Practical Motorhome reviews the Igloo Sportsman, to see if this is the best coolbox to keep food and drink cool on days out during your next holiday
When deciding what camping accessories to pack on your next motorhome tour, you're likely to consider taking a coolbox. And despite the increase in the number of powered coolboxes on the market and the fact that their prices have fallen, making them more affordable than ever, if you're going off grid, you can't beat a passive coolbox. By 'off grid' we don't necessarily mean that you'll be embarking on a hugely ambitious or extreme trip, but even a day at the beach or a picnic in a remote spot will mean you're away from power sources. And while powered coolboxes tend to warm up quite quickly once unplugged, choose a passive coolbox and your food and drink is likely to stay cooler for longer.
With this in mind, here at Practical Motorhome we've tested a range of passive coolboxes to find the best option for your motorhome holidays. The product being reviewed here is the Igloo Sportsman, a 28-litre coolbox that retails for £40.
All coolboxes we looked at were put through the same rigorous test, starting with an exercise that helped us assess the thermal abilities of the products. We opened the coolboxes until they'd reached an ambient temperature of 25°C, before filling them to 5% of their capacity with ice that had been chilled -12°C, closing them and leaving them for eight hours in a room where the temperature was kept at 27°C, checking their internal temperatures frequently throughout.
Other considerations when scoring these products were price, how easy the coolboxes are to lug about and if they had sufficient depth to store tall bottles upright. Good features were drainage bungs to let ice melt out without raising the box's internal temperature and decent feet, as these raise the coolbox off the ground so the surface it's sitting on (for example, hot sand), doesn't push the internal temperature up. A coolbox strong enough to be used as an occasional chair is another bonus, while coolboxes with locks to keep alcoholic drinks away from children are also rather handy.
So, how did the Igloo Sportsman perform in the tough Practical Motorhome review? The price for 28 litres of storage rather gives the game away. What we mean by this is that this is clearly a mass-produced standard coolbox, rather than an expensive model like the two Waeco products we also tested.
Having said that, Igloo has a history of keeping customers in the most demanding of home markets – the USA – happy, and this shows in this product. This is an excellent all-rounder. The Igloo Sportsman's average test temperature of 16.5°C and minimum of 14.5°C are better than those of similarly priced rivals. However, its talents when it comes to keeping items cool is just part of its appeal.
The quality of the finish is quite a long way better than most of the products we tested. This coolbox is also deep enough to let tall, two-litre bottles stand upright in it. Our test team also liked that fact that there are two moulded grab points in addition to the traditional handle.
The Sportsman also has a lid that is strong enough to sit on, as well as tall feet ensuring there's a gap between the base of the coolbox and the ground, meaning cool air can pass under it, features often only seen in premium models.
At £40, the Igloo Sportsman isn't the cheapest coolbox we tested, but neither will it break the bank. And following its glowing review from the Practical Motorhome test team, it's definitely worthy of consideration for your next tour.
- It's very good at keeping things cool
- This is a high quality product with an affordable price tag
- It's not a great colour