The global camping cooler market has skyrocketed over the past few years. In 2017, it was valued at USD 621.8 million, and it is expected to continue climbing. OCRA Coolers were are market leaders.
However, with so many manufacturers competing for your dollars, how do you find the best coolers?
ORCA (Outdoor Recreation Company of America) was established in 2012, and they have been giving better-known companies a serious run for their money ever since.
We’re going to tell you the best ORCA coolers on the market, and why you should choose them. But first, just a few reminders of what to look for in a cooler.
The Top OCRA Coolers On The Market
|Product Name||Best Feature||Model|
|ORCA 75 quart (||Extendable flex grip handles for solo or dual carrying||ORCG075|
|ORCA 40 Quart Coolerr||Great capacity that still doesn’t make it too heavy.||TP0400|
|ORCA 20 Quart Cooler||Personalization Options||ORCBK/BK020-P|
|ORCA 58 Quart Cooler|
More portable than the 75 Quart,
|ORCA Pod Backpack Cooler||Light, easy backpack transport||ORCPODBL|
|ORCA 140 Quart Cooler||Large capacity for multiple uses||ORCW140|
|ORCA 26 Quart Cooler||Portability||ORCCR/WH026|
|ORCA Podster||Lightweight, can still carry a good amount||ORCPDSTRRTM5|
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Pick: ORCA 75 Quart Cooler – The Largest Cooler Yet
- 2 Our 2nd Pick: ORCA 40 Quart Cooler – Padded Carrying Handles
- 3 Our 3rd Pick: ORCA 20 Quart Cooler – Customized Coolers – Sports Teams Edition
- 4 Our 4th Pick: ORCA 58 Quart Cooler – Easy Drainage Cooler
- 5 Our 5th Pick: ORCA Pod Backpack Cooler – The Backpack Style Cooler
- 6 Our 6th Pick: ORCA 140 Quart Cooler – Can Hold 5 Cases of Beverage
- 7 Our 7th Pick: ORCA 26 Quart Cooler – XL Hunting Cooler
- 8 8. ORCA Podster (28.5 lbs – 14.25 Quart )
- 9 OCRA VS Yeti Coolers
Our Top Pick: ORCA 75 Quart Cooler – The Largest Cooler Yet
This is by far the highest rated ORCA cooler on Amazon. With a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 95%, and zero 1-star ratings, it is obvious that this is the ORCA cooler of choice. The best feature on this cooler is the extendable flex grip handles. Many Large Coolers like RTIC Coolers, do not offer this feature.
This means it can be easily carried by one or two people. Reviewers especially liked the firm gasket, and the cargo net attachment for added storage. The only negative is there were reports of the lid being warped, thereby negating the gasket seal. With over 10 colors to choose from, there is something for every style.
- Lid gasket for perfect seal
- Extendable flex grip handles for comfortable solo or tandem portage
- cargo net attachment for added storage
- Holds roughly 63 12oz cans or 96 pounds of ice (or combo of two accordingly)
- Reports of lids being warped
- 96 lbs of anything can be heavy to carry if moving the cooler long distances.
Our 2nd Pick: ORCA 40 Quart Cooler – Padded Carrying Handles
This cooler runs a very close second to the 75 quart cooler, with a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 92%. Comes in the same colors as the 75 quart, although you can special order coolers of this size with your favorite NFL, MLB or NHL team logo on the cover. Padded carrying handles make it easier to carry, and with the same ice retention and other features, this could be the perfect size for whatever your needs may be.
- ORCA standard lid gasket
- sturdily built
- flex grip handles for easier carrying
- cargo net attachment for extra storage
- ORCA standard ice/cold retention.
- Reports of it being too heavy even before ice or drinks are added.
Our 3rd Pick: ORCA 20 Quart Cooler – Customized Coolers – Sports Teams Edition
The ratings are not as high on this cooler, with a combined 4 and 5 star of 87%, but that is largely due to the sheer number of reviews. This cooler is still popular, as it can hold roughly 24 cans making it a perfect size for a simple party cooler.
In addition, this size has the most personalization options. Aside from coming in the standard colors, the 20 Quart also comes with the logos of your favorite NCAA, NFL, MLB, or NHL team on the lid, as well as other team colors.
This size also has a special “First Responders” line.
- Best ratio of storage amount to portability
- most personalization options.
- Top handle not as strong as side handles of larger ORCA coolers
Our 4th Pick: ORCA 58 Quart Cooler – Easy Drainage Cooler
With a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 80%, we see that ORCA coolers are fairly consistent no matter what size you choose. As with the 75 Quart, the 58 comes with the extendable flex-grip handles.
The easy flow drainage spout (standard in all ORCA coolers) also makes draining melted ice more efficient, as there is no need to open the lid to do so. Comes in the same standard colors as the others.
- Excellent ice retention; easy to carry handles
- Can get heavy when fully loaded; not ideal for long transport
Our 5th Pick: ORCA Pod Backpack Cooler – The Backpack Style Cooler
This is the smaller of the two “backpack style” coolers that ORCA has to offer. With a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 80%, it has the same approval as the bigger 58 Quart (see number 4) and the 140 Quart (see number 6).
It has a maximum load of 59.5 lbs, which is pretty heavy if you’re going to be carrying it on your back. But, if you are hiking in to an overnight campsite, this is a good alternative to dragging or carrying a larger cooler all of the way.
The padded shoulder straps provide cushion, and the compact design is less bulky than other backpack coolers. Because it is not made of hard material, there have been reports of it leaking, but on a hot day, that extra water might not feel too bad!
- Decent load weight
- compact design
- Small enough to meet TSA carry on standards if needed for transporting refrigerated medicine (check with airlines before using as such)
- Material allows for leakage
- Not big enough for more than a day trip.
Our 6th Pick: ORCA 140 Quart Cooler – Can Hold 5 Cases of Beverage
Here we have another cooler with a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 80%. This is the grand-daddy of all ORCA coolers. The large size makes it ideal for house parties or tailgates (providing you leave it in the back of the truck!) With the ability to hold nearly 5 cases of beverages, you won’t need anything else for your drinks.
Obviously the larger size makes it somewhat impractical for camping or activities that require mobility, unless you can park at your campsite. It would certainly be ideal as an outdoor refrigerator for a multi-day camping trip.
- Large storage capacity; extendable flex-grip handles; good for outdoor kitchen usage
- Cargo net for additional storage
- When filled
- Could be too heavy for portability
- Reports of lids warping
Our 7th Pick: ORCA 26 Quart Cooler – XL Hunting Cooler
With a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 74%, this is the least popular of ORCA’s hard-sided coolers, but there is still plenty to like. Standard in ORCA coolers, you still get the lid gasket that ensures a perfect seal, and you also get the 10 day ice/cold retention.
The 26 Quart comes with a single flex-grip stainless steel handle, making it easy for one person to carry. In fact, portability is one of the biggest benefits of this size cooler.
Another benefit is just like the 20 quart, you can get the 26 in team colors or with NCAA team logos on the lid. This is the perfect size for a BYOB gathering.
- Easily portable even when filled with ice and drinks
- Compact style allows for consolidated cooling
- keeping ice frozen even in 90+ degree outside temperature
- Lacking mid secure point to make strapping down easier
- Some reports of faulty handle when cooler is fully loaded.
8. ORCA Podster (28.5 lbs – 14.25 Quart )
With a combined 4 and 5 star rating of 73%, this one comes in last when compared to other ORCA coolers. To be fair though, this cooler, along with the Pod (see number 5) are unique to the line.
The ORCA Podster is the smallest portable coolers that ORCA offers. With a maximum weight of 28.5 lbs, this cooler is compact, but can still hold enough food and drinks for a day.
Its stylish design makes it an attractive addition to camping gear, and multiple handles give you many options for carrying.
If you are looking to use it on a longer hike, 28 lbs can feel a lot heavier in the 4th mile than the 1st.
The shape can also limit what types of icepacks you use for cooling. But overall, this isn’t a bad choice for a backpack cooler.
- Stylish design
- compact but plenty of room
- multiple handles for varied carrying
- padded shoulder straps
- water and leak proof
- unique flip top eliminates zipper abrasion
- Can get heavy when fully loaded
- size limits what you can carry
- shape may prohibit types of ice packs that can be used.
What To Look For When Purchasing OCRA Cooler?
Cold and Ice Retention
This is obviously the first thing you want to look for in a beverage cooler. What is the point of buying one that won’t keep your drinks cool, or allows ice to melt too quickly?
Beware: there are several reviews out there that complain about coolers not having enough cold retention.
Air is the enemy of ice; if you are opening and closing the cooler a lot, of course, the ice is going to melt faster.
However, if you are going to be keeping items for a longer period of time (i.e. refrigerated items on a camping trip), your cold retention will remain higher.
Know the difference between ice retention and cold retention. How long will ice stay in the cooler before melting? After it has melted, does the cooler maintain a cold temperature, or does it warm faster?
Whether you are taking your cooler to the ballpark or on a rugged camping trip, you want to have one that will withstand both the elements and everyday wear and tear. Heavy duty, weather-proof materials are best, but you have to be careful to find ones that do not make the cooler too heavy to carry.
That is another thing to consider: what will you be using it for? If you are camping, you’ll want something that has good storage, but is portable. Smaller coolers are better for tailgating and/or hiking. There are other factors that are cosmetic: how many colors does it come in, can it be personalized, and (of course) price point.
It seems like a lot to consider, but fortunately, ORCA has products that fit any need you may have for a cooler, so now let’s take a closer look at them.
Materials and Composition
ORCA coolers are made of roto-molded polyethylene. This simply means that the cooler shell is one continuous piece, so there are fewer (if any) pockets for air to get in. The walls and lid also have roughly the same thickness, which aids in cold retention.
All ORCA coolers also have a heavy duty gasket between the lid and the walls that give the cooler an extra seal of protection, stopping air from getting in. The clasps on the coolers close tightly, really locking that seal and keeping the hot air out.
Ice and Cold Retention
As mentioned above, 10 days of ice retention seems like a dream, and we are going to be realistic about it. It is obvious that the more ice you can put in a cooler, the longer the ice will stay frozen.
Likewise, if you are going to be doing fall camping, and the outside temperature is going to be in the 60s, you are going to have better ice retention than a cooler sitting in 95 degree heat at a baseball game.
You also want to ensure that you have the proper ice-to-drink ratio. If you fill your cooler with drinks, but do not leave enough room for ice, you aren’t going to be keeping those drinks very cool. ORCA recommends a 2:1 ice-to-drink ratio for optimal cooling and retention.
Lastly, the number of times the lid is opened will have a direct impact on how long your cooler stays cool. Opening it multiple times for beverages? You are going to lose the cold faster. Leaving it mostly closed as an outdoor refrigerator will retain the cold for much longer.
So if all of ORCA’s coolers have the same features, how do you can you tell which one is best? Read on to see our analysis.
OCRA VS Yeti Coolers
First off, one of the most attractive aspects of ORCA for many buyers is that they are based in Nashville, TN and their products are American-made.
ORCA produces hard-sided coolers that come in six different sizes, from 20 quart up to 140 quart. OCRA offers two different smaller, backpack sized coolers that are perfect for a day hike.
All of ORCA’s coolers boast the same high ice and cold retention rates. In the best settings, ORCA coolers can retain ice for up to 10 days. This may seem impossible, but let’s look at a few things that actually make it possible.
So there you have it, the best ORCA coolers you can buy! As you can tell from the comparisons, there is a lot to like about ORCA coolers. All of the hard-sided coolers offer the same general features, and then it becomes a matter of preference.
Ultimately, your choice should be based on what you will be using the cooler for; once you decide that, you will be able to figure out the best size for your needs.