Ozark Trail is a Walmart brand. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, this review is going to list all the ways you might want to quit being a cooler snob and add one to your collection. They’re well-made and feature a lot of the same things that make higher-priced coolers so good.
Ozark Trail started because the company wanted to bring quality, high-end materials to a cooler that suited every budget. They use similar constructions as (much) more expensive coolers, but they happen at a price point that won’t hurt quite as much as those other coolers.
Ozark’s are widely available and come in a variety of styles and colors. But, do they hold up to the higher priced competition? Let’s find out.
Best Ozark Trail Coolers for Most People
Ozark Trail makes some good options but here are two of our favorites for the majority of your needs.
The 12 premium cooler uses a 600 denier coated exterior material to create a defense against tears and scratches. It holds up whether you’re commuting or walking through the brambles. It has an EVA molded base, and the interior lining is heat sealed to prevent leaks.
It has a shoulder strap that’s sturdy and padded. It’s even removable, so it isn’t in the way while you’re using the cooler. It holds about 7.5 pounds of ice if you’re using it as an ice bag and of course 12 cans. Overall, this is a really comfortable bag for a day trip out fishing or to the ball game when you need a few refreshments and don’t want to be caught empty-handed.
What Customers Like:
- Coated exterior
- Heat sealed base
- Zipper has issues
- Strap tends to slide off
For something a little bigger, Ozark Trail’s 26-quart cooler offers plenty of space in a design that mimics higher end coolers. It’s a roto molded exterior with premium insulation. It should keep your drinks cold for about four days with a proper seal. It has a convenient carry handle, and the surface is crack and scratch resistant. It even has a built-in bottle opener and a stainless steel locking mechanism.
What Customers Like:
- Highly affordable
- The latch is stainless steel
- Roto-molded plastic exterior
- No drain plug
Everything Else: The Entire Ozark Trail Product Line
Ozark Trail does have a wide range of coolers in both soft-sided and hard sided coolers in a variety of styles for significantly less than some other brands.
Soft Sided Coolers
Their soft-sided coolers all use a 600 denier or better material, making them not only water resistant but also scratch resistant. Many have soft, padded shoulder straps for easy carrying and some even have removable hard liners that can transform the cooler from a rigid to flexible one.
The zipper isn’t waterproof, but they do hold up well, provided you make sure to unzip around the natural line of the zipper. It’s leak-proof on the inside, and most don’t tip over easily. The capacity of the soft-sided coolers should give you plenty of options, personal to large.
Hard Sided Coolers
The hard sided coolers come in a variety of sizes and colors that should satisfy whatever you need. They share quite a few features with other famous brands as well.
Ozark Trail’s hard-sided coolers are made using roto-molded plastic, otherwise known as rotationally molded plastic. They’re sturdier because the rotation of the mold during pouring creates a more even plastic with no weak spots. They’re also better at insulation. The insulation is packed in tightly and should keep your things cold for at least nine to 12 hours.
Ozark Trail’s coolers are named by the capacity. For most of them, you have a clear indication of the capacity. The range goes from coolers made for individual use and coolers that can handle your tailgating or fishing trip.
Ozark Trail follows a standard created originally by Yeti. They use rounded edges with a tightly locked lid in a variety of colors. The look is a little vintage, and you should be able to settle on a color that satisfies what you need. They have reinforced handles, and a locking mechanism that the company claims is bear resistant.
There are a few accessories that go with the hard sided coolers to help you organize all the things inside. You could get things like a basket to make sure smaller items don’t get lost in the ice down below. You could even get some smaller things like a bottle opener to add to some of the larger coolers.
Ozark Trail Coupons & Promo Codes for 2020
There isn’t a lot of reason that you’d need a big promotion or discount code. These coolers are already really affordable. However, Walmart and Amazon do both sometimes have coupon codes, especially during the holidays.
The 26 Quart cooler is an excellent option for those who need an all-purpose cooler for the beach or the tailgate. It holds 26 quarts and offers plenty of storage space that can help organize everything inside.
The 26-quart cooler has a double-walled design with nearly three inches of commercial insulation to keep things cool. It has a cold gasket latch that helps prevent leaks that can make cold retention spotty.
It also has reinforced handles that should stand up to a few years of usage even if it’s in the great outdoors. It has an industrial strength locking mechanism and is bear resistant. It also has a bottle opener and four drink holder slots on the roof of the cooler itself. For you fishermen out there, there’s a ruler for measuring your fish.
The design is a vintage cooler style with curved edges and rounded corners. It seals pretty tightly and comes in a variety of vintage and classic colors. It doesn’t feel quite so heavy, which could be a good thing if you struggle to carry some other coolers on the market. It could also feel a little bit flimsy if you’re used to your Yeti or your friend’s Orca.
There aren’t many customization options, so if you’re looking for a particular color, you could be out of luck. The colors are limited to things like classic white and mint green although there is a red option. The logo is subtle, which could be a good thing for those of you who don’t like to advertise who makes your coolers.
It’s essential to prep your cooler to get the best results. Insulation can absorb warmer temperatures over time, especially if you leave your cooler in the garage for storage. To prepare, fill the cooler with water and ice and close the lid so that the insulation can absorb the cool temperature overnight. IN the morning, dump the excess water and fill with ice, and you’re ready to go.
If you don’t do this, it could take a while before the insulation reaches the same temperature as your ice, causing some of your ice to melt before the ideal environment is created. This isn’t a great situation because you can lose hours of valuable cold.
The 26 gallon has a few different accessories to complement it. You can get things like baskets for organizing, as an example, to keep smaller items from getting lost underneath food, drinks, and ice. You can also find ice packs which may work better than straight ice because there’s nothing to dry to drain out.
Walmart and Amazon usually have seller guarantees for products that are defective. If you decide the cooler isn’t for you, contact your Amazon seller or Walmart directly for options for return or exchange.
What Customers Are Saying:
People are buzzing about Ozark Trail coolers. Here are a couple of our favorite customer testimonials we found online:
“This cooler really does the trick. After packing frozen pre-cooked items with ice, we waited four hours before unpacking. The ice had not even begun to melt. The food items were still frozen, no need to worry about that.”
“In my humble opinion, this cooler is worth every penny you pay for it, especially compared to the pricier high-end coolers. Keep in mind that this cooler stayed cool for three days without “pre-cooling”, using cubed ice, and loading it with warm drinks. For about $100, you get a great cooler that hangs with the big boys without having to worry about someone boosting your $400 Yeti.”
What Customers Like:
- Highly affordable
- Lighter than some comparable coolers
- Has drink holders and a fish measuring plate
- No drain spout
- May feel flimsy to some customers
Coolers Like Ozark Trail
Ozark Trail takes inspiration from a few other well-known coolers on the market. It’s significantly less expensive, and that’s the main selling point, but you may not need much more than what Ozark has to offer. Check your budget because that might be the most significant factor in your decision here.
Yeti is the original. It uses the same roto-molded plastic exterior with commercial grade insulation. It measures about two and a half inches of wall thickness, and the locking lid keeps out nearly all drafts that could interfere with cold retention.
Yeti’s insulation is some of the best around. It uses pressure injected polyurethane that fills every corner of the cooler, providing a thick wall of insulation with no weak spots. The gasket style lid prevents cool air from leaking out. As long as you prep the cooler first, you should have days worth of protection for your ice and cold stuff.
Yeti comes in a few colors but a much wider variety of sizes. It also does hold up a little better as far as ice retention. Yeti could potentially keep ice for as many as nine to ten days while Ozark Trail’s average seems to be four to five under ideal circumstances. The kicker may be the drain spout, however. Yeti’s coolers have downspouts, and not all of Ozark Trail’s do.
Get Ozark Trail if you go on mostly short adventures or your budget is such that you don’t have time or patience to save for a Yeti. It will give you plenty of good performance at a fraction of the cost.
If you need a genuinely indestructible cooler with excellent insulation, there’s really nothing like a Yeti. It should keep you plenty cool for days even in triple digits so you won’t be refilling anytime soon. Also, if a drain spout is non-negotiable, Yeti is your only choice here.
Orca is a competing brand for Yeti. It’s just a little bit cheaper but not nearly as affordable as Ozark Trail. It comes in a wide variety of colors and styles including special editions for things like sports teams and Greek life.
Orca uses rotomolded plastic for the exterior, and nearly three inches of pressure injected commercial grade insulation to keep things cool. The coolers are on the heavy side, but they’re scratch and weather resistant.
The hard sided coolers close well and prevent any leaks that can compromise the temperature inside. They also have plenty of reinforcement for hinges and latches so your cooler will last as long as you need it to.
The Orca does offer you longer cooling times, especially if you prep the cooler first. It keeps food and ice cold for at least eight days and sometimes longer depending on outside temperatures. However, it’s just as expensive as Yeti. You really aren’t going to save much more than $20. With Ozark Trail, you’re saving well over half in some cases.
Get Ozark Trail if you have a budget you’re following very closely or if you don’t do a lot of extreme camping or outdoor activities. These coolers are excellent and should be just fine for the average user.
If you’re testing cooler limits and need something that will withstand a lot of abuse, the Orca may be a better choice. It’s also going to be a more impressive gift because you can customize it for your favorite team, for first responders, or a host of other specific options.
Ozark Trail does a fine job of giving customers affordable options. Whether it’s soft-sided coolers or hard sided, they should give the average user plenty of cold for drinks for the afternoon even in sunny weather.
We give it a 3.5 out of 5 because it just doesn’t hold up next to the inspiration, but at half the price, we aren’t sure you’d want it to. If you need a cooler to take with you to the soccer game for the afternoon, or you’re the snack giver for the cheering squad, you wouldn’t need a $400 Yeti. Also if you’re in a situation where you’re worried someone may make off with your cooler, that could be a good time for an Ozark Trail as well.
Make sure you prep the cooler first before you do anything because that will give you the longest time for cooling of just about anything. It’s a great budget option and deserves a second look despite its manufacturing origins and the price tag that goes along with it.