The Ranting Reviewer does not get paid or receive any revenue from manufacturers or retailers of products reviewed. I occasionally receive products that I am asked to use and see what I think. I take a look, try them out and tell you all about them.
Recently, I was able to cover the 2014 International Home and Housewares show in Chicago as a media representative from the blogging community. While there I was able to spend some time at a number of booths and see some really interesting products. This product was being displayed at the show.
A few days before leaving for the show (I drove, as Cleveland is a little over 5 hours from Chicago), I received a package for me.
What I found inside was a really great cooler from Igloo, the MaxCold HardTop Gripper 22.
The MaxCold cooler is that great combination of soft sided cooler with a frame that holds its shape. The top is not hard plastic, but has a material under the soft side that maintains its shape which helps the whole cooler hold up well. I have been using soft side bags to carry my lunch to work fairly regularly for many years and have always had to carry it with the strap. I love that this has a sturdy gripper handle and a strap so you can carry it either way. The cooler is built with a passthrough flap in the back to allow it to slip over the handle of a wheeled bag (suitcase or computer bag) to ensure it doesn’t go anywhere in transit.
The top unzips (with two zippers) and the inside is spacious (enough to hold 22 cans), which is more than enough to hold my breakfast, snacks and lunch for a long day at the office. The top part of the cooler is a compartment separated by a zippered section of mesh. This upper area allows you to keep things dry if you put ice (vs and ice pack) in the bottom. You’ll see below that I change that up a bit.
There is an ample side pocket for additional storage. I keep my utensils and other dry items (crackers) inside. Some versions of this cooler have two smaller pockets, but I like the flexibility of the large one.
The MaxCold insulation provides a better retention of temperature (hot or cold) than any foam cooler. Time to put that to the test.
I decided to pack it up for my trip to the International Housewares Show. A large bottle of tea, a 7″ sub, some cooling packs and assorted other items fit easily. In most coolers the tea would be just too tall. With the ability to zip open the mesh top, it fit right in.
Days later we had a late Pi Day (normally on 3.14) where we all brought in pie. I made one and was amazed that it fit flat into the MaxCold cooler. The cooler bowed out the side a bit, but that is the great advantage of it being a soft sided cooler.
Here is where I’ve turned the use of the top upside down. As cold sinks lower, I put a number of small icepacks in the top of the cooler. The cold filters down to where the food is and I have the advantage that no food item risks freeing sitting on or next to one.
My Take: In addition to being stylish with its blue and grey, this is a workhorse of a cooler. It is light, roomy and does a great job of what you want a cooler for – keeping things cool. My iced tea was still cold not only by the end of my 5 hour journey to Chicago, but for many hours beyond that. I love the handle as it is easy to grab (versus those that only offer a strap) and being that I can put in a large salad, and apple, a container of vegetables, a cup of yogurt, two hard boiled eggs and a single container of hummus with room to spare, it is perfect for me bringing several meals and enough healthy snacks to keep me from wandering to the vending machines at work. You will find the Igloo MaxCold line has a number of different shapes and sizes available at many retailers and online. This particular model is brand new and will be in stores in the third quarter of this year.