The Pelican 20 QT Cooler is one of the more popular coolers today, and it’s certainly been a mainstay in camping and hiking occasions. But how does it stack up compared to the Yeti and the Grizzly two of the premier bear proof coolers on the market? Any way you look at it these three are the ones always mentioned by customers and enthusiasts, so which should you go with? Let’s find out in this comparison test.
Let’s start this Pelican Cooler vs Yeti vs Grizzly with a look at their sizes:
- Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler: 15" X 14" X 19", 16 lbs.
- Yeti 35: 21" X 16" X 15 1/2", 20 lbs.
- Yeti 45: 25 1/2" X 16" X 15 1/2", 23 lbs.
- Grizzly 40: 25 1/2" X 16" X 15 1/2", 24 lbs.
- Pelican 20Q: 20.1 x 15.1 x 14.1 inches, 16 lbs.
Of course the bigger the capacity the higher the price. The Yeti 45 has a $350 price tag, while the Grizzly 40 is pegged around $225 (Note there is a Grizzly 20 Qt cooler for around $175 and a Yeti 20 Qt that lists for $200 that are a closer comparison to the 20 Quart sized Pelican). The Pelican 20 QT cooler is also around the $200 price range. Note that the prices for these items can and do change, plus the shipping charges might vary depending where you order from. When taken as is though, the Yeti is much more expensive than the other two.
Grizzly Coolers vs Yeti coolers vs Pelican comparisons place emphasis on the design and well they should, as it’s very important. The Pelican is notable for several things: first there are two sets of handles, flush mounted and under lid, so it’s easier to handle. Second, the cooler has a stainless steel plate, lock in hasp that’s been molded, and the hardware is pure stainless steel so it’s corrosion resistant.
The Pelican is somewhat larger than the Yeti but it’s not that heavy. Of course it gets bulky when full, but that’s true for all three coolers anyway. The Pelican and the Grizzly both have lifetime warranties, while the Yeti only has a 5 year warranty, so that’s a minus.
The reason why Pelican Cooler review and feedback have been positive lies in its performance. We took all three coolers for a real life camping test and the Pelican did nicely. The first thing we did was check the ice, and on the first day all three did well, but on the second day the block in the Grizzly and Yeti started to show unhealthy signs, while in the Pelican they were still okay. By the third day the ice had almost completely liquefied on the Pelican too, but the block was still there.
As for convenience, the Grizzly has a bit of an edge over the Yeti 45 because size wise they’re almost dead even, but the Grizzly is cheaper. However the Pelican has them both beat since it’s got enough space but isn’t excessively heavy. There’s also the fact that it is several dollars cheaper yet is just as durable.
When it comes to performance, the Yeti and Grizzly work well but the Pelican offers more value for your money. Yes it’s cheaper than the other two but more than that the Pelican performs better when it comes to preserving the ice block. If you go out camping during springtime, expect the ice block on the Pelican to last 6 to 8 days whereas with the Grizzly and Yeti it’s around 5 to 7 days only. The cooler doesn’t just keep cool longer but does a better job keeping beer and other beverages cooler than a typical boat refrigerator.
Going back to the Pelican’s performance, by day 5 all the ice had turned to water but the block held steady. But if you add more cubes to the block it’s going to last for up to 10 days. You can do the same with the Yeti and Grizzly, but what we noticed is that the blocks there simply don’t last as long.
Other Factors to Consider
As was pointed out earlier the Pelican is the most affordable among the three and it’s also the most widely available so you won’t have problems finding it (can’t say the same for the Yeti and Grizzly). Second, the Grizzly and Yeti, while both durable, are somewhat more overbuilt and not as practical to carry around.
Here are a few other things worth pointing out:
- The Grizzly and Yeti are generous space wise, but the Pelican does a better job in terms of maximizing space comparative to its weight and size.
- All three are sturdily built, but based on our tests the Pelican does a better job in terms of withstanding the elements and rigors of full time camping. We checked all three coolers for a full month and we found ourselves using the Pelican more and more.
- Keep in mind that all three coolers work best when pre-cooled so make sure you do that prior to going out. And it’s also better to put stuff in like beer or food that has been chilled already so the cooler doesn’t have to work as hard.
- All three coolers work much better with ice blocks than ice cubes, which isn’t a surprise, but in terms of longevity the Pelican gets our vote. The ice block lasted for 8 days (longer if you add more ice cubes). You can make the ice block on the Yeti and the Grizzly last as long, but you’ll need to add a lot more ice cubes and that can be tiresome especially when you’re camping.
When it comes to coolers, some people put emphasis on quality while others focus on weight and size more than anything else. In the end though, we had to factor in all those to find the best cooler among the three.
Based on our comparison test, the Pelican 20 Qt Cooler is the best of the bunch. It is convenient to use, spacious, easy to carry around and generally does what a cooler is supposed to do. The Pelican is also a Bear Proof cooler and built for heavy duty use, and while the Yeti and Grizzly are decent, the Pelican offers the most value for your money. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or only go out occasionally, the Pelican will fit the bill nicely.