Dam Cooler vacuum-insulates and organizes food and beverage
After seeing Yeti's $800 V Series cooler and the German-designed Qool, we figured it was only a matter of time before we'd see a competitively priced vacuum-insulated cooler for the American market. That cooler is the Dam Cooler, a 25+ quart (24+ L) ice box that saves bulk and weight by ditching poly foam and relying on thin, efficient vacuum insulated panels. The Dam Cooler also keeps your food and drink organized with a series of dividers and trays that split its cold interior into compartments.
The cooler market has gained serious durability and ice retention capability over the past decade or two, but it has done so by churning out thicker, heavier and bulkier coolers. Modern rotomolded coolers may be heavy-duty enough to hold up to inquisitive grizzlies, but they're also much thicker and heavier than the light, basic box store coolers of old.
Dam Coolers presents a lighter, sleeker cooler built to hold ice as long as its rotomolded counterparts. It does so by ditching the polyurethane foams commonly used for insulation and swapping in vacuum insulated panels.
Foam may not be heavy in itself, but manufacturers tend to pack in a lot of it to offer the ice-retention performance consumers are looking for. In fact, several rotomolded cooler companies advertise how thick their insulation or cooler walls are as a selling point. Yeti markets "Fatwall" design, and Bison Coolers positions its 2-in (5-cm) wall insulation as superior to thinner-wall cooler designs. Orion Coolers also touts its 2-in-thick insulation. Thicker insulation results in larger dimensions and a heavier cooler (or less interior volume for food and drinks).
Using the thin, high-performing vacuum panels allows Dam Coolers to maintain walls that are half as thick (1.2 in/3 cm) as some of the rotomolded competition without sacrificing cooling capabilities. The vacuum panels cut molecular movement between the cool interior and warm exterior to keep the inside icy cold. Dam shores its cooler up with a gasket around the lid and claims its Dam25 cooler will keep ice frozen for up to six days.
Dam's thin walls cut down weight and exterior dimensions while optimizing the interior volume that counts. Bison Cooler's $229 25-quart model weighs 20 lb (9 kg) and has enough room for 32 lb (14.5 kg) of ice, as listed by Bison. The $250 Yeti Tundra 35 cooler, which has 24 quarts of interior volume, also weighs 20 lb (9 kg) and holds up to 26 lb (11.8 kg) of ice, according to Yeti's website. Orion's $314 25-quart cooler weighs 21.5 lb (9.8 kg), but the company doesn't list an ice capacity. Dam Coolers lists the Dam25 at 14.5 lb (6.6 kg) and capable of holding up to 33 lb (15 kg) of ice. Its exterior dimensions are also slimmer than all three aforementioned coolers.
Beyond lightweight, efficient construction, the Dam Cooler brings another handy feature: an organization system. Available dividers split the open interior into compartments, keeping food separated from drinks, frozen food separated from fresh food, dry goods separated from items on ice, and so on. Dam Coolers also has trays that rest on the top of the cooler, offering up to 20 different configurations in all.
Other Dam25 features include removable anti-slip feet, inverted D-latches and an aluminum handle. Its coolers may not be built to pick fights with bears, like many a rotomolded cooler is, but they're still sturdy, supporting up to 170 lb (77 kg) on a honeycomb rib-reinforced lid.
Dam Coolers plans to sell the Dam25 for an MSRP of $235, but it's raising money on Indiegogo now, offering the cooler at a pledge levels as low as $118. The campaign has doubled its $30,000 goal, and the company tells us it's already started production. Also on offer is the larger Dam35, scheduled to be released later this year, and soft coolers and cooler backpacks.
Source: Dam Coolers