Ever since YETI first dropped their rotomolded cooler in 2006, cooler manufacturers have been looking for ways to regain market share. Unfortunately, many of these companies are producing inferior look-a-likes that are only marginally better than the old ABS plastic coolers of yesteryear. That’s not the case with Gnarwhal.
What’s a “Gnarwhal”? Well I’m glad you asked! They are basically massive, maritime unicorns. According to Google, a (g)narwhal is a:
[nar·whal ˈnärˌ(h)wäl/] small Arctic whale, the male of which has a long forward-pointing spirally twisted tusk developed from one of its teeth.
Similar to YETI, Gnarwhal boasts a 7-10 day ice retention -only with a much cooler logo. To this, Gnarwhal sent us a 50L Beacon series cooler to test out in hot, steamy St. Petersburg (St. Pete), Florida. The cooler was packed with ice, food and drinks before heading out on a long trip dubbed: the Georgia Traverse. Okay, so time was split between FL and GA.
The Traverse is an off road, border-to-border trip (which begins in St. Pete if you are our cooler) that spans Georgia, primarily through the use of back roads. For the bulk of this trip, the cooler was buried in the back of our test vehicle, a jet-black Nissan Xterra.
Heat was definitely a factor. For those who have never visited the Southern states, aside from blasting the A/C, there is no respite from the heat. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting beneath the shade of a massive oak, or guzzling grandma’s sweet iced tea; every day is served up with a massive plate of hot sticky sweat all summer long.
The high humidity of the Southeast also expedites ice melt. This was obviously a factor for the Gnarwhal to which we experienced full melt in 5 days rather than the 7-10 advertised. Of course, with the heat, the lid was a revolving door as ice cold brews and sodas were perpetually liberated from within.
It’s highly likely that we would have been able to replicate Gnarwhal’s claims if we kept the lid closed more, but this was a real world test under the worse possible conditions. Despite these challenges, the Gnarwhal Beacon cooler performed admirably.
Besides being a cooler, you will also find a bottle opener, a pair of rubber lid closures and two nylon carry handles. Ice water is kept in place via a continuous bulb seal. There is also a handy drain with a chain tether attached to the cap -no more lost caps. The Beacon is available in bright blue and orange.
Wait! I almost forgot. This beast glows in the dark! How insane is that? I don’t know their exact reason for this surprisingly cool perk … maybe they did it for the Gram? It does look really cool at night and if you get bored, you can also light paint on them with a flashlight. According to Gnarwhal, this glow can last up to 8 hours.
More photos and specs below.
A divider and basket helps to keep your vegan girlfriend’s food from touching your steaks. The divider also functions as a handy cutting board.
The padlock pass-through doubles as a bottle opener.
A convenient drain with tethered cap is located on one side so you don’t have to touch freezing cold cooler juice when you get home.
For more on the Gnarwhal Beacon cooler, visit: www.gnarwhaloutdoors.com