Practical Motorhome reviews the Coleman Xtreme3 coolbox, but at £60 it will need to really impress to stand up against the competition

Overview

Coleman's Xtreme3 coolbox is neither fish nor fowl. Its price and performance are a step up from standard coolers, but they fall short of the premium models in our test.

We started by testing the thermal abilities of each passive coolbox. We opened them all and allowed them to reach the 25˚C ambient temperature. Then they were loaded with ice chilled to -12˚C (each box received ice totalling 5% of its capacity). Next, we closed them all up and put them in a 27°C room for eight hours, checking their internal temperatures frequently during the eight-hour testing period.

In the case of the Coleman Xtreme3, the minimum temperature was 14.4˚C, so it narrowly beat the Igloo Sportsman and, more impressively, kept the temperature down for the whole eight hours. The average temperature inside the Coleman Xtreme3 throughout was just 0.5˚C higher than the minimum.

That's the plus side. Unfortunately, we also found that there are several annoying downsides to this coolbox. One problem is the lid, which is incredibly tight. This means that the hinges feel strained if it’s opened wider than half way. It’s irritating, too, that there’s not enough clearance to store two-litre bottles upright. I wouldn't want to be there when you explained to your teenagers that there's no room to cool big bottles of their favourite soft drink in here on a sweltering hot trip to the beach.

We have found another positive aspect to the Coleman Xtreme3, though. At least the lid can support somebody sitting on it, weighing up to 113kg (17 stone 11 lbs). Being able to use it as a spare seat can be very handy, especially if you make friends on holiday.

If this is the first passive coolbox review that you've read you may be wondering why you might need one, given that your motorhome or campervan probably has a perfectly good fridge on board.

We have found, especially on warm foreign trips, that you can pack a coolbox with ice packs and add a couple of fridge fill-ups, so that you won't have to find a supermarket during the first leg of your journey. Then after you've eaten the contents of the coolbox, it proves very handy for supermarket visits on holiday as well as trips to the beach and countryside picnics away from the motorhome.  

We love the fact that you don't need any power source for a passive coolbox. Most campsites are only too happy to provide blocks of ice or refreeze your blue gel ice packs if you ask. That makes them highly economical.

You can stash your coolbox in any locker or underbed storage area, or even in the shower tray when you're in transit. Then on arrival, you can store it under the 'van out of the way, provided it's in shade. Even if you just use it for drinks beside the barbecue, we think a coolbox is a pretty handy motorhome accessory to own. 

Verdict

At the end of the Practical Motorhome Coleman Xtreme3 passive coolbox review, it's clear that although this product has its good points, we're not sure it's worth paying £60 for. That said, it does keep items cool very well and if you run out of chairs, its strength will be a boon. We awarded it three out of five.

As part of our passive coolbox group test, we also looked at the Campingaz Icetime, the Igloo Island Breeze and the Igloo Sportsman, the 42-litre Waeco Cool-Ice, the 32-litre Thermos Weekend and the 22-litre Waeco Cool-Ice – check out these reviews too, to find the best camping accessories for your next motorhome tour.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's very good at keeping things cool
  • It is strong enough to be used as a seat

Cons

  • The lid is quite tight
  • Bigger bottles can't be stored upright
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