Coleman 28QT Convoy review: Affordable tailgating cooler with perks

Rugged build quality and excellent insulation ensures reliable chilling of all your foodstuffs

Coleman 28QT Convoy review: the cooler on the grass
(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)
T3 Verdict

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on an industry-leading YETI cool box but still require a cooler with enough insulation for up to three days of ice retention, the Coleman 28QT Convoy is a wise investment. It’s reasonably priced, sturdy as an oak and it boasts enough internal volume for a full weekend camping trip.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Rugged build quality

  • +

    Three days ice retention

  • +

    29 litres capacity

  • +

    Built-in bottle opener

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    A bit bland looking

  • -

    Rope handle too long for some users

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As any seasoned car camper will testify, heading out for a weekend or longer under the stars involves an inordinate amount of camping paraphernalia and chief among these is some kind of cooling system to keep food fresh and drinks chilled. After all, no one wants to sip on a warm beer or endure the camping horror of reaching for the milk only to find that it’s well on its way to becoming cheese.

What you need is the best cool box, and I think I have just the thing right in front of me. It’s called the Coleman 28QT Convoy, and it will ensure all your perishables remain edible and your beverages drinkable for up to three days using just ice cubes or a bunch of cheap-to-buy ice packs.

How good is this Coleman 28QT Convoy? Let’s give it a whirl.

Coleman 28QT Convoy review

Price and availability

The Coleman 28QT Convoy retails between £79 and £90 and is available in the UK from a number of online stores, including Amazon (£79.68), Halfords (£89.99), Decathlon (£99.99) and Wow Camping where it’s shifting for a knock-down £69.50.

If shopping in the USA, try Amazon, where it's selling for $79.68 or Walmart ($96.72).

Design and features

Coleman 28QT Convoy test

(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)

Let’s start with the colour and finish – a combination of dull grey matched to a rough and scratchy non-slip surface. Let’s just say that the Coleman is in stark contrast to the best Yeti coolers which are usually available in a host of bright cheerful colours and smooth, tactile finishes that scream style.

But you’re not here to look at an expensive YETI because you want to save loads of money and just get yourself an affordable and efficient cool box that will keep all your stuff nicely chilled for a few days at a time. And that’s the Coleman 28QT Convoy in a nutshell. 

At a smidge under £80, this cooler is just about all you need for a weekend camping trip. Its injection-moulded seat feels strong enough to support the arse of an elephant and everything from the rust-resistant rear hinges to the thick rubber latches and nylon rope handle look and feel indestructible. Which is hardly surprising because Coleman very rarely produces anything flimsy or duff.

Coleman 28QT Convoy

The Coleman is much easier to transport when carried by two

(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)

Heading under the heavily insulated lid, you’ll find a substantial 29-litre cavity surrounded by a thick coating of rotomolded Polyurethane foam that provides up to three days of ice retention.

The internal liner, while a bit plasticky smelling, is also coated in an antibacterial substance that, according to the bumph, ‘protects against fungal growth, reducing bad odour bacteria by 99.99%’. 

I think 29 litres is a spot-on volume for many scenarios, whether it’s going on a short-haul picnic, a weekend car camping trip, a day on the beach, a spot of tailgating (if you’re American)  or three days at Glastonbury.

Yes, its 4kg weight will increase substantially the more you fill it, but it’s easy enough for one tallish person to carry using the heavy-duty rope with a thick, grippy rubber handle.

I say ‘tallish’ because my modest 5’6” height isn’t enough to prevent the box from banging along the floor when I carry it. And, worse, there is no way to shorten the rope.

Granted, I did just manage to sling the rope over my shoulder, but I don’t think it would be possible to carry it too far in this way without having to pay a visit to the chiropractor the next day.

Thankfully, it’s a different story if two are carrying it because there are good finger grabs on each side of the box, plus the wherewith to feed the rope through the handles to create a pair of wide carrying loops.

Coleman 28QT Convoy interior

(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)

The Coleman’s exterior measures 48cm in width from handle to handle, 30cm in depth and 43cm in height. That’s just about the right size, in my opinion, to comfortably fit in the boot of most hatchbacks. The interior tapers down from a wide 40 x 25cm to 34 x 20cm and has enough volume for either six 1.5 litre bottles of still water, 28 x 330ml drink cans or around 25 bottles of Birra Moretti beer, including at least a dozen standard icepacks for good cooling measure. Of course, you’re going to need a bottle opener for some of your drinks, and you’ll find just what you’re looking for built into the underside of the lid.


Coleman 28QT Convoy

Two big rubber clasps keep the lid firmly in place

(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)

Coleman states an ice retention function of three days and I’m inclined to agree because I filled the Convoy with 16 Cokes, a pint of milk and 12 slim ice packs, and left it closed and locked using the think rubber fasteners for 67 hours (just under three days) and the Cokes were still cool enough to actually enjoy. Not as properly chilled as I’d like but perfectly acceptable given the simplicity of the system. Crucially, the milk was still fresh enough for a cup of tea.

Assuming you’ve packed enough ice packs or ice cubes, I reckon dairy products, perishable meats and beverages will remain edible and drinkable in this cool box for the entire duration of a typical Friday-to-Sunday summer camping trip, but perhaps only if the box is in the shade under a tree and not directly in the sun or inside a boiling tent. There’s only so much a swathe of insulation and a few ice cubes can do.


Coleman 28QT Convoy

(Image credit: Future | Derek Adams)

If you don’t want to spend too much on a well-insulated, large-volume cool box for your next camping trip, the Coleman 28QT Convoy is an excellent option that will keep a horde of food and drinks cool for up to three days. Although the carrying rope may be too long for some users, the whole thing is superbly constructed and strong enough to withstand serious abuse. Good choice.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).