How Much a Pelican 80 Qt Cooler Weighs When Full

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As I struggle to put my empty Pelican 80 qt. Elite cooler into the back of my van, I realize that there is no way I would ever be able carry this thing when it is full! I can get the specs of the empty cooler off of the website, but I was curious. How much does the Pelican 80 qt. weigh when full and ready for a week at the campfire?

The Pelican 80 qt. Elite cooler with wheels weighs approximately 118 pounds when full to capacity with pop cans and ice. The cooler itself weighs 49.5 pounds, will hold around 58 pop cans with a weight of around 49 pounds, plus approximately 20 pounds of ice.

With a load that heavy in this monster cooler, there are some things that you should keep in mind before and during use, read on!

Do I need this big of a cooler?

This can be an invaluable cooler in specific situations. Just going to the park for a picnic or hopping on the fishing boat for a couple of hours? This is way too much cooler for that and would be a huge pain. But, going camping for a few days or driving hours away to hunt? The Pelican 80 qt. Cooler is perfect for jobs like that and you will glad that it has such a huge capacity, even if it isn’t as easy to transport.

Open pelican 80 qt cooler with drinks inside

Load your Pelican cooler at the campsite

Because of the huge capacity of this cooler, you are going to want to plan on loading your cooler on site. It will be so much easier to lug the 50-pound empty Pelican out of the back of truck or van than one that is over 100 pounds. Shop once you get to your destination if possible.

If that isn’t going to work in your situation and you have to haul food and ice to your site, you can still make this work. Keep the ice in the bags inside the cooler. Don’t take your food out of plastic shopping bags and put it on the ice in the cooler that way. Because loading your Pelican that way takes up more space, transport whatever food won’t fit in cooler bags and add a little ice to them if traveling more than an hour away.

Once you get to your site you can just pop the top of the cooler, easily pull out the bagged ice and food, and pull the cooler out of the truck at its empty weight. Easy!

Know that you may need help carrying your Pelican cooler

Closed pelican 80 qt cooler

If you are strong and can easily lift 120 pounds or more, don’t think that means that you can pull the fully loaded Pelican 80 qt. cooler out of the truck by yourself. The length on this cooler is nearly 43″, so unless you’re at Iron Man status, lifting nearly 120 pounds to the ground with your hands 43″ apart will be incredibly difficult, at best.

Use the buddy system with this size Pelican when fully loaded. Don’t let a jacked up back ruin your fun!

You can easily use the wheels on your Pelican to move it

Sure, the Pelican 80 qt. isn’t the easiest thing to move in and out of a vehicle. But, once it is on the ground it can easily be moved around the campsite thanks to its heavy-duty wheels and handle. You still will find it too much trouble than it’s worth to wheel it all around your site constantly, but at 5′ 6″ and 128 pounds, I can easily roll it fully loaded to it’s nice, shady home where it will stay for a few days.

Top of a pelican 80 qt cooler with the handle out

Remember to add your Pelican Cooler weight to total load

Because this is a monster of a cooler, remember to figure in the weight from your fully loaded Pelican 80 qt. cooler into the total load if traveling in a vehicle.

This may not be an issue in a heavy-duty pickup, but a mini-van is a different story and you need to plan accordingly! When considering mini-van payload, or weight capacity, Consumer Reports cautions “consider that when most seven-passenger minivans, including the Chrysler Town & Country, Nissan Quest, and Toyota Sienna, are loaded to capacity with seven 165-lb. passengers, that’s before any bats, balls, helmets, pets, camping gear, bicycles, cargo boxes, or luggage are added.”

When hauling too much weight you are risking ruining your suspension, your tires, or losing control easier. Not good! Just be aware of how much your vehicle can carry and remember to plan in your fully loaded Pelican 80 qt., if you’re transporting it full.

For instance, according to, maximum payload for my Chrysler Town and Country is 1398 lbs. You can easily find specs for your vehicle at Edmunds, as well. Remember to think about any gear or firewood you are hauling, in addition to people.

Also, this is incredibly important when thinking about taking the Pelican 80 qt. fully loaded onto a boat! It can fit on a pontoon and will provide an awesome amount of food and drink for a crowd, but just remember to count the cooler as an additional passenger on your boat!

How much a smaller Pelican cooler weighs when loaded

Wondering if you need a smaller Pelican for the job for this trip to cut down on weight?

A Pelican Elite 30 qt. cooler would weight approximately 50 pounds fully loaded with 22 cans of pop and around 10 pounds of ice. The cooler weighs 21.67 lbs. empty. This cooler doesn’t have the convenience of wheels.

If you would like a smaller Pelican, but still have wheels, the Pelican Elite 45 qt. with wheels weighs around 77 pounds when full with 28 cans of pop and around 15 pounds of ice. The empty wheeled Pelican 45 pt weighs just 37.25 lbs.

Related Information

Top view of a pelican 80 qt cooler full of drinks

The size of the Pelican 80 qt. Elite is 42.88″ long by 20.75″ wide and 20.25″ tall. If you are towing this in a truck or the back of a mini-van, know that it will take up a large piece of real estate in your vehicle. But, when you need a lot of food or drink kept at a cool and safe temperature for days, pretty important!

Because of the super-thick insulation in Pelican coolers, which is why they can keep food cold for so long, the interior of the Pelican 80 qt. is 29.00″ long by 13.00″ wide and 13.00″ high. What you sacrifice in space you make up for in performance. Unless you want to run to the gas station every day on an ice run, there is no other easier way to keep ice frozen outdoors for days on end in July in the Northern Hemisphere!

The question of how long ice can keep in Pelican coolers is something that scores of blog posts and YouTube videos have tried to answer. The Pelican website reports that the Pelican Elite 80 qt. can retain ice for 9-10 days. I intend to test this myself in both real-life and ideal conditions and report back on my findings, but until then, search on YouTube to find tests run by actual owners of the cooler.

Thank you for reading, and have fun at your next campfire!

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