Gone are the days when we had the little styrofoam coolers that would grow increasingly manky then collapse under the weight of someone tripping past the campfire.  Gone, I say, are the days of using those squeaky coolers that got deeper and deeper nicks and cuts in them and were finally used for fish and had to be destroyed, as mom would no longer allow them in the house OR the storage building.

Nowadays, we collect the bigger, badder, bolder coolers.

You got your little soft-side cooler, that can carry snacks and drinks for one, or a whole case if you don’t need anything else in there other than about a trayful of ice.  Lovely bits of technology these things are these days.  They have liners and filling that has scientifically unlikely names.  You pull off the tags that say, “Now with PolyEXtrico Liner and with TempraBlock sides” and you toss that.  You pull off the tag that says “Cleaning instructions” and you ashcan that thing, ’cause who they heck cleans these things?  No, you wait for your ice to melt, swish it around to get the bits of sandwich meat and cheese moving around and then you pour it out next to the driveway.  If everyone who isn’t a big fan of botulism is very lucky, you give it a blast with the hose before tossing it into the least-spidery corner of the storage room.

Then you got your slightly larger hard-shell cooler with the clever little thumbswitch that keeps the top from sliding open while you make mountain turns.  It still leaks like a sieve, but your drinks don’t go rolling around the back of the truck.  Very handy for keeping in the back of your car in case you need to take leftovers home from Momma’s.

Then there’s the “I don’t know how many people are bringing coolers, and I don’t want to have to pack a campchair” cooler.  Sturdy, with a removable lid, maybe a bit bigger than medium-sized, but still capable of being misplaced under a load of gear in the back of a Suburban.  You gotta watch those lids… Once this puppy has been your camp chair for long enough, that lid’s gonna flop off every chance it gets.  Nasty thing, too.  This cooler is the one that invariably gets left next to the shed and collects leaves and spider webs that you have to hurry and swash out before you run off on your trip, as you didn’t leave time for swashing out a cooler and you’re late.

Then, there’s your standard big boy size cooler, with the spigot on the side and handles that move and hinges on the lid.  Woo.  Luxury.  This is the one that you offer others space in when you’re getting ready- Hey, toss your drinks and sammich meats in here, and we’ll just go with this one cooler, boys!  What’s to be said about these?  We’ll eventually, you’re gonna kick that damned spigot stopper off there and have to figure a way to seal it up.  Wine cork, Silicon, Gorilla Tape… be prepared.  And that little plastic strap that holds the lid up at 90 degrees?  That’ll be gone soon, and you’ll be glad at first because that’s also what makes the lid slam on your fingers.  When the straps broken, then you have to worry about the hinges going bad, but that takes a good long while.  This one can take up a whole trunk on a fiddly little car.

There are, of course, the super mega-mondo coolers I see there on the sales floor of the Costco.  You could keep a Bigfoot carcass in one of those until the MIBs come and get it.  I  don’t have one… yet.  You got one?  Let me know how that’s working for you.  You’re the next product review here on Hubriscomics.