- Chris Campanelli
Otterbox Venture 45 Cooler Review
Whether you prefer hunting, fishing, shooting, camping or riding, coolers are synonymous with the outdoors. From packing home fresh venison or fish, to keeping drinks and food cold at a family cookout, outdoor enthusiasts rely on coolers. For years, a simple and cheap cooler would do the trick.
Times have changed.
The modern outdoorsman now shells out several hundred dollars for new-age super coolers. You know the typical suspects. They advertise their several-hundred dollar coolers as being tough enough to withstand a hungry grizzly and insulated enough to keep ice for days on end. High quality coolers are as common in the outdoor world today as hiking boots, bows, or any other piece of necessary equipment.
With the rise of several prominent cooler makers over the last decade or so, we now have a wide variety of choices when it comes to high quality coolers. The competition is stiff.
Enter cellphone case giant Otterbox and their recently launched line of coolers and outdoor-specific products. While they certainly have a corner on cellphone cases, Otterbox is looked upon as rather new in the outdoor industry. They actually got their start by marketing dry boxes to outdoor enthusiasts, but they are relatively new as a cooler company.
With the release of their Venture line of hard-sided coolers, Trooper soft-sided coolers, dry bags, boxes and tumblers, Otterbox has certainly arrived in the outdoor sector. When it came time for Mass Pursuit TV to partner up with a top-notch cooler company, it only made sense to give Otterbox a look.
A look turned into a brand-new sponsor heading into 2018, as it was clear that Otterbox has the work hard, hunt harder mentality that Mass Pursuit TV embodies.
It takes no more than a glance and a quick walk-around to see that Otterbox had the hardcore outdoorsman in mind when they came up with their new line of products. The Venture series of coolers stands out in particular. With their popular 'Back Trail' model dressed in Realtree Xtra camo, a tan body and blaze-orange accents, they may have the most hunter-friendly cooler on the market.
Now, we all know that Mom told us looks are not everything. That's sage advice in many situations, and certainly when picking out a $300+ cooler. Looks can only take you so far. Performance has to carry the ball to the end-zone. As it turns out, Otterbox brought great aesthetics and performance to the table with the Venture series.
The entire Mass Pursuit TV team has been field and life testing the Venture series throughout the 2018 calendar year. From the massive 65-quart Venture 65, to the 45-quart Venture 45, the Otterbox coolers have been a mainstay in MPTV team truck beds and hunting camps.
That means we have turned the Otterbox coolers loose from the Deep South, to the plains and rivers of Oklahoma, the beaches of the East Coast, and across the heartland of the Midwest. The Otterbox Venture series has answered the call every single time and in every single application.
As part of the ongoing partnership between MPTV and Affiliated Outdoors, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Back Trail model Venture 45. A full review and life test was obviously in order, and that's exactly what we have delivered.
The Venture 45 rode along with us for a full day of summer prep work on the Ohio farm. Making a 40-mile truck ride in the 90-degree heat and humidity, riding along on the ATV and being exposed to less than ideal terrain. We documented all of it in the video that will be posted below, but we should certainly discuss some key points before we get there.
Otterbox definitely made some waves in the outdoor industry with the sharp looking Back Trail model dressed out in Realtree, so I was aware of their arrival in this sector. However, I was truly unaware of the performance side of things. My only experience with Otterbox came from their iPhone cases saving me from disaster seemingly every day.
I have to admit that I was a bit confused on how I should feel about an Otterbox cooler upon seeing them online and in stores. You just never know when a company will slap some camo on a product and say some cool things about hunting just to target a new demographic. The high-end cooler scene has certainly become blurred with a lot of copycat companies, so I am typically apprehensive about new kids on the block.
I am also a pretty substandard cooler owner. I have always been in the camp of avoiding a $500 super cooler and using your run-of-the-mill cooler that simply gets the job done a couple of hours at a time. I have always avoided shelling out solid money on a nice cooler, because I never really saw myself as some kind of adventurist that needed one.
I was completely wrong and selling myself short on a critical piece of equipment for many years.
I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the butcher to pick up fresh venison with plastic grocery bags and little soft-sided coolers. Spilling frozen blocks of venison all over the back of my truck. Not to mention all of the work days on the farm, family cookouts, and the endless applications that I skimped by on with a cheap cooler.
Sure, I have always admired the likes of Yeti, Grizzly, and some of the competitors at the top of the cooler game. I just never made the effort to pick one up. I always talked myself into spending that $300+ on a new bow, gun, or just about anything else.
Getting the Venture 45 by way of the MPTV crew opened my eyes to a new world. It really highlighted the importance of a cooler for the avid outdoorsman. I now find myself toting the Venture 45 with me just about everywhere. It has literally logged more hours in the bed of my truck than in the spot I cleared for it in my garage. No joke.
I have dedicated my Venture 45 as a temporary refrigerator. When I have water left over from a day of work at the farm, I simply leave the cooler full and drink from the leftover supply. That certainly speaks to the insulation and ice-holding capabilities that Otterbox is providing.
Otterbox markets the Venture series with a claim of keeping ice for 14 days. I have not attempted to stretch my ice quite that long, but I have stretched it for significant periods. I've held full ice in 85-90 degree temperatures for 24-hours with ease, and that is with the lid opening and closing. Sometimes staying open for more than a minute or two.
As I display in the video portion of the review, a previously cooled water bottle that got left in the cooler after the ice and water were drained off still maintained a semi-cold temp after a full 7-days of sitting in the cooler. I'd have to imagine that ice could certainly stay cool in the Venture 45 for 14 days if you were in a cold weather deer camp in mid-November.
While keeping things cool for long periods of time is the top feature of any quality cooler, there is a lot more to the Venture coolers. Otterbox is mixing it up a bit in hopes of standing out from the rest of the pack, and I think they are well on their way.
It all starts with their molding process. Otterbox is using the injection-molding process instead of the roto-molding process that a lot of competitors are using. Injection-molding should certainly add a new twist and a potential for increased life and toughness.
Otterbox also gives you the opportunity to customize with the Venture series. They strategically positioned several nesting grooves to give you the opportunity to add things like cup-holders, dry boxes, cutting boards, and more.
They even have a nifty little roller cart that can be purchased to put your Venture cooler on wheels. Meaning that you can go with the standard cooler as we have or with a totally customized cooler that suits your needs. The Venture series has a lot more flexibility that most of the competition.
Storage space is also a major key for the perspective cooler buyer. A lot of you have probably purchased a high-end cooler and come to realize that it does not hold the advertised quantity of ice, beverages, or whatever you need it to. The Venture series comes with a true-to-size inside capacity, so 45-quarts is exactly what you get.
I did not see a need to test that claim to the centimeter, but I know it can hold enough 16-ounce water bottles to keep over 25 people hydrated. The Venture 45 kept the entire crowd fueled during a recent wildlife workshop that we hosted. Easily approaching 20 water bottles and a couple of bags of ice.
So the Venture 45 certainly checks the boxes when it comes to good looks, solid ice-holding capabilities, the opportunity to customize, and it measures pretty true to size. But is it truly as tough as advertised?
I can obviously only speak to my experience, but the folks at Otterbox did have the cooler tested by a hungry grizzly. With the reinforced and locked latches, the cooler took an onslaught from a hungry grizzly without issue. You can check that video out by clicking here.
While I did not personally grizzly test the Venture 45, I put it through a life test. I promptly tossed it into the bed of my pickup, strapped it down, and hit the farm. The cooler rode for an 80-mile round trip, hit the trails on the back of an ATV, and sat out in hot summer sun. Short of a couple black smudge marks from the strap, the cooler looks brand-new.
Meaning that it will take a lot more than a simple day of work and play at the farm to destroy this thing. That's good news for the end-user, because we certainly do not baby our gear when we hit the farm. It may not be as tough as a back-country hike or a tumble off the back of a pickup truck, but we certainly put it to work.
The Venture 45 certainly leaves no doubt in your capability to keep things cool, and that's exactly what a good cooler should be. It should put your mind at ease. Knowing well that your food and drinks will not spoil and that fresh venison or fish will be safe. A cooler should go unnoticed due to its reliability.
Short of absolutely loving the aesthetics of this cooler with the Realtree and blaze-orange color scheme, the Venture 45 has been a quiet and consistent player for me. So quiet, consistent and dependable that I routinely leave it full of ice and drinks for days following my intended use of it.
It's a worry-free cooler, and that's how it should be.
The Venture 45 will run you anywhere from $299 to $350, so it's definitely for the serious cooler buyer. The Back Trail edition that you will see at work in the video retails at $350, but it's so worth it if you love to show your hunting and outdoor pride. I cannot think of a better looking cooler on the market.
Again, looks are not everything and performance is. But the Venture series seems to have the best of both worlds. Good looks and stellar performance.
Needless to say, but we certainly cannot wait to fill them up with fresh venison this fall!
We hope that you enjoy the video side of this review by way of the Affiliated Outdoors YouTube channel, AOTV!
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