If you're looking for a passive coolbox to keep food chilled on tour, find out how the Igloo Island Breeze fared in the Practical Motorhome review
Powered thermoelectric coolboxes have come down in price recently, and yet we've seen passive coolbox models making comeback.
Why, we wondered? To find out, here at Practical Motorhome we decided to test a group of insulated cooler boxes to see if they're any better than the traditional old coolboxes of yesteryear. What has made people go back to freezing ice packs the night before when they could plug a powered model into a 12V socket whenever they need to chill something?
In our research we discovered that powered coolboxes may not deliver the 15-20˚C of chilling below ambient temperature that they claim, especially in Continental climates.
Coupled with this, we looked at how most motorhome owners, most of whom have a perfectly good fridge on board, would use a coolbox. Yes – you've guessed it, passive coolboxes work best for keeping your food fresh when you leave the motorhome behind and go off for a picnic on the beach, or during a walk or bike ride, or just about anywhere that there's no power supply. This is the big flaw with thermoelectric powered coolboxes, because if you disconnect the power, most of them warm up inside very quickly.
Meanwhile, dramatic developments in insulation, plastic moulding and ice pack technology have led to the emergence of super-coolboxes. They’re not cheap, but prepare them properly and they’ll keep food chilled for days or even weeks without the addition of further ice packs.
On warm foreign trips, for instance, a fully packed coolbox lets you take a couple of fridge fill-ups with you in your motorhome. Regardless of the size of your motorhome fridge, you can pre-prepare a few of your favourite dishes to tide you over with quick meals until you reach your main destination. Once the passive coolbox is emptied, it’s perfect for keeping food chilled on days out. And because it does not have ventilation grilles, as fridges and powered coolboxes do, it can be stored anywhere, except in direct sunlight.
We tested all the passive coolboxes in the same way. They all started at the same ambient temperature of 25°. Next we loaded them to 5% capacity with ice cooled to -12°C. Then, we closed them and left them for eight hours at a cosy room temperature of 27°. We kept popping back to check the temperatures inside each box.
We rated the coolboxes for price, how easy they were to carry, whether you could stand tall bottles upright inside and the quality of manufacture. If they had drain holes and bungs for meltwater, locks to keep little hands away from alcoholic beverages or were strong enough to sit on, so much the better.
This product, the Igloo Island Breeze, has a capacity of 26 litres. It achieved a minimum temperature of 14.5˚C below ambient temperature, but its average wandered up to 16.7˚C below room temperature. Four dimples in the lid’s underside should accommodate tall bottles, but our sample’s lid wouldn’t.
We gave the 26-litre Igloo Island Breeze a three-star rating. The Practical Motorhome passive coolbox group test also saw us review the 42-litre Waeco Cool-Ice, the 22-litre Waeco Cool-Ice, the 32-litre Thermos Weekend, the 30-litre Campingaz Icetime and the 26-litre Coleman Xtreme3. We also tested another Igloo product, the Sportsman, which our test team awarded an impressive four out of five rating.
Come the end of the Practical Motorhome Igloo Island Breeze review, we gave this coolbox a three-star rating – and at £36, it won't break the bank.
- It's an affordable option
- Some might find 26 litres is a little tight