been quicker. But this is America — we’re gonna do this thing in inches.

External Size: The YETI Tundra Haul is larger overall by 4.05 inches.

  • Blue Cooler 60 Quart Ice Vault: 26.75″ x 18″ x 17.5″
  • YETI Tundra Haul: 28.1″ x 18.6″ x 19.6″

Internal Size: The Blue Cooler Ice Vault has more internal capacity. When converted to quarts, since that’s how coolers are typically measured, the Ice Vault offers an additional 8 quarts of capacity.

  • Blue Cooler 60 Quart Ice Vault: 20.5″ x 13.25″ x 13″ = 3,531.125 cubic inches
  • YETI Tundra Haul: 19.1″ x 11.4″ x 14.1″ = 3070.134 cubic inches

The YETI Tundra Haul is bigger and heavier overall but has slightly less internal capacity.

The Blue Coolers Ice Vault might win this round, but is it at the cost of keeping things cold?

Ice Retention: YETI vs. Ice Vault

That’s the big question, right? That’s how the cooler brands fight it out.

Blue Coolers calls the Ice Vault a 10-day cooler, while YETI says its coolers are good for 5-7 days. Those time frames depend on many variables and most of the time, I’m making ice runs well before those days are hit.

What I can say is I honestly don’t notice a huge difference between my YETI Coolers and the Blue Coolers. Both absolutely keep things colder than the cheap coolers of yesteryear.

I keep my coolers in the back of my truck under cover and in the shade. After a week of using the Ice Vault in 90+ degree temps, I still had cold drinks, cold food, and ice.

Drawbacks of the Blue Coolers Ice Vault

It was hard to find drawbacks here. The 60 Quart Ice Vault from Blue Coolers is a great cooler at a great price.

The only big flaw is the drain plug. It is not attached, meaning I may eventually lose it. Scratch that. I WILL LOSE IT. Luckily, the brand sells replacements, but dangit, just attach the stinkin’ thing.

If I’m going to be really picky, the latches tend to fold in when the cooler is open, meaning when you pop the lid down, the latches are in the way of it closing. Not a biggy.

Lastly, I can’t say exactly what it is, but the look or feel of the plastic body of the cooler just doesn’t look as high-end as the YETI. It’s shinier and maybe not quite as cool of a color. I don’t know how to explain it. But that’s it. That’s all I can find, and it was a reach to find even those flaws.

Is the Blue Coolers Ice Vault Worth Its Weight in Ice?

Yes. Yes. And yes, again. The fact that the Ice Vault will cost $100 less than its almost identical rival while having just as high-dollar performance makes it a no-brainer for me. The big drawback is that I may dip into some of those cost savings to replace the drain plug, but I could also try hard not to lose the dang thing.

If you need a mobile cooler that can hold a heap while keeping it cold without paying top dollar, you really can’t go wrong with an Ice Vault.



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