From Travel To Every Day: Reviewing The ICEMULE Classic Cooler
I cannot express how difficult it is sometimes to travel long distances with a cooler. I have found that along the way I am often annoyed by having to stop over and over again to drain ice and then refill ice on hot days in ill insulated coolers let alone if I am trying to take them with me into
campsites they can be clunky and hard to maneuver.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, a popular campsite and gear review site, I am from time to time given the opportunity to test items and see how they can fit into my needs as a camper and traveler and respond with my feedback. As a part of this I was recently sent the IceMule Classic in the color Robin’s Egg Blue.
Name: Ice Mule Classic Large
Retail Price: $69.99
Size: Large Capacity 20 Liters
Color: Robin’s Egg Blue
Weight: 2.1 lbs
I received the shipping notification on Saturday and by Wednesday my products had arrived via UPS at my home. The box itself was large and gave me the anticipation of tearing inside and seeing just what the item had to offer. The IceMule was in a plastic sleeve for protection from any kind of shipping mishaps it could encounter by the third party.
As I removed the IceMule Cooler from the packaging I was excited to see how large it was. While I knew it was the larger size, I was not expecting it to be quite this large. The sling strap was heavily padded and made of a durable material which was stitched. This part of the bag is the only part which you can actually see stitching because the rest of the bag is designed and created using a welding technology which makes it not only durable but also completely waterproof. This feature allows the IceMule to float.
So what else makes this cooler unique?
It is able to keep ice for 24 hours, but unlike a lot of coolers which boast this same characteristic and achieve this with thick walls which take away from your storage space, the IceMule can house an 18 pack of beverages comfortably along with the ice to cool them and still have room to spare.
It does not zip or button! The IceMule uses a roll which not only is effective but also allows for the pack to fully close and seal in freshness for items which need to stay cold.
An outer air valve on the back side of the cooler itself has been added to allow you to add additional insulation to the bag upon use. To use this you simply unroll the back to use, fill it and then take the air valve cover off the pack, breathe air into the pack and it will inflate to your liking.
So you might have noticed I said roll. Yep! When it isn’t in use unlike any other cooler it actually rolls up to stow away in any small area. Which means you can literally roll the IceMule up and put it under your vehicle seat when traveling so it won’t take away from your valuable passenger or gear space. That in itself is something that made me more than happy about having an opportunity to try this out, I am so tired of trying to find a home for the cooler at the end or beginning of any trip.
I first utilized this cooler in the most simplistic way. Planning a big trip ahead I wanted to see just how well it would actually hold in the cold before entrusting it with my food while traveling so I did what most normal people do, I took it to the grocery store. The grocery store I traveled to was about an hour away and on a hot Texas day, lets face it a lot of defrosting can happen in an hour. I placed my meats and frozen items in the bag post shopping and traveled home. Unlike many cold storage bags which still allow your items to become dewey to the touch, the ICEMULE kept everything frozen just as it was at the store itself, and this without adding ice.
I was confident in the cooler after seeing this and somewhat surprised so when I began loading the car for my long trip from Texas to DC I gladly rolled the pack into a space and placed it below my front seat just waiting to be used when I reached my first destination. It easily fit in the rolled position below the seat and allowed me to still have usage of the remainder of the floor board. A huge bonus when my car was very packed with all my supplies.
By my first destination I was able to unroll it and filled it for the first time with ice and water bottles. A full bag of ice and a 12 pack of waters fit easily in the cooler and left enough flexibility to roll and close the bag using the buckle. With the welded seams there was no leaking even when the cooler tipped over in the car by accident, it held tight and as the ice continued to break down over the next 24 hours there was no leakage.
One thing I did notice was the bag itself became quite chilly. When I unloaded the bag at camp it was very frigid to the touch. I can see this being a positive on a hot day if you are hiking with the cooler, but it would make using this pack during winter months a bit chilly when hiking into a campsite.
The sling strap on this bag is well padded and though I had a lot of weight in the cooler itself it was balanced pretty well by the strap. I wouldn’t want to put more weight in the bag than I had because I feel like it would have been a bit much over time and perhaps instead I would consider upgrading to the larger pack which has a backpack strap.
On this particular trip I didn’t have any opportunities to get out on the water to test its ability to float so I will have to reserve that for the next trip. However, I did enjoy the cooler in general and have already put thought into how helpful it can be in many day to day activities. This is not one of those items you pick up for a single purpose instead its value can span into many aspects of your life and add a quality which is unmatched.
I would give this size and style of ICEMULE a 4 of 5 stars. I think the overall feel of the bag and look is great however the practicality of being able to carry the sling strap with any kind of other kind of hiking gear would be limited. The size of the bag is ideal for carrying food and drinks and options include multiple colors and accessories such as dry bags however the strap is limited on how much adjustment can be made.
Possibilities with this cooler are endless for daily practical application so it ranks far higher than hard body coolers. The ICEMULE seems to have the every day person in mind as well as the person looking for an adventure. I look forward to a lot of usage out of my ICEMULE!!