Bird Dog Cooler Review
Bird Dog is a smaller company that is limited in their current selection of coolers. However, they feel that they have the secret sauce to put them in the conversation with many of the larger, more popular premium cooler brands in the industry right now. Their current lineup is called the “Outbound Collection” and offers up many of the features that we are used to seeing and a few that a more unique.
In this Bird Dog Cooler Review, we will discuss the various features and build quality of these products, put them through ice tests, and more.
But first, check out the table below for a quick rundown of the various Bird Dog Cooler sizes in addition to the most vital attributes that most people look for.
- 1 Bird Dog Cooler Review
- 1.1 Bird Dog Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Bird Dog Cooler Features
- 1.3 Bird Dog Cooler Ice Life
- 1.4 Bird Dog Cooler Aesthetics
- 1.5 Bird Dog Cooler Price
- 1.6 Bird Dog Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.7 Bird Dog Cooler Review
Bird Dog Cooler Lineup
As we mentioned above, the current selection of Bird Dog Coolers is a bit limited. Bird Dog seems to be focusing on just hard-sided coolers right now. And within this category, you will find three different models: The Outbound 20, Outbound 45, and Outbound 75. As is pretty typical of most cooler names, the number represents how many quarts of storage volume the ice chest has. So for instance, the Outbound 45 will have around 45 quarts of volume to work with.
Having just three sizes to choose from does mean that you are a bit limited. However, we have seen time and time again with other cooler brands that the 20 quart, 45 quart, and 75 quart models seem to be the best sellers. So it is no surprise that many other brands seem to focus on these sizes as well.
No matter which size you go with, you will find that they share pretty similar features and layouts. The only notable difference (outside of varying size, of course) is that the smallest model, the Bird Dog Outbound 20, utilizes an overhead carrying handle as opposed to side rope handles. This is pretty normal for smaller coolers around this size (we will discuss the features in greater length in the next section).
Bird Dog Cooler Features
Bird Dog Coolers utilize the proven roto-molding technology that most high-end coolers today use. This one-piece construction greatly strengthens a cooler by taking away the necessity of glue or other adhesives to attach the cooler walls together. The wall thickness is pretty average for coolers at this price point: you can expect around 1.5” to 2.5” thick walls depending on the specific model and wall that you are looking at. While we have tested coolers with thicker walls than this, Bird Dog Coolers have tried to find a happy medium between performance and ice life while still having enough storage volume and keeping the weight down.
For transporting the cooler around, there will be side rope handles on the Outbound 45 and 75 models and swinging overhead carrying handle on the 20 Quart model. We really like the comfortable rubber grip on the larger two sizes. Having a comfortable grip is quite important since a fully-loaded cooler of these sizes can be quite heavy!
For ensuring a good seal, you will find the standard oversized rubber gasket that most other high-end coolers offer. This type of gasket has proven time and time again to perform quite well when it is squeezed tight.
And the second necessary feature that must be present to get the most out of a quality gasket is a strong latch system. Bird Dog Coolers have you covered here as well. Their latches are actually a bit different than a majority of other cooler brands that have standard rubber T-latches. Instead of t-latches, you will enjoy low profile snap-tite latches. We have found that these type of latches are very easy to open and close (which we can’t always say for certain rubber latches which may require quite a bit of force to open and close).
You will also find metal bottle openers located on the front corners of the cooler base. This means that you don’t have to keep up with an external bottle opener on your next camping or fishing trip. And underneath the cooler will be nice rubber non-skid feet to help keep the cooler from sliding around in the back of your truck bed while transporting it. It also helps to avoid scratching up the paint or finish on a truck bed or table top.
Probably the most unique feature of Bird Dog Coolers is their pressure relief valve. While they aren’t the first to have this feature, they are the first brand that we have tested that actually have the relief valve installed on the side of the cooler instead of the front.
On the lid of the ice chest, there is a molded-in measuring scale. This is great for quickly measuring the length of a fish, measuring out rope length, and more.
Finally, you will also receive a handy dry goods basket with your purchase. This basket mounts at the top of the cooler and helps to divide items that you want to keep dry from those that you want to be directly touching the ice.
As you can see, many of the features that we expect to see here are present here. This is important if Bird Dog hopes to compete with many of the traditional heavy hitters of the premium cooler world.
Bird Dog Cooler Ice Life
If a cooler expect to compete in the congested market, it needs to really shine in regards to several criteria. And arguably the top of these is ice life. According to Bird Dog, they state that their coolers are capable of 5+ days of ice life. Obviously, a lot of factors need to be considered when analyzing ice life: the specifics of the cooler itself, outdoor conditions, how much ice you are filling the cooler up with, how often you are opening it, etc.
To get a better idea of the “real life” ice results that you can expect with a Bird Dog Cooler, we put them through our own in-house testing. This consists of filling them up with the recommended amount of ice, leaving them outdoors, and occasionally opening them.
Before testing, we listed out the various specifications that should assist Bird Dog Coolers in extending their ice life. They include things such as relatively thick rotomolded walls, a premium thick rubber gasket, strong latches that create a lot of squeeze through the gasket, elevated feet, and more. But how does that translate to actual numbers?
Check out our chart below to get an idea of the sort of ice retention that you can expect:
As we suspected, the ice life results were eerily similar to other 20, 45, and 75-quart models that we have tested from other premium cooler brands. The reason that this doesn’t surprise us is that Bird Dog is using very similar gaskets and wall thicknesses in their coolers.
In terms of specific numbers, depending on which size cooler you go with and outside conditions, you can anticipate ice life to range from around 40 hours and reach up to nearly 140 hours. This means that no matter which model you go with and what type of environment you plan on putting it in, as long as you adequately fill it with ice, you should have enough ice to last through a weekend at the minimum.
Bird Dog Cooler Aesthetics
Bird Dog’s aesthetics are pretty good. The overall shape and contours of the cooler do stand out some from the masses thanks to the aggressive front face design. This, in conjunction with the attractive latch system, makes for a very progressive ice chest.
As for color choices, the selection is above average. While many brands may only have 3 or 4 colors to pick from, Bird Dog Coolers give you as many as 7 colors to pick from. They include White, Ice Blue, Seafoam, Tan, Hunter Green, Pink, and Orange. It is worth mentioning that all of the colors choices are solid: there currently aren’t any multi-color or patterned options. This isn’t a huge issue but perhaps it is something that Bird Dog can expand on in the future. In addition, at this time, we couldn’t find any sort of custom shop that can handle specialized decals, logos, etc.
Bird Dog Cooler Price
Being a premium cooler, Bird Dog products won’t be for those on a super tight budget. However, their superior ice retention, build quality, and features help to justify the upcharge in price. But how does the price compare to other similar products on the market?
We have found that Bird Dog Coolers fall into the lower-middle range of the premium price tier. In other words, they aren’t quite as affordable as some of the super-budget brands such as RTIC but they are noticeably more affordable than some of the most expensive models from Yeti, Orca, etc.
Overall, we are pretty satisfied with this price point. While still expensive, Bird Dog Coolers give you a lot for your money: excellent ice retention, a surprising number of features, and good aesthetics.
Bird Dog Cooler vs. Yeti
Yeti has and continues to be one of the top dogs in the cooler race. A common question that we receive is how “XYZ” Cooler compares to a Yeti.
Yeti easily has Bird Dog beat when it comes to sizes, selection, and color options. In addition, their more established warranty, customer service, and reputation is a big reason why they are able to charge what they do.
As for toughness and ice retention, both models are extremely similar. The “secret formula” to long ice retention is pretty well known now, so there are plenty of other brands that can promise similar ice life to a Yeti.
Bird Dog Coolers do have a slight edge in some other aspects. The most obvious one is in the asking price. For a given size, a Bird Dog Cooler should be cheaper than a Yeti. The other edge that we have to give Bird Dog is in the number of features that their coolers come with. Things such as integrated corner bottle openers and a pressure relief valve are things that Yeti currently can’t offer you.
So while both companies deliver an excellent product, we have to give a slight edge to Bird Dog due to their ability to deliver a very similarly-performing product but at a lower price point. However, for many, the limited sizes will not meet their needs and you will have to go with Yeti or another brand that has a more diverse size range.
Bird Dog Cooler Review
Pros: Good Ice Retention, Plenty of Features, Quite a Few Color Choices
Cons: Still pretty expensive, Limited Sizes, Questionable Warranty Coverage
Features: Dry goods basket, Corner steel bottle openers, Oversized gasket, Snap-tite latches, Pressure relief valve, Rubber non-skid feet, Integrated fish ruler
Bird Dog Cooler brings to the table a small selection of hard-sided rotomolded coolers. These coolers are intended to compete with the top coolers in the industry thanks to their thick insulated walls and premium components. There are currently 3 sizes to choose from: the Outbound 20, Outbound 45, and Outbound 75. You will also find some upgraded styling features in addition to a nice selection of color choices.
Insulation Ability –
Bird Dog follows the standard approach to long ice life: thick insulated walls, an oversized freezer-grade gasket, and a strong latching system. The result is ice life that is about on part with the other top-tier coolers in the industry. Depending on which size cooler you go with and its specific environmental conditions, you can anticipate anywhere from 40 to nearly 140 hours of ice life. This makes these ice chests plenty capable for most outdoor applications spanning a weekend to multiple days.
Mobility and Durability –
We are pretty pleased with the various features in place both from a usability as well as a durability standpoint. Most notable of these are the pressure relief valve, corner bottle openers, fish scale, and the snap-tite latch system. While none of these features are new to us, the combination of them on a single cooler bumps Bird Dog Coolers towards the top in terms of the sheer number of features. As for build quality, we are content as well. Thick rotomolded walls combine with the premium hardware to result in a tough set of ice chests that should last for many years. Our only issue is with the warranty. We had heard rumblings of a 5-year warranty (which would be excellent) but we were unable to find any mention of this warranty on Bird Dog’s site. This is a bit concerning to us that the company doesn’t proudly display their warranty information. And although by no means mandatory, Bird Dog Coolers don’t appear to be Grizzly Bear Certified, either.
Visual Appeal –
Despite being limited in size choices, we were very impressed with the selection of colors you can pick from. There are around 7 colors which is higher than most smaller cooler companies can offer. However, if you are after multi-color schemes or want a custom cooler with decals or team logos on it, you may be out of luck.
As for the design of the cooler itself, the combination of the attractive latch system, pressure relief valve, and an upgraded front face makes this a very attractive product.
While by no means cheap, we feel that Bird Dog is situated nicely within the premium cooler sector. You will still have to open your pocketbook to buy one but given the performance and features, we feel that they are priced fairly.
Overall Rating –
Overall, we give Bird Dog Coolers our seal of approval. They don’t bring anything new or groundbreaking to the table. Instead, they take a proven approach and throw in some nifty features to create a product that should stand out from the crowd. The ice retention and build quality are exactly what we expect from a premium cooler. And the asking price, while still in the premium tier, is competitive enough. We do wish that there were a few more sizes to choose from and being more transparent about the warranty would be nice, but all in all they are minor issues that we can overlook.