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Cooler,  Gear Review

Gear Review – ICON Cooler & DIBY Review

Gear Review – Icon Cooler & DIBY Tray

30 second review: The Icon cooler is a premium cooler with some great and unique features that’s made in America. It has one of a kind looks compared to all the other Yeti clones, however the performance is just middle of the road. The DIBY is a great add on that can be used with many coolers – not just the Icon.

Disclosure: Icon provided a small discount on the cooler, and provided the DIBY for free in order to review.

There are 3 models of the Icon cooler 32, 50, and 75, reflecting the quarts they hold. We tested the 50 model, and coincidentally it holds 50 cans of beer perfectly when the DIBY is installed.

Features: 

Shape – The shape of the cooler makes it very compact when loading up the truck, or putting into bear boxes. Some other similar sized coolers have fixed handles or bulges that take up valuable footprint area. Other coolers are simply too tall to fit in bear boxes which is not the case here.

Removable Lid – The lid can be removed which is helpful for deep cleaning.

Tie Down Slots – The cooler has tie down slots underneath the lid so you can still open it even when using the tie downs.

Rubber Feet – The rubber feet really hold the cooler in place which is nice when going off-road to give it that extra bit of support.

Drain Plug – The drain plug is large which is nice for quickly draining water from the cooler.

DIBY – The DIBY itself is a great feature in order to keep dry ice in your cooler without exposing any of the contents directly to the dry ice. It also serves as a dry goods container when you don’t need dry ice.

Made in America – This is an American company, putting Americans to work which needs to be supported as often as possible.

Drain plug and soft handles

DIBY Test: 

We tested the cooler performance before using it on the trail by checking out how the DIBY works. The DIBY is a tray which can either be used as a dry goods container, or to hold dry ice with or without a pouch that comes with the DIBY. The idea behind the pouch is it slows how quick the dry ice dissolves and how cold the cooler will get.

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Icon Cooler DIBY Clearance
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The Icon 50 Cooler fits 35 cans of beer in one row.

First, we packed the Icon cooler with canned beer, then put 6 pounds of dry ice into the pouch in the DIBY, then took measurements: a) directly under the DIBY, b) adjacent to the DIBY (absolute middle of the cooler), and c) at the furthest point from the DIBY every 12 hours. The cooler was left outside with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s each day.

Ideally you need to pre-cool coolers over night before packing to get the most out of your ice. Since we were just checking out how it worked we skipped this step, so the initial internal temperature of the cooler was 70 °F.

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Testing: 

After 4 hours:

a) Directly under the DIBY: 42 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 42 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 55 °F

After 16 hours:

a) Directly under the DIBY: 40 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 42 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 52 °F

After 24 hours (PEAK COLD):

a) Directly under the DIBY: 30 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 40 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 50 °F

After 48 hours (ICE DISSOLVED):

a) Directly under the DIBY: 42 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 42 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 50 °F

After 60 hours:

a) Directly under the DIBY: 50 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 50 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 51 °F

After 72 hours:

a) Directly under the DIBY: 52 °F

b) Adjacent to the DIBY: 52 °F

c) Furthest point from the DIBY: 52 °F

Results: 

To get the most out of your cooler you need to pre-cool it, and the items you put into the cooler should be refrigerated as well so the ice is not being wasted early on. Ideally you would have block ice inside of the cooler if you’re planning on using the cooler more than a few days.

This test was a worst case scenario for the dry ice and you can see the 6 pounds alone kept the entire cooler at about 40 °F for 48 hours. So using that as a baseline you can either add more dry ice, or take the additional steps mentioned above to lengthen the amount of time. At most the DIBY holds 10 pounds which should last 80 hours by itself. That being said the geometry of the ice you get will dictate how much can fit in the DIBY, so getting more than 6 or 7 pounds into the DIBY might be difficult.

In Field Performance: 

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With the flat handles the cooler can be opened in this position even with the tailgate up, making it very easy to access

We were able to test the Icon cooler and DIBY out in Sequoia National Park. It was fairly cool the entire trip with lows in the high 40’s so the cooler had a little help from ambient temperatures. For this trip we pre-cooled the cooler and food and drinks, added 10 pounds of cubed ice, and used 6 pounds of dry ice in the DIBY. The cooler stayed under 40 °F for just shy of 4 days. To extend the performance I would recommend using block ice which should get you at least one extra day, if not more.

Another thing to note is the placement of food in relation to the DIBY is important. Items you want to keep close to freezing should be placed underneath. Items you want to stay at refrigerator temperatures should be set furtherest away. I found this to be a feature of the DIBY rather than a flaw. For example we kept meat we weren’t using until the second day in the coldest spot, and left fruit further away so it wouldn’t freeze, then rearranged each night.

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Placement of your food is crucial with the DIBY to ensure you’re keeping your food at the desired temperature

The DIBY fits in many other coolers so we were able to test its performance in a YETI 65. On the same trip, under the same circumstances, the Yeti was able to stay under 40 °F for about one additional day. It was a bit surprising that the Yeti cooler was that much better considering the price is nearly identical for the two coolers, however the build quality is noticeably better on the Yeti which might be what contributes to the improved performance.

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Icon Cooler with Yeti and Grizzly
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DIBY in Yeti 65

Build Quality: 

As mentioned before, the Icon cooler is uniquely designed compared to the Yeti clones with its sleek, retro lines, as well as flat clasps. The cooler has thick walls and by all accounts should work just as well as a Yeti, but there are a few areas which need to be improved.

The lid has about 3/16 of an inch of lateral play when closed meaning it isn’t properly sealed. The pin holding the lid to the main body is removable so spacers can be added to center the lid and prevent play, but this isn’t the type of thing you would expect to have to do with your brand new cooler.

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Icon Cooler Lid Gap

The clasps are able to be operated by one hand in a tight area – which I really found useful. However, this means they aren’t as beefy as the T-handles found on other high end coolers. The lid can be pried up from the body when the clasps are engaged with little force, unlike the Yeti, which won’t budge. I believe this leads to an imperfect seal and contributes to the lower performance.

Conclusion: 

The Icon cooler is essentially the same price as Orca and Yeti coolers which are undeniably the head of class at this time. Unfortunately, there are some improvements that need to be made to match the performance of those brands.

The cooler looks amazing, has some unique features, and will get the job done, it just isn’t going to match the ice retention of other high end brands. However, if that one extra day isn’t your first concern and the other features outweigh this, then the Icon cooler should be high on your list.

Notes: 

As of this writing the Icon cooler is not IGBC certified as bear resistant. You should keep this in mind if you are heading to areas which require this certification.

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