Finding a reliable ice cooler has become quite a difficult task nowadays in a market full of knockouts and cheap imitations. However, you can easily avoid the cluster by pushing your budget a little higher and aiming for something as radiant as an Igloo Sportsman.
In fact, Igloo initiated the Sportsman lineup to keep up with the raging competition, which ended up an independent champion of its own. Truly, this line has almost eclipsed all other coolers created by the brand, representing the number one item every hobbyist needs.
So, let’s learn more about the Sportsman line and why so many hunters, anglers and campers are investing in it?
Igloo Sportsman™ Cooler Lineup
(L x W x H)
Sportsman 20 qt Cooler
|• 30 12-oz cans|
• 20 quarts (18.93 liters)
|16.51 lbs||• Interior:
13.5" x 9.13" x 9.6"
21.22" x 15.75" x 14.13"
Sportsman 40 qt Cooler
|• 56 12-oz cans|
• 40 quarts (37.85 liters)
|23 lbs||• Interior:
17.68" x 11.74" x 11.07"
23.88" x 17.98" x 16.4"
Sportsman 55 qt Cooler
|• 90 12-oz cans|
• 55 quarts (52.05 liters)
|26.8 lbs||• Interior:
24.35" x 11.75" x 11.4"
30.63" x 17.88" x 16.25"
Sportsman 70 qt Cooler
|• 105 12-oz cans|
• 70 quarts (66 liters)
|30 lbs||• Interior:
27.25" x 11.75" x 13.55"
33.2" x 17.97" x 18.68"
Available Sizes & Dimensions
Being an Igloo, the Sportsman is obviously a high performance cooler, which is why it is necessary that you determine your exact needs and requirements before you make your pick.
Accordingly, the Sportsman comes in 4 different sizes in order to cater for the different styles and ambitions of all its customers and it starts with:
The smallest cooler in this line is still considerably large as it measures 21 x 15 x 16 inches and weighs around 17 pounds. Accordingly, this Sportsman can hold up to 20 qt which is equivalent to 18 liters, making it a great match for small catch anglers and campers.
The second cooler in this line is perhaps the most popular as it is extremely versatile. Indeed, the Sportsman cooler at hand measures 23 x 18 x 16 inches, adding up to around 26 pounds in total weight.
Most significantly, this cooler has grown famous for its ability to handle challenges and overcome obstacles, putting it in the range of most anglers and hunters out there.
To put things in context, this cooler can handle up to 40 qt, which is the equivalent of 37 liters.
This cooler might not be the most popular in this line but it definitely has its dedicated fan base. In fact, at 30 x 18 x 16 inches, the Igloo at hand is considered to be a giant, making it perfect for big prey.
Also, being able to handle 55 qt renders this beast a solid long term companion and one which can extend ice life significantly.
Mostly sold out, this cooler is the most desired Sportsman out there and there is no secret behind that. To put it simply, this ice chest measures 33 x 18 x 18 inches and weighs around 30 pounds which is splendid to say the least.
In fact, this Sportsman has been a great match for big catch anglers, hunters and long duration campers all around the country because it can handle up to 70 qt and that is equivalent to 66 liters.
As far as build quality is concerned, you can expect equal resilience from each individual Sportsman cooler because they are all developed via Roto-Molding technology. This technology entails a meticulous building process, conducted solely by machines to create perfect molds with absolutely zero flaws.
On another level, Sportsman coolers must undergo a series of torture tests to prove their reliability and durability in various environments and especially under pressure since they will mostly be in the wild. Hence, you can expect titan rigidity shells, long ice retention ability, sturdy locking system and an endless array of helpful features that will make your journey more fruitful.
With an impressive size variety, you can expect ice retention periods to differ from one Sportsman to another. However, all Sportsman coolers managed to overcome their competition so far and there is an easy answer as to how.
First things first, ice retention relies greatly on insulation which is a field that Igloo mastered far before the Sportsman. Hence, all Sportsman coolers are roto-molded with a 2 inches foam injected lid and 1.5 to 2 inches walls. In that respect, while foam insulation is not unique to Igloo, the density of which is unmatched.
Further, insulation could be useless if not for a reliable gasket to prevent air from going into and outside your cooler. Hence, Sportsman coolers feature a premium lid and draining plug gasket that will perfectly shield the internal atmosphere from all external variables, giving your ice a better chance to survive the heat.
Consequently, as useful as it is, the lid gasket would be helpless without the elastic T-latches on all Sportsman coolers. The best thing about these latches isn’t the fact that they can be easily locked in place / removed but rather how they will firmly squeeze the lid down on the gasket to prevent air from leaking in.
In conclusion, you can argue that the Sportsman line has got everything there is to desire in a cooler. However, it is important to note that not all coolers will exhibit the same ice life since size and your habits will play a major role in influencing that process.
Features are usually the prime focus of cooler heads right after ice retention. Indeed, a cooler’s features can make a huge impact on your final decision, which is why we bring you Sportsman’s top features:
- The T latches on all Sportsman are easily the best locking mechanism you can find on a cooler. Not only are these latches easy to remove / lock, they are made of high quality silicon. Accordingly, the stretch quality of these premium silicon T-latches enables them to pull back down, keeping that lid firmly closed at all cost.
- The draining plug on the Sportsman line is arguably superior to any other in the industry. In fact, this might just be the only plug out there with a dedicated gasket to fully contain the environment inside your cooler. Also, the draining plug on these coolers is significantly larger than average in order to allow more water to escape, making the entire draining process less tedious. Finally, the cherry on top of the cake is that the plug itself has a dedicated spot once removed in order to avoid putting it down in the mud every time you drain your cooler.
- Handles are obviously a priority for Igloo but especially on the Sportsman. Truly, the handles on these coolers received a lot of attention in the build process to ensure that they don’t swing or move inconveniently. Accordingly, the Sportsman handles are made of high quality plastic in order to prevent the coolers from swinging and to make sure your hands remain comfortable, all handles are featured with rubber grip for easy carrying.
- One of the more interesting features of the Sportsman line are the extremely resilient hinges. Unlike most coolers, including Yeti, Igloo Sportsman coolers feature a lid that can go slightly beyond 90 degrees upon full extension and that stresses how much the company trusts its hinges. Hence, not only do they facilitate access to your cooler, the Igloo hinges can also support a lot of weight, further stressing the strength aspect.
- Color choice is not necessarily the best on Sportsman coolers as they come in two standard options. Accordingly, you can either go for the standard white to make sure your cooler stands out or blends in or you can opt for the less prominent grey which offers a far superior camouflage ability for hunters.
Igloo Sportsman Vs. Yeti Tundra – Which Is Better?
It is slightly difficult to compare these two cooler brands since they both have such a plentiful portfolio. However, if we must then we should first make the price gap obvious and that usually benefits the Igloo. Indeed, most Igloo coolers are significantly less expensive than Yeti, which is understandable because Yeti is leading the industry by a strong margin. However, is it worth it to pay that much more?
Well, when you go down to compare the Igloo Sportsman to the Yeti Tundra line, it becomes obvious that the latter has a lot of popular support. Thus, upon research, you’ll be faced with a tide of positive reviews that mostly focus the ice retention ability of the Tundra line which is undeniably impressive. However, you will also find out that a lot of people don’t really like many of the features on these coolers.
In that respect, Yeti Tundra coolers are resilient, reliable and point blank superior to many coolers out there but pouring all that focus on one thing resulted in lousy handles, poor design flaws and a high possibility of losing your draining plug.
On the other hand, Igloo Sportsman has made obvious advances in the industry since it offers a reliable ice retention quality for significantly less than the Yeti.
Indeed, while Sportsman coolers remain inferior to Yeti Tundras in terms of ice retention, they do put on quite a show for it. Yeti is undisputed in the ice retention realm but no one is going to remove the Sportsman from the runner up rank.
In fact, the Sportsman line is considered to be the best option for a first cooler because it facilitates the entire process to perfection.
Hence, with solid padded handles, a gasket draining plug, a measuring/cutting board and much more, the Sportsman takes the lead in the budget category. However, it still needs a slightly better insulation in order to dethrone the magnificent Yeti.
Coolers similar to Igloo Sportsman
A fit match for the Sportsman line has got to be an RTIC cooler. Undeniably, RTIC has been rocketing recently due to their variety, dependability and bottom line affordability. However, the Sportsman line is still superior in a sense since it provides similar quality for a significantly lower cost.
Perhaps not as popular as the Igloo sportsman, the K2 Summit is still a valid rival since it offers affordable coolers with an impressive ice retention ability. Indeed, both the Sportsman and K2 Summit are exemplary in terms of resilience but the Igloo maintains a slight advantage when it comes to pricing.
In fact, an easy way to forecast the impact of Thermik high performance coolers is by taking a look at the response it is getting online. Speaking of which, this could be the most appreciated budget brand on the market and the closest rival to the Igloo Sportsman.
In fact, the popular ORCA coolers are simply described as excellent and that includes price as well as performance. Hence, this brand has managed to create robust coolers with thick insulation and cutting-edge features, pushing it closer to Yeti than any other brand on this list.
Igloo Sportsman Cooler — Bottom Line
While the Igloo Sportsman puts its heroism cap in the budget section, it does still have some reign amongst the leading brands in the game.
Indeed, just like the Yeti and Pelican, the Igloo Sportsman is a refined line with enough qualities to make you seriously consider switching right now.
In that respect, the selling point of the Sportsman relies greatly on its excellent features and robust shells, rendering the minute disadvantage in ice retention almost forgivable.