Despite glossy stickers advertising longer-lasting cold and more rugged construction, coolers haven't really changed much in the past half-century. Short of a full-blown solar-powered portable fridge, there just isn’t much room for improvement.
Unless, that is, you think outside the box.
Ryan Grepper’s ridiculously successful Kickstarter project, the Coolest, is not an exercise in hyperbole. It is almost certainly the coolest cooler ever built.
Why? Because it packs everything you’d need for a trip to the beach, park, or campground into one compact, well-designed unit. All you need to add is your food or drink of choice.
This thing has it all: A USB charging port, a cutting board, 60 quarts of storage space, a bottle opener, an LED lid light, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, and—best of all—an 18 volt rechargeable blender. That’s right: a blender.
If that’s all a bit too much for you to handle at once, let’s go through this glorious contraption one gadget at a time.
Grepper claims on his Kickstarter page that the blender can “power through 6 gallons” of beverage on a single charge. Eighteen volts doesn’t sound like much power, but remember: It’s attached to a cooler! Even if the thing fails on you, you still have a pretty awesome summertime fun machine.
When you're out having fun in the sun, you've gotta have some sweet tunes. But what happens when you don't have a power outlet, or even a nearby car to blast Daft Punk? Grepper's cooler has the solution: a removable, waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled speaker. In Grepper's promo photos, the speaker looks like a standard Jawbone Jambox, but the final product may differ.
The same battery that powers the blender also lets you charge your phone, tablet, or camera via a waterproof USB port. Who knows... when a masked maniac appears with a machete to kill you and your fellow campers, it could be the difference between a life-saving phone call and a grisly death.
LED Lid Light
Here's another example of Grepper's incredibly thorough design: The Coolest includes an under-lid LED strip to help you find the right beer or dig out cocktail ingredients even late into the night.
One man can only carry so much stuff out to the beach, especially when he's hauling a 60-quart cooler. But you know what would really help with that? A built-in tie-down to keep your beach towels, umbrellas, badminton racquets, and so on under control. Well, the Coolest has that.
Extra Wide Wheels
Rolling coolers are a cut above the common breed, but most can’t really handle deep beach sand or rough woodland terrain. The Coolest's wide wheels allow it to cover a lot more ground with relative ease.
Bottle Opener, Knife, Cutting Board, Plate Storage
Here's the cherry on top: The Coolest includes a divider that doubles as a cutting board, storage for reusable plastic plates, a paring knife (with holder), and, of course, a bottle opener.
Sorry if I sound like a fanboy right now, but this thing is just awesome—one of the best product ideas (Kickstarter or not) I’ve seen in my years as a tech journalist.
I’m not alone, either. As of this writing, the Coolest has attracted more than 21,000 backers who have raised in excess of $4 million on a mere $50,000 goal. And get this: It still has 46 days to go.
You can pledge $185 to get one of the first Coolest coolers on Earth—that's $115 off the projected list price. But bear in mind that the coolers aren't expected to ship until February of next year.