Product Reviews



Coleman Vertical/Horizontal Performance Test

by Deanna Birkholm

The destination was Yellowstone National Park. Driving from the far western side of Washington state. Having been to Yellowstone on many occasions, we (my husband Castwell and I) knew food becomes a problem. Meals are available at the major centers, but for the average fisherman not exactly convenient. Especially if meal time happens to collide with a hatch!

Plus the weather was already hot. Answer, take a cooler. We had a choice of three already on hand. But the problem of getting ice, or keeping the blue things you buy at the store and freeze at home frozen can be difficult. Castwell solved the problem by showing up one afternoon with a Coleman Thermoelectric Cooler. That wasn't without difficulty however. The store where he bought the cooler, Fred Meyers in Bremerton WA did not carry the "optional power supply." After several stops he did find the power supply at Big 3 in Silverdale Wa.

A suggestion here, stores who carry an item that has to be plugged in to work correctly should also carry the same quanity of "optional power supply" units. It seems unlikely a person would pay the price difference for a thermoelectric cooler and not use the electric fuction.

The particular model we used is #5640B807 and is called the Vertical/Horizontal. We plugged it in a day or so before we took off on the trip, just to make sure it worked. Castwell's other name is "Doctor Spock" - nothing left to chance or the last minute. The cooler got cold. We unplugged it. It stayed cold overnite.

Coleman Thermoelectric Cooler

The cooler can be plugged into the wall with the adaptor, or into a car lighter outlet (12-volt). That worked especially well on the road, where the outside temperatures were 100 degrees or more. A cold soda and lunch on the road in the air-conditioned comfort of the car was great.

Each night when we returned to our motel we grabbed a luggage cart, loaded the cooler on it, took it to the room and plugged in back in.

In all honesty, we asked more of the Coleman Vertical/ Horizonal than I suspect it's designers planned. Eight to ten-hour days fishing on the Upper Yellowstone in 100 degree weather did deplete the cold. We chickened out and unplugged the car lighter outlet fearing the combination of high heat and drain on the car battery and leave us stranded. So the 'drill' was to unplug the cooler at lunch, keep the door closed as much as possible, and plug it back in once we were on the road again.

If we had been able to find some of the blue things that were already frozen, it may have been a good idea - and taken away some of the worry about killing the car battery. The manufacturer does include a warning not to use ice which could melt and possibly short out the unit.

The cooler will hold an amazing amount of stuff. Cans of pop, loads of lunch and snack meats, cheeses, prepared sandwiches, fruit, veggies and two half gallon jugs of water. Room to spare. The manufacturer says it has a 40 quart capacity. In went the mix and a bottle or two of wine. It really worked like it was supposed to - which in today's world is especially neat.

Buffalo Ford Picnic
You can use the Coleman Vertical/Horizonal in the same way you would any chest, or in a vertical position. It opens without taking up hardly any room, and has a magnetic door latch. It has a plastic shelf divider, which I laid on top since we used the cooler in the chest position. The divider became a catch-all for small items like a good knife, salt and pepper and such. The cooler full of goodies is heavy, and most times required two people to tote it about outdoors.

I mentioned how neat the cooler was to a neighbor, who informed me he had installed one, as a refrigerator in an older-type camper unit some time ago.

One other neat thing. This Thermoelectric Cooler has another feature that would be great for family gatherings or parties. It also heats! You reverse the color-coded power cord link (blue for cold, red for heat) and it will warm to 100 degrees above ambient temperature. It cools to 40 degrees below ambient temperature.

We are delighted with the Coleman Vertical/Horizonal Cooler. It made our trip much more pleasant, and was well worth the price to have cold drinks and safe food in conditions that could have easily resulted in spoilage in the heat. And to have it as convenient as in the back seat of the car.

The recommended retail price on the cooler is $114. We paid $99 at Fred Meyers, with the optional power pac costing another $75.00. The dimensions of the cooler are 21.88 x 15 x 16.75 (inches), and the weight, (empty) is 19.5 pounds.

We expect to use this one for some years to come.

~Deanna Birkholm

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