There are a lot of pretenders and high-priced established names in the cooler market, but the numbers don’t lie when it comes to performance, cost, and storage space. ORCA (Outdoor Recreation Company of America), a Nashville based company, has managed to make a name for themselves with their American-made, lifetime guaranteed roto-molded coolers. Quality coolers are not cheap, but when they’re designed to last a lifetime the price makes sense.

The 40-quart cooler from ORCA is available in nine different colors and is built like a tank. Compared to an unnamed, very popular competitor, the ORCA 40-quart literally has a 40-quart capacity whereas the other brand holds less than advertised (38.5 quarts to be exact). The fact that ORCA also a lifetime guarantee makes them a no-brainer for my own choice in which brand to go with. With an advertised cold retention period of up to 200 hours or 10 days, I can personally attest to the results of one week of ice cold products after having the cooler in the direct sun as well as inside warm vehicles and a garage. If I kept it in a colder location – which is the recommended condition – I am confident I would have extended the life of the ice by several additional days.

My Green 40-quart cooler (MSRP $269.99) has several great features that make it a good investment to me. First, the aforementioned capacity that is true to its description. Additionally, it has very functional flex-grip handles that make carrying the admittedly heavy box (when full) as comfortable as possible. There are also handles built into the molded plastic construction. The lid gasket provides a maximum quality seal for the contents, and it isn’t going to open unintentionally. There is quite a bit of suction provided by the gasket to keep the cold inside. The rubber latches do their job of holding the lid down as expected, but the whale tail design also makes gripping and lifting the lid very comfortable. The easy-flow drainage spout on the side functions perfectly and helps to keep items from getting soggy or simply to clear cooler space for fresh ice to be added when the time comes. The mesh tackle net on the back provides great additional storage for non-perishable items and is rugged enough to hold to up normal wear and tear.

Construction of each component is hand-inspected by ORCA employees and each component is checked off as they go. I received an initialed list of each item checked off, and it is a personal touch that I appreciated. It helps me to know that this product isn’t just rolled off a conveyor belt and into a cardboard box before showing up on my doorstep.

The only missing feature I wish my ORCA cooler had is wheels. Carrying the 40-quart model is certainly manageable, but there are times when wheels would be helpful. Still, I am happily stuck with this cooler for life. This cooler is a solid (literally) product that offers the actual specifications and performance that ORCA advertised, and for that, I’ve got to commend the fine people from ORCA in Nashville who assemble and pack their products.

Interested Loadout Room readers can use the code LOAD10 for a 10% discount for your own products at www.orcacoolers.com.