Mason County News
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Final Cooling Place
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 • Posted February 10, 2009

My friend, Ray Scott of Alabama, who started the Bass Angler’s Sportsman’s Society, is one of the most lively, fun people I’ve ever met. A couple of years ago he became an honorary Texan at an annual meeting of the Texas Outdoor Writers Assn. This was largely, I think, because of his concept for scattering the ashes of cremated fishermen over their favorite lakes. I think that was a joke, but with Ray, you never know.

To give you an idea of the sort of dignified, impressive person Ray Scott is, let me just say that he is the only man I know who owns a Samsonite suitcase that has a fake fish head sticking out one end, and the tail sticking out the other. He has a terrible time getting it through airports, but he’s willing to endure the inconvenience, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

Anyway, when Ray told me about his ash scattering idea, I told him about my intention to be buried in an ice chest. He thought it was a great idea, which of course, it is. If you don’t think so, let an ice chest and a casket blow out of the back of your pickup on the highway, and see which one holds up the best.

When I first had the ice chest idea, I figured I’d just use a large Coleman cooler. I’ve been using Coleman camping equipment all my life, so it seems appropriate, if I’m going to be buried in an ice chest, that it should be a Coleman ice chest. And I figured the Coleman people, once they heard about it, would jump at the chance. So far, nothing. Since I haven’t heard from Coleman, I’m thinking about using a Yeti cooler instead. I’ve had a Yeti 54 quart ice chest for about a year now, and I have to say it’s impressive. Instead of being light and flimsy like most coolers, this one is heavy and tough, and I doubt it would take a scratch if it blew out of a pickup on the highway. The latches are so solid the lid would probably stay shut, even with someone inside, although I haven’t actually tried it yet.

Courtland and I took the Yeti on our trip to California last July, and carried it on a rack on the back of the Jeep. We went through the Mojave Desert twice, and were gone for ten days. That cooler was in the sun most of that time, and we opened it many times every day. When we got home it still had about half of a ten pound block of ice in it that we had put in there before we left home. This is a serious ice chest.

I drained the water out of it periodically, and we put a small bag of ice in there a couple of times, so it’s not like the block of ice didn’t have help, but still. I’ve never had an ice chest keep ice that well. And the seal is so tight the lid is hard to get open, even with the latches undone. It seals way better than my refrigerator.

The Yeti cooler is so tough I think you could jack up your pickup, take a wheel off, and let the pickup down on the cooler, and it wouldn’t break. I haven’t tried that, either, but I’m thinking about it. The only reason I haven’t done it is I can’t talk any of my boys into jacking up a vehicle and taking a tire off for no good reason.

I asked a guy at Yeti why their coolers worked so well, and he said something about the insulation, or something. He also gave me some great tips on how to make ice last longer in any ice chest, but I’ve forgotten what they were. I guess I should have written them down. They were very good tips, as I recall.

But the fact is, I’ve been using a Coleman Extreme ice chest for a long time, too, and it keeps ice just as well as the Yeti. Really. The Coleman Extreme coolers have a lot of insulation, too, so I think that’s the key. Not only that, but a guy at Coleman once gave me some great tips for keeping ice, just like the Yeti guy. I’ve forgotten those, too, but there you go.

The difference between the Coleman and the Yeti is durability and price. The Yeti is far tougher than the Coleman, but it also costs six or seven times as much. So you could either buy a series of six Coleman ice chests, one at a time as they wear out, or one Yeti, and you should have cold drinks for about sixty years. Because the bottom line is that you can’t go wrong with either one.

For my funeral, I’m holding out on making a decision until I get some endorsement offers. Coleman and Yeti coolers are both outstanding, and I would be proud to be buried in either. As long as Ray Scott doesn’t get hold of me, I’ll be fine . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist who checked on the laws, and learned it is legal to be buried in an ice chest. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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