A little more than a year ago, a new player entered the growing field of cooler manufacturers. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise once more mature companies had proven there is a market for high-end containers to keep your food and drinks cool. But this newcomer, Maluna, actually claimed to be different. Indeed, the company says it has come “unhinged”—but in a good way.
Maluna sent a sample for review, and it was time to put the product to the test. Among its advantages is its “unhinged” design, a concept that incorporates a patent-pending closing system, a high-efficiency seal and a pressure regulator that helps the cooler stay true to its designation—cooler. The company puts forth a white paper that demonstrates that it holds ice about 20 percent longer than comparable products from competing brands. It asserts that a Maluna and a competing cooler were filled with the same amount of ice and drinks. The coolers were then placed in a 100-degree thermal chamber and the clock started ticking to see how many hours it took for the cooler temperature to reach certain levels.
The test here wasn’t that sophisticated. It was a simple ice-melt comparison. Put the same amount of ice in each cooler and conduct periodic checks. Not as scientific, to be sure, and the comparison was between a 50-quart Maluna and a 56-quart of a competitive brand, but the ice still held up longer.
So the Maluna brand seems to stand up to its big claim of keeping things cooler longer, which makes it worth a look for people who plan to spend a weekend or more in the great outdoors.
But the Maluna includes a few extra bonuses. One is that the drain plug can be replaced with one that includes a temperature readout of the internal temperature. No need to open the cooler unnecessarily. Check the thermometer and you’ll know hold chilled your drink will be.
The mind behind the “unhinged” madness is Scott Hoyt, a thermodynamics expert who has the design of award-winning food storage products on his resume.
Hoyt comes across as a hands-on guy who certainly believes in how the product is made. On the webpage, he’ll take visitors on a virtual tour of the factory, talking about some of the technical processes involved in producing a cooler.
He came up with his concepts and got all the tooling in place, then went on a fundraising drive, giving backers the chance to get “early bird” versions of the cooler. Hoyt calls the seal the most important part of the design, saying that a tight seal prevents heat transfer. But the cam-actuated straps in the rear make up the other key component.
Maluna currently has production facilities overseas, but is looking to bring more of its manufacturing process stateside, according to Oscar Guzman, who leads the company’s marketing efforts.
Maluna also incorporates some convenience changes—each cooler comes with a hanging basket to keep dry food out of the ice, and the handles are designed to be comfortable with both traditional grips of palms in (as in carrying the cooler in front of yourself) or out (carrying a cooler with a friend).
And the feet on the bottom of the cooler are reversible, dual-purpose ones. Boaters can install them with a non-slip side down, so the cooler won’t slide across the deck as much; hunters and hikers can put them on with the hard side down, so it can slide easily into the back of a pickup truck or sport-utility vehicle.
The cooler comes in four sizes, from 40 quarts to 111 quarts, and extra thermometer plugs, dry goods baskets and footers are a mere order away. Readers can use the promo code 1freedom10 for a discount on their first Maluna Unhinged cooler.