The Outwell Fulmar series three sizes; 5.8L for drinks and 30L and 60L options for cool boxes. Each are made of the same, tough, high density plastic and feature a drain tap. For review we tested the biggest of the bunch, the Fulmar 60, which retails at £100.
What Outwell say:
Get maximum freezer space with the smart Outwell Fulmar 60L. Ideal for larger families or groups of friends, this oversized camping freezer has plenty of room for all your frozen food needs. Simply add ice or an Outwell Ice Block and keep your items frozen for up to 5 days. The top doubles as a table surface and comes with four handy cup holders on the lid. Strong handles make it easy to carry.
- High density PU foam for enhanced insulation
- Passive cooler works with ice or Outwell Ice Block
- Integral drain valve
- Strong adjustable handles
- Dual buckle to secure lid
- Stainless steel screws
- Four cup holders on lid
- Keeps your items frosen for up to 5 days
Outwell Fulmar 60L test:
We chose the 60L version specifically for testing in our VW Caddy Mcro camper, where size isn't an issue in carrying, but it's perfectly applicable for family camping. Being a stand alone unit with no option for powered cooling it's effictively a large insulated box designed to lose heat as slowly as possible. The manufacturers claim it will keep food cool for up to 5 days. 60L doesn't sound a lot but in reality it could swallow several days food for a family and it's designed with enough height to accommodate 3lt milk bottles and 2 litre cola/lemonade bottles.
Adding cooler packs and/or ice keeps the temperature down and when the ice does start melting. which is inevitable, the tap can be used to drain the liquid from the bottom of the box. In practice it worked. There's not really a lot you can say about it other than it works. It's a simple twist to open/close tap that makes both removing liquid and post-use cleaning easier.
The Fulmar 60, as well as having a seriously large capacity is a very solid unit. Fully loaded you'll probably be better off with two people carrying it, and it's worth remembering that the more packed it is the longer it will remain cool. Taken out of the van, or tent, it can double up as a table, with the 4 cup holders providing a decent amount of stability for cups and bottles (preferably not single-use). It's probably not advised by the manufacturer but it proved to be a good seat too.
The clips on the front of the box have a very positive action; when they clipped shut they're not coming undone by accident, but in it's open position the lid stands vertically, giving easy and full access to the contents. Little features like this seem small but it means you have both hands free for rummaging around in what can be a very full space for the nits you want.
Being solid plastic the box is completely waterproof, making it ideal for the beach or river bank.
In tests we've used the Fulmar 60 for up to 4 days at a time, with one supermarket ice-cube bag and 2 standard cool packs. With a fully loaded Fulmar 60 a combination of frozen and chilled foods stayed usable for a full 4 days. The outer 2 rashers of bacon in a pack of 8 that had started frozen weredefrosted but the centre 4 were still solid. Over the 4 day period the cool packs defrosated and the ice-cube bag lost the equivalent of 3 or 4 ice cubes. With a lightly packed coolbox, still using an ice-cube bag and 2 cool packs saw a full pack of bacon defrost but everything remained chilled enough to use after 3 full days, but we were on the lookout for a top-up of ice cubes.
IN terms of keeping things chilled the way you pack is very important. Cold air sinks, so it makes sense to put ice packs or ice-cube boxes on the top and allow the cold air to sink to the lower sections. When carrying small amounts the best method seemed to be to surround the items (eg milk) with cool packs.
By default we take manufacturer's claims with a small pinch of salt, but with cool boxes it's important you know the true capabilities; there's nothing worse than adding milk to your morning coffee to find it's turned during the night. From our tests, which were carried out in ambient temperatures up to 30 degrees we'd have confidence in carrying 4 or 5 days of chilled food. Given the number of camp sites where you can refreeze, or swap, cool packs and the number of supermarkets carrying bags of ice it's one less item you need power for. At £100 it's a mjor investment and is competing with some of the smaller 12v cool boxes; here it's a close call - if you have the power, but the ability to keep food chilled when off grid probably swings it. If there are any downsides to the Fulmar 60 they're down to the size. Fully packed it's heavy and a pig to carry given the width between the handles, but there's an option half the size in the Fulmar 30. If the size works for you it's a quality product that gives you confidence for a long weekend.
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