Smaller cooler companies make biggest splash at NRA Convention

Orca's bright pink coolers turn heads, and the NRA partnership branding doesn't hurt either. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Orca’s bright pink coolers turn heads, and the NRA partnership branding doesn’t hurt either. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

With the premium cooler market one of the fastest-growing in the outdoor industry thanks to leader Yeti, it seems there are more companies in the game every month.  Two, however, stood out from the rest at the 2016 NRA Meeting and Convention: Orca and Orion.

If quality workmanship gets you to the top, it’s continued innovation that keeps you there.  As other companies sit back on their haunches, both Orca and Orion wowed with new product introductions, colors, options and accessories.

Orca Pods

Orca introduced the Orca Pod, a line of backpack-style mobile coolers available in two sizes and multiple color combinations. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Orca touts being “Made in the U.S. by US,” and all their products carry an industry-leading lifetime guarantee.  In addition to standard coolers, Orca was showing off the new Orca Pod, a padded backpack-style cooler available in two sizes and multiple color combinations, including camo with Molle webbing.  Driven by a team of sportsmen, Orca offers 15 Molle attachment systems for their coolers, with everything from cell phone pouches to bottle holders.

Standard colors are white, tan, olive, and pink, though they have many specialty colors as well.  Team color combinations are popular with prep, college, and professional sports fans.  Orca’s new line of drinkware is in direct competition with Yeti, though they offer quite creative options in addition to the standard chaser and carafe — a growler and chaser-tini for those beer or martini adventures. Orca also formed a partnership with the NRA to offer branded coolers, and they support numerous other outdoor groups as well.


Orion’s wild “camo” color combinations and padded cooler tops are easily recognizable. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Not to be outdone, Orion Coolers showed off not only wild “camo” color combinations but wild innovation in attachments.  Orion coolers comes in six sizes, seven colors and were created by the folks at Jackson Kayak with a knowledge of materials, fly fishing, and the outdoors.

orion attach

Orion’s greatest new accessories for the YakAttack Ram rail system: the table/bar-top and partner-company Buck’s blade mounts. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Orion Coolers are made in the USA and carry a five year warranty for the original owner. Where Orion really stands out — in addition to color and quality — is the accessory attachment system. The outer ends of the cooler wear metal YakAttack Tracks for the mounting of RAM accessories, like rod holders, phone cases, cup holders, GPS, fishfinders and now given Orion’s partnership with Buck Knives, hatchet and knife mounts. A soon-to-be-introduced tabletop/bar attachment really got the looks as well.

If you’re dipping your toes in the premium cooler pool of options, be sure to check out both Orca and Orion. The folks at both are easy to work with and proud American companies.

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