Orion Coolers is a part of the Jackson Kayak brand, a company started by friends Eric Jackson and Tony Lunt. They’re based in Sparta, Tennessee, and needed products that could hold up to their love of outdoor adventure.
Orion uses premium materials and innovative designs to produce coolers that can stand up to the abuse of the elements. They’re designed with active people in mind, and their coolers are field tested by the creators themselves as they search for better, more dependable products.
Getting an Orion cooler gives you a chance for an aggressive yet well-built design with some exciting color choices. They look a little more extreme than some option available, but you can also get classic cooler colors that blend rather than stand out. Let’s break down the line to see if Orion might be everything you’ve dreamed of for your next cooler in our Orion Cooler Review for 2020.
Best Orion Coolers for Most People
Orion doesn’t have a soft-sided option just yet, but their line is straightforward and well built. They have exclusive colors from year to year plus a few classic designs.
The 25 Quart is their smallest option and is perfect for day to day transport for food, fish, or drinks. It can hold up to 32 cans or 40 pounds of ice and offers ice retention for up to seven days thanks to two inches of insulation. Roto-molded plastic forms a sturdy exterior that won’t crack and holds up well to more extreme environments.
You can mount accessories to the exterior through a track system, and there are six tie downs to secure the cooler to a variety of surfaces. There’s even a secure locking mechanism to keep contents safe.
What Customers Like:
- secure tie-down points
- accessory mounts
- seven-day ice retention
- no molded handles, only rope
For a bit more space, the 45-quart option has the same features as the 25 but increases that carry capacity to 52 cans or 12 bottles of wine. For you sportsmen out there, it can also hold an entire processed deer or about 28 sport fish, plus keep things cold for up to seven days giving you time to get back to civilization.
It has four bottle openers and six tie-down points, so you can secure it to a variety of surfaces. It also has a massive drain for easy cleanup. The roto-molded exterior is durable, and two inches of insulation means you won’t lose any of your meat before you get back to where you’re going.
What Customers Like:
- plenty of storage
- tough exterior
- seven-day ice retention
- handles aren’t molded in
Everything Else: The Entire Orion Product Line
Orion doesn’t have much variation. Instead, they created a single, excellent cooler and focused on that option. Let’s break down what you can get.
The line is exclusively hard sided. They all have roto-molded exteriors that can withstand more extreme environments without cracking or splitting. Roto molding rotates the mold as plastic is poured in, ensuring that there are no weak spots and creating a better casing for the insulation.
The insulation goes up to two inches and is pressure injected for better coverage. The handles use motorbike style grips with heavy duty rope. If you prefer the comfort of a molded handle, this could take some getting used to, but it does make tandem carrying a lot easier. The hardware is tough and reinforced, as well.
The entire cooler is designed to withstand the elements and frustrate bears. The lid locks down to hold in the cold while the latches have a slim profile that doesn’t stick out to snag anything. Four bottle openers on the side keep everyone happy, and the accessories track makes it simple to attach things like cup holders or GPS.
The most significant difference is the capacity. The smallest size is 25 quarts and is suitable for an afternoon or day trip where you need enough capacity to store your drinks and maybe a couple of fish.
The next sizes are 35 and 45, which are great for long weekend trips or for when you need more storage for more people. The 55 and 65 capacity is excellent for hosting parties and tailgates or for when you’re the designated snack and drink person for your community sports tournament.
The most significant size is an 85-quart option that can tie down to the front of your yacht or the back of your truck and keep you and your closest 20 friends from running out of drinks all day. Regardless of capacity, all Orion coolers have the same basic design, accessories track, and bear rating.
Orion uses color variation to create unique cooler designs. While they do have some solid options, most Orion coolers are distinguishable through their color splashes. Each year they debut different designs, and many of them are bright and flashy. These are not the type to blend into a background.
Orion’s coolers can serve a variety of purposes including extra seating, storage, and wrangling other smaller items. The accessories section includes genuinely innovative things like a seat back to make the cooler more comfortable and plenty of accessories to add to the cooler’s exclusive accessories track.
You can also find cool packs and baskets for the interior, plus a bunch of gear to show your love of the Orion company, including shirts, stickers, and tumblers.
Orion Coupons & Promo Codes for 2020
If you have your eye on a few different designs, you might want to keep watch over the Bargain Bin section of the website. Here, the company puts last year and discontinued models up for 20% off. There are limited quantities, and you may not ever see the exact one you want, but if you don’t have a style preference, you could find some terrific deals there.
The 55 Quart is a good middle ground between the smaller, more personal capacities, and the enormous party capacity of the 85 Quart. It features enough storage for 64 cans or 21 bottles of wine, or you could use it to hold the spoils of your hunting trip. It’ll keep one deer or up to 30 sports fish so you won’t lose any of what you’ve caught.
It features Orion’s roto-molded exterior, a tough outside that won’t crack or break the first time you drop it. The process creates a plastic with fewer weak spots, and while that does increase weight, it should last you close to your entire lifetime.
The interior has two inches of commercial grade insulation to keep things cold for up to seven days with the right preparation. The handles have motorcycle-style grips and durable rope to make transport easier, but they’ll never drag the ground once the cooler is in place.
We love the track around the outside that allows you to attach and hang accessories such as cup holders or GPS. It keeps things off the lid of the cooler, so you still have full access. The cooler itself has a lower center of gravity so you can use it to cast off on a skiff or to sit while you’re waiting for the team to get started.
It has rounded edges and is durable enough for extra seating. There aren’t any handled or wheeled options, which would make transport more comfortable, but it does make it stable during boat trips or for transporting in the back of a truck.
Six tie-down points give it plenty of stability and allow you to tie coolers together if you need to. The interior is odor and mold resistant and the drain give you easier, quicker clean up without having to pick the cooler up to dump it.
The cooler is certified to be Grizzly proof, so you can be safe while you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Even if a bear manages to get its hands on your cooler, if you’ve locked the contents, they aren’t going anywhere. The exterior can withstand some damage from bear claws and come back the next weekend functioning just as good as ever.
Preparing the Cooler
With most roto-molded coolers, the insulation can slowly absorb ambient temperature over time. If you mostly store your cooler in the garage, a little prep work beforehand could help you get maximum ice retention.
The night before you need it, fill it with ice and water and close the lid. In the morning, drain the excess water and top off with ice before you head out. The insulation should absorb the cold temperature of the ice giving you a much better head start. Otherwise, your ice could melt as the insulation is cooling down.
What Customers Are Saying:
Customers really like the overall design of Orion and the little accessories. It isn’t just about a few cold packs but creating a versatile cooler that can fulfill a variety of functions.
“Used the Orion 55 cooler for a 4 week Rockies car camping trip last summer. Pros: great ice retention (had to supplement ice only every 3-6 days, even though it was often in a closed up car with super high temps); these guys thought of everything, from comfy handles, unlike the competition, to a padded top that made for a great seat in camp, and of course the bottle openers!”
You can get a variety of roto-molded coolers, but how many of them offer you seat backs and pads, or the ability to attach accessories without limiting cooler access? Not many, and that’s why Orion stands out.
The accessories do make the cooler what it is. You can find plenty of cold packs if you hate using ice, plus things like a seat back to turn the cooler into an actual seat, not just an impromptu one. You can also add things like tie downs and locks.
We think the accessories can really distinguish a cooler, and Orion has taken things further than many other high-end coolers on the market.
Coolers Like Orion
Orion does have some competition, so let’s compare.
Pelican coolers are designed to be just as tough. The company got its start creating tactical gear, and they transferred that mentality to their coolers. They use roto-molded exteriors with a decidedly aggressive look, plus heavily reinforced latches and hinges to prevent the cooler from breaking down under heavy use.
They do have a much wider range of options than the Orion set does. If you need something other than a hard-sided cooler, or you’re looking for a wheeled option, Pelican will probably satisfy your needs more efficiently than the Orion ones will. They’re comparable in price, so all things considered, get a Pelican for flexibility.
If you hate having a bunch of things littered across the top of your cooler, or your personality hates to blend in with everyone else, and Orion cooler gives you flexibility for storing gear. A track allows you to keep your fish tracker, your GPS, or even your drinks in plain sight, but no one has to scramble for stuff if someone needs to lift the lid. Get an Orion for innovative color schemes or if you have accessories that you need to wrangle.
Igloo offers a line of budget coolers in a variety of styles and capacities. They don’t have the same roto-molded exterior, but it does make the coolers lighter and easier to handle. The top of the line Igloos can hold ice for up to four days, which is plenty for the average user for weekend trips.
Orion may offer more extreme use, and you should invest in an Orion if you’re headed into bear country. Igloo can’t protect you there, and you’ll keep your fish or game fresh until you’re ready to head back. Igloo just can’t offer the same extreme functionality.
If you’re just headed to your child’s softball tournament each weekend, or tailgate season has you committed to all the home games, an Igloo cooler can give you plenty of storage and ice retention without breaking your wallet. It’s best for average use and families that need to stick to a bit of a budget.
We give Orion 4.5 for durability but just 3.5 for variety. Altogether, that’s a 4 out of 5 stars. We wish Orion would expand a little bit (at least give us a wheeled cooler option), but there’s no denying the toughness of these coolers. We love that the company even offers you estimations for how much game the cooler will store, making it easier to estimate for hunters and fishermen. Those looking to invest in a cooler option that will last a lifetime may also find Orion has the right stuff.
The color scheme is where Orion stands out. Between the flashy, bright colors, and the ability to keep your accessories right where you need them could make this cooler the one you’ve been looking for all along. No more yelling at your friends to grab their drinks while you open the lid or try to perform magic to slide your hand in without tipping off everyone’s cell phones. Instead, you get a clean surface to sit and check your GPS periodically. Perfect.