Orca Coolers Review – How Do They Stack Up Against The Competition?

ORCA coolers have been slowly gaining traction and popularity over the last few years. In general, cooler brands have become more commonplace and the market has become more and more competitive. In the midst of all these options, what makes ORCA stand out?

The question that may be on your mind is this: is ORCA a worthy competitor? To help you make a decision about your stance on this brand, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to ORCA coolers, as well as a comprehensive ORCA coolers review.

About ORCA Coolers

ORCA is a Nashville, Tennessee-based brand that was first founded in 2012. Its name is an acronym for Outdoor Recreation Company of America, and it also refers to the killer whale.

The founders of ORCA are outdoor enthusiasts themselves, and their original company goal was to create a superior cooler made from a roto-molded material. Today, it works on offering some of the largest cooler selections and varieties in the market while also providing a lifetime guarantee for each.

ORCA offers a wide range of different cooler types, including their more common hard-sided coolers in a huge range of patterns and colors, and their lesser-known soft-sided coolers in a backpack style. Since its conception, ORCA has also branched out to a wide variety of products outside of coolers, including drinkware, apparel, and accessories for their coolers.

The main factors that make ORCA unique in the cooler market are its custom cooler options, its bright, fun colors, and its focus on style to match its function. In fact, their motto is to “Make Every Moment Cool”! ORCA also focuses on producing its coolers within America in order to contribute to the country’s workforce.

Ice Life of ORCA Coolers

ORCA claims that its coolers can provide a whopping 10 days of ice life. But is that really true? Well, that depends. But before we get into it, let’s examine the factors involved in ORCA coolers that aid their ice life:

1. Material

ORCA coolers, like most similar premium products in the market, is made from a roto-molded polyethylene. This means that it allows for a single cooler shell, providing better insulation and reducing paths for cool air to escape and hot air to enter.

2. Thickness

ORCA coolers have relatively thick walls that further add to their insulation. Their walls are all equally thick, with a lid that is thick as well, providing full-coverage insulation that can be quite effective. Consistent wall thickness can be a significant factor in ensuring ice life.

3. Gasket

A heavy-duty gasket is used in most ORCA coolers, existing between the walls of the cooler and the lid. This serves a seal, preventing warm air from seeping in and cool air from escaping. The thick gasket also helps to keep ice life as long as possible.

Now, onto the real question: do these coolers really offer 10 days of ice life? It depends on which kind of cooler you’re referring to. Filling each cooler halfway through with ice and going out in 90-degree heat will lead to the following results:

4. Larger Sizes Are Cooler

This isn’t an unusual feature – it’s the same for most coolers. This is a very simple correlation: the more ice you can fit in it, the longer its contents stay cold. As such, the biggest sizes of ORCA coolers can potentially boast the longest ice life, with 10 days as an absolute maximum.

5. Multiple Different Factors Affect Ice Life In Bigger Coolers

Even in the largest ORCA coolers with the most ice, there are plenty of external factors that can drastically affect ice life. If you prepare the cooler in advance by storing it in a cool location and even pre-cooling it, if the day isn’t sweltering, and if you don’t open the cooler a lot or leave it open much, the ice will last for a long time.

But if the cooler is already warm when you start packing it, if you don’t use enough ice, or if you leave the cooler open a lot, the ice is naturally going to melt faster. As such, it’s not really possible to put a firm lifespan on the ice life of these coolers, as it depends on the environment and your own actions.

6. It Measures Up To Other Brands

On the whole, ORCA coolers have an ice life that is neither worse or better than most competitor brands, falling above average in the market. This means that purchasing an ORCA cooler will likely not be a wasted investment, and they can serve you just as well as many top-selling brands.

Hardware of ORCA Coolers

For the most part, ORCA coolers are simple and don’t have excessive bells and whistles. As such, if you’re someone who needs multifunctional coolers with tons of extra features, ORCA may not be the best brand for you.

However, despite its simplicity, ORCA provides good quality in the features and necessary hardware that it does have. Here are some examples of that:

1. Handles

Almost all of ORCA’s coolers make use of flex-grip handles that are located on either side of the product. The exception is the ORCA 20 range, which only has one single metal handle as opposed to the flexible ones of its siblings.

ORCA’s handles are made with a tough, thick nylon that is durable and easy to hold. They’re made so that one or two individuals can carry the coolers with a simple and effective grip.

None of ORCA’s products have wheels (you can see the best coolers with wheels here) or pulling extendable handles naturally, though some accessories may help alleviate any problems.

2. Drain

Every single hard ORCA cooler has an easy-flow drainage spout. This can be used to easily empty the cooler of built-up melted ice as time goes on.

Interestingly, the drain spout can be found on the side of the cooler, instead of on the back or front. Some may find this more difficult, but for the most part, it’s a useful and well-executed feature.

3. Cargo Pouch

This is the most unique of the features that ORCA coolers have. It is a mesh cargo pouch that is located on the back of all hard-sided ORCA coolers. It serves as a convenient and useful pocket that can hold your important items, like your keys, wallet, and phone. You can also place useful tools in it, like bottle openers or other things you may need for your expeditions.

4. Latches

ORCAs have high-quality, heavy-duty rubber latches that easily keep a cooler closed as necessary. They also have a unique orca tail shape that adds to the novelty of the cooler’s design.

So, what are some things you may miss if you’re using an ORCA cooler? Bottle openers, cupholders, reversible feet, wheels, and other common features are not present. If you want these features, you’ll have to look elsewhere!

Price of ORCA Coolers

ORCA coolers are often considered “premium”, or at least upper-end, in terms of quality. But is the price worth it? This depends on what you want out of your cooler.

ORCA coolers are pretty average in price, often falling in the middle of the spectrum of prices of premium coolers. In comparison to Grizzly and RTIC, ORCA is more expensive. But in comparison to Pelican and Yeti, ORCA is cheaper.

Do keep in mind that ORCA cooler prices differ heavily depending on the colors and designs you’re choosing. Specialty and novelty styles have a noticeable leap in price that put them on the higher end of the spectrum, though they are still not the most expensive ones you can find.

Are ORCA coolers worth their significant cost? That’s based completely on your personal preferences. All in all, they are not more or less impressive than most other similarly priced brands, and some are willing to pay their price for their lifetime warranty and unique color options.

The Appearance of ORCA Coolers

There’s no denying the uniqueness of ORCA coolers in terms of design. Their base design may be quite simple, but they have more color and style options than virtually any other similar brand on the market. Here are the varieties available:

  • These are simple coolers designed in one solid color.
  • These coolers bear the colors and logos of a wide range of different colleges and universities.
  • These are simple coolers designed in two different colors: one for the body and one for the lid.
  • These coolers bear the colors and logos of a wide range of different National Football League teams.
  • These coolers bear the colors and logos of a wide range of different Major League Baseball teams.
  • These coolers bear the colors and logos of a wide range of different National Hockey League teams.
  • First Responders. This small range is designed to honor the nation’s first responders, bearing a black-and-white American flag with a single-colored stripe.
  • This is the hometown range of the coolers, which reps the three stars of the state of Tennessee, which is where ORCA was born.
  • ORCA also offers custom coolers, where you can splash colors of your choice on different ORCA products – within limitations!

While they aren’t extraordinarily unusual, these coolers still come in way more designs than you can find in other brands. If you’re someone who needs a good style or aesthetic or wants to rock your support of a team, this could be a fun way to do so.

ORCA Coolers Review

1. ORCA 26 Quart

Pros

  • Relatively long ice life for its size
  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout

Cons

  • Short ice life compared to other ORCA coolers
  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Some quality control issues
  • Fewer styles to choose from
  • Relatively expensive for its size

The ORCA 26 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its small size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 26 Quarts (6.5 gallons)
  • Holds: 24 cans / 18 bottles
  • Inner dimensions: 16 15/16″ x 11 ⅛” x 8 15/16″
  • Outer dimensions: 23 ⅝” x 14 7/16″ x 14 ⅝”
  • Weight: 25 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors
  • Collegiate range: 37 styles
  • Tennessee Tristar range: 1 style

2. ORCA LiddUp

Pros

  • Uses LiddUp technology for an illuminated inner chamber
  • Longest ice life among ORCA coolers
  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout

Cons

  • Fewer styles to choose from
  • Relatively high in price for its size
  • Some quality control issues

The ORCA LiddUp range makes use of LiddUp Technology, which keeps the inner cavity of the cooler totally illuminated through automatic-on lighting. This lighting is powered by 4 AA alkaline batteries to illuminate bright white LEDs.

This cooler boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times. This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 35 Quarts (8.75 gallons)
  • Inner dimensions: 15 ¾” x 11 ¾” x 9 ½”
  • Outer dimensions: 21 ½” x 15″ x 19″
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Light source: Luminous white LEDs
  • Power source: AA alkaline batteries x 4

Available Range

  • 9 colors

3. ORCA Backpack Coolers

Pros

  • Waterproof and leak-proof
  • Food grade, FDA-approved, BPA-free, antimicrobial material
  • Uses thick insulation, extra insulation, and strong welding
  • Lightweight when empty
  • Has adjustable and comfortable carrying straps
  • Has extra storage space from molle webbing

Cons

  • Shorter ice life than other ORCA coolers
  • One of the only ORCA products that is designed in America but made in China
  • Little to no style options available
  • Will be extremely heavy to carry on one’s back
  • Potentially less durable than other ORCA coolers

Known as the Realtree Max 5 Pod, the ORCA backpack cooler is a soft-sided product in a camouflage design that is designed to be easily carried via a cross-chest T-strap and padded shoulder straps, both of which are adjustable. To provide extra storage space, molle webbing is securely attached to the outside of the cooler, and the cooler opens with an easy flip top.

This backpack cooler is leak-proof and waterproof, made from SPEC-OPS denier double textiles on the inside and outside. All internal materials are totally food-safe, FDA-approved, BPA-free, and antimicrobial. It makes use of 28mm-thick metapolymer closed cell foam for inner wall insulation, with extra EVA reinforcement along certain areas. Finally, it is welded with ultrasonic RF welding and uses a TIZIP master seal zipper that is totally waterproof.

Features

  • Capacity: 28.5 quarts (7.13 gallons)
  • Holds: 24 cans with 15 lbs of ice
  • Maximum load: 59.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 11″ x 18″
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs

Available Range

  • 1 style
  • Some other old colors available from resellers

4. ORCA 75 Quart

Pros

  • Has one of the longest ice lives among ORCA coolers
  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout
  • Relatively inexpensive for its size

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Some quality control issues
  • Fewer styles to choose from

The ORCA 75 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 75 Quarts (18.75 gallons)
  • Holds: 90 cans
  • Inner dimensions: 26 15/16″ x 12″ x 12 7/16″
  • Outer dimensions: 33 7/16″ x 18 ⅜” x 17 ⅞”
  • Weight: 40 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors

5. ORCA 20 Quart

Pros

  • Relatively long ice life for its size
  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with single handle
  • Easy drain spout
  • Huge range of styles and colors to choose from

Cons

  • Shortest ice life of all ORCA coolers
  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Some quality control issues

The ORCA 20 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport thanks to its single handle, which is made from flex-grip stainless steel. Its small size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 20 Quarts (5 gallons)
  • Holds: 18 cans / 15 bottles
  • Inner dimensions: 13 7/16″ x 9″ x 9 ⅞”
  • Outer dimensions: 19″ x 13 ¾” x 14 ⅝”
  • Weight: 18 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors
  • Collegiate range: 78 styles
  • Team colors range: 10 styles
  • NFL range: 32 styles
  • MLB range: 30 styles
  • NHL range: 30 styles
  • First responders range: 2 styles
  • Tennessee Tristar range: 1 style

6. ORCA 58 Quart

Pros

  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout
  • Relatively inexpensive for its size

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Some quality control issues
  • Fewer styles to choose from

The ORCA 58 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 58 Quarts (14.5 gallons)
  • Holds: 72 cans
  • Inner dimensions: 19 ⅞” x 13 7/16″ x 13 ⅛”
  • Outer dimensions: 27″ x 19 ⅜” x 19 7/16″
  • Weight: 36 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors

7. ORCA 140 Quart

Pros

  • Longest ice life among ORCA coolers
  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Fewer styles to choose from

The ORCA 140 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 140 Quarts (35 gallons)
  • Holds: 192 cans
  • Inner dimensions: 32 ½” x 16 15/16″ x 15 ⅛”
  • Outer dimensions: 39 7/16″ x 21 ⅜” x 23″
  • Weight: 64 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors

8. ORCA 40 Quart

Pros

  • Thick insulation and sealed lid gasket
  • Durable roto-molded polyurethane construction
  • Easy transportation with dual handles
  • Easy drain spout
  • Huge range of styles and colors to choose from

Cons

  • Can be quite heavy when empty
  • Some quality control issues

The ORCA 40 Quart boasts a durable construction that is made from roto-molded polyurethane. It provides thick insulation and a lid gasket keeps the cooler sealed at all times.

This cooler is easy to transport both solo or tandem thanks to its two handles, which are made from flex-grip material. Its size is supplemented by a cargo net attachment. A drain spout within the cooler allows for it to be drained without hassle.

Features

  • Capacity: 40 Quarts (10 gallons)
  • Holds: 48 cans
  • Inner dimensions: 18 15/16″ x 11 ⅞” x 11 7/16″
  • Outer dimensions: 26 ¼” x 17 ⅝” x 18 ⅛”
  • Weight: 30 lbs

Available Range

  • Classic range: 11 colors
  • Collegiate range: 74 styles
  • NFL range: 32 styles
  • MLB range: 30 styles
  • NHL range: 30 styles

Extra Accessories Offered By ORCA Coolers

In order to supplement their coolers, ORCA also offers a range of accessories that can be used with their products. These accessories can help remove the drawbacks of some of their coolers or simply supplement their functions. Here are some of the notable ones.

1. Subsafe

This product is a sandwich-holder that is designed to keep sandwiches (and other similar food items) out of the moisture, preventing them from getting soggy. It comes in three pieces that you can thread together to be 6″ or 12″ depending on your needs and it is available in three colors.

2. Basket

This basket is meant to be hung inside ORCA coolers in order to keep certain foods or items out of the ice beneath. It is available for the 26 quart, 40 quart, 58 quart, 75 quart, and 140 quart coolers.

3. Slip Resistant Pad

This pad is meant to be placed on top of an ORCA cooler to make it a usable surface that can reliably hold items without letting them slip off. You can get this pad in all sizes for all standard ORCA coolers.

4. IceBlox

This synthetic ice comes in three different sizes and is designed to stay cold for even longer than most ice will. It is BPA free and made with a non-toxic formulation.

5. Sticky Feet

These feet are designed to be slid over the normal ORCA cooler feet, and they prevent the coolers from sliding around.

6. Shoulder Strap

This strap is an adjustable product designed to be used with the ORCA backpack cooler to make it easier to carry.

7. Python Cable Masterlock and Bracket

This product ensures maximum security of any cooler, keeping it locked down tight and its contents safe.

8. Replacement Accessories

In case any cooler feature becomes damaged, ORCA sells replacements. These replacements are whale tail latches, cooler handles, cooler feet, drain plug, gasket, and mesh pouch.

Conclusion

So, what’s the consensus on ORCA coolers? They’re reliable, have a long ice life, are fun and colorful, and are decently durable. They can be a little heavy, though, and out of range for those on a budget.

With that being said, ORCA coolers could be great options for those simply shopping around for a high-quality cooler that they can trust, or for those who want customizable coolers. In the industry, they’re neither better nor worse than most other similarly priced brands.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your preferences. With countless different styles and sizes and variations, you’re likely to find an ORCA cooler that does the trick just right for you.

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