Cabela’s Classic Coleman Cooler


Recently, Coleman brought back its original steel cooler. It’s sold as an exclusive for the 50th anniversary of the sporting goods supply company Cabela’s.

It’s part of a trend of retro products, reintroduced as specialty products for particular retailers, similar to Fisher-Price toys sold at Cracker Barrel and vintage Tide sold at Target.

The cooler dates from 1954, and has become a classic. The $119.99 cooler is made in the USA and it promises to keep ice cold for three days for up to 100 degrees.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.


  1. Wonder if the new cooler is lightweight? I feel sure that Coleman wouldn’t have the same metal as in the 50s…I kinda like a bit of traditon, so rare in the US these days…companies like LLBean, Tiffany’s ( if you can afford their stuff), old hotels like the Cavalier … and lots of places in Richmond, Savannah, Charleston, etc.. And give me Claridges, The Brown Hotel, the Old Course in Fife…Ever visit the Cotswolds…Our “culture” in the US is so commercial, so throwaway… so little of substance that lasts very long.

    Think it great that Coleman is still there…At least it’s not made in China !!!

  2. I’ve got to agree with Denise. Why would you want this when you can buy a lighter, stronger, and cheaper one? Maybe if you like watching rust creeping up the outside of your cooler?

    My first cooler was an old metal Coleman that fit precisely in the rear window well of my VW Bug. I’ve since moved on to plastic coolers and cars with heaters that actually work where the gas tank isn’t in front of your knees. (I do have nostalgia for VWs, but after driving them from age 16 until into my 40’s, let’s just say that practicality reared it’s ugly head a good while ago.)

  3. hi garland-i think you might be referring to my comment:

    not sure why people would want a retro cooler other than as a collector’s piece — certainly the improvements made since 1954 have resulted in a better product (lighter, more convenient, etc.) — does nostalgia really trump need in this category?

    — denise lee yohn

  4. A reader emailed to ask whether the price was pretty expensive and wouldn’t a new one actually be better than an impractical and heavy old one. Great point, but I accidentally deleted her pithy comments and didn’t mean to.

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