Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Review
Last Updated by Brandon F. on 4/20/2021
We were turned on to Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers by one of our readers. We had actually heard of this company, but for some of their other products. Cascade Mountain Tech sells a variety of goods including portable lighting, camp chairs, and even stadium seats.
But for this article, we will obviously be focusing primarily on their coolers.
At the time of this article, Cascade Mountain Tech focuses on hard-sided coolers along with a few accessories. These coolers are targeting the upper-level echelon of the cooler world and are trying to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Yeti, RTIC, Orca, etc.
In this article, we will break down the various Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers, go over the various features, discuss build quality and ice life, and ultimately give it a rating from 0 to 5. So let’s begin!
- 1 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Review
- 1.1 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Lineup
- 1.2 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Features/Build Quality
- 1.3 Cascade Mountain Tech Ice Retention
- 1.4 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Aesthetics
- 1.5 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Price
- 1.6 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler vs. Yeti
- 1.7 Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Review
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Lineup
Your selection of Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers is a bit limited. We were only able to find ice chests available in 45-quart and 80-quart sizes. While these fit comfortably in the highest-demand size categories (medium and large), we do wish that there were more sizes to choose from. Where are the portable sizes for individuals on a go? Where are the extra-large sizes suitable for a tailgate or backyard BBQ party? Hopefully, Cascade Mountain Tech is planning on expanding its offerings in the future.
We also did not come across any soft-sided coolers.
For these 2 sizes, the general shape and features are pretty similar. We will go into those in more detail in the next section.
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Features/Build Quality
These days, the way that lesser-known cooler brands win over new patrons is through thinking outside the box and offering quality. Thinking outside the box can involve including features on their coolers that stand out from the competition. That being said, there are general features that just about every ice chest these days needs to have in order to stay competitive.
Cascade Mountain Tech takes a pretty conservative in their approach to features. There aren’t any accessories that we haven’t seen on most other cooler brands. That being said, they do manage to include most of the popular ones.
Starting with the build quality: Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers are certified Bear-Resistant by the IGBC. We all hope that we never run into a situation where we have to put this to the test, but it does show the quality of their products.
The key to this is thick roto-molded insulation walls. Cascade Mountain Tech offers up to 3” thick walls on their coolers. This is slightly above average when comparing to the many other premium coolers on the market. This not only makes these coolers durable, but it also helps greatly in ice retention (more on that in the next section).
Along with the thick walls, you will also find quality hardware. This includes heavy-duty rubber latches and stainless steel hardware. The thickest ice chest around won’t amount to much if it has low-quality hardware that falls apart. You don’t have to worry about that with these coolers.
More on the latches: these are the “T” design that we see many other cooler brands use. You can close the lid by essentially stretching the latch down. These rubber latches are extremely durable and obviously waterproof: just make sure you avoid putting sharp objects around them.
For carrying, Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers have side rope with rubber handles for added grip. And you can also grab the cooler from the underside of the extruded edge. Depending on how many people are carrying and how much weight is in the cooler, one type of handle may be more suitable than the other. As always, we encourage you to try to find a buddy to help carry these coolers, particularly when they are full.
Inside the cooler is an oversized rubber gasket. This is the same type of sealing feature that nearly every other high-end cooler offer. This a proven design and does a great job in maximizing ice life. When you close the lid down, it essentially “squeezes” the gasket, forming an air-tight seal. This is where having good t-latches plays a part too. You want there to be quite a bit of resistance when you stretch the t-latch down. More resistance = more squeeze!
For draining, there is a high-flow drain port located on the side of the cooler. Other “normal” features include non-slip feet and elevated sections to lift the majority of the cooler off the ground.
Outside of this, the most unique and notable feature on Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers is the corner bottle openers. You will find stainless steel bottle openers on either side of the cooler base. These are accessible both when the lid is open or closed.
There are also a few accessories that you can purchase (for extra costs) such as an internal storage basket, cooler divider, cooler lock, and a cup holder. Speaking of cup holders, we are a bit disappointed that these ice chests don’t have embedded cup holders on the lid. But we understand that this does affect ice retention some.
Finally, let’s discuss the warranty. Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers come with a 5-year limited warranty. This, combined with their Grizzly Bear Certification, tells us that you are getting a quality product that this company will stand behind. While there are some brands out there that offer lifetime warranties, we know that is the exception to the rule. And a 5-year warranty is nothing to scoff at.
Cascade Mountain Tech Ice Retention
We are pretty amazed at some of the ice life numbers that modern ice chests can produce. This is in thanks to a combination of advanced manufacturing processes, utilizing premium materials, and thickening up the walls.
The big question is, does Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers have what it takes to hang with the top brands in regards to ice retention?
The most vital component to ice life is wall thickness. And Cascade Mountain Tech has you covered there. As we mentioned earlier, you will find up to 3” thick walls on these ice chests. Compared to other high-end coolers on the market, this is above average. That being said, the 3” wall thickness isn’t across all sides of the cooler. And typically, the limiting factor in ice retention is driven by the thinnest wall.
Other key components include a good seal by the rubber gasket. This is driven by the gasket itself but also the strength of the latching system. You really want to get some good squeeze out of the gasket to ensure proper sealing.
So how do the ice numbers look in real-world applications? According to Cascade Mountain Tech’s website, you can enjoy up to 10 days of ice retention. We have seen that sometimes brands exaggerate a bit too much on ice life. While 10 days may theoretically be possible in optimal conditions (loaded to the top with ice, in the shade, rarely being opened, etc.), we know that most people don’t use their coolers in that manner. Many people will have lots of drinks stored, having the cooler out in the sun, and being opening it constantly. As such, we try to find more realistic numbers based on actual usage.
To test this, we filled our Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers halfway up with ice, put them in a semi-sun/semi-shade area, and opened them approximately once per hour. Our ice life results were as follows:
Overall, we are quite impressed with these numbers. Compared to other brands, this is above average. While it isn’t quite to the level of the ultimate ice retention coolers such as Techni Ice, it is still more than adequate for most people’s needs.
The smaller Cooler, the CMT 45, is good for anywhere from 3 days up to over 4 days of ice retention. This makes it perfect for a long weekend at the lake or cabin. The larger size, the CMT 80, ramps things up to around 4 days to over 7 days of ice life. With these numbers, you can plan an entire week-long camping trip or a beach trip with this cooler.
While we didn’t quite get to the 10 days numbers that were advertised, we are sure that greater ice life numbers are possible with more ice, reducing how often the cooler was opened, and storing in a cooler place.
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Aesthetics
We are a bit underwhelmed with the available color choices on these coolers. From our research, we have only seen 3 color options available for the 45-quart and 80-quart model: White, Tan, and Gray.
And even with the selection of colors in the 45-quart cooler, all 3 colors are pretty similar. If you are someone who likes the “pop” of a bright blue or yellow cooler, you will be out of luck. Also, we can’t find any options regarding specialty colors such as multi-color schemes, professional team colors, logos, etc. This is compared to other premium cooler brands on the market that will sometimes offer a dozen or more color choices.
As for the body styling of these ice chests, Cascade Mountain Tech also takes a conservative approach. These coolers will resemble many of the other premium coolers on the market. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if they are even sharing these coolers with other brands using the same manufacturer.
That isn’t to say that they look “bad”. These are quality coolers that look the part. But with so many brands to choose from today, it is important that companies do things to help them stand out from the masses. And in regards to aesthetics, we just aren’t seeing that here.
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Price
Price is almost always a consideration that shoppers weigh when searching for a new cooler. And since larger-sized coolers can oftentimes run several hundred dollars, finding the best “bang for the buck” is important.
Cascade Mountain Tech is placed comfortably in the premium cooler range. If you are on a tight budget, these ice chests may be a bit more than you want to spend. That being said, there is such a large selection of “premium” coolers these days, that the asking prices, even within that category, can vary.
Given the ice retention and build quality, we feel that these coolers are priced fairly. There are cheaper options out there with similar performance, however.
But on the other end of the spectrum, coolers such as Yeti and Orca remain at a much higher price point for a given size. And their performance really isn’t all that different. What you pay for them are brand recognition and potential additional features.
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler vs. Yeti
A common question we receive is how a certain cooler brand compares to Yeti. Since Yeti is a household name when it comes to ice chests, this really is no surprise. For many years, Yeti ran the show in the high-end cooler spectrum. But with so many new names coming to the surface, Yeti’s reputation as being the “best” is always in jeopardy.
So how do Yeti Coolers compare to Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers?
Yeti has a clear edge in several categories. When it comes to size selection, color choices, accessories, and features, Yeti has a clear advantage. You can choose from dozens of different sizes and colors with Yeti Coolers. You can also enjoy a wide variety of add-on accessories.
Where things are closer is in regards to performance and toughness. For a given size, both cooler brands offer various similar ice retention levels and build quality. Both offer great warranties and are grizzly bear certified.
And Cascade Mountain Tech also has a clear edge in one important category: cost. While this brand certainly isn’t cheap, they are more affordable than Yeti. Yeti have and continue to be one of the most expensive brands in the industry. Part of this has to do with the quality product they offer but a lot of it also has to do with their reputation.
So which brand is better? That depends on your priorities.
If you are after brand recognition, more color options, or are after a large or small cooler, then Yeti will be the way to go. Their selection of sizes, colors, and their respected name cannot be emulated.
But if you are primarily concerned with performance and build quality and trying to save a few bucks, then Cascade Mountain Tech makes a strong case to be your choice over Yeti.
But no matter which brand you go with, you will receive a quality product that should last for many years to come.
Cascade Mountain Tech Cooler Review
Pros: Good ice performance, Well-built
Cons: Extremely limited size/color choices, Relatively few features, Pricey
Features: Roto-molded walls, Heavy-duty rubber latches, Gripped rope handles, Non-slip feet, corner bottle openers, optional internal divider/cup-holder add-on (sold separately), oversized gasket
Cascade Mountain Tech brings to the table a couple of hard-sided coolers. These coolers come in 45-quat and 80-quart varieties. This brand follows a similar proven recipe of implementing thick walls and quality components. The result is an ice chest that retains ice for long periods of time and should hold up to typical wear and tear with no issues. However, you are limited in sizes and colors.
Features/Build Quality –
There is no denying that the build quality is there. Thanks to extra-thick roto-molded walls, quality hardware (stainless steel fittings, thick rubber gasket/t-latch, etc.), this is an ice chest that will last for many years. And Cascade Mountain Tech stands behind their product with a 5-year warranty. These ice chests can even handle being around grizzly bears!
But where these ice chests are lacking is in the feature department. Outside of 2 bottle openers on the corners of the cooler, there aren’t any other notable features that help this brand stand out from the rest. While additional features may not be important to some people, for others it could be the tiebreaker between which brand they choose. Furthermore, the accessory department is lacking as well with only a couple of add-ons that you can purchase. We had to knock off a point from the rating for the lack of features.
Ice Retention: –
We were quite pleased with how long Cascade Moutain Tech ice chests kept ice. Depending on the cooler size and conditions/application, you can expect anywhere from 4ish days up to a week or more. This makes these coolers great for a host of outdoor activities, even in the middle of the hot summer. These ice numbers are thanks to the thick walls discussed above (up to 3” in some places), a quality rubber gasket for sealing, and a strong latch system to really squeeze the gasket.
Visual Appeal: –
Another area that we were a little underwhelmed in was the aesthetics department. Now don’t get us wrong: these aren’t bad-looking coolers. But they are severely lacking in color choices and additional aesthetic features that help to make them stand out from the masses. There are only 3 color options available for the 45-quart model and only 1 color for the 80-quart model. And if that isn’t bad enough, all 3 colors are very similar. There are also no options for customization such as decals, team logos, etc.
The cooler body itself is a modern, attractive styling. But it is a similar approach that we have seen in many other brands.
Being a premium cooler, these definitely aren’t cheap. However, given the performance (both ice life and build quality), we feel that the current asking price is fair. There are better bargains out there. Other brands have made a name for themselves in finding ways to offer similar performance to the big boy cooler brands but at a much lower price point. Cascade Mountain Tech falls somewhere in the middle.
Overall Rating –
On paper, there is nothing inherently wrong with Cascade Mountain Tech Coolers. These ice chests serve their purpose: to hold ice for long periods of time and hold up to the demands of Mother Nature. And 10 years ago, that would have made these a great choice. But with so many cooler options on the market today, the industry is expecting more than that to stand out. And the combination of lack of colors, sizes, and features unfortunately doesn’t make this brand stand out much.