Basic inexpensive coolers bought at local big box stores used to be everywhere at campgrounds, picnic areas and fishing nooks all over the map, but these days portable cooling has taken a big leap upmarket. Two of the biggest trends driving that leap have been rugged rotomolded coolers popularized by Yeti and portable fridge/freezers that have grown in popularity alongside overlanding and RVing. Following up on its affordable iFreezer Go20 portable fridge, Iceco brings those two gold standards of cooling together in its new iCooler JP42, a portable chiller purpose-built to keep food cold and fresh, whether plugged into your vehicle or unplugged and filled with ice.
Modern coolers have gained a reputation for being durable to the point of certified bear-resistance, so it’s not uncommon to see fridge/freezer manufacturers borrowing some styling cues from cooler design when making more rugged models for the off-road crowd.
Iceco takes it a step further by making its new 42-L iCooler an actual cooler as well as a fridge/freezer. It’s not advertising any bear certifications (we imagine a bear would rip into those electrical innards pretty quickly), but it uses rotomolding in its construction process and closes the sealed lid with latches that look quite like the roto coolers lining the shelves of any outdoor gear shop. Most usefully, it adds in a drain for easily spilling out ice melt-off.
A fridge/freezer is superior to a cooler in a number of ways, but campers don’t necessarily have a power source to keep it running all the time. The iCooler transitions to simple ice-filled cooler seamlessly. Before unplugging, you can even use it as a freezer to make ice or keep ice at freezing temperature. Iceco estimates that it’ll retain ice for close to four days when unplugged.
As a fridge/freezer, the iCooler plugs into a 12/24/110/220V outlet and cools to temperatures between 0 and 50 F (-18 and 10 C), adjustable via a small control panel. It features three-stage car battery protection to prevent draining the vehicle battery. Iceco also offers a portable battery pack that will run the fridge for an estimated 24 hours.
Other iCooler features include built-in side handles and a pair of bottle holders and small storage tray on top. The cooler is designed to work at angles up to 30 degrees. It weighs 43 lb (19.5 kg) dry and measures roughly 28 x 16 x 18 in (71 x 41 x 46 cm).
We’re not sure the added flexibility would be worth it if Iceco priced the iCooler too high, but it has priced it lower than what you might pay for a comparably sized fridge/freezer from a different brand. It estimates retail price at US$499, and it’s currently offering the fridge through Kickstarter at pledge levels starting at US$260 with free shipping around the US. Deliveries will begin in July, if all goes accordingly. The campaign has doubled its goal with three weeks left to go.
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