The GoSun Chill, which is the subject of a crowdfunding campaign, has been in development since 2016 when initial prototyping began, so there's been a lot of time to field-test, iron out the bugs and add features in answer to problems that wouldn't have been apparent at the outset. The end result is a powered cooler with storage pouches on the side; terrain-worthy wheels; tie-down straps and cleats; and, of course, a bottle opener.
Unlike the Solar Cool we wrote about in 2014, the GoSun Chill doesn't have in-built solar panels. While this may seem a little odd at first, it speaks to the flexibility of the design. Instead, GoSun decided to offer a choice of external solar gatherers: the GoSun Flex (a 30-watt, three-panel gatherer based on the company's two-panel phone charger), or the clever, 60-watt GoSun Solar Table.
The GoSun Chill isn't locked to the solar option, though, and its brushless DC compressor can be powered directly via the supplied GoSun Powerbank, any 100–240V AC outlet or your standard 12V car port.
Speaking of the Powerbank, this isn't your kid's phone charger. This 2-lb (0.9-kg), 15-amp, battery can power a day's worth of ice or fully charge 10 smartphones (via its three USB ports) and sports a 200-lumen torch. Temperature settings, which range from -4° to 68° F (-20° to 20° C), will of course impact the Powerbank's charge-life, with GoSun estimating a runtime of 14 hours at a 55° F (12° C) on a warm summer's day.
Space is always an issue with coolers and this is perhaps the most practical reason for choosing a solar-powered version. Why? Ice. Ice takes up far too much space in a cooler. In fact, the GoSun Chill has nearly double the available space for food and drink compared to an ice-dependent cooler with similar dimensions.
GoSun's other solar products have garnered a lot of interest over the years, from the GoSun Stove to the fun solar-powered hot dog maker, but there's a serious side to the business too. GoSun has partnered with various NGOs, such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, whose mission is to tackle smoke inhalation-related illness and fuel-scarcity in developing countries.
Backing for the GoSun Chill in Indiegogo has been overwhelming. As of writing, the campaign has managed to bring in US$222,000 worth of pledges, which is $210,000 over and above the original $12,000 goal.
Pledges for the GoSun Chill start at $489 (a 34 percent discount on the RRP), which includes the cooler and Powerbank. Complete solar packages (with the Flex Solar panel) begin at $549 (42 percent off the expected RRP). Delivery to backers is planned for August this year if everything goes to plan.