Ozark Trail Cooler Review (26 quarts)

After traveling and working with an old Igloo cooler for the last year and a half my parents surprised us with a brand new cooler and we are loving it! Here’s our take on the Ozark Trail 26 Quart Cooler which we think is perfect for van life.

Ozark Trail Cooler Review

This cooler claims that it keeps ice for more than 4.5 days in mild temps. And…it’s close. We’ve found that in cooler temperatures, it keeps things cool for about 4 days but there isn’t any ice left after 4 days. On hot summer days when you can’t get any shade or coverage for the cooler or the van you can count on about 48 hours where there’s still a little ice. (The less you open it, the longer it’ll last so keep the opening and closing to a minimum). All in all, it’s a pretty solid ice chest and a major upgrade from some of the stryofoam and even Rubbermaid coolers of yore.

It’s made of heavy-duty polyethylene that is virtually unbreakable. The construction rivals that of the Yeti cooler and yet it’s a fraction of the price. We’ve put ours through the ringer the last several months and it’s stood up to daily use from van life.


  • The cooler dimensions are: 21.50 x 13.00 x 15.50 Inches
  • It weighs 16 pounds

Features of the Ozark Trail Cooler

  • 2 drink holders on the lid
  • Fish ruler on the lid
  • Built-in bottle opener
  • UV resistant exterior
  • Stainless steel handle with a soft grip for carrying
  • USDA’s Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee says this cooler is certified bear-resistant.
  • Anti-skid traction pads on the bottom of the cooler.

Pros of the Ozark Trail Cooler

  • It’s leakproof. We’ve tipped our cooler over (on accident and on purpose) to test out the seals and we’re happy to say that it doesn’t leak.
  • It actually keeps things cold for a lot longer than our other cooler. Out in the pacific northwest where we’ve been lately, the temps have been in between 40 and 60 degrees. The ice chest, with a bag of ice, is keeping our food cold for about 4 days.
  • It’s bear resistant.
  • The anti-skid pads on the bottom keep the cooler in place in the van rather than sliding around while we drive.
  • We love the color!
  • You can put a lock on it so that someone else can’t open it (or steal it from you).
  • It’s large enough for us to store at one time:
    • 1 ten pound bag of ice
    • 6 yogurts
    • 6 cans of beer
    • 2 packs of cheese
    • A small bowl with 4 boiled eggs
    • 1 bottle of wine
    • 1 bag of salad
    • 2 freezer packs

Cons of the Ozark Cooler

  • Weighs 16 pounds empty
  • The rubber clasps are a little challenging to secure
  • It is too tall to stay where it is in the photo below at night when the bed is made and has to be moved to the front seat.
Ozark Trails Cooler_.jpg

Ozark Cooler Review

We think this is one of the best coolers for camper van life. Though it’s a bit too tall to be able to leave in place when we want to make the bed, it fits just fine on the front seat. If you have a bigger van though, it would double as an additional seat in the cabin. How does this compare to some of the premium coolers on the market such as Yeti? We think it’s right up there with Yeti and at just a fraction of the cost.

Want to purchase this cooler through Amazon? Check it out HERE!

Like this cooler but want something bigger? Or with wheels? Check out our review of the Coleman Atlas Series 65-Quart Cooler with Wheels.

To learn more about the other pieces of gear we’re using check out our post on our Van Life Essentials as well as our Camper Van Clothing Packing List. Or, just head on over to our Van Life page and browse around.

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

3 thoughts on “Ozark Trail Cooler Review (26 quarts)

  1. We’ve had one of these for a bit and I was trying to figure out what it could do. I’m prepping for a weeklong road trip and this review was very informative!

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