I’ve always had trouble finding coolers that would hold ice and keep the contents of the cooler cold. Many cooler companies have hit the market with rugged coolers that they say will keep ice for days. Some are even grizzly proof. I have tried my share of these coolers. Some lived up to their claims, but many did not.

The one cooler that did what it said it would do was the Sportsman 70 quart by Igloo. Over this past Memorial Day weekend, the Sportsman 70 kept the ice throughout the sweltering four-day weekend without any worries. This cooler is rugged, will retain ice, has a heavy-duty latching system, and sports a drain hole that water will rush through when opened.

There are some things, however, that the cooler’s owner can do though to help the contents stay cold longer. These tips came with the cooler, and can also be found on their website. Try these tips the next time you want a cooler to stay cold.

Pre-Chill your Contents

Prior to packing your Sportsman, chill or freeze beverages or food items ahead of time. If your contents start off cold, the ice will last longer since it just has to keep the contents cold and doesn’t have to cool them down first.

Pre-Chill your Sportsman Cooler

Because there is extra thick insulation built into your Sportsman cooler, it is an efficient insulator for both hot and cold. If your Sportsman is stored in a warm location, such as a vehicle trunk, garage, shed, etc., it will absorb and retain heat. If immediately loaded with ice and food items or other goods, the ice will first have to combat the heat built up in the insulated walls and will melt faster. It is recommended that prior to packing your Sportsman you pre-chill it overnight in a cool place — ideally with a bag of ice inside to help diminish the trapped heat. Minimizing the heat retention in the cooler and packing with pre-chilled contents will greatly help to extend your ice retention.

Keeping it Cold During Use

Fill your Sportsman with large cubes that are frozen solid — avoid crushed or dripping ice. Use of large ice blocks (or large frozen bottles of water) will help prolong ice retention. During use, find a cool, shady resting spot for your Sportsman, if possible. Keep it out of direct sunlight to extend your ice life. Avoid opening your cooler more than is absolutely necessary and be sure to close the latches when not in use to lock in the cold. As ice begins to melt, if feasible, leave the water inside your Sportsman™ (feasibility varies with contents of cooler) — the cold water keeps the ice chilled longer than the air that replaces it when you remove the water.

Dry Ice Compatible

The rugged roto-molded construction of your Sportsman is dry ice compatible. Dry ice will deliver maximum ice retention — either by itself or when used in combination with regular ice — but care must be taken when using dry ice. Wear protective gloves to avoid freeze-burns and ensure there is adequate ventilation to release the carbon dioxide gas that will be released during the use of dry ice.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

SOURCEIgloo coolers
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Jason Houser is an avid traditional bowhunter from Central Illinois who killed his first deer when he was nine years old. A full-time freelance writer since 2008, he has written for numerous national hunting magazines. Jason has hunted big game in 12 states with his bow, but his love will always be white-tailed deer and turkeys. He considers himself lucky to have a job he loves and a family who shares his passion for the outdoors. Jason writes full time and is on the pro staff of two archery companies; in his free time, he fishes and traps as much as possible.