Almost exactly two years ago to the day, we reviewed the Pelican Elite 20 Quart Cooler. You can read the review for yourself but in a nutshell, it received a glowing review and was deemed “Tailgate Approved”.
We were recently contacted by the folks at Pelican informing us that they have rolled out an improved model that is lighter yet has the same cooling and ice retention as their older models. Because we wanted an apples to apples test, we requested to review the new model and compare it directly to the older model.
(Disclaimer: We received a sample of the Pelican 20QT Cooler free of charge. The fact this sample was provided to us for free in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)
If you skipped the video, the new and improved Pelican is just that, new and improved. We definitely appreciated that the newer model is nearly 30% lighter than the old model while maintaining top notch ice retention. The old Pelican weighed 16 pounds empty while the new Pelican was a little over 12 pounds. We even used a scale at home to see how much weight was saved.
The major difference with the new Pelican is that it is a bit taller but still holds 20 quarts. The handle rotates from the back to the front whereas the old Pelican only rotated 90 degrees. The contoured rear of the cooler makes it easier to transport combined with the lower weight.
Improved means you make it better without losing the positive features from the previous version. The features that remain from the old model and are included in the newer model include the ability to padlock the cooler closed, the bottle opener on the front, the heavy duty latch handles and the outstanding ice retention.
You may wonder why the ability to padlock your cooler is important. Outside of the dude that keeps stealing your expensive craft beer out of your cooler, if you take your cooler camping, you want it to be bear safe. Bears can recognize a cooler and know there are some tasty morsels in there. But if the bear can’t get into you cooler, they will eventually move on.
If a 500 pound Grizzly Bear with 2″ claws can’t get into the Pelican Cooler, your 300 pound buddy with mustard stains on his jersey is not getting in there either. Just like 35 pounds of salmon tempted the bears, your 12-pack of Pliny the Elder will definitely lure in a few tailgate moochers.
After careful testing and putting the Pelican 20 QT Cooler through it’s paces, it is definitely new and improved. Also, it is definitely “Tailgate Approved” but you probably already figured that.