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Coolest Cooler Kickstarter Review

Updated on May 14, 2016
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Why crowdfunding product review hubs?

Welcome to one of the first Hubpages in a series i have started which focuses on creative and innovative designer products found on crowdfunding platform such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. In these hubs i will take a look at these campaigns viewing then through 5 simple lenses:.

  1. The Idea
  2. Features
  3. Price
  4. Do i need it
  5. Will it change my life or world

The purpose of these hubs is to offer a few insights and a review of the idea or concept more so then the product itself since they are often not produced yet or in the market place. But in addition it is hoped these hubs will begin to introduce crowdfunding and new products to a wider mainstream audience.

This hub and the other hubs in the series will be a learning experiences for myself and i welcome feedback and comments on the concept and my reviews. Now please join me in exploring both the amazing designer products and creative idea that are appearing on crowdfunding platforms today.

The Coolest Cooler Kickstarter Campaign

The Coolest Cooler Kickstarter campaign is one of the most funded and famous of the campaigns used in promoting the crowdfunding movement, it was started in 2013 and has been a "poster child" for kickstarter as it broke crowdfunding history record raising more then 13 million dollars backed by over 60,000 backers. I have also refereed to the project in another hub in the series "The Swiss Army Knife of Travel Jackets" as well as being in the media recently in early 2016. The Coolest Cooler campaign therefore seemed like a good project to review before embarking on more recent campaigns.

Ryan Grepper is an inventor and tinker based in Portland, Oregon and is Founder & CEO of Coolest, "The worlds coolest cooler." A product which integrates a ice blender, wireless speakers and an array of other functional elements into a ice chest. And in 2013 when the project was first launched on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $5000 for its first production run it failed to meet the goal. The reason for the failure are documented online but timing was a factor since it was launched in winter as well as the design. However in 2014 Coolest, The brand and product was relaunched again with a more polished design and became at the time the most successful crowdfunding campaign in history. Only to be surpassed by the Pebble watch an Android smart watch to rival Apple's iwatch which raised over 20 million dollars.

Fast forward to 2016 and Coolest is once again in the media however this time in a not so positive light having been struggling with delays in delivery of the product, backers complaints and cash flow issues for the last few years, Coolest is being called one of the worst failures in crowdfunding history. However Coolest is still a great product and its fate remains to be seen.

While not ignoring the management issue of the campaign this review will focus on the product itself and remain true to the lenses above.

1 - The concept of Coolest

The concept of the Coolest is quit a simple and clever one and so happens to bring together the right combination of appliances and device together in one compact design. Who would have thought to include a blender for drinks into a ice chest, while a stereo has been done in other products not so much the blender. Then the coolest also cleverly add a few more tools such as a magnetic bottle opener which collects your caps and USB port charger for your device just to name a few.

The Coolest is essentially a "Go bag or bug out bag for picnickers" weekend warriors and spontaneous family gatherings. Time magazine listed the Coolest cooler as one of its 25 best inventions of 2014. And available in three colors:

  1. Classic Coolest Orange
  2. Margarita Green
  3. Blue Moon

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2 - Features of the Coolest Cooler

The Coolest Cooler boosts 9 key features listed below however it also contains a few other extras but not considered features such as the inclusion of a corkscrew and internal storage space. However what i think is the most clever design is the integration of a power source which then supports features such as the blender, blue tooth speakers, LED night lights and USB charger for your portable device.

Below is a video of Founder & CEO Ryan Grepper demonstrating some of the Coolest key features.

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CEO Ryan Grepper Demonstrate Features of the Coolest Cooler

3- Pricing the Coolest

Pricing of the Coolest has been a big issue for the product, mostly resulting from its management issues but the pricing for the product itself is a much simpler issue. In an promotional video the Coolest claims to be valued at over $500 for all its features/items combined individually. As such i have created my own value table for the Coolest using a best guess or average price of individual items found on Amazon. My valued as per the table below totaled $405 so a final retail price of $399 is not bad considering my estimates were based on average prices and best guess. Other factors to be consider is also quality and the Coolest is a compact unit verses transporting all the individual items separately.

The issue regarding pricing with Coolest started not with its final retail price on Amazon but from its Kickstarter campaign. Initially priced at between $165 - $185 the Coolest was a steal even when normally factoring in the deep discount offered for participating in a crowdfunding campaign. However the cost of production for the coolest was under estimated and once crowdfunding fee were deducted the funds raised could not cover its first run.

Unable to meet its obligation, Coolest started to sell on Amazon launch pad with the hope that extra sales will cover delivery for those unfulfilled orders from Kickstarter. This of course annoyed first adopter backers. Subsequently, the campaign also asked backers for an extra $97 so they can get the product on time causing further backlash with the backers, which even spilled over onto the Amazon's product review section.

So far the fate of the undelivered backers are still unknown. However from a value and retail price point the Coolest seems fair and value coming from its compact design and convenience of bring to a picnic dozens of the individual items.

Value of the Coolest Features

Item
Value
Ice Cooler 55 quart capacity
$100
Trolley
$40
Blender
$60
Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers
$50
Rechargeable Battery
$60
USB Charger
$10
LED Torch
$20
Bungey Ties/cords
$10
Cutting Board
$10
Plastic plates set
$15
Ceramic Knief
$15
Waiters Bottle Opener
$15
Cork Screw
Included in Opener
Total
$405

4 - Do i need the Coolest Cooler

I think the Coolest is a great piece of gear to have, certainly its well designed and thought out as a product, The concept is simple and has found the right niche. Its no wonder it did so well on kickstarter. Compared with other similar products which there are no real comparable but if we were to name a few Coolers the "TUNES2Go KoolMax" or "BREKX 54QT coolers" with built in speaker could come close however they do lack the sexy style of the Coolest and extra Bells & Whistle.

The Coolest therefore deserves its title of being "The World Coolest Cooler" and hence it was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 25 best inventions of 2014.The Portland Business Journal has even called it a party in a box. As for myself and speaking from an individual who is not so organised or likes planning the Coolest is like "A bug out bag for picnicker" or nature enthusiasts.

Do i needed the Coolest?,

well if you think of it like a bug out bag or pack then you do not know you need it until you do. Since i am not well organized and do not like bringing too much on outdoor trips the Coolest is just perfect and all i have to do is add drinks and ice. Its just save me time and hassle.

5 - Will it change my life or the world?

You can call the Coolest a gimmick product but functional its more then that and the design works. It could become a key piece of gear at home like a tackle or tool box and perfect for spontaneous weekend trips and getaways. For sure i think the Coolest will change the ease or frequency at which i would go on trips or family gatherings. And in some ways i think the Coolest unlike other products will change the world, certainly it has already through its kickstarter campaign made history and hopefully the experienced will help future campaigns and crowdfunding community.

Conclusion of the Coolest Cooler

Despite the Coolest's growing pains, there a lot of potential for the product, its well designed, there is no real competitor on the market. It is pretty cool for sure. As such i think it will soon solve its issues not related to the product itself.

An issue that was raised a few times on reviews was also its weight and i imagine with newer models this will be resolved. Quality will no doubt improve over the first production run and with more features to be added for example instead of using ice could the Coolest be turned into an actual refrigerator. Personally i am also wonder if you can actually use the Coolest as a seat which i often do with cooler and a tap for releasing melted ice would come in handy for washing your hands too.

In conclusion, individuals who have received a Coolest seems to be very happy with them but i do feel for the backers who have not and in there shoes i would be annoyed too. While i do not think i would be able to get a Coolest anytime soon once the company resolved its issues i certainly will be in line for a future batch or version.

If you have personal experiences or comments of the Coolest please leave them below.

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