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Makeover Mania Spreads To Coleman Steel Coolers- Company Reinvents a Classic – Retro Style Wraps Premium Performance

Hunting Gear - Coleman Coolers

Coleman Coolers - WICHITA, Kan. – Americans are mad about makeovers, as evident by the current crop of TV shows competing to make over people, their homes, cars, yards and every aspect of their lives. The Coleman Company is doing a makeover of its own by giving new life to an old favorite. The company’s classic green Steel Belted® Cooler, which has been on hiatus for the past 10 years, returns to retail shelves in spring 2004 with a snazzy new look as well as pumped up performance.

Although long valued for its durability, Coleman’s hallmark cooler was in need of a new image. Next to its trendy plastic cousins, the Steel Belted Cooler seemed downright old-fashioned a decade ago. No more. Designers have used brighter colors, contemporized styling and beefier hardware to boost the retro cooler’s appearance. In addition to a fresh hue of traditional green, Coleman is offering its latest Steel Belted model in a rich, deep red, a color that was available periodically in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Like the stainless steel version introduced a few years ago for the company’s centennial, the new painted steel versions feature a sleek modern design with rounded edges, while maintaining the traditional heft of their predecessors.

People may appreciate a fresh new look, but they also value a product that can stand the test of time. Coleman’s new 17.5-pound steel cooler is built to last, with a steel lid and case that have been treated to resist rust and corrosion. The 54-qt cooler is a strong ice-keeping performer too, thanks to extra-thick insulation and fully insulated lid, as well as a beefy metal latch that provides a tight-fitting seal. It keeps ice more than twice as long as average coolers, performing with excellence on par with Coleman’s Xtreme® line of coolers.

Other notable improvements include a leak-proof, rust-resistant drain that is designed to drain the cooler completely without the need to tip it up; a liner that resists odors and stains and is easy to clean; and rubber comfort grips on the large, hinged steel handles to make transporting the cooler an easier task. The new red and green Steel Belted Coolers, which carry a six-year limited warranty, are available at select retailers nationwide. Suggested retail price for each is $79.

Cooler History

From 1954 to 1994, Coleman® steel coolers were a prominent fixture in the outdoors. Over the years, they were available in various colors and shades – greens, reds, blues, gray and even pink for a few years in the ‘50s. Highly valued for their sturdiness, performance and long life, the steel cooler’s popularity seemed ongoing. However, times changed and less expensive plastic coolers became all the rage. Coleman ceased production of its hallmark Steel Belted cooler line in 1994. But steel coolers never really went away. The long-lasting original coolers are still in use during many a family campout or backyard barbecue.

Sureva Towler, the grand prize winner of Coleman’s Centennial Story Contest in 2001, wrote eloquently in her winning entry of the significance of her family’s steel cooler.

My Coleman cooler holds the stories of my life. A good-looking cowboy was sitting on it when he asked me to marry him 30 years ago. Since then it has held champagne for weddings, beer for rodeos, formula for babies, drinks for soccer teams, steaks for hay crews and worms for fishing trips. … The scratches on my Coleman cooler speak of family reunions, hunting camps, summer outings, neighborhood picnics and capers. …

Towler is not alone in her nostalgia. In focus groups conducted by Coleman prior to its centennial, consumers said they considered their Coleman Steel Belted Cooler to be a family heirloom, worthy of passing from generation to generation, much like the company’s familiar lanterns and stoves. When asked to name specific types of ice chests, participants mentioned the steel cooler more often than any other type. Some said they had resorted to searching for steel coolers at yard sales or via Internet auction sites.

Many consumers have inquired over the past decade why the company was no longer making the famous cooler. As the only steel cooler manufacturer in the United States, Coleman responded to the pent-up consumer demand first with its all-new stainless steel cooler and now with the updated red and green versions.

About Coleman

The Coleman Company, Inc. manufactures and distributes products for camping, backpacking, tailgating, backyard grilling and other outdoor leisure-time activities. Specialty brands include Coleman® BackHome® and Coleman® Exponent®. Widely available in the United States, Canada and more than 100 countries worldwide, Coleman products can be found at outdoor retailers, sporting goods stores, mass merchants, hardware home centers, food and drug stores, and online retailers.

Also available from the company is the Coleman® Outernet™ site – a convenient new resource for outdoor travel planning. The site, accessible at, provides information on camping spots, scenic drives and other outdoor experiences – as well as mapping and reservation capability – within a visitor-specified geographic region of the United States.

Enjoying its second century of operation, Coleman is based in Wichita, Kan., and is a subsidiary of American Household, Inc. For more information, consumers can go to or they can contact Coleman at 800-835-3278, [email protected] or P.O. Box 2931, Wichita, KS 67201.

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