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Otterbox Venture 25 Review: A Heavy-Duty Cooler That Checks All the Boxes

Otterbox's Venture 25 is tough, cold as they come and made in the U.S.A., to boot.

otterbox cooler

Summer is the season characterized by beach days, cookouts, lake hangs and road trips. If you're taking day trips this season, you'll want to keep your food and drinks cool. There are plenty of coolers that can do an adequate job, but if your primary concerns are quality, consistency and ice retention, you'll want to go with a rotomolded option that can stand up to intense heat, transport and use.

Otterbox, a brand best known protective phone cases, might not be the first company that comes to mind in this arena, but its Venture 25 makes a compelling case for why it should be. Here's what I liked — and didn't — about the cooler after months of hands-on testing that included beach trips, days on the deck and for grocery runs in temps upward of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

What I liked about the Otterbox Venture 25

The Venture 25 is well-built and efficient

Otterbox is known for its protective phone cases, and the brand's know-how in that arena translates well into its line of coolers. My first impression of the Venture 25 was a positive one: I was impressed by the feel and construction of the cooler — and even more so when I learned Otterbox designs and builds its coolers in the United States.

The rule of thumb with rotomolded coolers is to pre-chill them beforehand for the best results and ice retention. I'll be the first to say I don't do this nearly as often as I should, and with other coolers, I suffer the consequences: watered-down ice by noontime, with food and drinks floating around the cold soup in a state of abject misery.

During my first test of the Venture 25, I failed to pre-chill it, but I didn't pay for my lack of prep: the cooler sat outside all day in the sun and hot sand at the beach, and by sunset, I had barely lost any ice to the heat. Only a full 24 hours later did I have half a cooler full of water. In the second go-around with the Venture, I pre-chilled it for 12 hours prior to use. This time, the two-part polyurethane insulation easily kept the ice intact for the entire day.

Subtle design features like the cutting board and storage tray resting on the inner rim, as well as the hollowed-out handle in the lid for easy water removal, make this cooler more functional in an everyday sense than its competitors. The exterior mounting system allows you to attach handy accessories (like the included bottle opener), and the oversized latches can be opened with one hand or two, so kids and adults alike can access food and drinks with ease.

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The Venture 25 is easy to carry and pack

At 25 quarts, the Venture 25 is perfect for a day at the beach or park for a family or group of three to four people. I was able to fit 10 cans and multiple snacks in the cooler along with 5 pounds of ice, and I could have easily stuffed a couple more cans in for good measure. The integrated handles are durable and make the cooler easy to carry: there's none of the awkward swinging or twisting you get with rope handles. No matter the season, the handles also make great tie-down points if you're trying to secure the cooler in the back of your truck for a long drive.

What I didn't love about the Otterbox Venture 25

The Venture 25 is heavy for its intended use

Without anything in it, the Venture 25 is just over 16 pounds. If you're low on energy — and it's full of ice, food and drinks — you can feel like you're dragging around a boulder. The Venture 25 was built for casual use, but things start to feel a lot less easygoing when you're trying to load a 40-50 pound cooler in the back of your car.

The Verdict: The Venture 25 is worth the price and weight

There are a ton of coolers on the market with similar features, which can make choosing the one that works best for your lifestyle a challenge. If you appreciate American manufacturing, prioritize customization and go on frequent day trips that require a durable and well-insulated cooler, the Venture 25 is right up your alley.

Hot tip: The Otterbox Venture 25 in Back Trail (Tan/ Realtree Camo/ Orange) is 30 percent off now, going for a cool $195.99 (as of 7/19/22).

Otterbox Venture 25

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