You know what I like about spending $400 on a rotomolded cooler and then having to spend another $100 on some aftermarket wheel system…. Nothing, nothing at all. KONG Coolers doesn’t like that either, so they did something about it. Hello KONG Cruiser, welcome to the “coolest” party in town!
Just the Facts:
The KONG Cruiser is KONG Coolers’ first ever cooler with wheels! We’ve always been there to help you journey longer with extended ice retention and rugged durability. Now, you can journey further. At 50 QTs, the KONG Cruiser is the ideal size both for hauling your food and drinks for the afternoon or for the entire week. The KONG Cruiser comes with one divider for handy, in-cooler storage or to be used as a shelf.
CAPACITY (half ice, half beverages):
• 40 12-oz cans and 30 lbs ice
WEIGHT (when empty):
• 45 lbs
INSIDE DIMENSIONS (LxWxH):
• 17.625” x 13.625” x 15.25”
OUTSIDE DIMENSIONS (LxWxH):
• 26.25” x 18.5” x 20.25”
What a year it has been. The Covid hysteria is starting to fade away and that means a little more normalcy for the world and while that is felt pretty strongly by our life in the community it does not seem to matter much to the outdoors. I am not sure how it has been for all of our readers but the past year was a great reminder of how important being in nature is for the soul. So, when we think about being outside one of the most important pieces of gear we require is a quality cooler.
I love roto molded coolers. I have had the great privilege of testing more brands and versions than most people. A few of those brands are some real standouts and I have to say that KONG Coolers have consistently been a favorite of mine. I just love high quality American made products, especially when they have roots in my home state of Washington. So when I had the chance to check out the new Cruiser from KONG Coolers I was really excited.
Timing is everything and while I was eager to get my cooler it was also the middle of winter. So I had to sit and admire it as it waited for the proper testing opportunity to arise. The first real test came with a bit of creativity and thinking outside of the box. I love pulled pork and I typically smoke about 40-60 lbs at a time and then save it in vacuumed sealed bags to use for different meals. Well, I was out of pork and I needed to make some more. So what does a cooler have to do with pulled pork? I am glad you asked.
Nearly all cooked meat should have a resting period. This allows the meat to cool a bit. The cooling helps to preserve some of it’s natural juices that would otherwise leak out if cut to early. So, it is not an uncommon practice for people to rest smoked meats in a cooler. That is exactly how my first testing opportunity came to be.
After the pulled pork I found just about every reason I could to drag this cooler with me. Though the weather was not warm, in fact it was often freezing, a cooler will also keep things safe from fluctuation and make sure your items don’t freeze if the mercury drops to low.
It was not until my daughter’s softball season started that I was able to fully enjoy the best feature of this great cooler. If you have ever been to a softball tournament you have seen the armada of wagons rolling down the sea of concrete sidewalks. Us softball folks have lots of gear and we have to get from point A to point B quickly as game locations change. A big heavy rotomolded cooler is exactly what you what when it’s hot outside but you don’t see a ton of them at these tournaments. Why is that? Well, because they are heavy and hard to move. So, KONG, understanding that mobility is a necessity for many of its customers, made a cooler that can keep up with people on the go. Not only does the cruiser have wheels it has a handle. Like, a real handle that actually feels like a handle made for pulling.
KONG coolers have fantastic latches which are quite honestly my favorite latches in all the cooler world. The drain plug is pretty standard and does what it should. The Cruiser also comes with a cutting board divider that is a really nice feature for food prep or organization. As an additional option, you can also get the cutting board tray that turns into a shelf. This is a very useful add on and I love it for food prep.
KONG coolers come with a limited lifetime warranty which is a lifetime more than that one big company everybody knows about, you know the one. So, you have American made quality with a butt load of cooler features and a lifetime warranty. What more could you ask for in a cooler company? A cool sticker…. You will get that too!
I wanted this review to look more like a review of a real person doing real things with a cooler and giving an honest assessment of how it works in the real world. Honestly, I’m not a fan of ice retention tests as they are not indicative of realistic use. So, here you see my thoughts over the course of a couple months of testing. Yes, I did the stupid retention test and if you plan to put a 10lb bag of ice into your cooler with a 12 pack of beer and just open it once a day until the ice turns into water you will get about 4 days out of it. So there, as you can tell I really love that exciting bit of information.
If you are a person on the go and need a cooler to be right there with you than you need the KONG Cruiser. You need the American made quality and comfort of a fantastic warranty to roll right along with you. You need cold beer to follow you from the parking lot to the concert? KONG has you covered. You need to get that potato salad and Mt. Dew to the BBQ and you had to park around the corner? Not to worry KONG has your back. You need a great cooler to just sit in the back of the truck and be ready for anything? The KONG cruiser can do that too! I think you will truly love your KONG Cruiser, I sure love mine.
Every great review is not without it’s drama. I really put this cooler to the test in as many real world situations as possible, and it was deep into testing when I noticed a flaw. The cooler developed a bubble that was unsightly at best.
I knew that this was not something that I could let go unaddressed so I contacted KONG. Within about a week I had a brand spanking new cooler and a shipping label to return the faulty one. Talk about customer service!
So I took the next couple months and used that as yet another testing period to see if the issue would present itself again. I am happy to report that it has not and all I have is a quality cooler that does it’s job wonderfully.
What can be done better?
Aside from the bubbling, I have nothing bad to say about this great cooler. The handle may be a little short for some and that may cause you to hit your heels while walking but that is something that I’m not sure everyone will experience nor is it a major concern. Overall I think that you will be very happy with the KONG Cruiser! I would have called this a 5 star item if not for the issues I had with bubbling. The customer service brought that rating up again but i cannot give it perfect marks due to the need to use the warranty.
Kong Cruiser Review