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Pelican Elite Cooler review

Pelican Elite 50QT hard cooler

Pelican Elite Coolers just may be the best coolers in their price range

Whether you’re camping, tailgating or barbecuing in your backyard – you need a dependable cooler that will retain ice. If you’ve spent any amount of time outdoors, you’ve no doubt been introduced to Pelican coolers in some shape or form. Built like a tank, Pelican hard coolers feature superb insulation that retains ice even in extreme heat. 

The last thing you want to do is pick a cooler that leaks or doesn’t retain ice long enough, even though it costs a small fortune. This is where Pelican coolers excels – they make rugged products that are cheaper than Yeti. In fact, a quick look at and you’ll immediately see their legendary product line with tons of positive reviews from real people. 

Pelican 50 Quart Elite Cooler

When shopping for a cooler, you have to make sure the one you choose ticks off all the boxes: superb ice retention, easy-to-use latches, thick walls, plenty of room, and price. While it may be hard to find the perfect cooler that fits your needs for every outdoor activity, we think the Pelican Elite Coolers come pretty darn close for most people, especially when you compare it to more expensive brands such as Yeti

We took the 50 quart for a test drive to see if the claims about this cooler were true and we were pleasantly surprised by its efficiency and design. I take my family of 5 camping nearly every single month and host a number of gatherings at my home that require drinks to stay cold all day. We like in an extremely hot climate and a drink can get hot in a matter of minutes if not on ice, which is why I was so adamant on testing as many coolers as possible to find the best ones.

Built like a tank with excellent ice retention, the Pelican 50QT Elite Cooler is the best in class.

I chose the 50 quart cooler and it turned out to be the perfect size for my family. Obviously, we go through plenty of drinks while camping and need additional space, but a 50 quart hard cooler fit our needs perfectly. Sure, there are times when a 70 or 90 quart cooler would be desired, but they also get quite heavy and you may want to think about Pelican wheeled coolers unless you have some help lifting them or keep them stationary. 

Pelican Elite hard cooler for camping

Pelican Elite Coolers have the same DNA as the hard cases by the same brand that have protected scientific instruments, defense equipment and guns for decades. Their dedication to maintaining the highest standards on their products have trickled down to every single item they have made, especially the Elite Cooler lineup. From extreme ice retention to non-skid feet and an extremely tough design, the fact that they offer a Lifetime Guarantee is just icing on the cake. 

What I Enjoyed Most

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Pelican 50QT Elite Hard Cooler in plain white to match my truck and I knew it was the perfect cooler the moment it was delivered. I had originally considered one of the brighter colors offered such as “Cool Blue” or “Lime Green,” (which look amazing!) but the white and gray cooler matched my truck and blended in perfectly. The first thing I noticed was how large the cooler was and how thick the walls were. I immediately knew it had amazing ice retention just by handling it. Sure enough, it has probably the best ice retention of any hard cooler I’ve ever used. 

Honestly, there are almost too many things I loved about this cooler to list, but I’ll give it a shot. For one, the design and depth are the perfect dimensions for what I needed. It fits nicely in the back of a pickup truck or the trunk of your car without being overly large. The handles were the second thing I noticed, firm and easy to grip unlike other coolers. The first time I lifted the lid I was shocked at how well-built it was. You can knock it with your knuckles and feel just how sturdy this cooler is. 

Pelican Elite camping cooler

Next, you would actually be surprised at how lightweight the 50QT is – plenty of size without the additional weight. Pelican did a phenomenal job at designing a large hard cooler that doesn’t weigh a ton. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to maneuver around the campsite and the back of my truck. We drink a lot of liquids as a family of 5 in a hot climate and the Pelican Elite is able to store plenty of kids’ drinks, dozens of beer cans, a huge case of water and food neatly organized in the wire basket specially designed for the Elite. While traveling, the most efficient way to keep drinks inside the vehicle is to pair the Pelican Elite with the Pelican Dayventure Sling. Simply reload the Sling at rest stops to keep your family hydrated while traveling and save money from buying drinks at gas stations. 

Another feature that doesn’t get enough attention are the dual locking latches that are easy to open and close and make a nice click to let you know they’re secure. Nothing wrong with rubber latches, but I prefer these sturdier latches. 

Pelican 50 quart Elite Cooler

Our findings

Overall, the Pelican Elite Coolers are about as tough as you can get and they cost less than Yeti coolers. Tough as nails and incredibly efficient, they make the perfect travel buddy or camp cooler to keep your family and friends hydrated and the party going all day. Choose from multiple sizes including 20, 30, 50, 70, 95 and 100 quarts and just buy it.