Coolers have quite become mandatory for camping or overlanding trips. If there’s one thing that we know about summer camping, is that it’s eventually going to get really hot – which means there’s a high risk for your food and drinks going bad. Many cooler manufacturers provide solutions to this issue. YETI has been the long time favourite, but users often just want to find an ice chest like YETI, but cheaper. Welcome to our Pelican vs YETI article!

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An ice chest or cooler will help you in this situation since it will keep your ingredients fresh. Depending on the size and type of cooler, they can stay fresh for as long as one week. Plus, not only will it protect the food from the weather, but it will also protect it from animals (for example, bears). These products are both bear proof coolers.

In this article, we will be comparing two brands – Pelican vs. YETI. Specifically, we will be comparing the YETI Tundra 50 with the Pelican Elite 50.

Pelican vs. YETI – Comparison

For our comparison, we will use the 50 quart models form the two brands. Features and other qualities are will be the same for other sizes for both, so if you are considering a larger or smaller model than the Pelican 50 or YETI 50, you can still read this article to be able to decide which brand to go for.

Attribute

Pelican 50

YETI 50

Dimensions Outside

20 3/10” × 20 4/10” × 30”

17 5/8” × 17 3/4” × 24 1/4”

Dimensions Inside

11” × 13 7/10” × 17 1/2”

10 3/8” × 12 1/2” × 16 5/8”

Empty Weight

26 lbs

26 lbs

Capacity

Using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio by volume

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yeti tundra 50 capacity

As you can see it in our Pelican vs YETI comparison table above, the Pelican 50 can hold more of your beverages (52.87 qt vs 47.2 qt capacity) using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio. That comes with a bulkier outer dimensions, which can be a disadvantage when packing for an overland trip for example.

YETI Tundra Review

The YETI brand is one that you could call “professional,” in the sense that each of the parts used was made to be heavy duty. For that reason, it’s more expensive than your average budget cooler – and is highly popular among professional fishermen, campers, hunters – or people who spend a lot of their time in the open air.

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Here are the overall features that might interest you about the YETI Tundra:

When it comes to holding onto the ice, however, the Yeti is the clear winner. It may be more expensive, but it’s certainly worth it. Generally, every cooler with thicker insulation will provide lengthy cooling periods – so make sure that the wall is at least between 2 and 3 inches.

  • Rotomolded construction
  • Permafrost insulation
  • T-Rex lid latches
  • Double-haul handles
  • Interlock lid system
  • Vortex drain system
  • Bearfoot non-slip feet
  • Lipgrip handles

Taking the 50 quart model as an example for our review, the YETI Tundra 50 is not the most expensive of their models – but it is certainly one of the most appreciated. The model features a rotomolded construction, the interior and exterior being heavy-duty. This means that it’s practically indestructible. If your camp gets raided by a bear, the cooler should resist an attack.

Thanks to its Permafrost insulation, all the cold will stay inside the cooler, with no means of slipping out. Furthermore, thanks to the no sweat design, the model will also remain dry on the surface.

The less you open the cooler, the more you’ll be able to hang onto the ice. According to previous buyers, with moderate usage, the ice can hold for as long as 7 days before it starts to melt. This speaks of its strong insulating properties.

The heavy-duty handles made from military-grade rope are also nearly impossible to rip. Considering that it was made to support the weight of a fit soldier, it will have no problem lifting all your food and beverages.

The interlocking hinge system is also sturdy – military grade. The chances of it breaking are almost equal to zero. Plus, considering that its dimensions are 24 x 17.5 x 18.5, you can fit a decent amount of foods and drinks in this cooler.

PROS:

  • Multi-purpose: cooler, bench, tabletop, stool
  • Ice can hold for a fairly long time
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Can fit a high amount of foods and beverages
  • The handles are easy to latch onto
  • Unquestionable build quality

CONS:

  • Fairly expensive
  • It’s heavier than regular coolers

Pelican Elite Review

On the other end, also looking at the 50 quart model for our comparison, we have the Pelican Elite 50. Price-wise, it’s a bit cheaper than the YETI – but only by about $30. Of course, this will also depend on the seller.

These are the general features provided by the Pelican:

  • 2-inch insulation made of polyurethane
  • Molded handles
  • 3-inch locking latches
  • Stainless steel bottle opener
  • Leakproof drain pug
  • Self-draining cup holders
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Large models are equipped with wheels

With a 2” insulation thickness, this model can easily preserve the cold. The product description mentions that it can retain the ice for at least a week – which was confirmed by most of the viewers. While the ice may start melting at some point, you will still reach day 4 with 2/3 of the ice intact.

The handles are made of plastic – as is the entire casket. Unlike the YETI 50 cooler, this one does not feature any rope handless. Some may say that this is an advantage since it makes the handles more durable.

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Still, others complain of the uncomfortable hold – since it does not offer your wrists any flexibility of movement.

The leak-proof drain plug is easy to access, and it will only release the melted ice when you choose to. This means that water will not start dripping from the cooler – this way, the coolness will stay inside.

It also features four self-draining cup holders. This way, the cooler becomes a table and you can keep your drinks cool while you are enjoying them.

To remain at comparing the 50 quart models, measuring 30 x 30 x 20.4, the Pelican is slightly bigger than the YETI, and it can carry much more weight. At the same time, it is slightly heavier, meaning that you may need someone to carry it.

The lifetime warranty is also an impressive touch. In the event that it ever breaks, the company will replace it for you – forever.

PROS:

  • It is very spacious
  • It's made with sturdy handles
  • The cup holders keep your drinks cold while you are enjoying them
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS:

  • Fairly expensive
  • The handles may be uncomfortable

Buyer's Advice - Pelican vs YETI

So, Pelican vs. YETI – which one is the winner? We don't think the price will be a major deciding factor for buyers. The fact that Pelican Elite coolers are usually cheaper than the YETI equivalent sizes is a bonus on top of the Pelican coolers' very high quality.

One of the best features we likes on the Pelican models is that the large models are equipped with wheels. A user friendly addition that will make your camping easier.

On the other hand, the YETI is famous for its extreme durability. Pelicans may lack behind in this regard a tiny bit, but the lifetime warranty of the Elite coolers may make up for that, since every broken cooler is replaced!

YETI

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Pelican

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