Cowboy Cooler

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Project by Heath posted 04-07-2010 09:05 PM 22047 views 31 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this “Cowboy Cooler” for my sister and her husband for Christmas 2009. I first saw one of these as a mass produced unit at a local sporting good store. I thought it was a really neat item, but way overpriced. After that, I started seeing them pop up at road-side vendors and flea markets and such.

Except for the side handles, this was built entirely from broken down pallets. The ice chest is an Igloo brand I purchased at the above mentioned sporting goods store. It didn’t have a drain, so I bought a cooler drain there as well and connected it to PVC plumbing coming out the bottom and over to the spigot. The Native American silhouette and bottle opener were purchased from a vendor at a local festival.

I didn’t follow any plans. I had a rough idea in my head of what I wanted to do, started with the ice chest and just built around it.

-- "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

13 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4117 days

#1 posted 04-07-2010 09:09 PM

Best looking pallets I have ever seen!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4197 days

#2 posted 04-07-2010 09:23 PM

great recycling of pallets


View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 4824 days

#3 posted 04-07-2010 10:47 PM

Great project. I especially like the bottle opener and the rustic quality of the recycled pallets.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View Jason's profile


660 posts in 4590 days

#4 posted 04-07-2010 10:51 PM

Does the bottom of the cooler simply sit inside or are the sides attached to the cooler?

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View Heath's profile


37 posts in 4562 days

#5 posted 04-08-2010 12:18 AM

Thanks for the compliments, guys.

Jason, the cooler sits on a shelf. The cooler is not attached and can be pulled out but it is a nice tight fit.

-- "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4277 days

#6 posted 04-08-2010 03:14 PM

There should be one of these beside every BBQ in existence.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View knapster's profile


39 posts in 4557 days

#7 posted 04-08-2010 07:37 PM

i agree! :-)

-- jk

View Dave Price's profile

Dave Price

90 posts in 4056 days

#8 posted 04-24-2010 04:33 PM

that is very cool, i need one of those

-- Dave Price , Roswell New Mexico

View Leonard5's profile


377 posts in 3775 days

#9 posted 03-17-2011 05:26 PM

Nice job. There is definetely some nice hardwood in some of the pallets.

-- Leonard H.

View grogg's profile


1 post in 3699 days

#10 posted 03-27-2011 09:52 PM

How did you attach the cooler chest lid to the top? I think I will make one for my son in law.


View Heath's profile


37 posts in 4562 days

#11 posted 03-28-2011 04:05 AM

After building the basic box (minus lid), I turned it upside down with the cooler in it to make sure the top of the cooler and the top of the box were even. Then I put in the “shelf” against the bottom of the cooler. Then I turned it right side up, put the lid on the cooler and just build the wooden lid around it to fit and added hinges. Then I just glued the cooler lid to the wooden lid. I don’t recall what kind of adhesive I used.

-- "I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso

View CWChandler's profile


6 posts in 3289 days

#12 posted 05-10-2012 08:03 PM

Amazing job! My girlfriend has me to make one of these for her and I just happened to pick up a truckload of pallets today thinking I could find something to do with the lumber. The only downside is that she has asked me use tin on the inside and NOT use an igloo cooler. Thanks for sharing!

-- CWC

View Dustin's profile


393 posts in 4531 days

#13 posted 02-21-2013 02:36 PM

totally cool!

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