Summer is here and with it comes LOTS of heat for those of us who Jeep here in Arizona (yeah, I know, it’s a dry heat….and I’ve heard it a thousand times). Taking a cooler on the trail is not an option but rather a necessity. But that doesn’t mean summer in places like Minnesota, Virginia, California, Colorado, and Illinois (places that I have lived) is any picnic either….well, maybe Minnesota is on account of it only having two seasons, the 4th of July and Winter. But seriously, having plenty of fluids on the trail, and I don’t mean the kind you put in the engine or transmission, is a must. And I recently found what I think is a most excellent cooler for the Jeep, the Ice Vault from JP Cooler. JP Cooler is located right here in the Phoenix metro area and is owned by a Jeeper too. Greg developed this cooler to fit in the space behind the rear seat in the short wheel based Jeeps. However, as I found, it will also work just as well in a TJ that doesn’t have a rear seat.
Now I realize that this Jeep mod is not exactly what anyone would call hard core. But every now and then, it is nice to do a mod on Lady that it is quick and easy and in this case, doesn’t even require me to pick up a wrench. On top of that, this is also one of those mods that your significant other can buy for you (makes a great present) without the worry of getting the wrong thing, wrong size, etc.
The first thing you notice about this 56 qt. cooler is its light weight and sturdy construction. The carry handles wrap completely around the cooler to support it while carrying a full load of refreshments. There is a convenient zippered pocket on the front of the cooler for you to stash what ever it is that goes into such places. For me, a couple of those 12 oz. can cooler covers stays there, at the ready.
For those days when you load the cooler to the max capacity (two cases of refreshments + ice), you can use the carry handles located at each end of the cooler. For me, those handles also provide a means by which to secure the cooler to the factory roll bar, directly behind the front seats, as I don’t have a rear seat to keep it tucked behind.
A removable insert is provided that sits flush on the bottom to give this soft sided cooler some reinforcement. As I said, I was impressed with the construction. Details such as this insert and other things like the quality of the stitching and the rugged zippers makes for a very nice product. I’ve no doubt that this cooler will see use for quite some time to come.
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The Ice Vault from
Product Update: 8/22/2005
I know I’ve said it in another write-up, but I’ll repeat it here just in case you didn’t read it on the other page. A company with a good product does not sit on its back side but rather it looks at what can be done to improve the product line. That is what the folks at JPCooler have done…..enter the 1/2 size Ice Vault.
The 1/2 size model is just that, half the size of the regular Ice Vault. It holds 28 quarts which is great when you don’t quite have enough room for the full size model (or you simply don’t need all the available capacity). Since getting the first Ice Vault, I’ve started taking our two dogs on the trail rides…..that adds up to about 130 lbs. of K-9s in the back of the TJ (yes, I do not have a rear seat). The new 1/2 size provides me and my wife (and the dogs) with enough cold drinks and H2O for the day while not using up the needed “dog space” in the back of the TJ. Just like its big brother, it has one of those stretchy cargo cords laced across the top and a zippered pocket on the front of the cooler. The carry handles loop all the way around the cooler for added support and have Velcro closures for easy carry.
The Ice Vaults now come with a heavy duty removable interior bag that is perfectly sized as a liner for the cooler. If you want to toss something sharp or pointed into the cooler (tools come to mind), put them in this heavy duty bag to protect the Ice Vault’s liner.
The 1/2 size Ice Vault also provides great dry storage. Remember, if it keeps the water in, it will keep the rain and mud out. And when it is empty, it goes pretty flat for storage rather than sucking up space like one of those hard plastic tubs.
As you can see, it is about the same width as one of the TJ’s seats. This still allows the dogs easy access in and out of the back of the vehicle though the center console “slot”. That means I don’t have to open the rear of the vehicle each time I want to let them out. Love it!
Or you can stack it on other “stuff”. It works just as well parked on top of my tool bag. A couple of nylon straps looped through the Ice Vault’s carry handle will secure it to almost anything, such as the roll bar or the Raingler side nets. Of course, for those folks that still have a rear seat….put it behind the seat and forget it until you want something nice and cold.
I’ll pass along a big thanks to JPCooler for recovering some much needed space for the dogs. Now, if they could just do something about the spare parts I have……