Coleman Classic 54-qt. Steel Cooler

Priced: $132.99 - $149.95 Rated:   - 5 stars out of 5 by 17 reviews.
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Coleman Classic 54-qt. Steel Cooler -
Originally manufactured by Coleman in 1954, the Classic Steel Cooler is a company hallmark. And now, the Classic Steel Cooler is back with today’s latest cooling technology. It keeps ice up to three days in temperatures reaching 100°F. The cooler has a sturdy steel lid and case, as well as stainless steel handles with rubber grips. It also has a steel latch and stainless steel hinges and screws. Leakproof and rust-resistant drain. Made in USA.
Weight: 22 lbs.
Dimensions: 16-3/4"H x 24-1/4"W x 16-3/4"D.
Color: Black-Cabela's Exclusive.

Traction and Grip:

  • Large, sturdy stainless-steel handles with rubber grips are easy on the hands


  • Leak-proof, rust-resistant port drains ice water away; durable base and liner are easy to clean
  • Stainless-steel lid and case deliver durability and keep ice for up to three days in temperatures up to 100° F
  • Solid steel latch improves sealing; stainless-steel hinges and screws resist rusting and breakage

They do make things like they used to! This Coleman stainless-steel retro cooler was originally introduced in 1954.

Made in USA.

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Average Price History: Price History
Review RatingNumber of Reviews
Activity:Family & car camping
Dimensions:26 x 18 x 17 inches
Gear capacity:54 quarts
Gear capacity (L):51.1 liters
Material:Stainless steel
Weight:22 pounds
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Coleman Classic 54-qt. Steel Cooler Reviews:

Positive Reviews:

10 years of keeping food cold

I got this cooler as a birthday present 10 years ago and have used it for 4 or 5 car-camping trips each summer. I love it. I put a mixture of cold and room temp food in it on Friday with one bag of ice, and on Monday I still have ice keeping it cool. I have never had a cooler that kept cool so well. The sun seems to reflect right off rather than heating it up. My latch works well, and cinches down the lid with a hook type closure. Maybe this has changed since I got mine. My handles are still well padded with the rubber grips. My lid was pushed back too far and seems a little weak now when open, but still is functional. I haven't had any problems with the drain plug - although a screw on one sounds better. And the bottle opener would be a nice feature to put back on.
Sierra Dog at REI on 05/05/2009

10 years and still keeping food cold

I purchased this cooler as a replacement for a all plastic cooler.

This cooler has been used twice a year for car-camping excursions. The cooler has also been used at an unknown number of backyard BBQ's and Patriot tailgate parties. It has always peformed perfectly.

My Daughter recently borowed the family camping gear for a camping excursion with her college friends. This cooler is the only item that was returned intact.

A bag of ice will last two to three days. There are no comparable plastic coolers regarding performance.

I have had no problems with the latch, it still secures the lid tightly.

My parents still regularly use a Coleman metal-sided cooler purchased in the sixties (Forest green, complete with bottle opener).

The old attatched bottle opener is a convenience, though a small .99 cent stainless steel opener in your pocket is infinitely more practicle.
Keys8864 at REI on 07/07/2009

Great for Campsites and Backyard parties

I like this cooler for back yard cookouts/pool parties. I can keep the drinks cold for three days in humid heat in direct sun. With heat index above 100F that is pretty good performance!

I have had no problem with the seal or the plug, and this cooler really is easy to drain. Have had no leaks either.

I give the cooler 4 stars because the price is too high when I can purchase a Yeti and have it out-perform without question. However the yeti weights an insane amount if you are wanting to lug it on camping trips even in a vehicle. On the other hand the Yeti would be perfect for a boat, and this cool better for camping, backyard, parties, etc.

Hope this helps!
mtbiker00 at REI on 09/09/2010

keeps food cold and fresh

I use this at our big camping event to keep meats and other perishables fresh. I've found that two large ice blocks will keep a full cooler of food cold for one day, then drain the water and put in two new ice blocks the next morning. Cooler has plenty of capacity, holding enough food for several people for several days. The rubber tube hand grips make it easy to lift, but the rubber tubes tend to slide around to the sides of the handles over time. The drain plug is also made of thin plastic and may snap off over time. Make sure the drain is plugged before putting the cooler in your trunk, or you'll have a big mess when you get home.
dog hiker at REI on 03/03/2008

Tubing masterpiece

I love this cooler. Took it tubing last week and it holds 90 beers cold for as long as they can stay in there ;). This has replaced many cheap knock off coolers that I have used in the past. 16# of ice will stay 96 hours on a summer weekend personally tested. My previous cooler "Mr. Wheelie" couldn't last 48 in the same heat. The surface will get hot in the sun but that wont stop it from retaining its temp inside. Recommend the shade if you are looking for long duration of ice +4 days. One thing to note, because there aren't wheels you can hold about 15 more cans of beer in a similar exterior volume.
WVUGee at REI on 08/08/2013

Almost There

Received this cooler as a wedding present and am very happy with it. Conserves ice well, sturdy handles and I have no gripes with the latch. Fits perfectly into my canoe. I do wish it had the bottle opener on the side. I do not miss the old fashioned steel interior that rusts away. Should last 50 years!
Napa Outdoors at REI on 10/10/2007

Super Cooler

I bought mine in 2002 and have had this cooler on numerous trips, whitewater rafting, at tailgates, and car camping. While on the river, we put a strap around the entire thing to keep it from popping open. It always gets lots of compliments for its stylish looks and I have given several as gifts.
Climber303 at REI on 06/06/2012

Coolest Cooler on the Block

This cooler may never see much of the backcountry, but it sure will be the center of attention at your picnics and car camping destinations. The retro-style stainless steel goes beyond just the good looks, though - this thing can keep food cold longer than any other cooler I've owned.
Weekend Warrior at REI on 09/09/2007

fire resistant

We had a car fire with 2 of these coolers in the back. When the firemen finished putting the car out. They pulled our charred coolers out of the back when they opened them the food was still on ice inside.
Grimlen at Cabelas on 08/02/2010

Classic great cooler

I have several coolers. This is my first metal sided cooler. The cooler walls are much thinner than others (such as the Coleman x-treme) and is deceptively compact as it holds plenty for a weekend.
Tam S at REI on 03/03/2008

Negative Reviews:

they don't make things like they used to

as a child, we used to go camping with the original coleman cooler. that one was bomb-proof. they removed all of the neat things from the classic in this poor excuse for a retro cooler. looks can be deceiving.

we had this on our wedding registry & were more than happy to receive one. last year i would have gladly given this 5 stars, but after using it more i have cooled down to the awful redesign of this classic.

the lid latch was changed from a steel hook that grabbed the lid & cinched it down tight. this new design has a metal cylinder that slides into a slot in the lid. problem is this doesn't hold very well & pops open.

the old design had a screw drain plug with a chain attached to empty out the water. this one has a plastic cork-like plug that always seems to leak or worse, gets popped off in a loaded car.

they also removed the built-in bottle opener that used to be integrated into the handle mounts.

anyone that fondly remembers the old coleman cooler should take a look at this one in person to see what i mean.

the new design is so kid-proof (no hook lid closure & no bottle opener) they took out the best parts of the design & opted for the cheap plastic replacements. now i'm looking on ebay for the old classic coleman cooler since they just don't make things like they used to!
DancesWithWoofs at REI on 09/09/2007

Looks nice, but poor quality

This cooler looks nice, but has poor durablity.It is NOT worth the hefty price tag. After only 1 season, the latch no longer works and the lid is loose and fits poorly. Why can't Coleman make their products more durable?
sierramom at REI on 11/11/2008

Neutral Reviews:

Not so good in full sun

I really wanted to like this but I think the dark color contributes to its inability to keep things icy inside. Sunny days on the boat stretch it to its limits so you really have to overdo the ice to beverage ratio. The metal does dent more easily than I hoped and it looks like we've had it for years instead of just five months but maybe we're rougher than average. One night we left it half full of beverages on the deck and the temp dropped well below freezing. When we opened it the next morning, it was a solid block, but the inside plastic hadn't cracked. It also has a nice latch & drain plug, handles that don't pinch and style points, you just have to be careful and keep it shaded.
Smokeythepheasant at Cabelas on 12/01/2013

Could be better

For a long time I wanted a great cooler and I thought this was it. I think I was charmed by the stainless steel out and the history of Coleman coolers, especially this model.

Upon First couple of uses, I notice the lid doesn't really lock... Hmm. And it didn't occur to me that this metal beast would actually hold and retain heat.

After a few years of average to low use (maybe 3-4 car camping trips a year) the lid hinge broke and the other one is loosening. I had to wedge a nail to hold it together.

I finally found the cooler I think that will meet my car camping needs.
bultimate at REI on 04/04/2013